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What have you done with, or on your aircraft, this weekend? (4-5 May 2024)

Better late than never, here’s the weekend thread for last weekend.

(and putting the pictures in a second post per Peter’s previous comments).

EGTF, United Kingdom

It was a long weekend here in the UK, which I extended with a day of annual leave on Friday to make a four day trip down to San Sebastian LESO in Spain in the Turbo Arrow.

Flight out… VFR departure from Fairoaks (ironically, wx too poor in the UK for IFR; while one can easily get into the LTMA from Fairoaks it would require a climb to FL090 almost straightaway, and there would have been icing at that level), and straight across the Channel – with a danger area crossing service from Plymouth Mil to cross D-37 and D38 to save a bit of time. Picked up my IFR clearance in north France (where the wx was much better) and climbed up to FL100 (later FL120) to get on top of the clouds and benefit from a little tailwind. Reasonably direct route following the coast down south with a few shortcuts along the way) and then an RNP approach into LESO (not really required – but no extra track miles as the route down put me on a long final). 3:40 flight time.

Arrival.. I was surprised by how efficient this was – as soon as I landed the handler and the Avgas bowser were there (payment by AirBP card – very expensive – noting there is also €15.25 hook-up fee – but to be fair to AirBP this was all apparent by their price guide on their website which I checked beforehand). Straight to the Iberia office to pay their fees (see below).

Handling… I think I possibly missed a trick here, although it was my first time in Spain by GA! The AIP states that an “agreement with handling agent (Ramp Agent) is mandatory for General and Commercial Aviation operations”. I emailed Iberia; one of the two listed (the other is Avipartner). I was quoted approx. €120 + VAT for “flight co-ordination”, seemingly because I required customs/immigration (coming directly from the UK) – per AIP this is HR AD with a note saying that 3 hr PPR is required for up to 10 seats.

In the end I was charged €163.99 (including VAT at 21%) by Iberia, for the aforementioned “coordination fee” as well as 2x minivan fee from the parking area to the terminal. On reflection, and having re-read the AIP, AENA’s price guide (here), and other EuroGA threads on Spanish handling (e.g. here – especially posts by Antonio re. the “el cheapo” handling), I think I could have coordinated the C&I via AENA directly (indeed, for the return leg, it was AENA’s ops office that arranged the police, not Iberia), and insisted that Iberia’s services were limited to the 2x minivan transfer, at the price specified in section 8.2 of AENA’s May 2024 price guide – €9.16 per trip). The “flight coordination” service did not amount to much. Iberia didn’t even include the AENA fees (landing, parking, etc.) on their invoice as a disbursement – I had to pay those separately to AENA. The Iberia handler did take us through the regular passenger security control but I did notice that there was a separate crew/GA entrance which may have worked. Any thoughts?

Final – still in French airspace here; the border is just before the threshold.

San Sebastian … 30 mins by taxi from the airport (c. €40) – is a fantastic destination – my first time. Lots of “pintxo” bars/restaurants – somewhat chaotic but enjoyable once you get stuck in. Have one or two dishes, and a glass of txakoli (local white wine) or beer and then move onto the next place, and repeat.

Return… my girlfriend wasn’t too keen on another long flight and I wasn’t keen on the fuel prices so we decided to stop on the way home. Initially, we’d planned to stop at La Rochelle, but the day before it was evident that there may be thunderstorms and strong winds so I looked for somewhere else. Decided on Guernsey EGJB in the end – while somewhat further North than La Rochelle, it was not significantly off route and the fuel saving there was significant – Avgas there is some £1.90/litre cheaper than LESO (somewhat offset by the £38 landing/takeoff fee and £40 handling, but still, when buying 200 litres of fuel). 2:50 flight time up to Guernsey largely at FL150 with a lot of weather deviation required – clouds up to FL190+ in places and isolated embedded CBs were forecast along an occluded front and with no de-icing on the aircraft I needed to be careful). Although I did end up with fewer track miles then the filed route due to wx avoidance, but I promise the wx was real! ILS into EGJB – with IMC down to 700 ft or so (just over Guernsey – Jersey was CAVOK). 160 KTAS at FL150 – not bad – highest I’ve been so far. Met by both the Guernsey police (who checked passports and asked about our trip and the aircraft) and (a few minutes later) some customs officers, who had a number of questions about what goods we had on board, and they had a look in some of our bags.

Coming home:

Great skies in the north of France:

Stayed for 90 mins or so to get food in the main terminal and back, IFR again as the weather was now quite poor in the UK (rain; low bases) – back via the airway across Southampton at FL060 and then OCAS to the south of Farnborough back into Fairoaks.

