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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

Always look at the bright side of life... 

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

Days 8 - 9 - 10  -  Leticia SKLT - Sao Paulo de Olivençà SDCG - Tonantins - Fonte Boa SWOB.


Three flights in almost the same conditions.




On take off from Leticia, the weather is good. It get worse towards the end of the flight and I decide for a stop on the river. Later in the afternoon the fog will lift and I will fly to the nearby airport.






Sao Paulo de Olivença, was founded in 1692 by a spanish priest and around 30.000 people live there today. The local economy is around the export of sand for the making of cement.




Next morning, I start with clouds at 2000 ft, no wind and 27° C.




Flight over the Amazon and I reach the confluence with the Rio Putumayo. The river gets larger again.






Once again a water landing on the river near Tonantins, a small town of 20.000 people on the river bank. 






The third and last flight starts with some mist and low clouds.




The mist disappears on the way under the sun and the visibility is good on approach of the Fonte Boa airfield.




Fonte Boa is the same size of town, around 20.000 people.




The place is known for the fish farming of arapaimas ( or pirarucus ) the largest freshwater fishes.




This activity makes a living for more than 500 families settled around 350 lakes.


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Couple of cool videos, the first was a base and circle type approach that I never saw before and the second video shows how important not being overloaded is. :D Thanks for the look, if only our sims could reproduce those kind of strips.

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Day 11  -  Fonte Boa SWOB - Tefé SBTF


As often the departure from Fonte Boa on late morning happens with an average visibility.




Luckily, this time the weather seriously clears up at halfway, first time since many days !




Shortly before arriving in Tefé, I fly by the small town of Alvaraes.




Some more minutes in the flight and it's approach on Tefé airport.




500 kms west of Manaus, Tefé is a town of over 60.000 people. The region saw fights between the Spanish and the Portuguese in 1708 and 1709, won by the latter.

No industry, a subsistence-oriented agriculture  ( mostly manioc to make flour ), it is mostly fishing which is important for the local economy. 



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Day 13 - Tefé - Coari


Weather has cleared up, I can safely take off for the next stop, Coari SWKO.






My good mood will be altered by the low visibility on approach of Coari. I think at first I will land on the river to wait for the weather to clear up, but I finally decide to go have a look at the airport on the other side of town.




Once I get there, I can see the landing is possible.




And here we are, landed in Coari !




Coari is a town of around 80.000 people on the Rio Solimoès. It was founded as settlement in the very beginning by a german jesuit priest named Samuel Fritz. First named Alvelos, the village was moved at the mouth of the lake Coari in 1854, and took the name of the lake in 1874.


The town was first known for the production of bananas and other fruits, is more known today for the production of oil and natural gas in the nearby region of Urucu.. A gas pipeline 450 km long has been opened in 2009 to link with the regional capital town of ManausPort Urucu has its own airport, SBUY.



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Day 14  -  Coari - Anori


The straight flight Coari - Manaus would be a bit long, so I decide to make a stop in the middle in the small town of Anori

The weather conditions are now good when leaving Coari, with as usual some clouds around 2000 ft.




We can now see quite a few villages on the Amazon banks.




The river itself gets wider and wider with many ramifications.




Anori is in sight, I will land on the water near the harbour. It is right time, I start seeing more and more lightnings under the clouds, rain is coming !




A small town of around 16.000 people,  Anori is situated on a stagnant branch of the Amazon.



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Day 15 - Anori - Manaus


Today is the flight to the big city in Amazonas. The good weather conditions are holding ( the heat and humidity as well...) and I leave the water near Anori.




I stabilize the plane at 1500 ft above the water to stay under the few clouds. Only thing left to do is an IFR flight ( I Follow the River... :)  )




And after a little over an hour of cool flying, I close on Manaus. As I don't want to use the big international airport, I am going to land on the Ponta Pelada base ( SBMN )




In real life, SBMN is the former Manaus airport, replaced by Eduardo Gomes Internacional ( SBEG ). It is a military base since 1976 and normally I shouldn't land there.


But besides the fact that I don't do virtual flying to be bothered by all the rules of real flying, there is nearby a small general aviation airfield called Flores which is not in FSX.


In short, I land there because I feel like it !  :P




With a population of 2 million people in 2014, Manaus is the most populous city in the Brazilian Amazon area and situated on the Rio Negro. The Solimões and Negro rivers meet in Manaus and join to form the Amazon river (using the Brazilian definition of the river; elsewhere, Solimões is considered the upper part of the Amazon). Rubber made it the richest city in South America during the late 1800s. Rubber also helped Manaus earn its nickname, the "Paris of the Tropics". Many wealthy European families settled in Manaus and brought their love for sophisticated European art, architecture and culture with them. Manaus is also a duty-free zone, which has encouraged development in the region.




The Amazonas Opera House, inaugurated in 1896, has 700 seats and was constructed with bricks brought from Europe, French glass and Italian marble. Several important opera and theater companies, as well as international orchestras, have already performed there. The Theater is home to the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra which regularly rehearses and performs there along with choirs, jazz bands, dance performances and more.


