Our Travel Logs
These are our experiences and where we have been so far in the Vision Jet
Starting the trip...
For the past month we have been busy getting the Jet, training in the Jet and refining and ironing out some small problems that Cirrus have repaired. We have gotten together with other Vision Jet Owners during the Converge party and conference that saw over 70 Owners of Vision Jets fly into Knoxville. Seeing that many Jets all lined up together in all the various custom paint designs was impressive and as the weather turned cold we decided it was time to move off to start the first leg of our travels.
Knoxville to SAN Diego - 9th November 2019 -
After a few small problems with the Jet showing cast message FEDAC do not despatch and the repair centre in Knoxville working day and night we organised and loaded up the Jet with all our luggage said our goodbyes for now and took off for San Diego. The weather in Knoxville was around 8C and the freezing rain was coming in the next few days so although the replacement of the skin trim of the stairs was still not ready to be replaced on the plane we didn’t want to hang around and encounter the impossible flying conditions.
Flight time to San Diego was over 7 hrs with 1 fuel stop in Hereford Texas where we saw the largest feed lots of cattle that we have ever seen. We pressed on all the way, with encapsulating views through Arizona and New Mexico desert, the large plateaus are truely fascinating terrain. We land and taxi to Gibbs FBO/Flight school where we are met by Joe McMillen with his Raptor on the tarmac, tail gate as the bar, he cracks open a very special bottle of Rum Zacapa from Guatemala and we toast. The meeting is significant as our last World Mission which we flew the SR22 from USA to Australia was followed by Joe and his nephew Jose, they stayed with us in Sydney and Joe put fuel tanks on his SR22 bird and continued on to fly over the Pacific Ocean, home to LA and San Diego completing his around the world. That was the last time we had seen him and this flight is the first leg of our new travel adventure.
Photos: Flying at 30,000 ft on sunset, Converge party in the delivery hangar at Knoxville, arrival to San Diego at dusk, view over the Arizona desert.
Melbourne Florida KMLB to Belize MZBZ
28th December 2019 - Its hard to believe we have been in the USA for nearly 3 months now and with just a few days left on our ESTA visa we need to depart the US and commence our South American trip. The weather in Florida has been unusually very bad, rain every day, 98%humidity and basically very unpleasant. We fly out of Melbourne over the Everglades and the beautiful town of Naples to the East coast line of Florida and enter the Gulf of Mexico where the weather clears off to scattered low cloud, it is always sunny up at level 30,000ft and we join all the commercial jets on- route to Cancun. We all need to skirt along the Coast of Cuba to the left making sure to not broach the airspace, all of us using the way-point CANOA, it is a very busy airspace controlled by Havana.
The Coast of Mexico comes into view to our right the turquoise waters and white sands of Cancun a famous tourist attraction, then our entry onto Belize. All up about a 3 hour flight very easy and smooth to land in Belize international airport. We are met by our organised handler Rudy who assists us through customs and immigration. Leaving the Jet on the parking spot allotted. We buy tickets to fly on a Cessna Caravan turbo prop to fly to the accommodation in Placencia where we will stay and enjoy the New Year, we were not able to fly with the Jet to this airstrip; far too short but an easy strip for the work horse Cessna Caravan.
Photos: Blue waters of Mexico, Belize vegetation.
Belize City, Belize to Panama City, Panama
Airports: MZBZ to MPMG
Distance: 800 NM
Fuel: World Fuel
This is a 3 hour flight over Honduras, Nicaragua – Clearance to fly over needs to be pre-arranged and should be done by the handlers in Panama however mid-flight air traffic advise they have not received this, after a little while they grant clearance in air.- Continue on over Costa Rica to set up approach and a panoramic decent into the spectacular Gulf of Panama/Panama Bay -the entrance to the Panama Canal Miraflora Locks, or exit, depending on the time of day, there are possibly hundreds of ships in the bay giant floating cargo cities – the landing is between two hills and the heat of the day creating a mountain wave effect testing the skills of landing in tricky hot conditions.
Best things we did in Panama:
Panama Canal- Miraflores locks – These are close to Panama City and open for public viewing to watch ships traverse the 16.5metre difference between the sea level and the small lake that continues onto the next set of locks. We watched a vehicle cargo ship America Highway and passenger Yacht Wind sail traverse through.
Old city , wander through the old City (there were actually 2 old Cities) discover the building ruins left to see within the renovated quaint streets and town square and enjoy the night life with modern rooftop bars.
Bio museum – An interactive museum designed by Frank Gehry with aquariums of Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean aquatic differences IE warm water versus cool water. Very interesting display on how the land isthmus of Panama was created and the effects of that land block between the Caribbean and the Pacific. The evolution of animals from North and South America before the platonic plate movement created Panama and after.
Drive around the coast line to islands and overlook the impressive Panama City.
Not the best things:
Two hour drive to Portobelo town on Caribbean Sea side of Panama the drive takes you through very poor communities living in squalid conditions the roads are very average and we nearly ran out of petrol. The town dates back to 1500s with the ruins of a Spanish fort lost in the 1700 war. From here you can take a cruise over to a small island. Facilities are minimal. Nearest town Colon.