Return flight to Fairoaks basically looked like this, or worse:

Last Edited by Indochine at 08 May 14:18
EGTF, United Kingdom

On Sunday I hopped to LDLO with friends for a lunch. Airport working hours are still short (06-14) until May 15, then extending during weekend (06-18) until June 1 and finally reaching full time (06-18) during whole week. Luckily the best restaurant on the island works from May 1 and it’s within walking distance from the airport (30 min, in nearby village Artatore).

The apron was surprisingly empty for such beautiful weekend but for the next one AOPA Germany fly-in is planned and they expect 50+ planes.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Over the weekend, 12 of us, in four planes, enjoyed our ‘*Overnighter Caen*”.

Rochester, UK, United Kingdom

Some pictures from the first fly-in of the year at Brønnøysund (ENBN). Surprisingly many aircraft showed up, about 20-30. Very nice weather probably a main factor
Waffles, and pork chops and salmon on the grill

Later in the weekend, there was a super mini, super short “fly-in” at a small strip close by. It’s really only a heli place, but with a short, bending, uphill strip for aircraft. The owner manages to fly a 210 in and out. It was merely to tell about changes to the strip. They will straighten it out and widen it somewhat,. But it’s a really cool strip. It can be landed in both directions. Uphill is by far the easiest. Much better final. I have not yet tried landing the other way. It involves a bit of slalom between houses and terrain on short final. The other way is cool enough, because you lose sight of the whole strip just before base due to terrain. On final it pops up again, and looks like a banana, curved

Then on Sunday it was a trip to Røros (ENRO) to renew my PPL and for a student of mine to get his RT and LP. Thanks to EASA/CAA Norway, there are only 2 persons in the entire district that can do this now. But, it keeps people flying I guess ENRO is 13 and 31. At least 2 times before I have confused this, and managed to do it this time also Adding to the confusion coming from the north is the valley turning almost 90 degree, and you don’t really notice it. Believing you are flying SE, you are in fact flying SW. It’s good these runways are marked physically with numbers From ENVA to ENRO it’s mostly fairly flat mountain plateau.

The elephant is the circulation

LeSving wrote:

ENRO is 13 and 31. At least 2 times before I have confused this, and managed to do it this time also

Sweden doesn’t use 02/20 or 13/31 to avoid such mixups. I’ve never seen that in any other country.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Airborne_Again wrote:

Sweden doesn’t use 02/20 or 13/31 to avoid such mixups.

Sounds like a good practice.

The elephant is the circulation

Airborne_Again wrote:

Sweden doesn’t use 02/20 or 13/31 to avoid such mixups. I’ve never seen that in any other country.

Croatia has 02/20 at LDLO and 13/31 at LDZD, probably waiting that magnetic variation sort this issue out

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Was my Dad’s birthday at the weekend and I was in UK, so I reserved a C172 from Devon & Somerset Flight Training at EGTU – only at the last minute to realise that my EASA Licence is no longer valid in UK – initially I had the letter of exemption until 2021 and because I was always flying my own aircraft, I never bothered with checking what needed to be done until now. Suddenly, you need to pass exams…. so I thought: Bugger that for a game of dominos and booked an instructor to fly with me.

Very pleasant flight to the north, circling over Watchet Harbour, then on past Hinkley Point to see the construction of the new Nuclear power station there, across the Hams – which will soon be flooded, unfortunately, pointing out to the instructor the old barrage balloon factory from WW1, the old ROF munitions site which has now been selected to become JLR’s new battery factory, past Bridgwater to Langport where my Dad was born and grew up, then back to land at Dunkeswell. An enjoyable flight in a venerable C172….. made me appreciate the creature comforts of my current steed even more so.

Afterwards I drove down to Watchet and flew my drone over the harbour…. Just as I’m circling around the lighthouse, I hear a steam whistle and suddenly the West Somerset Steam train came into view. I decided to break off from my circle around the lighthouse to track the train, only for the drone to say: NOPE, I’m circling the lighthouse, I’ll finish this first…

Fortunately, the train stopped at the station so I could send the drone over the station and hover above it as it departed…. next time I’ll take a trip on the train…..

circling around the lighthouse at Watchet Harbour….

The train arriving at Watchet with the Marina in the foreground….

The train departing….

EDL*, Germany

Sweden doesn’t use 02/20 or 13/31 to avoid such mixups. I’ve never seen that in any other country.

Certainly best to avoid the San Francisco bay area. The prevailing wind is straight down 31. My old airport, Palo Alto KPAO, was 13/31, and so were several others in the area.

LFMD, France
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