An 8000NM solo ferry flight, Spain – Indonesia, is a profoundly humbling and rewarding experience. Being able to cross the world in an aircraft is an extraordinary gift. As an aviator, doing it in a small aircraft that is not meant to cover massive distances during Covid-19 times, represents a great challenge.
Being on your own up there feels like total freedom, providing a privileged perspective of the earth. Sometimes it gets hectic and sometimes extremely quiet; a roller coaster of emotions!
During the quiet long hours and from that magic spot called “sky”, I have time to get deeper in my thoughts, approaching the cultures and characters that were down there once upon a time.
Below I describe the route performed and each leg, including tips, notes, pictures, videos, and experiences. I also included many of the reflections, historical references, psychological aspects, and key concepts that helped me to safely get from one side of the world to the other, on an aircraft that is not designed for the task.
Planning and equipment
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail. The flight doesn’t start when powering up at the runway; the flight begins with planning at home, and to plan effectively, a checklist helps a lot. I prefer a single master document that collects everything, from the equipment necessary during normal operations to the emergency and survival equipment required. I include the small details as well as the clothes I will need to carry.
Here is the checklist I used for this mission.
A thorough test flight is a critical part of pre-ferry checks. All systems and instruments must be fully functional and in case of doubt, it´s better to spend the extra day sorting it out. One extra day on the ground before departure could save many days grounded abroad where assistance could be limited.
Another relevant part and quite “annoying” – to put it nicely – were Covid-19 protocols. During the entire ferry, I would end up performing 4 PCR tests and we had to arrange aircraft disinfection before departure.
The uncertainty of a potential quarantine in a foreign country was another worry to consider. But for the expected inconveniences, pre-arranged solutions: medical insurance that covers Covid-19 in all nations along the route, and fingers crossed! Let´s not worry about all things that have not happened yet*
*Tip: Did you know that according to a 2019 study (LaFreniere & Newman, 2019) on average, 91.39% of participants’ worries did NOT come true (only 8.61% of their worries DID come true)? And for one out of every four participants – NONE of their worries came true. Worrying has a cost in time and emotional distress.
- By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail. Use a checklist so you don´t leave any of the important behind.
- If you start being picky about every single aspect, you will never get things done. Perfect is the enemy of done, and the perfect scenario does not exist.
1st leg: Valencia (Spain) – Kalamata (Greece)
Departing Valencia, my thoughts were with the Spanish pioneers flying Madrid-Manila in 1926, onboard those basic Breguets XIX. What I do is nothing compared to how they did it!
The first checkpoint after departure: BRUNO. Signs of life? My 6 years old it’s called Bruno as well! Being able to receive satellite messages from him and the family during the entire adventure will later mean the world to me. Feeling the company of loved ones is vital for a healthy mindset when flying single-crew. Thanks, Spidertracks!
During the long hours overseas, I thought about the Pilatus PC-12 that one week had just had an engine failure over the Pacific Ocean when heading to Hawaii. They performed a successful ditching maneuver and waited for almost an entire day to be rescued while floating in a raft. They did well staying alive, and that motivated me to review the procedure mentally a few times. The thought “it won’t happen to me” is a classic that has claimed many lives.
Arriving at Kalamata, I went back to historical and philosophical thoughts: my mind traveled back in time to the Peloponnesian war during Ancient Greek, Athens vs. Sparta. Hardcore people, hardcore times, how lucky we are nowadays not having to fight for our lives!
Tip: If you want to have chances of survival when ditching, it is essential to wear a dry suit, a life jacket and carry a dry bag for the emergency and survival equipment. The dry bag and the raft should be attached to the body, ideally by a quick-release mechanism to prevent entanglement during egress. If you need to egress from an upside-down aircraft, you need to swim for your life, not think about collecting stuff. Having it lose in the cockpit, somewhere in the back seat, or even in the baggage compartment as I have seen it, is almost like not carrying it and thinking: “It won’t happen to me.” I use a mission belt and a carabiner with a short strap to keep it all tight to the body.
- The thought “it won’t happen to me” is a classic that has claimed many lives.
- Find the balance between not worrying about everything and effectively review real and relevant emergency procedures. Building mental maps its a “Free Synthetic Device”
2nd leg: Kalamata (Greece) – Hurghada (Egypt)
During departure, I had to avoid weather and deviate from the intended track for 30min approx until I was clear.
Once I reached the coast, flying between Alexandria and Cairo, crossing the Nile River, and flying by the pyramids, took me back to pharaoh times. Just magic!