Best restaurants we visited in Panama:
Coffee Max(Israeli owned food) best coffee!! A café “truck” making great food and atmosphere in the middle of a busy intersection.
Beirut Lebanese food and shisha with belly dancers.
Casablanca – In the old city with traditional seafood and good beer!
Tinajus- tradition Panama food. This restaurant has a traditional show with Dancers and story tellers of the olden times when the Catholic faith missionaries came to convert the people using very scary mask costumes and chanting that the sinner will go to hell and to convert to save yourself. They succeeded as the population is 90% either Roman Catholic or other Christian faith. The show is very entertaining and the music infectious, you can’t help but start to dance.
Ecuador, Guayaquil and The Galapagos
Airports: MPMG (Panama) to SEGU (Guayaquil)
Distance: 700 NM
Handler: Edwin - MAPIEX
Fuel: World Fuel
Date: 8th January 2020
Customs and immigration clearance was very easy and casual there is always someone who has enough English to understand us. We stay at the Wyndham hotel which is on the broad walk of the Rio Guayas river which is very polluted having waste from industry and effluent human waste flowing into it. The colour of the water is like a boiling pot of green muck, reminiscent of a Simpson’s episode of 3 eyed fish. Read on....
Airports: MPMG Guayaquil to SPSO Pisco
Handler: SUA Servicio Universal De Aviacion
Date: 17th January 2020
Distance: 725 NM
The Ecuador handler Edwin has done a great job of looking after the aircraft parked for 9 days in #1 position, again the aircraft is gathering a lot of attention from many other pilots and ground personnel when we taxi and take off people come out of the hangers and take photos- air traffic controllers regularly comment on the aircraft - in Canada they couldn’t believe it was a Jet, in Panama they said very sexy, in almost every airport they remark, everyone gathers around the Jet when we park and want to take selfies. For some it is the first time to see this new aircraft.
Chile - Iquique
Airports: SPSO to SCAR (Arica) to SCDA (Iquique
Pisco Peru to Arica Clear Chile customs, fuel then to Iquique
Date: 22nd January 2020
Distance: 450Nm to Arica 130NM to IQQ Total: 580NM
Handler: SCAR - Patricio Lohr- SCDA Aeroclub/Self
SPSO- Sergio - SUA Services
On departure of Pisco we are sent heading over the Pacific until we get to FLevel 14000, then turn back over Paracas and the nature reserve that we drove through on a beach buggy.
Our departure is heading south along the coast of Peru to enter the airspace of Chile. Clearances were required which have been organised by the handler. Again our climb rate is very slow due to the heat although we are collecting some icing on the wings which clears easily with the de icing boots. Read on.........
Chile - Calama, San Pedro de Atacama
Iquique to Calama, Chile
Airports: SCDA to SCCF
Handler: self, assisted by Marcelo
Fuel: not required
Date: 26 January 2020
Our next flight to Calama a Copper mining town, only about 40mins away. We are very happy to have Marcelo joins us and show Amir through the process of lodging flight plans and customs tax payments required in Chile before our departure.
Marcelo is also a pilot and sits right seat doing the communication in Spanish to air traffic controllers.
This is the first time anyone has seen the Vision Jet and once again it is so nice to see the reactions of pilots as they are shown the many features in Avionics and safety.
The flight goes over vast very red mountains and flat desert, it reminds me of the top end of Western Australia or Saudi Arabia desert. Read on.........
Ovalle, Santiago, Valdivia - Chile
Airports: SCCF Calama to SCOV Ovalle
Distance: 523nm - FL 31000ft - 2 hrs.
Fuel: world fuel at Calama by email release
Date: 28th January 2020
Our flight takes us over the mountains that we just stayed and adventured the entire area of the Desert Atacama is amazing.
At 31000ft we have a 50kt head wind which slows our speed to 0.340mach or 211kt airspeed- 203kt ground speed. Heading south flying between the mountain range and the coast the landscape just red mountainous desert, no farms, nothing but a few mines here and there. Minimum safe altitude 25500ft and the weather is looking a little nasty with thunderstorms building around us, the cloud cover below is sitting on the mountains, we may need to consider the alternate airport, SCSE Coquimbo. Read on.......
Patagonia - Chile & Argentina
This is a long story but covers a lot of places - all of Patagonia both on the Chile side and the Argentinian side...
Valdivia to Castro
Airports: SCVD to SCPQ
Handler: self - help in tower Raul
Fuel: world fuel by email released
The flight plan to Castro is to overfly the volcano Osorno at 17000ft, Working with the most helpful Raul in the flight services at Valdivia we lodge an IFR plan and discuss to terminate at waypoint OSO and continue VFR for the overfly then recommence the IFR when finished. After spending 11 days in Valdivia,.........read on
Brazil to USA
Buenos Aires, Argentina to Iguazu, Brazil
Airports: SADF TO SBFI (Foz do Iguazu)
handler: self - Clovis
Fuel: world fuel
Distance: 571nm 2hr flight
Argentina are to announce tomorrow that all flights in and out will be suspended as well as all land borders will be closed, so this is our last opportunity to leave before the Country goes into full shut down due to the Chinese Virus also known as Covid-19 threat pandemic that is closing borders around the world..........Read on....