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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

From high up the lines are just as impressive.

Olivier was up at 4:30 am, packing and making coffee. He cannot function without his coffee and food in the morning. We packed and were about to leave for a photo session of the Nazca lines at 7 am, when the ATC stopped us. At 8:15 they let us go, 20 minutes ahead of the Cessnas. Two years ago they had a mid-air collision over the lines. Both aircraft were Cessna 206's and each had 6 people on board. Scary! No one survived. I can understand why the ATC were nervous about who flies around there and where and at what height. We had to report our exact position to them all the time.

After our goodbyes, we were on our way northwards to Lima, where we knew quite a few people were waiting for us.

ATC were taking no chances with us and sent us up to 6,000 ft. That meant we were 3,000 ft above everyone else. The flight was great, except just as we were over a particularly barren part of the desert my engine gave a huge kick and a gurgle, before settling down normally again. Ice! OK carb heat on and report to Olivier. He radioed me back after 15 minutes to say that the same had happened to his engine and his heart had also skipped a beat like mine.

From high up the lines are just as impressive – they spread over an area of about 50 sq. km.

The visibility was very bad. It was incredibly hazy. On a few occasions I felt a little disorientated … this only happened when I didn't look virtually straight down to the ground for a while (for reference to something solid). Ahead was just a hazy grey blue blur!

We flew for 2 hours over the desert and the Pan American highway. This must be the world's longest highway – it starts in Tierra Del Fuego and ends somewhere in Alaska. Actually there is a gap in the highway between Panama and Columbia where they are not yet able to reach an agreement on what to do. Actually, someone told me that Panama does not want direct access from Columbia because of the cocaine traffic.

After an hour along the coast we landed on a deserted beach and had something to eat.  After 30 minutes we were in the air again. We landed at Peru's largest microlight club where we had a great reception – there were 3 microlights waiting for us in the air – and about 15 people on the ground – on a Monday… Many had taken the day off from work to await our arrival! We were very warmly welcomed. It is really great to arrive to so much hospitality and warmth. After a few hours of chatting and some beer, we had our trikes hangared and were on our way with Huenu and Felipe Solsona to Felipe's apartment in the green golf course area of Lima. Very nice pad! Immediately I felt at home and was soon wandering around in my hippie pants. Dinner was a barbecue of great chorizo sausage and the "world very best chicken". And bed. No more Rreeaaaaoooowwwwww!!


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