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Amazonas 2015

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So, as it was planned at the end of the Aéropostale ( see in members blogs ), I am going back to  Cayenne in French Guyana going down the Amazon River.


From La Paz where I left the Staggerwing, I went to Cuzco and after some tourism rejoined by road the closest airfield in Teresina on the Rio Tambo. ( This one is formed by  the Rio Mantaro and the Rio Apurimac )


The idea is to follow it to Atalaya where it joins with the Rio Urubamba to form the Rio Ucayali which gives its name to this province in Peru. Then going down the Ucayali I will reach the upper Amazon just before  Iquitos. From there I will fly down along the river to the Atlantic Ocean then terminus will be Cayenne. From there the only thing left will be to hop in a commercial flight at Rochambeau Airport  to get back to Paris, then to Toulouse. The round trip will then be closed since I left  Toulouse Lasbordes with the Tiger Moth on Sept 28th last year.




The aiplane I will use is a Cessna 185 Skywagon amphibian version, so I can land on water in case of problems on the way and also make stops anywhere outside airfields. I have a good number of (virtual) flying hours on this plane which was the backbone of my AH company in BC/Alaska which I started in November 2013, and I like it... I recently watched a video about real bush pilots around Ketchikan and talking about the Cessna 185 and the Beaver, one of the guys said it was like comparing a Corvette and a schoolbus.


The Carenado version is type A185F which was certified in 1973 with a Continental 300Hp engine and a variable pitch prop. At low altitude, I estimate an economy cruise speed around 115 / 120 knots.




For those who wouldn't know it, the cockpit has a good equipment : two VHF / NAV stacks with 2 VOR dials, ADF, GPS, transceiver and a heading lock which can follow the compass or a NAV/GPS signal. There are not so many VORs around here, but you can find a few...




EDIT : as for my previous Aéropostale flights, all flights are real Z time, and dynamic real weather from Pilot's FS Global Real Weather (update checks every 5 minutes)

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Day 1  -  Teresina - Atalaya


The flight plan for today follows the Rio Tambo. With my amphib, I prefer staying close to the water, easier to stop in case of a technical or weather problem than over the rain forest !




Departure from San Francisco airfield in Teresina around 9:30 local, with a rather low ceiling and an average visibility... almost no wind, 75° F and a high humidity !




Most of the flight is still in the Andes and although I fly along a few large reserves, there are several villages and small towns along the Rio Tambo. Visibility gets a little bit better.






Then I can spot Atalaya and its  General Gerardo Pérez Pinedo airport in a loop of the river. A short backwind leg to come back and land on the open runway.




And a first stop with the rest of the day to look around and find a place for the night.






Created in Sept 1928, Atalaya, nicknamed "the Ucayali emerald" is a small town of around 12.000 people. Accessible all year round by the river and by plane, the 164 km road is only open from April to November.

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Great choice of aircraft for this wonderful IFR flight, :thum: I enjoyed the screenshots. Looking forward to further installments.


Don't drink the water. :D 

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nice, I liked the pics and the narrative too.....those wheels on the front look like they came off a shopping trolley...


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Day 2  -  Atalaya - Pucallpa


The flight plan for today is simple, it's almost straight along the Ucayali to rejoin the largest town in the region. 




On take-off around 10:00 weather conditions are satifying.  A good visibility, a few clouds at 4500 ft, 3 knots of wind and 75° F on the ground.




Only thing to do it to follow the Rio Ucayali ...




... until I reach Pucallpa and its airport after a one hour flight.




A short backwind leg, landing and taxi to the parking ! In short a cool and easy flight...






I have plenty of daytime left to have a look around.


Downtown :




The harbour :




The shopping streets :




And for the night a lodge with a surprising entrance !




Pucallpa is the region capital with a population of more than 200.000. It is the largest harbour on the Rio Ucayali.


Thanks to the river, it communicates with Iquitos and other further towns of the Amazonas regions  (Leticia, Manaus, Santarem, Belem, ...) Pucallpa is the end stop of the Federico Basadre road. It is a very important link between the town and Lima.


Pucallpa  is the only town in the selva which has a direct road link with the capital and the rest of the country. It is vital for the timber business. Pucallpa has the most important airport of the region ( International Airport Capitan FAP Rolden) with airplanes coming from Lima, Iquitos, Tarapoto, from other regional isolated towns and villages, as well as from Brasil.

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Nice easy flight leaves plenty of time for fighting off the flies. :D Thanks for the look. :thum:

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Days 3 to 5  -  Pucallpa - Orellana - Requena - Iquitos


I leave Pucallpa with a very average visibility and a low ceiling.




After a one hour flight low over the river, the conditions are the same on arrival in Orellana.




The small town is named after Francisco de Orellana, who was the first european to discover the Amazon river in 1542.




Next morning the weather is a lot better when I leave Orellana.




I use the better visibility to take some shortcuts over the loops of the river.




And the approach on Requena is easy after flying an hour and a half.




The development of Requena is mainly due to the Franciscans who settled there in 1919.




It is again under the sun that I leave Requena on the next day for a one hour flight to Iquitos.




For the first time I am surprised on the way by the tropical rain.




I first think I will stop on the river near the harbour in Iquitos, but since the airport has a VOR, two NDBs and an ILS, I decide to give it a go.




I finally make a good landing on the wet runway 6..




Memories come back of some flights with rain on the brasilian coast...  I must quickly find a shelter !

