Durchsuchen nach
Schlagwort: D-MAKT

Europe on a wing strut – part 2

Europe on a wing strut – part 2

Visibility: very low
Temperature: 7°C
QNH: 1021hPa
Location: EDGF (Fulda)
Equipment: Hotel sauna

One of the few advantages of winter in northern Europe is visiting a sauna. My flying buddy and I have been sitting in the mist on the airfield for a while before we decided that it would be better to sweat in the sauna than to sweat in minimal weather.

When taking to the skies, a very informed and very critical look at the weather is crucial. We are planning a long trip, so the weather observation is complex. We have postponed our trip from Thursday to Tuesday because a weather system was moving through southern Europe. Today, our route looks good but we ave problems getting started.

The aircraft is stationed at EDGF, a grass field at an altitude of 1558 ft. The cloud base is almost touching the field, a few of the hills we have to cross are actually in the clouds. No point in getting worked-up about something we can’t change, though. This is VFR flying in the winter.

EDGF in the mist
EDGF in the mist

After two days of waiting for the weather to improve, we decide to postpone out trip once more. My flying buddy goes home and I visit family close by.

Visiting an old friend

A few weeks ago, my dear LISA was moved from Schönhagen to Egelsbach. I am staying just a few miles away from the airport and so I decide to go see her. The local weather is not great either, but a number of small planes are in the pattern. So I take LISA for a spin – for old times sake.

I fire-up the ipad and make a flight plan for EDRY, about half and hour to the south. I have been meaning to visit the Technic Museum Speyer for a long time. I’m on my own, I have no schedule and no pressure. Great conditions for a training flight in less than optimal weather. If it should get dicey, I can just turn back. No danger of get-there-itis which can cause oh so many problems…

Getting LISA ready

The flight is demanding. The visibility is not bad but the cloud base is low and with rising terrain, there is not all that much room to maneuver. All within legal limits but when I get in between two hills, I keep looking over my shoulder to make sure the escape route is clear.

Finally the terrain is getting lower. I navigate around the controlled airspace of EDFM and very soon I see the city of Speyer on the river.

In the pattern at EDRY, I have the last demanding moment of the trip. There are individual clouds in the pattern. Like big, puffy sheep they are blocking my path and I have to navigate around them.

In the pattern at EDRY
In the pattern at EDRY

The airport staff at Speyer is extremely friendly and on a day like today they have time for a chat. I even get a discount coupon for the museum. Nice gesture but I would have gone anyway…

Amazing Museum
Amazing Museum

In the afternoon the winter sun has had enough time to raise the cloud base and has even burned a few holes into it. The trip home is delightful and much easier.

I am very glad that I did get to fly after all. And the trip was great training. Over the next couple of days I will monitor the weather development closely to see if another window opens up for the big trip!

To be continued…

Blue Skies on the way home
Blue Skies on the way home

Ferry flight

Ferry flight

Visibility: CAVOC, more than 10k
Temperature: 26°C
Wind: 250°, 30 knots
QNH: 1012hPa
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/)