Welcome to Cuzco!
Flight destinations in the world of corporate aviation are not as routine as within the scheduled airline operations.
This said we still quite often fly to regular destinations such as London, Paris, New York or Berlin but once in a while, we get to conduct a trip to a more challenging and unique location.
Immediately the excitement was lit when a flight to Cuzco in Peru was confirmed this spring.
The Operations Team started diligently with all the preparation that goes into organizing such a complex journey. Arranging airport slots, landing and parking permission, calculating fuel requirements and planning the best flight routing from Switzerland to Peru, studying weather updates and arranging the VIP ground assistance in Cuzco, these are just a few of the tasks that needed to be handled.
Meanwhile, the Pilots have been briefed and started to study the various flight charts and calculating aircraft performance. Cuzco is a so called “high altitude airport”, meaning you land at 10’860 feet or 3’310 metres above sea level.
Not every plane is certified to conduct flights to high altitude airports but for our Dassault Falcon 7X, this poses no problem. Furthermore, the Pilots need to familiarize themselves with the airport’s surrounding mountainous terrain with the help of approach plates and various instructions and guidance material from the airport for an operation to Cuzco, which has a high IFR minimum.
This airport possesses only one runway and operates in a kind of dead-end runway system, thus take-off and landing are only possible in one direction, which will be interrupted if the wind direction changes and then patience is required to wait for the wind to be “right” again.
As a Pilot, flying to any airport which is surrounded by mountains is never taken lightly and professional and in-depth preparation is a must.
Finally, all was set and we were ready to take-off and after a brief fuel-stop in the Azores, we were welcomed in perfect English by the Peruvian ATC Controller after 13 hours of flight.
The runway came in sight, sitting in the middle of the town, surrounded by all the mountains and hills, which make Cuzco so special.
With a smooth touch-down, the crew concluded this flight and the passengers happily disembarked – full of excitement soon to be visiting the world famous heritage site of Machu Picchu.
Only the rain was tampering the overall good mood a little, but then the crew were first of all heading for their well-deserved rest in a nearby hotel in this colourful town situated in the high Andes.
Preparing and flying journeys like that are part of our job but make it so much more than just a job.
We are curious to find out where our next non-routine journey takes us. Stay tuned!