Visibility: CAVOC, more than 10k
Wind: 250°, 30 knots
Location: EDCE (Eggersdorf)
Equipment: D-MAKT – Flightdesign CT
Ferry pilots are the toughest breed of pilots. They master weather and distances in small aircraft with nothing but experience and intuition to guide them. Other pilots pay for their drinks just to sit with them and hear stories of marginal conditions over the north Atlantic, finding Cessna spare parts on a jungle airfield in the hinterlands of Brazil or bribing corrupt customs officials in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Today I join the ranks of this pilot elite. I will fly my first ferry flight, on my own, only man and machine. The route is not quite the north Atlantic crossing and I will not need additional ferry tanks. But every hero has to start somewhere.
My flying buddies rocket ship “Kilot Tango” has been at the maintenance shop for the annual inspection. He asked me to pick it up for him and fly it south to his work place. He gets the aircraft back, I get to fly for free!
The day starts with a train trip. I bought a folding bike and have yet to test its usefulness and see if it will actually fit into the aircraft. The airport is about 4 miles away from the train station, a good distance for a first test. It folds open quickly and the luggage is strapped securely onto it. Looks promising – and just a bit geeky. The morning is warm, the bike is single speed and I am happy that I picked a short distance for the test.
“Kilo Tango” is waiting for me at the airport already. The friendly technician walks me through the list of the maintenance items that they performed. Then comes the moment of truth: Will the bike fit on the passenger seat?
30 knots of head wind
The day is windy and the strong head wind that almost catapults Kilo Tango off the ground on take-off, will stay on the nose for the flight. The first part of the trip takes me on the scenic tour right over the Big City and through the controlled airspace of the international airport.
After I leave this crowded area behind, I try different altitudes to see if I find a layer with more favorable winds. Puffy white clouds are sunning themselves on a bed of blue. And I get to play with them up here! Unfortunately the head winds are consistent, I do not find a layer with less than 30 knots on the nose. I swear I see the time to destination counter on the GPS go up not down. But I took enough fuel and I brought music. So the spirits are high.
After a long flight, I wish the friendly controller a good evening and descend into the green hills below. Finding an airport can be difficult. The airport I am looking for is a hardly marked grass strip in the middle of fields. From above, the hangar building looks just like another barn. With the GPS I need two circles before I spot it. Without it, I’m not sure I would have found it at all.
The way home is by train again. The bike is folded up in the baggage compartment and while I have dinner, I look up at the clouds.
To be continued…
(originally posted on June 22, 2013 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/ferry-flight/)