The only thing that took my mind out of those thoughts was the fact I had to work hard re-planning the flight route as ATC would not accept METRU as Cairo FIR’s entrance point. The entrance would have to be through PAXIS, another intersection further East.
Re-routing means to diminish the attention on handling the controls, and releasing the stick to reach to charts and amend a GPS route, is a pain in the neck in this aircraft while flying it alone… It is super fun to fly for Aerial Firefighting or Agricultural flying, as it is highly maneuverable due to its negative static and dynamic stability. Still, this instability plays against us for this kind of long, manual flights without an autopilot; it goes everywhere once you stop flying it manually. Needless to say that this increases fatigue over time!
Hurghada was a ghost airport; no traffic, no passengers, a lot of security, and plenty of Covid-19 measures. Egypt appeared as level 4 – orange – on the country’s threat and security assessment. According to it, the threat of terrorism poses the most significant security concern for travelers to Egypt; several attacks have occurred throughout the country. There is an active Islamic State (IS) insurgency mainly around the Sinai Peninsula.
Views of the beautiful Red Sea while outdoor loudspeakers called to prayer. Cultural variations are always enriching and we can learn a lot from them. I wish I had time to get to the beach, but this time it was only chatting to the family, order food in the room, review the following leg, and go to sleep!
- Be fast and flexible.
- Things won’t always go as you planned. “Fast and flexible” comes from experience and a healthy mind, but also from being hyper-familiar with the equipment you use.
Tip: Whatever GPS and navigation program you use on your EFB, you need to prove yourself a master level by handling them as second nature. A stressful situation is not the moment to explore features and submenus. I am familiar with the Garmin family of GPS’s, and for my Ipad, I use Foreflight and sometimes Airnavpro.
3rd leg: Hurghada (Egypt) – Muscat (Oman)
I left Hurghada shortly after sunrise and climbed east across the Sea towards the Saudi coast. After an hour over beautiful turquoise water, I was in contact with Medina ATC to cross North of their airport. After that, it was all Eastbound over the endless sand scenery leaving Riyadh to the North. Pretty good speed doing over 200Kts average.
During the long desert hours, my head was traveling back and forth between the adventures of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Mermoz, and Guillaumet, those amazing Aeropostale aviators starring the book “Sand, wind, and stars.” I thought about a specific chapter when Saint-Exupéry and his mechanic André Prévot, got trapped in the African desert after crashing their aircraft. They suffered from optical illusions caused by tiredness and dehydration during their walking journey chasing life.
The reality bites beyond books and thoughts were the NOTAMS published advising of the danger due to Yemen’s conflict and potential Houthi attacks.
After the desert, a quite interesting mountainous area followed by an uneventful landing in a quiet airport. 1420NM in 7Hrs38min
The first three legs were done, and everything went just as planned. 3500NM in 3 uneventful days.
Tip: Read a good aviation related book every now and then and disconnect from the black hole of audiovosual entertainment (Netflix)
Key concept: keep it boring for as long as you can!
Oman technical stop
Oman was the designated place to have a quick rest and reassess the rest of the trip. When you are on your own, it is not just the flying; everything else adds to fatigue. 5 to 8hrs of flight well could turn into 10-12 hrs activity. After wake up, it gets busy and stays busy all day long: assessing the weather, Notams, procedures at departure and destination, preparing the aircraft, and refueling. Therefore, for the highly demanding missions involving heavy workloads, it is advisable to plan a recovery day every 3-4 busy days, to clear the mind and sleep with no limit.
The Sultanate of Oman’s economy and revenues from petroleum products have enabled dramatic development over the past 50 years. I could feel the wealth straight away at the airport when using Jetex handling VIP services. Outside the airport, the automotive fleet was quite good, and shopping Malls modern and giant.
The plan for economic diversification aims to move Oman away from the oil-and-gas-based sources of income. It has earmarked other sectors that have high growth potential and financial returns, like tourism. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, I could not do as much tourism as I wish.
Before commencing the trip, still back in Spain, Indian authorities had requested us to have HF capabilities for their portion of the route. We had not considered it as VHF covers most areas of Indian territory, and the water portion is relatively small.
I placed an order and we set it all up to meet the equipment in Omán for quick installation during the planned rest stop. Nowadays, you can get equipment shipped from the other side of the world in a few days – I had just got a Spidertracks from New Zealand to Spain in 4 days. But when things are tight, we know our friend Murphy tends to show up, so he did.
A Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something terrible will happen; it means that whatever can happen will happen.
And delays to do with exports especially during Covid times could occur, so they occurred! The 4-5 days I was expecting turned out to be a couple of weeks with HF equipment, so instead of 1-2 days rest, I ended up being ten days in Oman.
When you are on standby and can’t set the pace of the events, it is crucial to take it day by day and assume certain things are beyond your control. As much as the customer wants the aircraft delivered asap, or you want to be back home to reassume your life, see family, and attend to other commitments, there might be nothing you can do.
Every day turns into a separate small mission where you still should seek excellence and perform at your best, whatever you do, be it dealing with emails and phone calls, exercising, or catching up on Skype with family.
I found the challenge in exercising, eating healthy, joining Yoga lessons at the hotel, and building some metal plates that could help to install the equipment I was waiting for. Instead of using a taxi and get to the closest shopping mall, some days I walked 15Kms to get to local specialized shops, bought the material I needed while checking out the city. That kept the mind busy, I got tired, and I rested like a baby during nights.
As seen in the pictures, the city turned out to be not the most friendly I have seen for pedestrians; hot as hell and no sidewalks. On the other hand, I could observe the beautiful architecture, I enjoyed the food and the hotel facilities like the pool, Yoga and Gym. You can’t spell “Legendary” without Leg Day, right? Never skip a legs training session no matter where you are!
The following video shows how to build the plates for the HF radio. They could work, or not, it did not matter as it kept me busy which was the main thing. Only finding the tools in a country you are not familiar with and overcoming cultural barriers was a worthy challenge. The fact the plates ended up being useful and worked perfect was an extra bonus!
Instead, I could choose to be anxious, worry about security out of the hotel, be upset with the sender, blame others, or be grumpy with the family.
It was down to me and nobody else how to respond to unexpected events.
When the radio finally arrived, got installed, and I was able to do the test, listening to that Indian accent all the way from Mumbai, 1500 km from where I was, seemed almost magical and produced a feeling of great satisfaction. Happy days!
Thanks to actively getting involved and not being a bystander, today I own an HF portable equipment, and I have a more profound awareness of its installation and operation.
- You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you respond to what is happening and turn problems in opportunitties for challenges.
- For the highly demanding missions involving heavy workloads, it is advisable to plan a recovery day every 3-4 busy days, to clear the mind and sleep with no limit.
Tip: hard training, easy fight; in almost every aspect of life!
4th leg: Muscat (Omán) – New Delhi (India)
The leg Omán-India got me busy managing radios, including “the art of HF science” (it never works perfectly no matter how hard you try), assessing airspaces, and dealing with one of the busiest airports in Asia while visibility was far from being great.
After departure, I was straight over the Arabic Sea. Although the closest piece of land was to heading the North, I did not want to get anywhere close to Irán and Pakistán unnecessarily as both countries are ranked high on safe airspace, specially Irán.
Therefore, it was all Eastbound to Mumbai and then North to New Delhi.
New Delhi area is well known for bad visibility due to high levels of pollution and crop fields burning. During the weeks before the ferry, while assessing the route and checking the weather at different locations to start building a mental map of the scenarios I was going to encounter, I realized the visibility was often between 1Km and 3 Kms. Then when I checked the Copernicus images (the one we use for assessing fire risks while firefighting with this sort of aircraft) it all made sense:
It seems every year around the same time, they get low visibility. This post and images from NASA speak for themselves. For the IndiGo local A320 crew, CAT III operations and flying every day around India must be a walk in the park, but for me as a foreigner, with the type of aircraft we fly, it is a serious hazard to consider and respect.
The added difficulty was that due to Covid-19 restrictions we could only stop for the night in New Delhi. The airport has a built-in hotel at the terminal, not needing to get out and therefore not requiring a visa. This limited the options for alternative airports to none.
If I can drop a bit of advice here is not to mess around with subscriptions and charts, even if they are expensive. Whether you are paying for it acting as a consultant or is the company providing it, get it all because you will need it. It pays back. Pilots and companies take months to get used to the routes they do, and they will be two in the cockpit sharing the load. You will be there one time, and you have to nail it on the first time on your own. You can’t afford to miss a taxiway or be unfamiliar with procedures.
Planning and understanding traffic flow before getting there was crucial for success. I use Foreflight and the 3D feature where you see the airport and traffic in real-time. It is an excellent way to immerse yourself in specific airports you are unfamiliar with. LiveATC and flightradar24 are also tremendous assets, and I often use them.
