Back on September 6th, Mrs. Bossman wanted to do some shopping. So I flew us from the Bay Islands down to the mainland city of La Ceiba. There, we were informed that our seven-day permit to fly in Honduras had expired. We had erroneously thought it would be a mere formaility to renew turned into a federal case. The airport manager looked at me very sternly and said, "You must go to Tegucigalpa right now to deal with this violation!" His tone indicated that I was on the verge of being arrested.
Oh yeah? Me, go to the capital of Honduras with no representation or agent, to meet with government officials who may or may not speak English and deal with a "violation?" Thaaaaaat's not gonna happen, sorry. The boss's wife sent for the plane, which spirited us out of there but quick.
Here's the King Air and the FH1100 together for the last time for a while.
We wanted a permit to fly in Honduras that was of longer duration than just one week.
The Honduras government's position was simple: If we keep the helicopter in Honduras for any length of time we'd have to put under Honduran registration. If we only intended to keep it in Honduras for a short time, we could keep renewing our weekly permit.
Lots of legal wrangling ensued. We had all sorts of help on our side, but we got nowhere for three weeks. The most likely reason I heard was that there was a new government in place, with all new department heads, and everybody was worried about making any kind of decision. They griped everything. Typo on the boss's medical certificate? No go! Then there were registration, insurance, and airworthiness issues. They even wanted to do a mechanical inspection of the ship.
Finally, they said we could come get the helicopter. We didn't have the permit, exactly, but "they" assured us we would. So my local contact and I went back down to La Ceiba...where we were stonewalled yet again. We cooled our heels as the government fussed. "Maybe tomorrow," we were told. So we stayed overnight. Next day it was one thing after another. We waited some more. I came to the conclusion they were just screwing with us, so we booked a flight out back to Guanaja (rather than sending for our King Air).
Sure enough, at the very last minute, right before close-of-business the fax from Tegucigalpa came through: a six-month permit! Paper in hand, I filed a flight plan, paid our $350 parking fee and we fled the scene like La Ceiba was on fire.
And here is my baby, back on our island, safe and sound, no worse for the wear. Yes, I should park it on the wooden platform behind the helicopter, but it just looks more picturesque on the sand, no?