Too expensive, to inefficient: Government ends controversial chemtrail program

Too expensive, to inefficient: Government ends controversial chemtrail program

I knew it! All of my conspiracy fears were true! Read this breaking news by news outlet “Der Postillon”. I did a rough translation, as the original was published in German.

Berlin (dpo) – The federal government has announced today that after 19 years, it would end the controversial chemtrail program for poisoning the general population.

According to spokesperson Steffen Seibert, the reasons are rising costs and low efficiency of the stripes of chemicals that are often visible for hours in the sky.
“The government would not go as far as to call the program a failure, but the desired results could not be achieved to the expected degree”, Seibert explained. After years of chemtrail-output, the German population is still largely fertile. Soils are not contaminated with devastating levels of Barium, as was hoped for, and the average temperature in Germany did not drop.

All together, poisonous chemicals valued at approximately 310 billion Euros have been sprayed. With ending the program, the federal government is following the long standing recommendation of the German Federal court of Auditors, which has criticised the program as inefficient.

At its introduction in 1996 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the plan to use commercial airliners to spray chemicals over a large area, was trend setting. Over the last years however, the efficient use of taxpayer money for this program had been questioned more and more. The Illuminati as well as the US government have in the meantime confirmed the ending of the agreements about chemtrails in Germany.

The German federal government has announced that it would concentrate on more traditional and more cost efficient ways to poison the population in the future, such as vaccinations and contaminated food.

It will take until the end of the month until the rest of the poison stored in the basement of the Department of the Environment is used up. After that, jets flying over Germany will leave nothing but exhaust contrails in the sky for the first time in almost 20 years.

Winter flying

Winter flying

Visibility: More than 10 miles
Temperature: -2°C
Wind: 150°, 4kts
QNH: 1021hPa
Location: EDAV
Equipment: Piper 28 (D-EITI)

Clear winter days are great for flying. Dense air, glassy smooth and great visibility. Alas, they are few and far apart!

To be continued…


IMG_0372 IMG_0373 IMG_0375 IMG_0388

Believe GAFOR

Believe GAFOR

location: EDAV

Equipment: Mark I eyeball 

Wind: 170°, 6kts

The evening is sunny, visibility is great and the clouds are high. I’m getting ready for a night VFR training flight. Two days ago we had a full moon. So I don’t expect the night to be pitch black. Good training conditions.

When I do my flight planning in the afternoon, I check the METeorological Aerodrome Report (METAR) for the near by international airport. Low winds, great visibility, few clouds. When I check the less detailed General Aviation FORecast (GAFOR), I am surprised to see marginal conditions in my area.

GAFOR has the country split up in regions. My local area is number 18 and stretches from the Big City to the north and the east. Weather can be a very local thing and I always try to combine different sources to get a better picture.

When I call the airport, conditions over there are okay. A cold front is not expected to get to our area until tomorrow. So I decide to go. 

I catch a bit of the evening rush hour out of the city. When I finally make it to the outskirts and onto the highway, most of the other traffic slowly disappears. And so does the visibility. I’m driving into fog which seems to be coming out of nowhere. When I finally arrive at the airport, I can not see the end of the runway from the tower. Taking off is out of the question.

 Back home I see the bright moon and the glittering stars from my balcony. I toast them with my beer and go to bed. 

To be continued…


Over the river and trough the wood

Over the river and trough the wood

I am back at the office building in the woods behind the airport. Easily one of the more odd location my flying has taken me to.

I have been here before. The last time I was excited and lost. This time I know what to expect. Like in the air, preparation is everything.

The local branch of the federal agency for telecommunication is holding the tests for the radio licenses. I was here a while ago to get „BZF“, the radio license required for private pilots. Recently I took a training class for the professional radio license. It’s a requirement for instrument flying. The „Allgemeines Sprechfunkzeugnis für den Flugfunkdienst“ is shortened to „AZF“. I know for a fact that their tests are better than their abilities to do acronyms.

The test begins with a written part. 40 multiple choice questions in 30 minutes. I have 37 correct answers, the worst result of the four pilots taking the test. Jan Brill once wrote in an article about this kind of test that every correct answer more than the minimum was a waste of time.

After the first part, our group has time to prepare for the practical test. We each get a „trip kit“ with departure and arrival charts as well as enroute maps and weather information. We fill in our flight plan forms and use the rest of the time to get familiar with the charts.

