Five centuries of history; great architecture, art and museums; a diversified and growing economy with a thriving aviation manufacturing industry; and the largest concentration of urban helicopters on the planet — this megacity has it all.
Get Your Documents Together
While Brazilian visas are not required for pilots, they are for cabin attendants, passengers and any ancillary crewmembers, such as flight engineers and mechanics, who might be traveling with the aircraft. Tourist visas, good for five years and multiple visits (make sure the visa and passport are stamped on the first entry to “activate” the visa for future entries), are acceptable. Note that pilots arriving in Brazil by airline to pick up aircraft or for relief crew duties will need visas.
Brazilian authorities are also sticklers for type ratings and medical certificates. Briefly, all pilots of a given aircraft must hold type ratings for the aircraft they are flying, irrespective of their basic licenses (meaning Commercial Certificate holders, as well as ATPs). Not only that, but pilot certificates must have been issued by the same country in which the aircraft is registered.
Secondly, it's a good idea for all cockpit crewmembers to have First Class Medicals, as there has been some confusion among the Brazilians regarding Second Class Medicals for professional pilots. Thirdly, some type of proof of yellow fever inoculation for all crew members and passengers must be presented, otherwise aircraft occupants may face a stiff fine and be required to take the shots on site. This is not a requirement for tech stops.
At some locations, the authorities will also want to see some sort of “proof-of-proficiency” assurance, such as a flight simulator check card or logbook endorsement sticker from the operator's training provider issued within the previous six months.
Aircraft documents can be an issue, too, as the Brazilians want to see everything as originals — no copies. These include aircraft airworthiness certificate and registration, noise certificate for aircraft manufactured before 1980, and insurance certificate with worldwide coverage. Business aviation operators have been expelled from the country for not meeting this requirement, so plan accordingly.
Brazil is unique in not requiring entry or overflight permits; however, if the operator is planning to make multiple flights to different destinations within the country, then an in-country flight authorization will be required. This is obtained at the port of entry (POE) as part of the document inspection described above and will be issued by the Brazilian aviation authority. It is important to note, however, that this document must be returned to the authorities at the port of exit before the operator departs the country. It is advised to make a copy of it as a backup.
Brazil ATC adheres to ICAO procedures and QNH altimetry. “Based on feedback from flight crews I've handled, it's very professional,” said Shahin Zamini, flight planning manager at Aero Flight Solutions in Greer, S.C. Reportedly, VHF comm reception has been improved in Brazil, and since the 2006 fatal collision between a Gol airlineand an Legacy over the Amazon, controllers are more faithfully monitoring their frequencies.
While radar coverage has been extended over most of the huge country, pilots have reported it to be spotty in some areas and advise crews not to assume they are in radar contact all the time. They also recommend monitoring the 123.45 MHz air-to-air comm frequency, particularly over the more remote areas of Brazil — which amounts to a lot of its territory. In metropolitan areas like São Paulo, controllers' English is rated as good but can deteriorate the farther away one flies from population centers.