As you can see in the video it’s common to have a dozen traffics in sequence to land. The airport has 3 runways, plenty of taxiways, aprons, and terminals. During the flight, I carry a couple of Ipads as support to the traditional ways. Handling charts and documents in conventional paper format would not be possible in a single crew fully manual aircraft where you can’t let the stick go even for a few seconds.
It all went well, visibility made it uncomfortable, and taxiing felt like a Gymkhana touring around the airport.
Nobody said it was going to be easy!
- Be preventive as much as you can, and reactive only when needed.
- Plan things ahead while you have the time to reduce the workload in demanding situations.
Tip: pick up a navigation tool you can own, carry with you and become a master of it. It is a good investment. I have used Airnav Pro in the past and I currently use Foreflight. There are hundreds of video tutorials.
5th leg: New Delhi (India) – Chittagong (Bangladesh)
I enjoyed the Bay of Bengal and Sundarbans Natural Park views, right after Kolkata (Calcutta). I thought about Tigers down there and the unique nature that was awaiting during the next legs.
Chittagong was one of the most in-depth reflection journeys.
Looking around and seeing deep levels of poverty made me think how irrelevant the whole Covid-19 “drama” could be for these people when confronted with their daily reality. I thought about western culture overprotection and how hard it is to get immune when you live in a sterile bubble of protection and comfort. For some reason beyond my understanding, we are not allowed to die from Covid-19 at all, while we accept millions of deaths from other reasons as poverty, cancer, or cardiovascular diseases to do with sedentary life or metabolic syndrome.
While in the “unofficial taxi” – commanded by a cousin of the handling agent – at first, I felt concerned about security and driving issues. I thought it was the most dangerous part of the adventure so far, but soon I realized local drivers, probably in addition to the better immune system, had also developed some sort of extra sense of anticipation. They could drive in close formation, faster and more furious than Vyn Diesel in his movies, and still manage not to crash!
An earthly human version of the Flight of Starlings?
What at first glance seems chaos to some might be organized chaos to others, right? Adaptation to the environment?
- The dose and the level of exposition make the poison.
- The same thing can harm or help. In toxicology, it is called Hormesis and represents an interesting takeaway for Safety and Training in Aviation as well as to many daily life aspects.
- Do not let Covid-19 pandemic take control of your life,learn to filter signal from noise and trust the heuristic way (your experience trying) over the oversized media and political bull***t. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” -Viktor Frankl (Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor, more about him here).
- My heuristic approach to the Pandemic and personal takeaways during 2020 are that, despite of those spreading fear in the name of justice and who would perpetuate the lockdowns, school and business closures, supposedly in the name of “health”: I have traveled as much as usual (a lot), I have worked my butt off and contributed to the overall economy, visitted over a dozen countries, and used airlines and public transport often. The only thing left to do was licking a handrail, which I did not need to. I am still healthy, my family is, my mum well over 70 is, and I do not know one single person who had severe consequences after Covid-19.
- “We cannot cancel life to preserve every life”
6th leg: Chittagong (Bangladesh) – Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
Most of this leg was over Myanmar (Birmania). One of those countries I knew nothing about it until I started reading before overflying it. From my privileged perspective, I could see forests and wetlands, including mangroves, swamp forests, lakes, marshes, and seas.
What impressed me the most was the jungle’s density, the weird shapes of the orography, and the lack of human constructions.
I knew that the challenge would go far beyond finding a suitable spot to crash in case of engine failure. Down there is a large variety of biological species: tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, crocodiles, pythons, and cobras; surviving the crash would be just the beginning! Here is where all the emergency and survival equipment carried becomes relevant, if needed during an emergency or just for the peace of mind during normal operations.
Once over Thailand’s coast, it was full of white sand tiny paradise islands.
Do you remember the 1999 film “The beach” starred by Leonardo Di Caprio? Well, that is Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh Island, and coincidentally I was lucky enough to fly over it. But that is only one, and there are so many more remarkable spots.
The film “The Beach,” the dark backpacker tale, is based on Alex Garland’s novel and is accompanied by Moby and All Saints’ nice soundtrack.
Entering Malaysian airspace, once again, I was amazed at how welcoming Malaysians were—from ATC to refuellers, handling agents, and everyone in between. Felt home!
The last trip to KL was 2015, slightly different context but still the same adventurous feeling! Whereas in 2015, I had to figure out how many flips I could safely perform from a 300m tower, this time, the challenge was to beat the weather in an aircraft not equipped to deal with adverse weather.