Delta Kilo Sierra enter holding

Time to „fly“. We each get to choose our call signs and aircraft type. In the preparation course it was recommended to us to take a call sign that we know, so that we would recognize it without thinking.
The first prospect starts his initial exchange with the controller. He gets his start-up clearance, then it’s the next pilots turn.

The examiner is an experienced air traffic controller. He is calm and collected, demanding but fair. Each of us has some little specialty in the clearance. Mine is „patches of ice“ on the taxi way.

During my enroute part, I arrive at my navigation point without further clearance. I don’t really know what to do so I announce entering the standard holding. In the de-briefing the controller asks me about this. He claims to have given me the clearance. But I don’t have it on my sheet and I’ll be damned if he did.

Go around

The last task of the day is the missed approach. My runway is blocked and I have to go around. There is a change of course given in the missed approach procedure and I almost did not catch that when the controller asks me for altitude and heading.

I don’t actually get to land. My „flight“ ends with the missed approach and the controller is happy with the group. We all passed and are ready for new adventures!

To be continued…

Language proficiency

Language proficiency

„Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you here? How did you start flying?“

I am at the corporate headquarters of Air Berlin this morning. I have waited for my appointment on a couche in an extended hallway. My water came in an airline plastic cup on a napkin. Nice touch.

The actual test is in a large office with a meeting room table. One examiner is guiding me in, the second one is already waiting. There is a second candidate in the room with us as well. He is more nervous than me. After all I am here just for fun. When the test starts, however, I feel a tingle of pleasant excitement in my stomach.

I am taking a language test in English today. If I pass, it will be the last one that I have to take for flying. The International Civil Aviation Organization has defined six levels of language proficiency for aviators.

Level 4 or more is needed to take part in in radio communication. And the proficiency has to be re-certifyed every four years. This is what I have now and what most pilots with an international radio license have.

Level 6 is valid for life. A re-certification is not necessary. Of course this is a good reason to do the test. But honestly, I was just tickled by the challenge and wanted to see if I could do it.

The definition for level 6 includes „able to speak at length with effortless flow“. They must be thinking of me!

Listening comprehension

The fist part of the test is listening comprehension. We are listening to 15 recordigs and mark the true statement from three options for each text. The examples are mainly news reports and business articles. I wouldn’t say easy, but doable for sure. The catch is that we can only make one mistake.

After the listening comprehension, there is a short break. The other candidate is a 737 driver for Air Berlin. We exchange a few plesantries before I am called in for the second round.

Since I have nothing to loose, I am exceptionally relaxed. My conversation partners realize that and after a few moments, the conversation drifts in the direction of hangar talk.

My first task is to give an improvised presentation on the topic of aviation and the environment. I talk for a bit and answer a few questions. The focus is the use of language, not primarily the content of what I say. So I improvise and try to make it sound nice.

For the second part I hear three statements and am asked to agee or disagree with each of them and say why. I have to turn my chair as this exercise is supposed to happen without eye contact.

We talk about how far I think low cost airlines will go and if I agree that being an airline pilot is a dream job. Then the two examiners have heard enough. Both congratulate me and I have passed – just like that.

The experience was pleasant and I am glad that all of the years of watching Matlock without subtitles have finally paid off!

To be continued…

© Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
© Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence



Visibility: about 10 miles, sunny
Temperature: 28°C
Wind: 100°, 8kts
QNH: 1019hPa
Location: southwest of Heringsdorf, 3,000 feet
Equipment: Piper 28 (D-EITI)

The weekend promises to have some of the last hot days of the summer. My flying friend and I are taking his Piper for a spin. EDAH is the destination for the day.

The sky is blue and so is the forecast. So we are a bit surprised to see a dark storm frot looming to the west when we come closer to the coast. Loks like we found the only patch of bad weather in a 500 mile radius.

Approach into EDAH
Approach into EDAH

An unmotivated rain shower makes for a nice atmosphere under the sun shades on the terrace of the airport restaurant.

War bird approaching
War bird taking off


Airplane museum at EDAH
Airplane museum at EDAH

When we are ready to leave, the weather radar shows a thin but long storm front almost completely stretching along our way home. So we decide to fly west at first and turn south as soon as we are behind the front. „Tango India“ is equipped with a storm scope. An antenna that can detect electro magnetic pulses (EMPs), their direction and intensity. These pulses are caused by lightning, so the system can put lighting strikes in the area on a map.

This is the first time that either one of us is flying close enough to a storm cell to see the system in action.  We navigate along the back side of the storm and the storm scope is lighting up. After the initial excitement of seeing the new gadget in action, we start referencing the information on the screen with what we see outside. What a great learning experience.


