Thursday, July 21, 2011

Leg #17 Paris to Marseilles

Not my best day of navigation, yet it turned out my navaid references were sorely out of date. The red line my intended route and the black my actual. I knew that I was no longer in Kansas when I saw the rising terrain. Fortunately I was able to pick up the Lyon VOR as the sun was setting, which gave me a chance to see some of the French Alps.

Finished the flight at Marseilles after logging 5:52 minutes in the cockpit and burned about 44 gallons of fuel!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Leg #16 Brussels to Paris

On to Paris! Started the day in Brussels with a southwest departure at 1411Z under broken layers at 1600 and 4000 feet. As I left EBBR I could see jets departing the airport and turn to the south. The clouds thinned out a little enroute and I managed to level off at 2500 feet. My course strategy was simple, just as in other legs, just tune in the destination VOR, fly a rhumbline direct, and then follow the closest radial all the way in.

After about 15 minutes I encountered a light rain, which was intermittent for the next half hour. The ceeiling was higher now. After about an hour the ride became a little bumpy as I flew over the Parc naturel Regional de l'Avenois.

LFPG ATIS indicated they were landing west, and when I called tower I was told to enter a right base for runway 27Rm, and then after an Airbus went missed I was cleared to land. Burned 77 gallons of fuel. Flight time was 1 hour 32 minutes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leg #15 Rotterdam to Brussels

Not much to talk about on this leg - just a short little hop (63 NM) from Rotterdam to Brussels. Total flight time was 46 minutes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leg #14 Lydd to Rotterdam

This morning's departure was cool and damp for me and Three-Five-Mike. It was 1145AM when we took off from London Ashford on Runway 3, climbed up to about 500 feet and banked over to the starboard side and started across the English Channel. The weather was damp and cool - oh I mentioned that, did I? The route for today with limited general ded reckoning and use VORs when able. That strategy came in handy and used KOK, HSD, and RTM as my VOR waypoints. After crossing the channel I passed north of Calais and saw the French coastline, and then turned toward the northeast after flying very nearly over the town of Koksijde. At 1200 it seemed to be clearing a bit and I climbed to 1000 feet and watched a watery world of inlets and bays slide below me, occasionally obscured by low scud and mist trails.

I tuned HSD VOR but never got a signal or ident and just continued on with the pre-planned heading of 049 magnetic. At 1250 there was light drizzle and broken layers forming below and above, but I never entirely lost sight of the ground, yet it seemed the weather was deteriorating. Checking the radio, surface reports indicated that visibility in Rotterdam was 1200 meters in drizzle and mist and an overcast layer at 400. Well it seemed pretty good right now, but just in case I pulled out a chart for Rotterdam - the VOR DME RWY 6 would be my guide to the airport!

Rotterdam METAR: EHRD 011755Z 23010KT 1200 R24/P2000N DZ BR OVC004 02/02 Q1024 BECMG 3000

I tuned in the STN NDB which was alive so then I tuned the Rotterdam NDB and it was good too, so then I tuned in the Rotterdam VOR and after verifying she was sho she said she was, I flew to STN NDB and began the approach - a bit low, but this wsn't really IFR either - I still had the ground well in view and a lot of the scudd had disappeared as I turned inland.

1307 - lined up on the 239 radial inbound to Rotterdam, and just a few minutes later the runway lights were in view. The rest was gravy with nary a bump of the gustiness and at 1313 I landed on Runway 6, taxied off into the grass and shut down. That's about 1.5 hours of flying and burned up 77 pounds of fuel.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Leg #13 London City to Lydd

One of the shortest legs of the T&E series, the flight from London City Airport to Lydd was 46 nautical miles. I refueled at City of Lights FBO with 37.03 gallons at $3.80/gallon. The departure out of EGLC was as dramatic as they get with a skyline in the foreground at what seems just off the end of the runway - metropolis obstructo-terribilis if I've ever seen one.

The weather was decent and kept things cool at low altitude as I stayed below with a few clouds at 1500 and a broken layer very close to above that. Along the way there were miles of quaint hamlets and small farming communities, I presumed.

