The Yvytú Aeroclub held its annual big pilots’ meeting last weekend. As always, pilots came from all the surrounding countries: Chile, Argentina, Brazil and this time quite a few from Uruguay. The crews and passengers of the almost 50 aircraft that arrived spent three wonderful days together. Dinner at the Club Nautico on Lake Ypacaraí, precision landing competition on Saturday, paella in the evening with award ceremony and dancing and the traditional asado (barbecue) at the end on Sunday.
Four of us flew with our C182, the CX-PBO, from Colonia to Artigas on Friday morning. After refueling, clearing customs and immigration, filing the flight plan and snacking on sandwiches, we continued over Brazilian airspace, then over Argentine airspace and finally over the border to Paraguay. For Brazil I had to apply for approval in advance and enter the assigned code in the flight plan. Argentina, on the other hand, does not require any advance application for VFR overflights. In Paraguay the landscape is becoming greener, the temperatures are getting higher and the humidity is getting bigger. The aero club is picturesquely located near Lake Ypacaraí in San Bernardino, just under an hour’s drive south of Asuncion. The organization on site was brilliant. Various marshallers waving at the airport parked the aircraft so that everyone found a place and the pilots were already expected in the clubhouse by the immigration authorities and customs. Each crew was assigned a local supervisor from the aero club. Nils was already waiting for us. The rental car was ready and we were welcomed into Nil’s family’s holiday home, with whom we were able to spend a wonderful time with interesting conversations. Saturday was then filled with lively exchanges with the pilots on site and a visit to Asuncion.
On Sunday we headed back because the weather was forecast to be bad on Monday. Since the Artigas airfield in Uruguay was closed this Sunday and the two other airports in the north of the country are closed due to renovation anyway, we had to make a technical stop to refuel in Argentina and then enter the south of Uruguay, in Carmelo. That was also a new experience. As always in Argentina, this undertaking was associated with a lot of “Tramites”, i.e. applications and calls and messages, etc., as well as a long wait on site in Reconquista. But as always, it worked out in the end and we were back in Uruguay in the afternoon, where we visited the Bodega Almacen de Capilla near the airport for a late meal. Quite unexpectedly, an Argentinian band played us a pilot serenade. A wonderful end to this eventful weekend!