Approaching these latitudes, stormy weather represents a concern, and after 8 hrs flying the forecast you assessed before departing might have changed drastically. Without a doubt, I highlighted this hazard in red as a trouble maker and potentially a killer. As primary mitigation, I created a specific follow-up team based on two strong pillars; the Spidertracks capability to provide satellite instant communication/weather information, and the high competency levels of the individuals involved.
I needed a reliable system and people who care enough to provide inputs as if, at that moment, it was the most relevant task of their life. Luckily I got my close friend Jose Carlos Navarro; an aviator competent by nature and experienced on both Air Tractor and ferry flying. Wife Natalia was also on board, playing a crucial role in emotional balance. Brother Sergio, CPL + IR, and a pretty switched-on guy kept an eye on me as well. Those three indeed are among the people who care the most about my existence, and they proved it by staying awake, providing weather inputs in a precise and timely manner.
Once I identified concerning weather ahead I would send a plain text – “Got some weather ahead on the route, at my 12 o’clock and approximately 30NM from present position, any hints if I have to avoid?”, then I would quickly get a message back saying “If you have to avoid, do it to your left towards East. Clouds seem to be moving East to West and you should expect weather interaction for approximately 20NM”.
Having this kind of information is a huge relief, and during the entire ferry mission, we had quite a few conversations as the example shown above. Many times cumulonimbus mixes with stratus and stratocumulus; it gets all dark and hard to judge. Avoiding weather in the wrong direction following your gut in a reactive way can get you in trouble.
When you are on your own, the broader the perspectives are, the better. Here is an example of three different perspectives regarding weather:
Weather forecast before departing (Predictive):
Having your own weather sources and being familiar with radar images, gramets, weather charts, etc… is essential. Having a team of professionals like the guys from World Fuel Services to double-check your own assessments before the flight is also quite important.
Weather as seen from the cockpit (Reactive):
Without weather radar many times could be dark, all mixed up and confusing. Avoiding a wall of vertical clouds following only your gut can get you in trouble. Here I was glad I could count on external inputs.
Weather as seen from the follow-up team perspective (Preventive):
The left image is made from radar, the green represents clouds and precipitation. The image on the right shows two additional layers; low IFR chart and lightning activity. The team doing the follow-up suggested some vectors to avoid the worst bits according to the information Spidertracks layers were providing. The program offers multiple layers, I personally like to work with low IFR and radar, as airways and intersections are easy to correlate on GPS and Ipad.
After a zigzag exercise between clouds, rain, and lightning in the distance, I safely landed at KL, where they were as friendly as they had always been.
- Make a conscious effort to get the equipment you need, even if it represents questioning the previous paradigm.
- Surround yourself with generative thinking, competent and uplifting people – people who believe in you and will push you to achieve your dreams.
Tip: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together (not necessarely in a phisical meaning). For the follow-up of my flights and instant satellite communication while ferry flying or firefighting I use Spidertracks X. For detailed information check them out: www.spidertracks.com
7th leg: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – Jakarta (Indonesia)
The challenge for this leg was once again weather. My enemy, the potential killer on my daily safety assessment, was stormy weather. What can be a standard operation for a local pilot used to local weather and regional routes, to me it’s uncommon, and I can’t afford not to nail from the first time. The pressure is always on.
It is crucial to identify the most critical hazards and allocate your resources there. When commanding a mission alone we have finite resources and limited time, so we must put first things first and effectively manage the time and resources available.
To keep it simple when it is not simple, I like to use the Pareto Principle, which states that roughly 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes (the “vital few”). If I pick up ten hazards, I know that two are vital and will bring me 80% of the trouble; in this case, undoubtedly, weather and route planning.
In the context of this ferry flight and particularly in Kuala Lumpur, the hazards differ from the example but the same principle applies: flying through a storm will have disastrous consequences, just like bursting airspace on weather diversions around busy airports like Singapore. On the other hand, the remaining 80% of the hazards will only bring me 20% of the trouble; therefore, if I have to choose where to place my focus while on the apron; it won’t be on signing the handling agent documents nor looking at every tiny screw of the aircraft during the preflight inspection. I can live one more day signing and not reading all the way through, or not signing at all if I miss it. Also, the thorough PFI check can wait until I clear some resources.
Instead, my eyes are turned skyward, looking for storms around, crosschecking what I see on the Ipad’s route and the weather forecast. I am more concerned about weather, routes, and alternatives than anything else in the world. It is about priorities and placing first things first.
