North German Plain

North German Plain

Visibility: more than 10 kilometers
ceiling: more than 2.000 feet
GAFOR: “O” open skies
Temperature: 21°C
Wind: 260, 10 knots
QNH: 1024hPa
Location: EDOP (Parchim)
Equipment: D-EARE (Cessna 150)

My flying friend Bernd has a work assignment. He needs to take areal pictures of a pipeline. A co-pilot, who can fly while he takes the pictures, would make the job much easier for him. So he asks me and I – of course – am game!

We meet in Parchim (EDOP). The airport is large but not busy. Our plan was to fly in a Cessna 172. But unfortunately it had technical problems and we have to use a much smaller Cessna 150 as back-up. D-EARE (“Romeo Echo”) is old and very basic. She does not even have a VOR on board. But she flies, I am certified to fly her and am familiar with the type, and I get to fly for free. So I will not complain!

After checking out the aircraft, we go over the route for today. Bernd has several way points that he has marked on the map. One of them is north of the rest, noticeably off the route. He smiles and says something about a private detour but does not tell me more.

Bernd wants to do take-offs and landings to practice. The rest of the flying is basically for me. He will navigate and take pictures. This is much better than I had anticipated!

“The impact is still visible”

“Romeo Echo” handles well, just like “Lima X-Ray“. We stay low between the picture sites. Eventually, Bernd guides me toward the single site that is apart from the others. It is a farm close to a small town, right by a lake. It looks very scenic. In the wheat field closest to the farm house, there is a track visible. “This is were I made an emergency landing.” Bernd says.

So this is the “private business” he did not want to go into details about before we left. Now he tells me the whole story. He owns a motorized hang glider. Two weeks ago, he had engine problems and had to land on this very field. When his engine quit, he looked for a possible landing site and carried out a decent touch-down. Just as he was trained to do. The damage was minimal and no one got hurt. I am impressed.

The farmer family helped him and was very friendly. That is why he decided to take pictures of the farm as a present to them.

Fish for lunch

The trip takes us well over three hours. We fly past the city of Hamburg and cross the mighty Elbe river. Close to the coast, the area gets less interesting from above. The north German plains are just that, plain.

The last site on Bernd’s list is close to the city of Leer. After we have taken all the pictures, we land there for fuel for both, aircraft and crew. The airport in Leer has a nice restaurant with a terrace looking onto the runway. We have fish for lunch and two colleagues from the local construction office join us.

The way back is very easy. We take the scenic route along the coast, cross Jade Bight and come even closer to Hamburg before we turn south.

We arrive back in Parchim with well over six flight hours under our belts. This is a lot of flying in one day for a low time pilot and I am beat. What a day!

To be continued…

 

(originally posted on August 12, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/north-german-plain/)

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