Iran day 2 – A day at the office…

This is a piece out of an email I sent to describe events when I was trying to leave Iran after spending 11 hours on the ramp after landing the day before:

Why did I delay?

1) My morning started with a call from Mr. Hosseini stating that there is a ‘problem’. My permit is not ok for departure or arrival. I sent out a bunch of emails to all of you. There is not much I can do.

2) After some time I tried to call the Iran CAA from here. The person on the phone (X is right about this, have you tried communicating with them?) tells me: “Please send again” and slams the phone. Send what again? To who? From who?

3) 2 hours later Mr. Houseini calls me again. Still no permit. The operator needs to call the CAA. I communicate this (funny enough, as PIC of the aircraft I can’t organize anything myself).

4) Y tells me it’s Bilen that needs to request the permit because they arranged the arrival permit. Alright then. We communicate this.

5) I get sick of waiting and go to the lobby and demand to be picked up to go to the airport (maybe there I can find out whats going on).

6) I reach the airport at about 1:30 PM local time. By now its very tight to make departure time. Why? Because given this carefully chosen route for this type of aircraft, glorious as it may be, and it’s altitude restrictions. It is clearly stated in the Iranian AIP (up to date and available online) that enroute altitudes are FL170 or up on most routes (for various reasons). I will die at that altitude, in case thats not clear. Night VFR is also stated to be forbidden in Iran for good reason. Thus, I have to fly VFR due to altitude restrictions and I have to fly during the day to cross those incredibly high mountains in the south. Sunset time is about 5PM local time. It takes 2 hours (with a safety margin) of flying to reach the mountains. That departing 3 PM the latest.

7) I have no clue where to go on the airport. I guess Ill just walk over to the crew terminal then. I clear “security” and I ask them to call Mr. Housseini. They talk in Persian a bit and I get escorted to some office somewhere. I sit and wait.

8) Around 2 PM, or was it later, a man walks up (Mr. Amiri) he sais, again, “We have a problem with your flight plan” At this point my blood is boiling my limit is nearly reached. I say “whats wrong now, sir?”. He tells me, not that I was surprised, “There is no departure permit for you yet” I ask “Well my operator and client are trying to reach you the whole day now”. Sais he: “Sir, if you request the permit now we can have it ready in 3 hours”. At this point I loose it and i throw my stuff on the ground with a bang (luckily my chromebook still works). They seem impressed and try to calm me down. I could write three pages on how I felt at this point but Ill spare you.

9) Some time later and after him explaining the process (Operator applies for permit. Permit goes to Jetex and Iran Air (Jetex only provides funds, IranAir handling). IranAir provides handling. “Would you like to see the permit office?” “Yes sir.” I apologize to everyone and go to that office.

10) It’s now after 2:30 PM. Some more Persian words exchange mouths. “Good news sir! The permit is ok! You are good to leave!” I’m thinking great, now I have 30 minutes left, I need to get weather, notams, file a flightplan, fuel the plane, preflight the plane and do whatever else they need me to do (remember Van delay?). We discuss about crossing the mountains IFR. No go.

11) I need to manually file a flight plan. You switch 2 sections under item 18, start over. Anyway. Then he tells me: “It takes an hour for the flightplan to be sent everywhere and you can take off, sir.” This is the point I text Geoff its become too late.

Thats why. After that I arrange permit delay for Iran and flightplan for the morning. Everything is set for 6:30Z takeoff.

I was not allowed to get the plane fueled and ready. AT THIS POINT HE TELLS ME THERE IS ONLY 150L OF AVGAS AVAILABLE. What?? Luckily I have 60 liters left in the plane! It should (yes should, its hard to tell whats left in the tanks) be enough to get full tanks.


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