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Panama?

deskjobssuck

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Jan 7, 2002
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So, we're going to Panama in a couple of weeks. The general idea is to clear Customs and buy some fuel at a big airport and then continue to a small strip in el boonies.

Since we don't use handlers, I guess I have a few questions.
1)Is there anything special to look out for Customs/Immigration wise?
2)Do you have to file VFR flight plans?
3)Will our King Air be stolen and used for drug running?
4)Do we have to do anything special before departing Panama?

I've looked in the IFIM and all over the net, but all of the info I've found is either old or in some funky version of Spanish. Any help would be great.

Thanks!
 

TimsKeeper

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Whatever you do DON'T DRINK THE WATER.
 

sydeseet

Huge Member
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Going to a third-world country like Panama for the first time without employing a handler is asking for trouble. Tell the boss to put up the dough (a few percent extra after everything else it will take to get you down there and back) and direct those same questions at Universal or Arinc. They will ensure you stay out of jail and the airplane is waiting for you when you are ready to head back to the states.
 

empenage

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Nov 25, 2001
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deskjobssuck said:
So, we're going to Panama in a couple of weeks. The general idea is to clear Customs and buy some fuel at a big airport and then continue to a small strip in el boonies.

Since we don't use handlers, I guess I have a few questions.
1)Is there anything special to look out for Customs/Immigration wise?
2)Do you have to file VFR flight plans?
3)Will our King Air be stolen and used for drug running?
4)Do we have to do anything special before departing Panama?

I've looked in the IFIM and all over the net, but all of the info I've found is either old or in some funky version of Spanish. Any help would be great.

Thanks!

My advice is to dial 800-987-5676. Or there wont be a oil stain left on the ramp to show where your airplane was in the morning. ;)
 

mxflyer

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Dec 8, 2004
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call sergio petit in panama,,,tell him tom and toby sent you>>>>5076722214.
 

rice

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deskjobssuck said:
So, we're going to Panama in a couple of weeks.....................................
Since we don't use handlers, I guess I have a few questions.
The bigger question is why don't you use handlers???? Blows my mind how some people will save a penny now to spend a dollar later on. Its only a matter of time until it happens.
 

PowerCurve

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Back in the early 90's when I was working at an FBO in California, one of the hangar tenants had a King Air 200. I think he either had a private strip in Costa Rica, or took it into a somewhat sketchy (dirt) airfield there.

The pilots had this huge stainless steel contraption that would slide over the door handle and unlock button then it was rotated around the handle and subsequently locked by a huge padlock. The whole thing was nearly the size of a dinner plate and weighed about 5 pounds.

They said it was so that while the aircraft was parked for a week or two it wouldn't get ripped off, or at least it would make it harder for someone to rip it off. I think the owner would send one of his employees over to the airport every day to check on it..

I'm not sure if the owner "invented" this type of securing mechanism for the door handle or if it's available through a manufacturer. It was a McGyver type of invention. (I think the gum and duct tape were covered up by the steel plate part)

I think the owner paid $$ for this thing, because he always wanted the pilots to use it when the aircraft came back and was tucked safely away in its hangar...
 
Last edited:

satpak77

Marriott Platinum Member
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Dec 2, 2003
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King Airs in latin america

get a MedCo key for the door and also put a large chain around the prop with lock on it. Also turn the battery bus completely off

lock the emergency escape hatches also
 

cezzna

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Jan 24, 2003
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<AARP
You need a handler. Have fun flying AROUND cuba, without a handler that's where you'll be going. Without some real expert advice you're looking for trouble. I have worked directly with the people in Panama for tech stops, but you need real insight into el boonies. They may be able to help you but I really suggest universal. I don't think you'll get a Cuba overflight permit without univesal or someone equivalent.
 

Citjok

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I've been in Panama numerous times. Strongly recommend using a handler. Call Universal and they will give you the numbers. If you can, go first to MPTO. Big airport with all the services except an FBO. That's why you need a handler. MPMG is also very close to MPTO with the exception that is only a VFR day airport. But a whole lot more cheaper. All have customs and inmigration. Fuel is cheap also. As far security is concerned I have never had any problems at any of this airports.
 

con-pilot

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For God’s sake use a handler at least for the first time. I have operated in Central and South America for many years and except when I was with the US Government I have always used handlers. Even with operating a government aircraft we sometime had to beg help from handlers.

You may think you are saving money but you end up spending a lot more money and a lot, and I mean a whole lot, more time arranging for any type services.

While Panama is a pretty nice place with friendly people it is not Mexico. Assuming that the reason you are not using a handler is because you may have operated in Mexico without a handler.
 

Otter

Master of Nothing
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Jan 14, 2003
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gotta have it...a handler I mean!

at MPTO a handler is mandatory. The GA transient ramp is in the middle of no where, and a ride to customs is impossible without it, and rots of ruck getting fuel!!! The UV guy down there is great, go direct to him instead of calling HOU.

On to more important things, the Ceaser Park hotel/casino is a good RON location and has a free breakfast for certain floors, have UV guy handle that for you. Also, if you go out the back lobby exit, right across the street is the best steakhouse I have found in Panama.
 

el gringo

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Aug 23, 2004
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Contact Mapiex at the small airport. They can get you the Cuba overflight and bill you for it when you arrive. Very efficient and quick service.
their email is: fbo@mapiex.com


MAPIEX INTL
PANAMA, PANAMA​
Airport: PANAMA/M A GELABERT (MPMG)Phone: (507) 618-1159 (507) 613-3743Fax: (507) 315-0345
 
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