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Sharing four days of a great pilot with his relatives

Diary of the last 4 days with Frank - by Odilon Monteiro

To know Frank was for my family and me a great pleasure. We’ve enjoyed special moments together. The meaning of words like friendship, affection, attention, hospitality, quickly appeared in our minds as a real feeling. It occurred to me to write these pages just to share with you, Dorise and with your daughters, the moments that we have spent together, moments, that I believe, were special for him, too. 

Our diary.

Sunday, February 11th 2007

Frank arrived in Viracopos, 3:20 PM. I was waiting for him and, in advance, was with the notification of flight to Bragança Paulista, already done. 
After 20 minutes, with Immigration and Customs clearance, we departure to Bragança, with a stop in Amarais for refueling. (the avgas price is cheaper than Bragança).


After completing the wing tanks, we took off, heading Bragança. There were a lot of clouds that afternoon, then we intercepted the 151° radial and started descent until reaching visual condition. Frank showed a special skill in maneuvering his Seneca.     

After 20 flying minutes we landed on a wet runaway in Bragança Paulista. Our friends Enzo and Pedro were waiting for us, with De Angelis and a lot of Air Club students.  


Odilon, Enzo and Frank

Frank giving Earthrounder’s stickers for students, with his autograph.

After to know the Air Club’s Aircrafts, we put D-GOMM in a hangar

…and as Gustavo (my son) have arrived with the meat, charcoal and beer we enjoyed a barbecue…

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Frank, Odilon, Felipe, De Angelis, …, Pedrão and Enzo

Around midnight we leave Frank in a hotel “Villa de Santo Agostinho”.  


Monday 12th  

Murilo (another son) left me at my office and went to pick up Frank 10 AM. He stayed at hotel until 11:30 AM with Frank, receiving and sending e-mails. After e-mails, Murilo did a city tour around Bragança. They picked up me 1:30 PM and we enjoyed a lunch at Hotel Restaurant with a good Chilean Wine. After lunch, we went to Airport where Pedro had already talked with Gil, a very good mechanic and owner of Sudeste Aviation. We took D-GOMM and went to Sudeste Hangar, where Frank requested a visual inspection of both engines, because he had just done a 50 h inspection on Cielo, in Buenos Aires. There he had exchanged the vacuum pump, too.Gil and two workers opened the nacelles and examined the engines, looking for some marks of oil leakage. Everything was dry. Only the brake pads of the left wheel were consumed a lot. Frank gave authorization for replacement. We left DGOMM there, went to my office where we talked a bit more. After, as “happy hour” was arriving, we went to a Emporium (Empório América) where we degusted and enjoyed two bottles of special wines, with several kinds of cheese. SUPER, as he used to say.We left Frank at hotel 10 PM. 

Tuesday 13th

Murilo picked up Frank in Bragança and brought him to my house in Amparo, where my wife was waiting for us with a good and special Brazilian lunch and my son with Brazilian songs (Frank had told him he enjoyed Zeca Cabalero). Frank apparently enjoyed a lot. “SUPER”, once more.

After lunch, a City Tour around Amparo, with a lot of photos and we went to Jaguariúna.  There, we went to the City Hall and I introduced Frank to the Mayor. Five minutes talking about Jaguariuna, Tarcisio, the mayor, invited Frank and me to see a Carnival Party, which was being offered to the Third Age (persons above 60).

Odilon, Frank, Tarcisio, Jaguariuna’s Mayor, Álvaro, Amaury ( both are Secretaries of the Municipal Government )

After we went to the office of the Railway and Steam Locomotives Museum, where Frank left his signature in the guest book, and we did the reservation for Frank in Novotel Natal.

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…and his cheerful way of life, he showed in his signature in the guest book

After that we went to the Mayor’s Birthday

At the Mayor’s Birthday Party - Frank, Odilon, Murilo and Savio.

After 9:30 PM, Frank stopped drinking beer on account of the trip Bragança to Natal on the next day. He took a lot of photos, knew a lot of people, listened to country music (singers dedicated Frank songs, in a poor English). Murilo and Frank left the party at 11:30 PM. They arrived in Amparo midnight and Murilo left him to sleep in a house of ours surrounded by mountains.  

Wednesday 14th    

We woke up early, because Frank wanted to take off, as soon as possible to avoid thunderstorms in the afternoon. I have done the flight plan for him with estimate departure time for 9:00 AM.

We picked up Frank 7:30 A.M, we went to Bragança, arriving there 8:00 AM, where Frank had a breakfast and closed the Hotel bill.

After a little stop to buy some water and bananas for the trip, we went to the airport.Before starting up the engines, Frank checked the oil level and put one liter in the right one. We started up in front of the Sudeste Hangar and went to the Avgas pump. There a lot of journalists were waiting for Frank. They took pictures and interviewed him.

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Frank during a interview                  Frank in his favorite place
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Frank and me, in a photo picked up for journalists                         Frank in front of Aeroclube Hangar
Frank always smiling
D-GOMM a few minutes before the departure
Frank prepared his departure, stopping it for some pictures, with Enzo, Tarso, Murilo and me… unfortunately I didn’t take photos with my camera, asking for him to send to me later.
We said good bye with my promise that my wife and I’ll go to Capetown in April 1st . He asked me for some help in Natal, and toke of with a flight plan to Belo Horizonte, Ilhéus, Salvador, Aracajú, Maceió, Recife and Natal, with ETE 7:30h.

During the day I did many calls and found a guy to help us in Natal. The name is Pereira but I can’t talk to him.

Thursday 15th

Early morning I tried to call Pereira again, having success.He told me he really knew everybody there, but he was afraid because he didn’t speak English well. He would try to find a Swiss Pilot, his friend, and would talk to him asking for some help.  I tried talking to Frank at his room in Novotel, twice, unsuccessfully. I just left to him a message.After a while, Frank called me and said that everything was ok…  

Friday 16th

I was in Ubatuba, 9:40 AM, having breakfast with two employees and talking in my mobile phone. At the same time, another call was entering… I saw area code 084, but I continued my conversation. Five minutes later, my wife called me…then I asked for a break and called her…Terrible and unexpected news. My legs started shaking. 

I called Gerard and told to him. 

A very long day …many calls, but the worst had happened…      

Bye, bye Frank, keep on flying. You knew how to do it very well. As you’ve told my wife: ”Today is the day to be appreciated”.     

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