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09 MAR 2023, Isla Martin Garcia

For many years, Andres has been a friend of our family. When he recently asked me, if I could help him getting aerial views of a certain house in the Tigre region, I was happy to help. However, when he gave me the coordinates of the area, I found out it is in San Fernando’s control zone. We’d need permission from San Fernando Tower to fly and eventually circle there. Before, we’d have to cross Ezeiza’s, Moron’s and Palomar’s control zones in rapid succession. I am now more familiar with the procedures, vectors and wording used by them, but it is still a challenging flight. This would again be fun. As usual, we took off early, using the relatively cool morning, by the minute stated in the flight plan, circled in 1000 ft and called Ezeiza in English.

The controller replied to all my calls with “unreadable”. I checked my radio and tried again and again and continued to circle over Matanza. VHF COM quality is an issue over Matanza, a local FM radio station is not far away, music can be heard in the background on many frequencies, including Ezeiza Tower and Matanza Unicom. After circling for 15 minutes (6 circles) I gave up calling in English and switched to Spanish. Immediately, I got my crossing clearance and proceeded westbound.

Andres knows Buenos Aires by heart and always knew where we flew. But when we reached the Tigre delta, the vast swamp-jungle wilderness just north of the city, located between Rio Parana and Rio Uruguay, he got lost and we didn’t find the place. To make things worse, San Fernando’s frequency was busy, helicopter position reports indicated they would come our way, so I did not dare to circle, but continued our flight to Isla Martin Garcia:

Isla Martin Garcia, located in the mouth of the Rio Uruguay, is split between Uruguay and Argentina. Only the part belonging to Argentina is inhabited. It can be reached by ferry, canoe, or private plane. A handful people live there. The airfield consists of a beaten concrete runway, a little colonial style one room terminal and a few rotten aircraft wracks.

Trees provides some shade and protection from the burning heat. The village was sleepy, but one of the restaurants is open and Andres and I have a nice meal, followed by a siesta and a quick swim in the pool.

We flew the same route back and again tried to locate the house in the Tigre delta, but vegetation and traffic were just too dense to allow a success.

Back home in Matanza, I flew a few patterns with Lucas. Like most pilots in Argentina, he has absolutely no problems flying a taildragger. They usually get their initial training on a Piper Cub.

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