Several of us had a nice meetup there yesterday. I’ve been there before, more than 10 years ago.
To start with the bad stuff: the internet has enabled every total dick who can do a bit of coding to produce a website which often doesn’t work, and EBAW and Belgium are no exception. They should have stuck to their core expertise (chocolate and diamonds)
The airport has a website which has a captcha on the bottom, which works on a good day and only with some browsers. I was unable to make it work. The airport office is responsive by email but said unless I fill it in I absolutely cannot fly to their airport. Eventually a very kind colleague did it for me (despite dire warnings from the airport about this criminal solution) and he ended up paying my landing fee in addition to his, which I have just paypal’d to him
Belgium also has a website for all the dirty unwashed foreigners (non schengen/eu traffic). That thread details the subtle issue which causes it to blow up; you have to create a separate passenger list for both flights. Maybe this is another Chrome issue but despite me doing this 3 times, it turned out after I arrived that they received only one of them, and there was no way to fly back home to the UK without the return one. So I expected some work when I was going back home but actually the policeman just gave me a paper form to fill in, with far fewer boxes than the web form.
This must be a recent record for my travels. 2 x flight plan, 2 x UK GAR, 2 × EBAW form, 2 x Belgium GAR And we wonder why so many pilots have recently got out of this silly game and bought a boat…
The flying was, of course, trivial.
Outbound was fully IFR, FL090, in the Eurocontrol system, resulting in vectors and all sorts, all the way to the SE corner of England (which is where Belgium starts ). One day I will remember to stop doing this silly stuff and just fly at 5000ft all the way to KONAN…
UK was totally blue skies but over Belgium it got slightly cloudy so I opted for the instrument approach, to avoid any funny business with a “visual approach”
Heavy spotter activity, but the TB20 was not their target
For a town, Antwerp is quite a good walkabout, especially if you like chocolate and (if you are a long haul BA pilot with an ex cabin crew 4th wife, watch out!) diamonds We had a very nice lunch – great to see you all!
The tunnel under the river
and getting the ferry back
On the way back, got a SID but a DCT KOK almost immediately. Very relaxed ATC. I flew at FL070 (filed 090) and at KONAN was handed to “London 124.6” so evidently London Control had no interest in this “sub standard” traffic, and that was the usual unstated end of the IFR clearance. It was fine – a straight line home, originally OCAS (base FL075) and descending to stay below the steps thereafter.
Back in England. This is Romney Marsh with the nuclear power station (I believe all shut down now, totally stupidly, and it was totally stupid even before Mad Putin’s latest adventure). Lydd airport is just off the image to the right
Nice pics of the Downs in the evening sunshine
and back home
I love Antwerp. I used to travel there for work when I had a software development team based there. It’s also a good IFR/night alternate for my home base in Rotterdam. The printing press museum there is one of the more interesting museums I’ve visited, and the train station is of course stunning.
The airport itself is pretty easy, but not a great lunch stop. It’s also a bit counterintuitive how you get back to the GA ramp by going through security, then asking them to open the secret door.
Nice trip and thanks for the report, with the usual suspects flying I flew there once from UK, I picked Saturday hoping all “ring and diamond shops” are closed
I honestly fail to see the beauty of this city.
The decision to go to EBAW was partly because most of France is not accessible from the UK without a long PN – 24hr or 48hr – and we have done LFAT quite a lot.