First day as a pilot in Chile!

Santiago Travel Blog

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The aviatrices in Chile.
We had a so-so buffet breakfast at the InterContinental, then Jaime picked us up for OUR FIRST DAY OF FLYING! We were excited beyond words.

I kindly volunteered LISA to fly first -- she's used to the Cessna, after all. I am a low wing gal. I was hoping to watch and learn something before actually having to take the controls!

We got the plane packed up, got a primer on the 210 (it's nice to know something about the plane you are about to fly!), then did a thorough preflight. Ready to go! Lisa was flying left seat, Jaime in the right, and Leo and I were sitting in back. The radio situation was very confusing, especially since neither of us could pronounce or understand the airport name (Topalabamba? Tobaboba? Lalabamba? TOBALABA!!!). And it took us a while to figure out that radio frequencies are stated as "one-one-eight-DECIMAL-eight.
Time to fly!
" We were like, "huh? What's he saying?" In the U.S., the controllers usually say, "point," not "decimal." Seems like a minor point (pun intended :^), but it's a fairly high stress situation to taxi an unfamiliar airplane in a foreign place while trying to understand a heavy accent. It was tough, and nerve wracking. And I wasn't even the pilot!

Lisa flew through the mountainous area around Santiago, in a corridor through the complex Class B airspace--with Jaime's help, of course. Lucky girl! I sat back and enjoyed the spectacular view.

Lisa then got to land UPHILL at a SHORT, GRAVEL runway at Pichidangui. Excellent! There were sheep and horses around the runway.
Lisa takes us upand away.
It was a highly UNIQUE experience! Unfortunately, there were no "facilities" at the airport, so we walked off towards the town. Lisa and I at a more rapid "American pace" then our hosts Jaime and Leo, who practice what I like to refer to as the "South American saunter." We walked 30-40 minutes (situation critical with the bladder!) until we got to an area with hotels and restaurants. On the beach, people were riding horses and it was all quite lovely. Lisa and I stopped at a place that looked good: outdoor seating with a view, and, of course, a ladies room. Whew! Eventually Jaime and Leo caught up, and we all sat outside in a lounge type area. We ordered cheese and seafood empanadas, ceviche, and salads for Lisa and me. All EXCELLENT (I wish I had noted the name of the place.
The view from the passenger seat.
). We lounged and relaxed a bit, then walked into a little market area where Jaime and Leo had ice cream treats. Then we walked back to the airport -- it went much faster since I wasn't in bladder distress.

My turn to fly! An interesting uphill short-field takeoff, followed by a climb out to 1,000 feet, which is right about where we stayed. Jaime dealt with the manifold pressure, and, of course, helped with that landing gear. It was a nice plane to fly, I had no issues. I experienced the satisfaction of a very nicely trimmed airplane. I also had it pretty easy on the radio (how could I mess up "La Serena," our next destination?) and I was also blessed with a nice, smooth asphalt runway, complete with VASI lights. I did a pretty good touch down, with no assistance from the right side of the plane. It was all very positive and encouraging, and highly educational.

La Serena, our stop for the night, was a bit more chilly and windy than we expected. As usual. Our room at La Serena Club Resort was quite heinous, resplendent in glaring yellow, green and blue. We all met up on the lovely (and all the more attractive for being wind protected) deck in front of the hotel to make acquaintance with the Pisco Sour, which we heard is practically the national drink. Pisco is a type of brandy distilled from grapes, and in this drink it is successfully blended with lime, simple syrup, and egg white. It's sweet, tangy - delicious!

For the dinner, the four of us walked down to the local pizza place. The pizza was not bad at all. And back to our room with the lively palette for a much needed night's sleep.
karendavidflyhi says:
thanks for the website - I have emailed Jaime.
It is surprising that despite much searching I accidently fell upon your blog and that led to jaime - I think their website needs a bit of help to get noticed.

Once again thanks - If we had found it earlier we could have incorporated more into our trip.

Posted on: Oct 27, 2008
cmgervais says:
Hi there - check out the website www.touraviation.com for Jaime's contact info. I hope it works out... Have a great trip!
Posted on: Oct 27, 2008
karendavidflyhi says:
Hi this sounds like a great trip we did something similar a few years ago with Parkwest flying from Colorado up to Yellowstone.
We too are going to be in Chile and having great difficulty finding contacts to arrange some flights in the area. Do you have contact details for jaime please in Santiago and any other airfields or schools where we can hire a plane and probably instructor or pilot as we dwon't have enough time to get checked out. Our trip takes us by car south from Santiago through the wine district to puerto varas then by jet back to Santiago for a few days and then on to San Pedro for a few days in Attacama then onto Buenes Aires and Iguassu - exciting but we always like to get a birds eye view

hopefully you can help#

many thanks

Karen
Posted on: Oct 26, 2008
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The aviatrices in Chile.
The aviatrices in Chile.
Time to fly!
Time to fly!
Lisa takes us upand away.
Lisa takes us upand away.
The view from the passenger seat.
The view from the passenger seat.
Santiago
photo by: Bluetraveler