When we get close to the Big City, the last bit of weather is still between us and our destination. So we divert to EDBF for a cup of coffee. The sun is shining but the runway is still wet. We are told that the storm here was short but strong.

Back at EDAV later that evening we move the other airplanes out of the hangar to clear the path for „Tango India“. Her spot is in the very back. This morning, when we had to move the same planes in order to get her out, we discussed for a moment if we should just leave them outside for the day. I’m very glad we spent the couple of extra minutes to put them back into the shelter.

To be continued…

Europe on a wing strut – Part 3

Europe on a wing strut – Part 3

My flying buddy calls: „Do you remember the Europe trip we planned last year? Are you still up for it?“
Me (wondering if he can hear my smile on the phone): „Sure! When?“
Him: „Two days from now, I’ll come pick you up!“

I had planned a few days off with the family. The pilots wife roles her eyes at me when she hears about this and then gives me that smile that touches my foolish heart.

The day before the trip I go through my preparations from last year. The route has changed a bit because we only have four days to spare. This trip will be about flying and about learning new routes and seeing new countries. There will not be time for sight seeing – the view from above is all we really need anyway.

We have ambitious plans! The first day is going to take us from The Big City to Millau in southern France. On the second day we plan to cross over the Mediterranean with a lunch break on the island of Corsica and on to Florence in Italy.

For the third day we plan to cross the Alps and fly back home. Sunday will be our extra day for bad weather or nice places that invite to stay.

EDAY in the morning


I am at the airport early. I have packed light but I am sure that I will still bring things back unused. The doors of the small terminal building are open but the staff clearly does not expect anybody yet.

My ride is wheels down at 6:01 Zulu, one minute after the official opening time of the airport. We have no time to loose, there are a lot of miles in front of us. After raised eyebrows and well wishes in EDAY, we are off to EDGF, the home base of the Rocket Ship. It is on the way, makes a good fuel stop and we have a few more things to pack before the trip.

The Rocket Ship is a FlightDesign CT LSA. She is small but very capable, well equipped and she has a lot of helpful details. For example, the two luggage compartments aft of the cockpit which are big enough for our two backpacks, my headset bag, our two life vests for the Mediterranean crossing as well as two empty 20 liter fuel canisters in case we need to go to a gas station for refueling somewhere.


The goal for today is LFMC, Millau-Larzac in the south of France. We have a stop planned at Besançon, about half way. The Rocket Ship makes its way towards France. The clouds could be higher and the visibility could also be better. But there is nothing but improoving weather in the forecast and we are confident. Crossing the border is a non event. We are asked to contact a new controller on a different frequency but that is pretty much it.

The VFR maps of France look intimidating. There are a lot of restrictions. Neither one of us has been flying in France before but we have heard positive things about flying here.

The controller in charge of us is also handling some IFR traffic on the same frequency. Her English is flawless and full of routine and we only have problems understanding her when she talks about waypoints that we are not familiar with. The Jeppeson Navigation software on the trusted iPad is warning us of one restricted area after the other and the controller clears us for all of them. We only have to deviate from our course to go around the airport of Lyon.

Before we know it, it is time to plan the approach into our half way stop in Besançon. Both of us are surprised about how quickly time passes. So we decide to skip the stop and continue on to Millau. There are plenty other airports on the way in case we should need a break after all.

Passing Be

We reach the Causse du Larzac in the golden light of the mid afternoon. The scenery of the plateau is spectacular. The airport comes in sight and there is no traffic and no controller on the frequency. We state our intentions and land with a strong, warm head wind on the long runway. Both of us need a moment before we have a full grasp of the day.

We spend the evening with friends and fresh sea food on a terrace overlooking the city of Millau. In the evening sun, para gliders are pirouetting over the hills across the valley.


We use our fuel canisters for the first time to fill the Rocket Ship up. The miracle of technology lets us file the flight plan online before we take off. After departure we contact Montpellier information and ask for our flight plan to be opened. Then we enjoy the spectacular scenery and speculate whether or not the glittering on the horizon is the Mediterranean already.

Ready to cross some water

The rude awakening comes in the form of Camarque Information. Over Marseilles the friendly controller tells us in no uncertain terms that he has a problem with us. Our flight plan did not go through and we are not allowed to cross over to Corsica without one. So he tells us to find an airfield and land to file a proper plan for the trip.

