Rounding the Earth

Rounding the Earth

Brasilia is the capital of Brasil. And Brazil´s name comes from a tree (Caesalpinea Echinata Lam), that produces a very red ember.

I saw that tree at ¨Hacienda Piqué¨ where the airfield is located. Also I saw a tree called Jabuticaba, that produces a delightful fruit that only exist in Brasil. That fruit is very similar to the cherry, but grows even on the sides of the tree trunk.

All to say that I was quite well hosted by Geraldo Piqué at his Hacienda, and also by Gerard and Margi Moss, at their beautiful home.


Michel with Gerard Moss


Gerard is a well known earthrounder, in Brasil and in the world. We have met many times and always enjoyed the meetings. His wife Margi, also very nice ( but sorry, guys, she is married with Gerard so you don´t have any chance 🙂 ! ). Gerard is not only a good pilot, he is also helping science, studying the Brasil waters. He has flown more than 60000 kms over remote water locations and have taken thousands of water samples all around Brasil, using his amphibious airplane.

Margi, a specialist in birds. Also adventurers, so you can imagine hoy interesting is to listen to them !

It was really nice to share with them those days. I felt like at home and I was able to rest really.

Saturday, a meeting was organized at the airfield, and I was able to talk about the flight. They were very interested in the project and I enjoyed that moment.


Michel giving a speech about Sky Polaris Project

Again, It was time to leave. Weather was to become worse, and I departed on Sunday. Some seven flights hours were ahead, plus some more for a vertical black carbon study over Natal Federal University. The data will be compared with the ones provided by their Lidar.


Getting ready to leave Brasilia

Only problem was a risk of clouds over Natal. Clouds and Lidar are not good friends.

Once I was able to depart (not easy) , I climbed uphill the runway. A lot of power was necessary to taxi the plane, some 1800 rpms!.

Then, facing downhill, into the valley, was going to be a fast take off.

Transponder code was provided by telephone call from Brasilia Air Traffic Control. The airport is very close to the airfield, and just aligned with its main runway.

Acceleration was good and soon the wings wanted to lift the full airplane and of course, myself.

I stayed low in the valley and turned back for a low pass and rocking the wings. Then, being careful not to visit the living room of the house at the end of the runway, I turned left, heading north east.

Controllers were very nice and soon I was released of much talking, just listening the frequencies, would I need they help.

I climbed to 7500 ft, but clouds were all around. Their base started to become higher, so finally, I had to climb also.

Winds were not helpful. I averaged around 15-20 kts headwinds. I decided to released some more engine power, to fly faster, so TAS was around 165 kts. Nothing related with the external fuel tank and skis !

Countryside was nice. Rich areas all around.


Irrigation Circles


A very straight highway!

Then, step by step, the land became drier, and drier. It even turned into a black color, may be some volcanic origin.


Alien Hieroglyphs?


What happened here?


Changing Color


The Coastal area near Natal

I had to keep climbing. However the headwinds were more or less the same, but I got better True Air Speed, and then, Ground speed.

Natal Lidar starts retrieving data at 800 meters, and then, up to 20000 meters.

That Sunday, I didn’t want to climb to 60,000 feet ( you know, it is cold up there !) so I decided to climb just to 13500 ft (15800 density altitude). I decided to do that before entering Natal controlled area.

Once I got there, I call the controller and explained him what I wanted to do. He was really kind and helpful, so I was able to retrieve data down to those 800 meters, and then fly into Severino Lopes airfield.

That data will be very important for the University and I feel very glad that Skypolaris, besides of studying remote areas, do help with other projects.

A pity that some other people, like BAS, Antarctic Logistics Expeditions and US Antarctic, have a different feeling scientific flights in Antarctica. Still they don´t provide any answer to their lack of support.

I think that profit expeditions like ALE is leading in Antarctica, should be banned.

And scientific expeditions, fully supported.

So, coming back to the landing, some people were surprised about the path I have followed. Also the Natal Control !!!

The runway at Severino is being reconditioned and soon will be an asphalt one. Long before coming, I was in contact with Almir (who helped me a lot when I arrived into Natal by February) and was informed where to land. Informed in Portuguese, and I answered in Spanish.

So finally, we understood different things: He told me to land at the asphalt taxiway and I understood not to land there.

When I arrived at Severino, I made a low pass and was unable to take a decision: landing at the wrong place could mean to destroy the airplane.

That airfield has no radio frequency, so I called Almir using my sat phone. Then he jumped into an airplane and called me VHF 123.45.

No way to understand what he was telling me, so finally I told him to stand in the center of the actual landing strip.

It was funny because he used the Marshaller procedures to park an airplane, with his hands up, and signaling me as I was taxiing.

So I pointed into him, sure that he would jump sideways, would I approached him too fast.

Both of us didn’t want to have the airplane in red color !

So, again, a very nice welcome.

I was glad to return there!

That landing is a very special one: the first round the world flight , over the Poles, in aviation history for a weight under 1500 kgrs, has been accomplished !!!!

Not a piece of cake!

So we feel really really proud of it.

I feel very happy to have that record for Spain, and know deeply that It has been possible only because of the support of many many people.

Thank you all very much!

Doing aeronautics and science together provides a big degree of accomplishment. The scientific project is still not completed. A lot of data is still to be gathered, so I hope to succeed.

Atlantic is ahead. Cabo Verde clearance would arrive today (I hope).

Tomorrow would be a hard day: wake up call at 0300 AM.

Keep the fingers crossed to be able to take off at 0500. I hope that the exit procedures are effective and I am released soon…..

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