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Iquitos  is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the fifth-largest city of Peru. It is also the capital city of the Loreto Region and Maynas Province. Located in the Amazon Basin, the city is along the Amazon, Nanay and Itaya rivers. Its name in Iquito language translates to "the people". The official city nickname is "Capital of the Peruvian Amazon".






Already in the 16th century, the region is crossed by conquistadores looking for the El Dorado


During the early 20th-century rubber boom, it attracted many European immigrants; they contributed to a period of wealth and great social and commercial development that resulted in its unique urban and cultural identity. The city originally was developed from an Indian Reduction developed by Jesuit missionaries along the Nanay river circa 1757 with the name San Pablo de Napeanos. The town was inhabited by the Napeanos and Iquito people. At the present time, the city has become a destination in the Peruvian Amazon, due to historic architecture, cuisine, landscapes, accent, nightlife and diverse cultural movement. It is a cosmopolitan city with strong Amazonia roots


The city can be reached only by airplane or boat, with the exception of a road to Nauta, a small town roughly 100 km (62 mi) south. It is the largest city in the world that is inaccessible by road. Ocean vessels of 3,000 to 9,000 tons and 5.5 metres (18 ft) draft can reach Iquitos from the Atlantic Ocean, 3600 km away. Most people travel within the city via bus, motorcycle, or the ubiquitous auto rickshaw. Transportation to nearby towns often requires a river trip via "pequepeque", a small public motorized boat.







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My rules in this part of the world are simple : as long as I can see the river and follow it, I consider it is flyable...  If not I float !  :)


EDIT : today really low visibility and clouds at 800 ft in Iquitos. I keep on visiting the town on foot...  ;)

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Day 6  -  Iquitos - Middle of nowhere


So it's not all about spending weekends in town drinking caïpirinhas and watching girls, it's time to move on...


Next step is entrance in Colombia in Leticia SKLT. But it's a bit far away, so I will try to find a nice spot on the way to stop. Adventure, adventure...  I have food and drinks, a hamac and fly screen in the plane.




Leaving Iquitos in the early morning, weather is so-so with low clouds at 1000 ft, but no wind and temperature is nice ( 23°C )




There are still proofs of civilization to be seen, but I know it won't last...




In the meantime, Mrs Amazona starts to make herself at ease !




Sometimes the visibility gets worse with all this water evaporating.




Not far away from my aim for today, I spot a big piece of fields with a nice hacienda by the river. It's my lucky day ! 




Next move I'm floating on the river.




Like in all lonely places on the planet, the locals are happy to see people... I get an invitation to dinner and a room to sleep in a dry place inside the beautiful house. The plane is tied to the shore and the land owners ask some of their workers to keep an eye on it. Life is great !



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I hope you knocked on some wood before leaving the plane Loic...Not to disparage the, I'm sure, very fine people of that lovely town...there always seems to be some bad egg also "keeping an eye" on your stuff at night in some lonely out of the way places. And several comments about "my lucky day" and "life is great" is gonna bite you without some serious woodpecking.


That said, lovely adventure so far, keep it going.

I am inspired to find a big river to follow for my own adventure at some point in the near future...perhaps the Nile?

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I hope you knocked on some wood before leaving the plane Loic...Not to disparage the, I'm sure, very fine people of that lovely town...there always seems to be some bad egg also "keeping an eye" on your stuff at night in some lonely out of the way places. And several comments about "my lucky day" and "life is great" is gonna bite you without some serious woodpecking.


Always look at the bright side of life...  :)

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Day 7 -  The hacienda - Leticia


After a nice local breakfast, it's time to leave for the second part of this stage to Leticia, my only stop in Colombia. The plane is pushed in the water and I get going.




As often in the early morning, the mist is hanging over the Amazon, but I can nevertheless follow the river.




50 nautical miles from my destination, the sun gets through and the mist disappears, showing now the Amazon in all her majesty.




I can now see here and there on the way some houses on the river banks.




The town of Leticia is situated at the border between Colombia, Peru and Brazil. I chose to land at the colombian airport (SKLT) (*)




Soon I fly by the town and airport of Caballococha in Peru (SBPC) which I had noted in case of problems on the way.




Then comes the approach on Alfredo Vasquez Cobo airport in Leticia which is equipped with VOR and NDB..




The integration is backwind left hand and the landing is a greaser. Taxi to the parking...






(*) In reality I chose SKLT first because I found a freeware... =)

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Leticia  is the southernmost city in the Republic of Colombia, capital of the department of Amazonas, and one of the major ports on the Amazon river. It has an elevation of 96 meters above sea level and an average temperature of 27 °C (80.6 °F). Leticia has long been Colombia's shipping point for tropical fishes for the aquarium trade. Leticia has approximately 33,000 inhabitants on the left bank of the Amazon river, and is located at the point where Colombia, Brazil and Peru come together in an area called Tres Fronteras.
A long-standing border dispute involving Leticia, between Colombia and Peru, was decided in 1934 by the League of Nations after these two nations were engulfed in an armed conflict known as the Colombia-Peru War. This was the first instance of action by an international body using its powers covered by the Monroe Doctrine.



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Really interesting adventure, sir.  I'm enjoying it almost as much as you but sure am happy I don't live there.



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Terrific again. Love that second sparse screen shot...the simplicity of it appeals to me...as does the feel of the towns there. Like John, I'm glad I don't live there, but I sure would love to visit. It reminds me of the small towns on the Baja coast that are always happy to host visitors, and their gringo dinero ofc. :)

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