As the day started, I confirmed my thoughts before going to bed: departure would not be great, showing storm cells in the vicinity. But delaying the flight would only make it worse as it was forecasted to close in later on.
Here comes the classic dilemma between pushing it a bit and having the brains to say no at the right time. If you are not willing to push it a bit, you cannot ferry flight an aircraft across the world as conditions will never be perfect all the way long. On the other hand, if you can’t say no and stand up for your decisions regardless of external pressure in this world of rush, you are the walking dead. It is just a matter of time that it gets you.
The radar animation shows the “breathing effect of storms”; it reminds me of lungs inhaling and getting more prominent during the day. As the day rolls out, they tend to get worse. The flying window is limited.
After a small delay sitting in the cockpit and visually checking the worse bits of the storm passing by, I went for it just before calling it for the day. I briefed my team about the surrounding weather, my plan, and estimated times to specific points of the route, so we all could build a mental map of the most likely scenarios.
It all went just as planned. We dodged the weather after departure in close coordination with an exceptionally friendly ATC. When getting close to Singapore, where I was expecting more weather, we cut the corner of the route by the west to avoid the worse part following my team’s real-time inputs. From there, all the way down to Jakarta the weather was pretty decent, and I had plenty of time to prepare for the arrival.
I remember the messages of encouragement and support with particular fondness when my family, on the other side of the world, saw through the Spidertracks application that I was reaching my destination. Staying connected and feeling the warmth of loved ones was essential to maintain an optimal mindset!
A message from your little boy means a motivation boost. Bruno, Sergio, Natalia, and some members of the family kept an eye on me through the public link I shared with them via the Spidertracks app.
Key concept: know your enemy, put first things first and effectively manage time and resources available when they are limited.
Tip: be effective. Read Steven Covey´s book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”. Here is a video summary.
8th leg: arrival at the destination and handling the aircraft to its new owner
On 28-11-20, after a short repositioning flight from Halim Perdanakusuma, I had the privilege to hand over the Air tractor 802 to its new operator Pelita Air Service at Pondok Cabe airport, Indonesia.
The water salute or shower of affection is a welcoming ritual to mark special occasions, where two fire trucks parked on either side of the taxiway use their water cannons to create a giant arc above a plane as it taxies to its gate. It’s a nice tradition I am grateful for – and an impressive sight to behold from inside and outside the aircraft.
The delivery flight comprised 7921NM, overflight of 16 countries, 20 days away, and 4 PCR tests; an exhilarating trip during challenging times that would not have been possible without the hardworking humans behind the scenes.
It was not just me; it was US!
Special thanks to:
Pelita Air Service team and it’s Air Tractor lead pilot, Senja Rira Wanda, for their constant support and trust me as Mission Commander.
Spidertracks for supporting General aviation with Spider X and ranking very high at customer service. Pieter Cronje, you guys rock!
World Fuel Services and its professional demeanor while arranging all logistics.
Jose Carlos Navarro, my brother from another mother, Natalia Escacena, and Sergio Polster, for caring and helping me zig-zag weather via Spidertracks when the rest of the world peacefully slept!
Team SAAB for being supportive as usual! Lars Wallin, Anders Bergstrand, Johan Eriksson, P-O Carlsson.
My family, mainly Kisko and Matías, for the constant good vibes!
ATE, Carmelo, Kiko, F.Broseta, and Maxi, for the kind assistance during departure.
All those Linkedin contacts who had some kind words when I was halfway through!
- Some people and many colleagues might never understand why doing this sort of flight is totally worth it when it comes to personal growth. In the same way that many never understood why space missions have been important for technological progress. It has nothing to do with money or short-term reward. Pushing barriers and using those abilities basic to aviators provides a broader understanding of Safety that pays back in the long run.
- This flight shows that Safety does not fall under a binary or dichotomic system. Good or bad, dangerous or safe. Neither can be accurately categorized on a matrix using only three colors; red, yellow, and green, as in Safety Management Systems. Danger and Risk should not be understood as something objective or rational but intersubjective. The quality and quantity of training, combined with hormetic doses of exposure, influence, modify, and individualize safety margins, reducing danger, and putting risks into perspective. What is risky for some might not be for others.
- Progression in aviation comes from adaptations, adaptations come from deliberate practice, deliberate practice comes from knowledge, and knowledge comes from merging the academic method with a heuristic approach, in a controlled environment.
Tip: “The greatest danger in life could be not to take the adventure at all. Live as if you were to die tomorrow, train as if you were to live forever.”