Le Castellet (LFMQ)

Le Castellet is on our way and proves to be our luck. Rarely have I been treated as friendly at an airport. We get coffee, a flight plan form and all the advice we could ask for in an air conditioned lounge with view of the smart looking Global Express.

The misunderstanding is cleared up quickly. Our flight plan made it to Touluse but we were probably in the air before it had time to make its way through the system. No problem, we file a new plan and thanks to the recent training at the AZF class, yours truly masters the task in no time.

Le Castellet


From Le Castellet we are routed to the St. Tropez VOR (STP) to start our crossing of the Mediterranean. There are a number of mandatory reporting points on the route so that no small plane gets lost. We venture out onto the open waters with a bit of a weird feeling. We have both not flown over open water before.

The engine does not quit; however, the trusted iPad does! Just before passing the first of the reporting points, the Jeppeson app shows a loss of GPS signal. Fortunately, the build in Garmin also knows the points. Finding them with compass and stop watch alone would have been a challenge!



Long before we can see the island of Corsica, we see the thunderstorm that is drenching its hills. The clouds are towering high over the land mass.

The controller informs us that our destination of Corte reports rain and strong winds. We decide to try our luck anyway and see how it develops. Corte is located on the central plateau of the island and we are greeted with rain long before we are there. After some consultation with the controller, we decide on Bastia (LFKB) as alternate.


We did not plan on landing on a towered airport but the controller at Bastia is friendly and the airfield by the sea is in the sunshine. We are number two for landing behind a commuter twin and have a difficult time loosing altitude fast enough. The last mountain we cross is about 4,000 feet high, the threshold at Bastia is at 26 feet and not far away.


The service in Bastia is friendly but the staff is clearly more accustomed to airliners than to piston scum like us. Our handling agent is young, speaks Excellent english and is breathtakingly clueless in a very charming way.

I file our flight plan to Italy with him and when we are ready to go, the tower does not have it. A few moments later, our friend comes driving back out to us to retrieve the flight plan form from me. He needs it again as there has been a technical problem with the transmission. I don’t say anything but suspect the way the paper was facing in the fax machine as root cause of his ‚technical problem‘. We leave with a warm feeling for him in our hearts.



Bastia is on the eastern coast of Corsica and it does not take long before the island of Elba comes into view. The controller of Roma information does not seem all that interested in us. We both are happy when it is time to switch over to Firenze approach. The controller there is familiar with our destination aerodrome of Collina and double checks if we are, too. It will take a landing on the wrong field before we understand his concern.

On the northern border of the Firenze control zone, we cross a mountain range and then descend into a valley on approach to Aviosuperficie Collina. At the GPS coordinates from the webpage, we circle and look for the runway – but nothing. After a few minutes we see a field that looks promising. A low pass confirms our hopes, an airstrip with runway markers. So we fly a small pattern, radio our intentions and land. Italy at last!

Wrong airfield but welcome break

We are on the ground safely but it does not take long before our sneaking suspicion becomes certitude – this is not Collina. A farmer tells us that Collina is only a few miles away to the west. Hard to miss as it is right next to a racing track. So we are off again and after maybe five minutes we arrive at our destination for tonight. And we are being expected. A dry spot for the Rocket Ship is prepared and the dinner table is set. The warm welcome extends into a delicious meal and good company.


The next morning begins relaxed for us. The weather is not great but a high pressure area is coming from the west. So we are not planning on leaving before noon. Time enough for a tour of the hangar and the exchange of some pilot stories.

Tour of the hangar

After a good Italian lunch, we feel ready. We leave Tuscany for the Emilia-Romagna region. The city of Bologna is in the sun and we can cross midfield over the airport.

City of Bologna

The Alps are coming closer fast, so we start climbing while we are still over Bologna. The next controller wants us to go via the Bolzano VOR. That is actually a bit further east that we would like to be but we go with that routing for now.

Clouds over the alps

The clouds are towering high but they are clearly defined. In between them, the air is clear and the visibility is good.


We pass Bolzano to the west and go on north towards Merano on the lookout for a pass that is clear. We are high enough so that terrain is not a problem. To keep it that way, I am busy checking position, our flight level as well as the minimum safe altitude. My flying buddy is navigating around the puffy towers and looking out for a clear path.

As a team, we are safe. Alone I can see how a pilot could loose track of one or more of these factors.

The atmosphere between the clouds is very special. The sun gives the perfectly white barriers a stunning glow. My four-year-old has asked me before if one could land a plane on the clouds. I told him no but looking at them now, I am not so sure anymore.

