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08 MAR 2023, meeting Pablo and his 140

I had never met Pablo. One of the pilots from an aeroclub sent me his contact data last year. All I knew was that he lives in Buenos Aires and owns a 140. I contacted and asked him if we could meet. He suggested General Rodriguez (GEZ), a busy uncontrolled airfield a few miles west of Buenos Aires.

There are two routes to fly from Matanza to Rodriguez. The short one (27 NM) is to ask permission to cross the control zones of Ezeiza and Moron. The long one (88 NM) follows the visual corridor to the east and then circumnavigates Ezeiza’s control zone (which has a 20 NM radius). The long route is nearly one hour longer, than the short route.

I opted to cross the control zone and filed the obligatory flight plan. Up to now, I have only talked three times with Ezeiza Tower. Twice last year, when flying via Matanza to Uruguay and three weeks ago, when coming back from Uruguay. The instructors in the club advised me to take off at the exact time stated in the flight plan, climb to and and circle in 1000 ft (well above the 500 ft pattern altitude), contact Ezeiza Tower and request the crossing clearance. Knowing that they speak excellent English, I contacted them in English, which always seems to surprise them. They let me circle three times, before allowing me to proceed westbound towards Rodriguez.

Leon joined me on this flight. He hasn’t been flying with me since we flew together during the repairman course in 2019, antes pandemia, as they now tend to say here in Argentina.

After my mishap in Chascomus, where I didn’t know the right frequency, I tried a lot to find the frequency during flight planning, but apps like Foreflight, Air Navigation, the Argentinian AIP or the (meanwhile discontinued) official ANAC MADHEL app all do not list the frequencies for uncontrolled fields. On US Sectional or German ICAO charts they are depicted on the charts. Not so in Argentina. Often they use 123.5, but not always. I asked Pablo and he sent me his list, so I knew GEZ uses 123.2:

The flight was uneventful. Biggest difficulty was to decide where to park. There is a long line of hangars on one side and the small restaurant is hard to find. Pablo and his son landed within a few minutes.

It is always nice to meet another 140 owner. Pablo’s 140, one of ten registered in Argentina, showed the mirror appearance only achievable by endless hours of polishing. Pablo uses Nuvite’s II S to finish. I purchased it too but was too lazy to apply it yet. See the difference for yourself:

As every flight student knows, if you fly with a flight plan, you must close it. In Argentina, you have to call the nearest AIS by phone, once you landed. An easy thing to do - if you have a network connection. Unfortunately, at General Rodriguez, neither Pablo’s, nor my phone received a network. It is the small things, that make flying sometimes unpleasant, and which leads pilots to prefer flying without a flight plan, whenever possible. Another pilot helped us with a hotspot.

Rodriguez is an airfield community. Like some airfields in the USA, people live close to the runway, having their little aircraft parked in a garage, next to their house. Rodriguez is farer away from Buenos Aires then, e. g. Moron, says Pablo, but more expensive. Nobody wants his aircraft hangared at a controlled airport, he says.

Unfortunately, Pablo’s 140 is indeed based at controlled Moron. After a descent lunch with lots of 140 talks, we decided to fly to Moron together. He showed me how to file a flight plan using yovuelo.com.ar. As already mentioned, filing by Foreflight meanwhile works in Argentina, but it is just not sufficient – at least when flying VFR. EANA requires many things a Foreflight-filed flight plan cannot provide, e. g. a scanned hand-written signature. Furthermore, they want scans of license, medical and ID with every flight plan. Some sectors, e. g. Ezeiza, additionally require a phone call. After sending the email, the pilot must wait for the reply, confirming that the flight plan has been accepted.

We took off and followed each other closely. Pablo’s son got a few nice shots of N5581M:

After we landed in Moron, we taxied endlessly to the hangars. I used the opportunity to purchase some Aeroshell oil. Pablo drove us to AIS to file the flight plan to Matanza. My first two attempts to fill out the form correctly failed. Of course, EANA uses a flight plan form based on the ICAO form and I know how to fill out those, but there are special requirements like mentioning operator and owner separately and stating your license number and – signing fully in the right field. To give you an example: I have two signatures, a short version, using only my last name and a long version with the full name. When my short signature in the flight plan did not match the signature in my passport, AIS asked me to use the same signature. I added the missing part, but accidently used another pen, leading to a color difference between the two parts. Unacceptable: I had to fill out the form again. Oh, Argentina, I love your bureaucracy.

Immediately after takeoff, Moron Tower asked me to contact Ezeiza Tower. When I reported Matanza in sight, they offered to close my flight plan and I happily accepted. But later, I received a phone call from Moron, advising me that I forgot to close my flight plan. Apparently, there is little communication between the neighboring control zones of Moron and Ezeiza.

Leon and I took a taxi back to the city center, but we got stuck in one of the manifestaciones. Today is March 8th, Woman’s day:

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