I flew low and slow , following M20 to Dover and then turned west and followed the English Channel to Lydd. After landing, I went ahead and refueled with the good folks of GrowlAir-UK, purchasing 7.29 gallons of 100LL for only $3.50 gallon.

Stats: 0h 54m; 46 NM; 7.29 gallons of fuel (8.1 gal./h) Next flight is across the channel to the Netherlands. I'm really looking forward to my adventure through Europe.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Leg #12 Stornoway to London City

My first night flight was on this leg, 458 nautical miles from the outer Hebrides, Isle of Lewis to Great Britain, and the big bustling return to civilization: London! My decision to fly entirely through the night was partly because I could - should I have had any difficulties there were plenty of airports along the way, but the other reason was I was worried about a low pressure system getting too organized and heading inland.

First step was to refuel at BAI Flight Group in Stornoway (bought 48.420 gallons of 100LL at $3.40/gallon) which had good service and pretty good prices for way out here I thought). I did have about an hour of light and then 30 minutes of twilight, and then the moon was slightly in my favor.

The rest of the trip was pretty much uneventful, but darker than I had expected as I crossed over large swatches of darkness across Scotland. The first glimmers of light from London made up for all of that though as after hours of flying the city's lights looked like jewels.

My plan was to look for the Thames and then follow the river to London City Airport. All of that was easy enough but landing at night at EGLC, with it's notorious crosswinds and metropolitan hazards was a bit trying after five hours in the cockpit of Six-Five-Mike.

After landing I rolled to a stop and then taxied over to London City Airport Jet Centre to let them know I was tying down for the night and where was the closest pub, which was Royal Standard, though it was not recommended. Instead they suggested the Royal Oak, which turned out to be rather a sparse affair, but they at least served me Young's Bitter and that was quite decent indeed. Total miles for the day: 459. Total time: 4h 57m. Fuel used: about 37 gallons. Average speed: 92.7 knots. Average fuel usage: 7.5 gallons per hour.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leg #11 Reykjavik to Stornoway

Departure weather in Iceland this morning was pretty good, though there were plenty fo clouds along the way. BIRK METAR showed winds 340 at 4 knots, unlimited visibility, except for a few clouds at 3500 feet, and scattered layers above at 5600 feet. Today's leg was 573 nautical miles across the lonely North Atlantic. Actually it wasn't that lonely, because I was able to tune into the HF bands and listen to the airliners overhead check in with long reports - apparently they do this every 300 miles or so...which is about every 45 minutes for those big jets.

Because there would be very few landmarks (in fact none over water), my plan for the day was pretty much as with the previous leg fly a rhumbline course corrected for average magnetic declination. A look at the winds aloft forecasts showed I would be flying into, or actually across an area of low pressure. The winds would be blowing one way for part of the flight, and would be changing directions throughout.

So I hoped for the best and forged on without making any corrections for wind. After refueling at Iceland Combined Air Operations FBO (48.136 gallons of 100LL for only $3.60/gallon), I received a weather report for the Hebrides - Stornoway reporting winds 310 at 10 knots, clear skies, few clouds at 2600 feet. Sounds like lovely weather and I would need it since my arrival would be after sunset. I cranked up Six-Five-Mike, taxied to Runway 13 and took off. The view of Iceland as I climbed to 7500 feet was pretty nice.

The rest of flight was bumpy at times but nevertheless quite pleasant and there's wasn't much to do but drink coffee above the lull of the purring engine, and imagine where the heavies were when they checked in at ALDAN, ATSIX, and GONUT (my favorite!).

As the evening wore on and the sun set, nighfall and clouds were my only companions. The faint ident of STN VOR awoke in me once again a sense of civilization. The winds had died down a little but not enough to compell me to sideslip a little on final just to shake off the rustiness of the long overwater flight. And after landing I realized then that I had done it - I had flown across the Atlantic in a single-engine Piper Cub. I have many more miles to go, but if I stopped now at least I'd know this accomplishment.

The final tally for the day was 573 nautical miles in 5 hours 19 minutes. I burned on average 9.02 gallons per hour and averaged 108 knots ground speed today, not bad.