Panama City to Quito, Ecuador

29 Dec 2005

Oxygen mask instrument approach


Logbook index

Even though we'd refueled the day before to save time on the day of our departure, there were delays paying the landing fee due to reduced staff, and we also had to spend some time in the Mapiex office to get a print-out of the Ecuador permit. The Peru permit had only been verbally confirmed so it was agreed they would send it to us via email.
So, in spite of making an early start, we didn't take off until 10:08 local time. We had a 4-and-a-half-hour flight to Quito ahead of us and we knew that the further into the afternoon we arrived, the more clouds and mountain CB’s there would be on the approach into Quito airport. From the METAF for Quito, we had expected to cancel IFR by the coast to avoid the high minimum altitudes required for IFR into Quito.
When we arrived by the coast, we were on top of a solid overcast and could not even see the 16’000 foot peak just west of Quito. This meant we would need to do an instrument approach and for that we had to climb to 17,000 feet, which with tropical temperatures meant a density altitude close to 20’000 feet. Fortunately we were light. Due to the high elevation of Quito airport, we needed to be as light as possible on departure from Quito, so Flemming had only refueled enough to get us to nearby Ibarra and to Guayaquil. This was the first time in Flemming's 4000 hours of flying that he actually had to use oxygen on the approach!
When we took the time during the flight to read the Ecuador permit that Mapiex had obtained for us, we saw that Ibarra was not down there in print, although we had been told it was included. Also, although permission had been granted to fly to Baltra (Galapagos), the authorization did not include parking there for a week. So, before taking a taxi to the city, we went to talk to the Operaciones official. He was most courteous, helpful and efficient. Ibarra was no problem, he said and, as for Baltra, he made a quick call to the person in charge there. The problem with Baltra airport is that there is only limited parking space, but he insisted that the Mooney was only a small plane and could be fitted in a corner somewhere. Verbal approval was given. Just to be on the safe side, we asked him to add a record of the phone call by hand onto our printout of the Ecuador authorization, which he signed. Altogether a much smoother arrival in Ecuador than we’d expected.
Our stay in Quito was short and sweet consisting of a cosy ‘boutique’ hotel called Vieja Cuba, a good Ecuadorian style bouillabaise in reportedly Quito’s best fish restaurant, and next morning a taxi ride to the old city with its fine collection of churches, dripping with gold. The Spanish didn’t waste time in imposing their culture on the indigenous population, erecting churches within a few years of their arrival, so several of the edifices dated back to the 16th century.

Aerial view of Miraflores locks on departure from Panama City

Aerial view of Quito on final

Due to clouds on the west side of mountain range (peaks to 16000 feet) near Quito, we had to do an instrument approach with an initial approach altitude of 17'000 feet

Short final for runway 35 in Quito. Highest elevation runway ever for Honey Mooney at 9220 feet

Presidential residence in Quito

Our friendly taxi driver and guide

Plaza San Francisco and church in Quito

Plenty of young boys keen on doing a quick shoe shine

The old town of Quito

View of old town from the tower of the cathedral

The twin towers of the cathedral seen from the dome

JAlbum 6.2 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN