Brazilian Adventure – Day 5

AirplaneWe started the day with optimism but got an ice cold shower when we learned that the FAA had found an “issue” at 2 PM the prior day (and did not notify anyone until late morning the next day). The “issue” was that the paperwork about the company buying the airplane showed that the company was formed on August 1, 2006. The official document from the State of Connecticut confirming the formation was dated August 2. Tilt. Two different dates — something must be wrong. Reject everything. No flying time wire. The best laid plans foiled by the bureaucracy.

We had to think through our options quickly. If we get the wire in the next couple of hours we can still get ANAC in for the afternoon, get the conformity completed, contact ANAC in Rio for the overflight permit, and still get to Belem before dark. Flying over the Amazon at night and then landing in the crime riddled city did not sound appealing. As a backup plan we decided to seek a “ferry permit” to take the plane directly to the U.S. and get the conformity inspection and airworthiness certificate there.

The afternoon turned into a frenetic effort. People running up and down the halls. Great teamwork. We got the flying time wire at 2:30 PM. The next step was to get ANAC to come in to do the inspection. Too late. They start at 8am or 1pm. Ok, on to plan B. Get the ferry permit and then the overflight permit. People said it was impossible to get a ferry permit in less than a day but Mike Origel at AirlineCert performed miracles. He had the contacts and the FAA was cooperating to issue the permit. We had to pull together a ton of information — pilot biography and medical, maintenance sign-off that the plane was airworthy, and a number of other documents. Let’s call ANAC in Rio and tell them to get ready to issue the overflight permit. They are at lunch. The Olympic decision had just been announced. They were at a long lunch. We made contact with ANAC before 4pm and urged them to wait. We would have the ferry permit any minute. We got it at 5:15 PM. It was Friday afternoon. ANAC had left for the day.

Day 8 would start with high hopes that we would be airborne before the end of the day. We would get ANAC in first thing Monday morning, get the overflight permit from Rio, fuel and provision the airplane, and head for the States. Now what to do for the next two days? Some said go to the beach. After months of detailed planning and five days of intense focus on the task at hand, I was in no mood for relaxing. On Monday I get an education on buying fuel in Brazil. Stay tuned