Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Visit To The Andes

As promised, my next trip would be to Santiago, Chile. There won't be much airplane talk in this post....mostly sightseeing. Sorry.

Another all-nighter I'm afraid. There's no getting around them if you want to go to South America non-stop from DFW.

I took my rest break during the middle portion of the flight so as to be rested for the approach and landing. The sun was beginning to rise as we started our descent about 100 miles from Santiago. The Andes were very close on our left wing. Our EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system) was reporting some very high terrain in the neighborhood. The green numbers 224 indicate that an obstacle rising to 22,400 ft was in range. That would be Mt Aconcagua just inside the Argentine border. It's the tallest mountain in the Americas. That's it in the photo on the left.

A straight in approach from the north would require an full ILS approach due to some morning haze and fog. But the descent over the mountains to the north was clear and very impressive.
A short nap followed our drive into the city. The time zone in Chile is the same as the eastern US so there's not much jet lag to contend with.

Then it was out for some sightseeing around the city and later a nice dinner with the other two pilots. A huge steak, salad, side dish, dessert, and a beer only cost about $18. Not too bad! Sure beats the prices in Europe.

The next day we rented a car and took a drive up to the ski resort of Portillo. It was about a two hour drive north and east of Santiago. From ground level we could easily see how rugged these Andes really are. Most impressive!!
We encountered quite a bit of truck traffic on the way up. But we finally made it to Portillo.
The ski lodge overlooks a frozen lake.There was also a tour operator giving sightseeing rides in their Eurostar. Looked like fun.
But as the chopper flew off we knew we had to get back to town and pack up for the leg home. We only got lost once on the way back but still made it in time for the pick up from the hotel.

Nine hours enroute back to DFW this time. Yes, it was an all-nighter.

I'm looking forward to my next trip to Chile.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


Tom said...

Hi Len,
just flew on my first 763, an AA flight from BOS-LAX... What a smooth ride! We landed in some nasty santa ana winds in LA but the aircraft handled itself really well in high wind/turbulence, and the bumps were much less noticeable than on, say, a 737 or smaller.

I also flew an AA 757 back to BOS last night and it had the new winglets.. Will be interesting to see if those are added to the 777 and 767 eventually. It is a shame, by the way, that American Eagle is folding its turboprop saab 340 operations. I flew a saab last night from SBA to LAX to connect and it sure was a fun little airplane, great views of the channel islands from Santa Barbara and much more fuel efficient on those short routes than an ERJ, it seems to me.

KLIT said...

Glad your meal agreed with you this time :)

Looks like a heck of a time.

I'm looking to finish up my instrument rating (hopefully) by the end of the year... that'd make me one step closer to flying to Chile, right? ;) I'll have met my goal of private and instrument by HS graduation... I'm having a blast!!

What's trip's up next?

YeLLoW heRbiE :) said...

we have almost the same type of blog. big difference is that i'm on the right seat and i'm from the east side of the world :) and ur blog is much better. do drop by my blog if u have time. thanks and safe flight.

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Tom,
I'm glad to see that you are helping fund my paycheck! I hope AA is taking good care of you.

Winglets: AA already has one 767 with winglets. It's in the testing phase right now. The rest of the fleet will be outfitted with them eventually. No plans for the 777 yet.

AA just announced a deal with Boeing yesterday for the purchase of a bunch of new 787's. Looks like a great new design...I can't wait.

Yeah, those Saabs are getting pretty old. Eagle has replaced all of them at DFW with ATR's that they brought up from San Juan. They carry a few more people than the Saabs.

Take care,

Len (Barfbag) said...


Watch out for those big hills down in Chile when you go there!!

My next post will have a Caribbean flavor.

What's your next rating after the Instrument?


Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Herbie,

That's a nice looking blog you have there. It's interesting to read about your travels on the other side of the world. That big Boeing must be nice!

Fly safe...

PlasticPilot said...

Nice pictures ! Even the Alps look small(ish) compared to that !

Your should submit one to my photo contest...

Keep up with the good work...

ProPilots said...


I want to visit this place. Looks like a great layover. I don't have much time in South America. I hope that changes.


Len (Barfbag) said...


I highly recommend a trip to Chile. Much nicer than Brazil in my opinion. And cheaper (which is what we really care about anyhow, right?).


Alan Hogan said...

Hi Len,

I was just surfing the net when I stumbled upon your blog. It was a good read, very informative.
And the photos are very impressive. I wouldn't mind heading to Chile sometime. I've never been outside Europe yet, but maybe after a few more read ups on your blog, you never know.