Tuesday 15 June 2021

Who Monitors Costa Rica’s Landing Strips? No One.

Drake Bay airport in Costa RIca's southern zone.
Drake Bay airport in Costa RIca’s southern zone. Foto: Nature Air

COSTA RICA NEWS – Who is watching that the 90 private airfields in the country, used for crop dusting planes, ferrying tourists to vacation spots, recreation and, occasionally, welcome emergency landing, to make sure they are not being used for illegal activities as well?

According to Aviación Civil (Civil Aviation) no one – not a simple cop or security agent.

- Advertisement -

Upala landing strip. Photo: Nature Air
Upala landing strip. Photopaises.com

These fields range from a fairly level gravel strip hacked out of the foliage to smooth asphalt or concrete strip, usually without nearby buildings. They invite everything from gun running to narcotics trafficking.

Related: Six Arrested, Plane with 400 Kgs of Coke and More Than US$1 Million Seized

Nor at the moment of their construction do police investigate their owners. Inspection of the site is limited to assuring that the surface is safe and that no obstacles are in the flight path such as trees or hills. Also, they are required to have indicators of wind direction, such as a large cloth “sock” on a pole.

- Advertisement -

In a leap of faith, Civil Aviation officials require them to keep a log of incoming and outgoing flights — but they don’t ever inspect those doubtful records of movement. Marietta Cordero has owned a strip for 25 years at Bandera Beach, Parrita, but told La Nacion that never once was she asked for the flight log.

Application for a permit to build an airstrip is relaxed — one merely has to file for one, according to Roy Solis of Civil Aviation. Solis says it is a right. The law says only that a private strip cannot exceed 1,000 meters, but this no hardship for small private planes that can land and take off from a fraction of that space.

Quepos, Costa Rica. Photo: Brusselsavationaschools.com

Legislation also specifies that, although private property, the runways have to be open for periodical inspection — which nearly never happens. But when that happens, it often turns up a surprise, such as the discovery on Aug. 21 of a plane carrying nearly 1,000 lbs. (400 kilos) of cocaine at Cañas.

Then there was the case in December when drug police confiscated a metric ton of the drug at La Pandora airstrip in Valle de la Estrella in Limon province. Oldemar Madrigal of the Areal Surveillance section says to watch them all 24 hours per day would take 500 policemen — “and we don”t have them.”

Background: We remember during the civil strife in Nicaragua when The Tico Times and The New York Times discovered similtaneously a clandestine CIA airstrip in northern Costa Rica. It was for use in supplying contra rebels. Tico Times published the story on a Friday and the other Times on Saturday.

- Advertisement -

Civil Aviation knew nothing about the crude strip, which is not surprising. When the papers published the exposes, the U.S. Embassy was not gratified by the whistle blowing, needless to say.

Isla Las Damas, Costa RIca | Photo:  Brusselsavationaschools.com
Isla Las Damas, Costa RIca | Photo: Brusselsavationaschools.com

Article by iNews.co.cr, reposted by with permission

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

Immigration system failure affected passengers at the San Jose airport Monday

QCOSTARICA -  In yet another system-wide failure in the immigration check-out,...

Rainy afternoons and nights this week in most of the country

QCOSTARICA - Characteristic of the rainy season, we will see rain...


El Salvador Makes Bitcoin Legal Tender, A World First

Q24N (Reuters) El Salvador has become the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender after Congress approved President Nayib Bukele's...

Bribed with cars, sexual favors and money in exchange for road works contracts

QCOSTARICA - The OIJ uncovered a big pothole on Monday when it was announced that public officials had allied with construction companies that, apparently,...

Costa Rica cannot feel safe from covid-19 before having about 80% of population vaccinated

QCOSTARICA - No doubt, vaccines are one of the most powerful tools to maintain control of Covid-19, but when it comes to entire populations,...

Simple to request certification of vaccines against covid-19 applied in Costa Rica and abroad

QCOSTARICA - The Ministry of Health issued a new guideline on Thursday that establishes the requirements to request the vaccination certificate against covid-19 in...

Bukele advisers tried to leave Costa Rica with false covid-19 tests

QCOSTARICA - Two Costa Ricans who advise the government of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele were arrested this Tuesday at the Juan Santamaría (San Jose)...

Southwest adds yet another route to Liberia, now from Denver

QCOSTARICA - Southwest airlines will add a new route to the Daniel Oduber International Airport, in Liberia, this time connecting with the city of...

Tourism sector feels in crisis despite increase in international arrivals

QCOSTARICA - Despite the improvement in tourist arrivals reported in May, with more than 72,000 visitors, both the Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur) and...

The US improves travel alerts for Central America; Not Costa Rica and Nicaragua

QCOSTARICA - The United States has eased travel advisories for most Central American countries, with the exception of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, according to...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 15: 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate

Today, Tuesday, June 15, vehicles with plates ending 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm,...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.