I personnally advise watching the movie "Fitzcarraldo" by Werner Herzog with the crazy genius Klaus Kinski.  The movie tells the true story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined irish man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle near Iquitos. Part of the movie is also in Manaus.




Document : The flight plan of the three stages from Tefé to Manaus.



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  • 2 weeks later...
Day 16  -  Manaus - Itacoatiara


Short flights this week because of high temperatures in my flying room ...


Take off from Manaus early afternoon with clouds around 2000 ft as usual now. You can see on the water the container ship "Aliança Manaus".




I overtake other ships on the river - here a gas tanker.




Storm clouds begin to gather in the sky, it's time to reach my destination.




I can already see some lightnings here and there as I come in sight of the airport in Itacoatiara SBIC




Itacoatiara  is a town of around 100.000 people on the banks of the river. Its name in Tupi means " the town of painted rocks". It is an important harbour for the traffic of goods on the Amazon.

The first settlement was founded as a mission in 1688 by a portuguese jesuit priest, Antonio Vieira. It was afterwards moved four times following attacks by the Mura indian tribe. In 1757 it is finally settled on the left bank of the river, where lies today the town of Itacoatiara.



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Day 17  -  Itacoatiara - Urucara


I leave Itacoatiara  also in the beginning of the afternoon, with the same weather as the day before.




In the beginning I try not to get lost in the middle of numerous arms of the river and a multitude of islands.




Then afterwards the river spreads across the landscape in front of me.




After a 50 mns flight, I am on the backwind leg to land at Urucara SWWK on the 3937 ft runway.




Urucara is a small town where live 17.000 people according to the last stats in 2014.


It is a mostly an agricultural community ( the most interesting production being guarana, exported in the whole world). There is also the limestone mine of Jatapu with reserves estimates at 1.7 million tons, used since 30 years.  Important deposits of tin and bauxite have also been localized in the surroundings.



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Nice couple of scenic legs there Loic.

That ship traffic really does add some nice flavor to the river scene. In the second leg as you are taking off, there is a container ship in the river...same one finally caught up to you overnight? :D


Urucara looks like just the kind of place I would love to pop into while sailing. under 30,000 people towns are cool. Friendly, happy usually to see strangers (assuming it isn't a Cartel Town...hahaha), terrific "Familia" style restaurants, and cheep accommodations. <3


Looking forward to more.


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Day 18  -  Urucara - Parintins


This time I will be guided by the VOR PRI in Parintins (SWPI) on 114.10 . As I leave Urucara, the visibility is really average this afternoon.




On the river I come across the container ship "Sebastiao Caboto" belonging to the Aliança shipping company, the largest ship going up the river all the way to Manaus.




As I close on Parintins, visibility has become even worse, but no panic ! With the GPS and the VOR it's not difficult to find the way.




I have no problem to get on finals to runway 06 of Julio Furtado Belem airport ( altitude 85 ft - length 5905 ft )




Parintins is a town of 110.000 people. The place was discovered in 1749 by explorer José Gonçalves da Fonseca who noticed an island ( Tupinambarana ) for its great length on the right bank of the river. The village itself was founded in 1796 by a man named Jose Pedro Cordovil, who arrived there with his slaves to start a large cocoa plantation.


It is mostly well known in the whole country and in the world for its folklore festival "Boi-Bumba", the "jungle carnival", when crowds get together on the last week of June. During three days, the Bumbodromo stadium is used for a competition between two teams : the Boi Caprichoso team (the capricious ox) decorated with red hearts, and the Boi Garantido team (guaranteed ox) black with a blue star on the head.








Addendum: The flight plan of the three legs



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Day 19  -  Parintins Santarem


Today's task is a 1h15 flight between the airports of two important cities with a good equipment for navigation ( VOR, NDB and even ILS on arrival ! ).

I have included in the flight plan a safety airfield midway in Obidos (SNTI) although I can use my floats to stop anywhere on the river if any problem arises.




Take off from Parintins SWPI shortly after 10:00 local, with the usual type of weather.  Little wind ( 5 knots from the East )  73°C F and some scattered clouds around 1700 ft.




I find also today some ship traffic on the river.




As I fly over the small town of Obidos at halfway, I spot a hill. I hadn't seen one since a long time  !




I follow the STM VOR heading, waiting to intercept the runway 10 ILS. I have received clearance to enter the circuit on the backwind base and to land following a Mooney which is already on finals.




Unfortunately the Mooney pilot is a bit slow in clearing the runway, and the tower asks me at the last minute to go around for a free lap above the water. During this lap, a Cessna calls for landing as well, but he is still some 20 nm away. I am allowed to land in between and I don't miss the second attempt ! The ground control will send me to the GA parking in the middle of the large hangars we can see on the right. 



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Santarem ( around 300.000 people - founded in 1661 ) is situated at the confluence of the Amazon and the Rio Tapajos. Both flow along the city over several miles without mixing together. The milky waters of the Amazon carry the sediments from the Andes eastwards, when the water of the Rio Tapajos is warmer and deep blue. This is locally known as the " meeting of the waters".