With all of their beauty, we don’t forget for a moment how dangerous clouds can be to the untrained pilot. I did some basic training in flying after the instruments and I know how hard it is to keep the aircraft straight and level if you don’t see the horizon any more.

is there a path?

After a few circles, we realize that there is not going to be a clear path for us to sneak through. We finally turn west and see how far that high pressure area from the forecast has come. That’s okay, it was worth a try.

It’s not long before we call the Austrian controller. He is upbeat and friendly and does not seem very busy.

free of clouds

We finally meet the high pressure zone around St. Anton. As we turn north, the controller is very interested in the exact weather conditions. We can see the high pressure pushing the clouds. To the east, they are towering high over us, to the west, everything is clear. We are on our way home.

Version 2

We are flying north over a patchy layer of clouds. The controller lets us stay up here so we enjoy the sun for a bit longer. We have done it; we have crossed the Alps!

Home stretch

North of Kempten, the cloud cover ends and looking ahead feels like looking over the edge of a table. We descend further and Italy and the Alps feel like a distant dream. This region used to be my flying buddies home, he knows every tree and every runway. Our thoughts start drifting off. We did it, what a trip!

End of the cloud cover

After a bit, my focus comes back to the plane and our fuel. The search for the hole on the clouds took quite some time. We have a pretty strong head wind now and the „Time Remaining“ on the fuel computer and the „Time to Destination“ on the GPS start getting uncomfortably close to each other. So we decide for a fuel stop after all.

We get into EDGF just before it starts to rain. We move the Rocket Ship into the hangar and go to the hotel where a cold beer, a hot shower and a soft bed are waiting for us.

Close to 3,000 kilometers, more than 20 hours in the air, eight legs in four days, three countries, many smiling faces and a wealth of experience. I can’t wait for the next trip!

To be continued…

Going back is hard

Going back is hard

Visibility: about 10 miles, sunny

Temperature: 21°C
Wind: 230°, 8kts
QNH: 1013hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Rider MD3 (D-MPCO)

I am back to fly an ultra light for the first time in a while. I have been busy flying Cessnas and Pipers and my trusted Riders have been neglected lately.

My old flight instructor is teasing me. „Back to flying real airplanes, are you?“

I smile but he is right. In many ways, the very light two seaters are more demanding than the stable and tranquil larger Cessnas.


I’m flying „Charly Oskar“ today. With her 100hp Rotax engine, she is very well powered for her weight. I take time to go through the short check list and taxi to the runway slowly. I push the throttle forward and the world accelerates around me. No time for watching the airspeed build up before rotating eventually. The airspeed indicator comes to life and the needle shoots past the rotation speed. I pull slightly on the joke, the rumbling stops but the acceleration does not. I can’t hold the „Yee-Haw“ in!

For the first few moments I’m a bit overwhelmed and very busy managing the energy. After that, the fun starts.

D-MPCO in flight

I have no big plans for today. Just getting comfortable with the Rider again. I start with a few patterns. The approach is easy. The glide slope feels natural and the landing is acceptable. Good.

After three or four landings, I take a quick strool around the hood. The sun is shining and I relax. Holding my altitude requires a bit more attention than on the Cessna. The ultra light is more agile but also more nervous.

D-MPCO cockpit

After the last landing of the day, I taxi back to the apron. I shut down “Charliy Oscar” and finalize the check list. The flight was fun but I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed the simplicity and agility of the Rider but at the same time I missed the tranquile solidity of the Cessnas and Pipers. Going back is hard.

To be continued…

Buying an airplane … again!

Buying an airplane … again!

Visibility: clear, more than 10Km
Temperature: 20°C
Wind: 010°, 4kts
QNH: 1019hPa
Location: EDVE (Braunschweig)
Equipment: Piper 28-181 Archer II (D-EITI)

We are in a conference room with a tired, wooden table, a few chairs and an institutional look. The windows are overlooking the parking lot. The door across the hallway however, leads into the hangar. Full of airplanes in various stages of being serviced.

The table is covered in stacks of paper. They brought two laundry baskets filled with paper to the small room.

My flying friend has been looking to buy an aircraft for a long time. We have talked about it a lot, we went through options and looked at sales ads. A few weeks ago, he had made up his mind. But by the time he called the owner back, the airplane was gone.

Today nothing should go wrong. We drove to Braunschweig this morning. My flying friend, his flight instructor and myself, as the driver. Someone needs to bring the wheels back if he buys the airplane.

