The spring of 2004 was really busy for Pipistrel as the team set off to introduce the first Sinus ultralight motorglider in Brasil not even a month after market launch in Republic of South Africa. This time Ivo, Leon and Tine flew to Rio de Janerio to meet Mr Eduardo Clark, who was the former Pipistrel distributor for Brasil and Mr Sergio Andrade, the first Pipistrel customer from Brasil. Meeting with Eduardo already at the international airport in Rio, we first checked into a hotel placed right at one of Rio’s gorgeous beaches. Only a couple of hours later the Sinus was already assembled and the last pre-flight checks completed. However, the first flight of the day for team Pipistrel was not test-flying the Sinus, but a scenic helicopter ride that Mr Andrade surprised us with. We met with him at his ranch and talked about the training flight that would follow in the next days.
Corcovado taken from Mr Andrade's helicopter during the scenic tour
Ivo ferried the Sinus from the airport of Jacarepagua to the nearby ultralight airfield CEU Club Esportivo de Voo, which is placed just next to the famous Jacarepagua racing track. Although the runway was wet from all the rain in the previous days we started flying immediately, first checking that the aircraft was flying perfectly after the long shipping from Slovenia and then began the training flight with Mr Andrade.
With the Sinus just assembled, Mr Andrade and Tine prepare for first training flight
The days went by quickly and the weather served us well. Mr Andrade, who is a very experienced pilot, flew solo for the first time in the Sinus soon and the main job for Pipistrel was almost done. Leon, who is the Head of Service Department and Rotax Aircraft Engines Service Manager at Pipistrel showed all the maintenance tricks and even took time to dismount and re-install certain key components of the aircraft together with the local mechanics.
With a few days to spare and work ahead schedule team Pipistrel decided to do some sightseeing in Rio. We visited all the major sights, including the Maracana stadium, the Cathedral, Sugar loaf, statue of Christ the Redeemer and had lunch at Copacabana beach. The highlight of the day was definitely the Rio Carnival reenactment at Platoforma. All these are more than recommended to anybody who is traveling to Rio!
After a few more days training flights and demo rides with aviation media representatives and various local officials, it was time to head home again.
We would like to thank Mr Sergio Andrade for all his hospitality and time he took to learn to fly his new aircraft and Mr Eduardo Clark for hotel arrangements, driving us to and from the airfield everyday and showing us the some of the highlights of Brasilian cuisine. Thank you very much!