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From Uruguay to Matanza

14-19 FEB 2023

LH590, the flight from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport, is usually over Brazil, when dawn starts. I always try to get a window seat on the left side of the 747.

Just before starting the approach into Ezeiza, we overflew Matanza.

Astrid and I arrived in Buenos Aires February 14th. Next day, we took the ferry to Colonia and drove a rental car to Nueva Helvecia. Carlos and other members of the Aeroclub Los 4 Vientos welcomed us. N5581M, my first 140 - the red one - was in great shape, no additional corrosion, the air in the hangar was dry and sweet.

Engine started on the first try.

After a few days, a thorough inspection and the completion of all paperwork, I flew a bit over beautiful Uruguay.

Weather was not always nice. Carlos told me that it hadn't rained for nearly a year, but it rained (at least a bit) while I was flying.

We stayed in one of the oldest hotels in Uruguay...

... and visited strange places like this oldtimer graveyard,

beautiful restaurants,

and enjoyed sunsets at Montevideo's Atlantic coast.

February 19th, Astrid and I flew N5581M via Colonia (to exit Uruguay) and San Fernando (to enter Argentina) to her new temporary home Matanza.

The economic situation in Argentina has not improved within the last 12 months. Inflation is out of control (> 100 percent per year). The largest note - 1000 pesos - is enough to buy a Coffee and a Croisant. Financial restrictions make it difficult to transfer money or pay bills via international transactions. Exchange rates vary by a factor of two. Foreign credit cards are often not accepted. At the same time – like everywhere else in the World – cash is less and less being used. E. g. it is no longer possible to pay airport fees in cash. Bureaucracy in San Fernando was as bad as last year. It took me an hour to get all the required stamps to enter the country.

In Matanza, el "Centro Universitario de Aviacion", Lucho and all the other pilots and mechanics from the University’s pilot school welcomed us and allowed us to put N5581M in a hangar.

Here, she is parked next to a beautiful Cessna 170, her larger sister.

Matanza will be her new home until the End of March – just shy of the 45-day maximum allowed for foreign aircraft to reside in Argentina. Next days where filled with preventive maintenance, alternated with some practice touch and goes to stay in shape, enjoying the camaraderie in Matanza, preparing for the tours to come.

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