Tag Archives: aviation

The curious case of N9GY

Taken without permission from Photobucket. Click for original.

Taken without permission from Photobucket. Click for original.

Back in July, Venezuelan General Hugo “Pollo” Carvajal arrived in Aruba by plane to take up his new position as a diplomat on the Caribbean island nation. Instead of going to a plush office to stamp visas, he was sent to jail for potential extradition to the USA on a freshly unsealed indictment for drug charges. Over the next few days, Venezuela reportedly did whatever it could to get Carvajal back, including raising the threat of military action. Carvajal was eventually freed, made persona non grata in Aruba, and sent home.

As I wrote at the time, one of the oddest parts of the whole affair was the widespread rumor that the plane that ferried Carvajal to Aruba had tail number N9GY. That plane is registered to a Delaware company called Global Air Services Corp. According to a record filed with the Texas secretary of state, Global Air Services Corp. is ultimately part of the far-flung corporate empire of Venezuela-American oilfield supply impresario Roberto Rincón.

César Batiz wrote a long, fascinating profile of Rincón over the weekend in Armando.Info, a relatively new Venezuelan investigative reporting outfit. I helped with the story, mostly gathering information on Rincón’s Texas companies and planes. There is one very curious piece of this that you, dear reader, may be able to help explain.

Plane owners can keep their real-time flight records off of websites like FlightAware.com by filing a confidentiality request with the US Federal Aviation Administration. However, flight records are still public documents. We filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the FAA to get flight records for N9GY. Here’s what we got for the dates in question:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 10.10.19 PM

As you can see, the records show the plane arriving at Orlando July 18 and not leaving again until August 5. But we have people around the Caribbean claiming to have seen that plane during that period. And then, on August 6, the plane got to Merritt Island, without ever registering a flight to get there.

So what happened? Can someone in the aviation world help explain this to me?

Oil notes from around South America

You have no idea how many half-written blog posts I have in my stack. Not going to publish before their time. But here are a few interesting things to keep you busy:

Flooding in the Neuquén province of Argentina is causing problems for the local oil industry, including a truck stuck in a washout and a spill of crude oil and produced water.

El Cartel Negro is a remarkable investigation of how organized crime dominates Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company. The book is now available at Amazon and other on-line vendors. I’m reading it, I’ll try and review it at some point.

Colombian oil drilling is being blamed (passive mood quite intentional, I don’t know who’s behind this campaign) for a drought in Casanare. I have no idea if there’s anything to these accusations, but I have written before about how oil drilling in the Colombian llanos is really water drilling with a bit of oil mixed in.

Cuba is using Dassault Falcons with Venezuelan registrations as presidential jets. I can’t find much info about who owns these

Speaking of PDVSA, the company is continuing to provide millions of dollars a year for a Formula 1 racing team. (Thanks SM for the heads-up on that.) Cash crunch, what cash crunch?

US Senator Marco Rubio has been making a stink about Venezuela as a human rights violator, and threatening to revoke visitor visas for some government figures. He also says the US shouldn’t impose sanctions on Venezuelan oil.

Rebecca Solnit gives the very big picture on how the oil industry is a giant case of institutional violence.

If you want little tidbits like this all the time, you should subscribe to my Twitter feed. I may be off in the Great White North but I continue to track South American oil and energy.