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Schlagwort: trips

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

staying current

staying current

Visibility: more than 10 kilometers
ceiling: more than 5.000 feet
GAFOR: “C” clear skies!
Temperature: 24°C
Wind: 290°, 10 knots
QNH: 1027hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: “Lima Juliet” (my old love)

On Saturday a friend took me up on the promise to take him up! Since “Lima X-Ray” is still in the shop and I have not had my check-ride on “Kilo Sierra” yet, I called my old flight school. They had a cancellation and “Lima Juliet” is available for two hours on Sunday.

We have had a rainy summer and this is one of the first hot and clear weekends in a while. The aviation forecast is perfect, visibility is great and there are pretty white clouds.

Staying current

Many of us hobby pilots don’t get above the ground as much as we would like to. In order to be able to take passengers with me in the light sports plane, I have to have a minimum of three landings in the last 90 days.

My last trip was in February! Ever since then I have been training for the private pilots license with larger aircraft. That means I have to fly three patterns on my own before we can go on our little trip.

So I arrive at the airport a bit before my friend for the obligatory abuse at the flight school (“so you are back to fly real aircraft, right…”) and to go ahead with the three landings.

It is good to be back in the light sports aircraft. I still feel very comfortable with “Lima Juliet”. At the same time, the much larger “Kilo Sierra” has grown on me with her stable handling and redundant instrumentation. We will see what kind of flying the future brings.

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 25, 2012 by tilbo at

when in doubt, don’t!

when in doubt, don’t!

Visibility: about 50 km
Temperature: 23°C
QNH: 1011hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: MD3 Rider (D-MASL)

It is a fair deal: My friend with his American death missile (I borrowed that term from Captain Dave) uses it to shoot us to the airport and I take over from there. The day is nice and the airport is busy.

I pre-flight the trusted “Rider” and he snaps the first pictures. I feel great! We get aboard and I run the engine start check list. All is clear, the starter cranks but the engine does not start. Strange. I try again, nothing.

The Rotax engine usually starts up right away with a very characteristic “bang”. The airplanes of the flight school are used often and are very well maintained. They have two good technicians.

After another one or two attempts, the engine finally come sputtering to life. It runs lousy, though. I decide to keep it running for a bit to see if it was just flooded. And sure enough after a few moments it runs almost normal. Temperature and oil pressure are good but is there a funny sound? I am not sure.

I check in with the tower and the friendly voice on the air asks me if I think my engine sounds funny. That does it for me, we are staying on the ground today.

We are sitting on the terrace of the airport restaurant having a beer instead of a pleasure flight. As we watch everybody else take off, I think that it is not easy to actually cancel a flight when in doubt.

To be continued…


(originally posted on September 10, 2011 by tilbo at

Passenger rating – this time for real!

Passenger rating – this time for real!

It’s official, stamp and all – I can carry passengers now. My last flight to Eisenhüttenstadt was good enough for the lady at the aviation administration and she mailed an updated licese to me.

So if you don’t want to come fly with me, now would be a good time to come up with excuses!

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 15, 2011 by tilbo at

Steel – Bread – Peace

Steel – Bread – Peace

Visibility: about 50 km
Temperature: 27°C
QNH: 1011hPa
Location: EDAE (Eisenhüttenstadt)
Equipment: MD3 Rider (D-MALJ)

I took a quick trip to Eisenhüttenstadt today. It turns out that the lady at the aviation administration disagrees with my flight instructor over the requirements for my passenger rating. She is asking for one more trip of more than 50 km.

Eisenhüttenstadt is 62 kilometres according to my flight plan. Also it is an airport I had not been to and today was a gorgeous day for flying after a week of rain!

The city of Eisenhüttenstadt was founded in 1950 as a socialist model city around a steel mill. Today, former “Stalinstadt” is a strange melting pot of socialistic glorification of heavy industry and modern high tech. (üttenstadt)

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 6, 2011 by tilbo at

Passenger rating

Passenger rating

Visibility: about 20 km
Temperature: 26°C
QNH: 1013hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: MD3 Rider (D-MALJ)

I did the first addition to my pilot’s license – the passenger rating. With the sports pilots license, I can only fly on my own or with another pilot. Before I can take passengers, I have to fly solo to three different airports and I have to fly two trips of more than 200 km and a stop over each with a flight instructor.

We have decided to fly up to the coast today. The island of Rügen is the right distance from Strausberg and it is a nice trip. It is a warm day, the fuel tanks are full and with the flight instructor and myself on board, Lima Juliet is working hard as she climbs out of Strausberg.

The passenger rating is a great idea. It gives a new pilot like myself the possibility to get used to handling the aircraft without the reassuring presence of a flight instructor. After each of my solo flights, I came back with home work. I read the rules for the air spaces again and brushed-up on my radio communication. I learned how to fuel the aircraft and how to check the other engine fluids.

The weather is calm and although we don’t have great visibility, flying is pleasant. The instructor and I are chatting about the weather conditions and he confirms my navigation and gives me helpful tips.

The airport at Rügen is very proper and not very busy. We have fish for lunch and watch a tired Cessna take off with a group of tourists.

After the break we take the long way home. Out onto the sea and along the coast of the island. First along Prora, the Nazi vaccation home which at one point was the largest building in he world. Then further up to the tip of Rügen with its white cliffs like in Dover. Over to the western side and back along the neighboring island of Hiddensee – a glorified sand bank, really.

In the distance the city of Stralsund appears with the Rügendamm bridge to the island, its historic port and and the post-war industrial complex that is the Volkswerft ship yard. The size of the container vessels build there has increased
inversely proportional to the number of workers needed to build them or sailors to sail them.

From Stralsund on we follow the A20 highway back to our course line home. There is a pretty boring stretch ahead of us with not a lot of visual reference to navigate by except for the curvy concrete band of the interstate. As I look over to the flight instructor, I can’t help but smile. He is asleep in his seat. It does not look like he is fearing for his life.

To be continued…



(originally posted on June 22, 2011 by tilbo at