The mission today is to check-out and hopefully to purchase D-EITI. She is a Piper 28 from 1979. Her second owner is sitting at the table with us. He speaks with a calm and deliberate voice and has a tired smile. The day is emotional for him, he is here to sell the aircraft that he has owned for 27 years.

This is the second time that I witness an aircraft changing owners. The first time was with my flying buddy when he got his rocket ship „Kilo Tango“. Today a slightly larger and slightly more complex airplane changes hands. The difference is mainly in the tonnage of paper.


We touch a lot of paper before we get to touch some aluminum. „Tango India“ is waiting for us in the sun outside of the hangar. When I see her for the first time, I am impressed. Her paint job is just a few seasons old and she looks new.

„Tango India“


Checking the aircraft
Checking the aircraft




We check the aircraft inside out and our first impression is confirmed: „Tango India“ has been her owners darling. She has been well loved and taken care of to extremely high standards. Everything is clean, all connections are tight, all instruments are well adjusted. She looks great!

Time to fly

„Tango India“ flies like she looks – solid. My flying friend gets a feeling for the aircraft, the flight instructor tests her systems, I am in charge of documentation from the back. When we are back on the ground, the verdict is clear. An airplane is going to get a new owner today.

Back in the conference room, the transaction is quickly finalized. And then comes the hard part: While my flying friend and proud new aircraft owner follows the instructor to the hangar, I go back to the parking lot. What an anti climactic way to end this beautiful day!

To be continued…




Turning into final
Turning into final

Night rating completed

Night rating completed

Visibility: about more than 10 miles, low hanging clouds
Temperature: 3°C
Wind: 260°, 4kts
QNH: 1015hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 152 (D-EMFM)

The weather has been variable all day. The sun has been busy chasing clouds away and whenever she was not looking, they threw a few rain showers into the mix. I have been eying them nervously. Rain tonight would be bad.

I arrive at the airport in the dusk. “Kilo Sierra” is being loaded on the apron as I walk by. “Fox Mike” is sitting next to her, waiting for me. I’m flying with Klaus this evening. I have not seen him since my light sports training and having him on my right seat is a pleasant surprise.

From the fall to the spring, the airport offers extended night operation hours once a month. I have started to train for the night VFR endorsement well over a year ago. Then I missed a season for my baby break and this winter has been grey and cloudy. Not great for night flying either. Today is the last chance of this season.

Night Flight D-EMFM
Minimal Machine

Fox Mike“ is a tiny Cessna 152 with minimal equipment. I like her and night VFR is legal with her, but she is pretty much as simple as it gets. The instrument panel is iluminated by a small red light mounted on the ceiling above my head. The radio is very basic and the single VOR receiver makes for very limited cross referencing capabilities. Quite a difference to the high tech ship “Alpha Hotel” that I have been flying recently. But that is all part of the training.

The plan for tonight is to pick-up where I have left off a year and a half ago. We go north to the Friedland VOR, then back to Finow for a bit of pattern work before we return home. I enjoy flying at night. The air is calm and the lights are magic.


Klaus has a hand held GPS in his lap. He is double checking my navigation and tells me stories to every single light on the ground. I have a feeling he does not really need the GPS. He has been flying in the area for a while.

The trip is pleasantly uneventful. On the way back we run into isolated rain showers. Since we did not see the clouds at night, we have to fly a pretty abrupt evasive maneuver. After all we don’t want to fly into the clouds. Almost immediately the controller comes on the radio to check on us. Nice to know we are being watched over.


We are almost abeam the airport before we spot the runway in Finow. I adjust speed and altitude on the down wind leg. When I turn final, I am still a bit high. For experienced pilots it is very hard to judge the height above the ground corectly at night. For this junior aviator it is almost impossible.

The runway has lights on the right and on the left. Some more lights at the end and a pretty big aray of lights at the threshold. For the approach we have a set of four lights to the left of the runway. This line forms the “Precision Approach Path Ilumination” (PAPI) – always helpful and crucial at night.

The papi lamps change their colour depending on the viewing angle. On my first approach I come in too high. All four lights are white. As I am adjusting my glide path, the right light becomes red, shortly after that the second light from the right also looks red too me. “Two red, two white – you’re alright”, I’m right on the glide path. Holding this rate of descent will take me to the runway.

Photo by golfcharlie232
Photo by golfcharlie232

At the end of the night I have enough hours for the rating. And I get why being current at night flying matters. Looking forward to the next trip after dusk already!

To be continued…