It is one of the oldest cities in Amazonas and a very popular destination for tourists. Because of the clear waters of the Rio Tapajos, Santarem has more than 60 miles of natural beaches. The village of Alter do Chão, known as the "carribean Brazil " is well known as one of the country's most beautiful beach. There is here also a folklore festival called "Festa do Sairé"  which takes place every year in September.






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Day 20 - Santarem - Almeirim - Porto de Moz


For today my plan is to make a stop in Almeirim SNYA on the north shore of the Amazon. But since I noticed on the map that the airfield seem to be in the middle of hills ( 515 ft ), I keep in mind the possibility of flying a little further to Porto de Moz on the Rio Xingu if I have a problem with visibility or anything else.




I take off from Santarem beginning of the afternoon (after the siesta) with a friendly sky and a better visibility  than the last days average.




On both sides of the river the forest has now almost disappeared and many islands made by the sand banks are everywhere.




Then after 45 mns into the flight, shortly after Prainha - SNIN, I start to notice on my far left the hills I had seen on the map.




Finally as I get close to Almeirim, I can see that the airfield is situted in fact on the top of a hill. I'm not too crazy about this with the amphibian, as I know Porto de Moz has an asphalt runway. I decide to head for the MOZ NDB. The frequency (285 khz)  is already set on the ADF and I have identified the signal ( anyway there are not so many around here... )




I find easily the airfield by the river in Porto de Moz and I land there after a one and a half hour flight.




And the plane is parked for today !   ( I know, some of the trees look strange for this part of the world, but that's the magic of FSX !  :)  )




Porto de Moz is a small town of around 30.000 people, on the shore of the Rio Xingu, one of the most important tributaries of the Amazon (2260 km). It was founded in 1635 by a group of jesuits led by Pedro Texeira, and the name comes from the town in Portugal. Near its confluence, the Rio Xingu becomes a huge lake and its waters in the end mix up with the Amazon through a labyrinth of natural channels.



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Day 21 - Porto de Moz - Macapa


We are now nearing the end of the expedition...




Leaving Porto de Moz early afternoon with an average visibility and scattered clouds around 2000 ft.




Still some boat traffic on the river.




Soon after the start of the flight, you can see on the map that the Amazon divides itself into two main arms. I chose to follow the northern one.

Next picture gives an idea of the river size at this point, when you know this is only one of both arms !


You can also see that visibility is getting better.




After over an hour in flight, guided by the MCP VOR in Macapa, I start to see far in front the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean mixing with the milky waters of the Amazon. The delta is not far away !




The tower in Macapa gives me a clearance with a direct approach.




After landing I taxi past the main airport building, on my way to the general aviation parking.




Macapa is a large city of more than 500.000 people. The equator runs through the middle of the city, leading residents to refer to Macapá as "The capital of the middle of the world.


The modern town began as the base of a Portuguese military detachment, stationed there in 1738. On February 4, 1758 Sebastião Veiga Cabral, the illegitimate child of the military governor of Tras-o-Montes, founded the town of São José de Macapá, under the authority of the governor of Para, Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado. The fortress of São José de Macapá was first laid out in 1764, but took 18 years to complete, due to illness among the Indian workers, and numerous escapes made by black slaves. Macapá was elevated to city status in 1854.


Macapá gained international notoriety in December 2001 when famous yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, from New Zealand, was murdered while anchored on his explorer yacht Seamaster in Macapá port.



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Day 22 - Macapa - Macapa


Running short of time with summer being here, I realize I won't  have the time to fly all the way to Cayenne. But the core part of the adventure is almost done, so I will leave the yellow plane in Macapa to catch a commercial flight back to France for the holidays.


I still have time enough left to fly to the Atlantic Ocean and finish the Amazon route. I take off from Macapa with a nice weather and a top notch visibility.  A nice 8 knots breeze from the sea cools the temperature down. 




We can right away see the huge zone where the waters are mixing, the blue waters from the ocean and the brown waters of the river coming from the Andes.




There are still many ships on the water going both ways.






And after forty minutes into the flight, the ocean lies in front of me. On the other side it's Africa !




I now only need to turn around the last island on the right and fly back to Macapa and it will be the end of this adventure. I've added a few more flight hours with the Cessna 185 and I feel somewhat blue to leave South America after several months of exploration.


But no doubt I will come back one of these days, probably to explore some more of Patagonia.  I liked the landscapes and the "far from everything" feeling there.




So I will be back home for some holidays, then soon move to Alaska, where I will take advantage of the summer days to boost the rep of my Air Hauler company there. I will find some other Cessna 185s, a Caravan, a Skymaster, and will try to add a few hours on the tundra and amphibian Twotters.


Then when the cold will be around the corner, I will let my local pilots do the most part of the job and I will head to the southern hemisphere for an exploration of Australia, which will probably take some months.


So looking forward to meeting some readers again around the end of September for the reports on this "Down Under Tour" ! ( using Orbx FTX Australia scenery, OzX and Ant's Airfields with several different planes.)

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