Katamarino's Round the World flight

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Katamarino, May 6, 2019.

  1. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    After a couple of days off from flying in the UK, it was time to get on the move again. The next flights would be much more gentle and relaxed than the Atlantic crossing, however! My new copilot, Elsa, joined me from the USA and together we set off on a 6 day flight around the UK, exploring some areas that I had never flown to before.

    [​IMG]

    We took off from Laddingford mid-morning, seen off by my Aunt who was in the area (not the one who’d flown from Sydney a couple of weeks earlier!) We took a short flight first to Goodwood, renowned as one of the nicest airports in the southeast for general aviation. They had a number of interesting historic aircraft parked up, which we admired as we sat in the newly opened airport restaurant enjoying a light lunch. From here we headed west to Dunkeswell, a small airport near Exeter that offered yet more snacks, and reasonably priced (for the UK) fuel!

    Heading west out of Kent
    [​IMG]

    An interesting aircraft at Goodwood
    [​IMG]

    The final leg took us down the length of Devon and Cornwall, before coasting out over Lands End and making the short crossing to the Isles of Scilly. This archipelago of 55 small islands is the southernmost point of England, and is known for a more temperate climate than the rest of the UK; we even saw palm trees in places! The airport is perched on top of a hill, with extreme slopes on all the runways; we followed the “Skybus” air taxi service in to land, and were directed to park over on a slightly bumpy and very sloping grass field. A 25 minute walk took us to our hotel in Hugh Town, the Atlantic Inn. The islands were busy at this time of year, but we managed to get a reservation in a great fish restaurant overlooking the harbour, and plotted what to do the next day.

    Crossing Devon and Cornwall
    [​IMG]

    St Michael's Mount
    [​IMG]

    Coasting out from Cornwall
    [​IMG]

    Hugh Town harbour
    [​IMG]

    The following morning we set out to explore the area around Hugh Town. Our first destination was the Garrison Walls, primarily constructed in the late 1500s by Sir Francis Godolphin as defence in the wake of the Spanish Armada. Sections of the walls are still present, as well as a number of cannons on display. We dropped in to the tourist information office, and they suggested a walk up the hill to the Buzza tower, and down into Old Town. Along the way we visited Old Town church. The tombstones here told a story of life in the Scilly Isles through the ages, including a number of shipwreck victims, paying witness to the maritime history of the area.

    Climbing up to the Garrison
    [​IMG]

    The fortifications at the Garison
    [​IMG]

    Looking over Hugh Town
    [​IMG]

    The Buzza Tower
    [​IMG]

    Old Town Church
    [​IMG]

    Meeting local wildlife at Old Town Cafe
    [​IMG]

    A light lunch at the Old Town cafe was followed by a discovery that they didn’t accept cards, so we agreed with them that I’d walk back past on my way to the airport having acquired some cash; Elsa took on the lighter duty of riding the shuttle back to the airport with the luggage! Apart from getting mildly lost, my walk went well. We had taken care of the fees the previous day, so were able to head directly to the opposite side of the airport, and call for permission to start.

    Heading back to Hugh Town
    [​IMG]

    Working in the boat at low tide
    [​IMG]

    There was some Skybus traffic coming and going, but we were ready for departure during a lull, and were able to taxi straight on to our runway and backtrack for departure. A footpath went directly past the runway end, just feet away, and a number of tourists stopped to take photos and videos as we took off. We took off and turned out to the right, getting great views of the other islands as we climbed out and set course back towards the mainland.

    Ready to leave St Mary's Airport, Scillies
    [​IMG]

    Hugh Town
    [​IMG]

    The flight was very short, along the north coast of Cornwall to Newquay. As we approached the airport, still 5 minutes out, there was apparently one small airliner just taking off, and a single 2 seat Cessna on its way to land. This, apparently, was just too much for ATC to handle so they had us fly in a circle to delay, before allowing us to enter their airspace and land. Getting out of the aircraft was quick and easy, and before long we were at the rental location. Our car, a tiny Fiat 500, was perfect for Cornwall’s tiny lanes! That evening, after settling into our little B&B in the countryside, we headed into St Ives for, of all things, a curry. One just can’t get a good British-style curry outside of the UK!

    St Ives
    [​IMG]

    Newquay airport
    [​IMG]

    Evening in St Ives
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    16,397
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Full Send Mode
    Wow, how did I miss this thread? Awesome!
     
    mryan75 and Katamarino like this.
  3. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    The previous evening, the very friendly B&B owner had given us a long rundown of all the things we should do and see while in Cornwall; far too much to do in the one day we had, but perfect for selecting some highlights from! We drove south to start with through Cornwall’s tiny narrow lanes, hitting the coast much sooner than I had expected. I was used to driving the vast distances of the US, and in Cornwall it seemed like everything was just around the corner from everything else. Perfect for seeing plenty of sights in a short time!

    Penzance
    [​IMG]

    Maintenance in dry dock
    [​IMG]

    The coast road took us through Penzance (at my all-male primary school I had had the honour of playing one of the leading ladies in the school’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance”), and on through the tiny hamlet of Mousehole. The roads were some of the narrowest I’d ever seen, and I was grateful for the diminutive Fiat 500, but still praying not to meet anything coming the other way! Astonishingly, we did meet a couple of 50-seater coaches; I have no idea how on earth they managed to get through.

    We stopped at various points along the drive to stretch our legs and admire the view, before coming upon our first planned stop, the village of Porthcurno. This location is famous for being the end point for the vast majority of telegraph cables that used to connect Great Britain to the world. The first of these was landed in 1870, and connected Britain to India, cutting the time needed for sending messages from weeks to minutes. There is an excellent Telegraph museum now at the site, which today still lands several fiber optic cables, although is not as critical a hub as it used to be when, for a while, it was the largest cable landing in the world. As well as the museum building itself, many of the exhibits are located in underground tunnels that were installed to protect the critical communications equipment during World War 2.

    Overlooking the cove at Porthcurno
    [​IMG]

    In the telegraph museum
    [​IMG]

    Enjoying a big sausage.
    [​IMG]

    After spending a couple of hours touring the museum we had lunch in the local cafe, and set off again to drive to Land’s End. Our B&B host had warned us that Land’s End was Cornwall’s “Disney”, and so it was; the place was incredibly commercialized and tacky. We spent a short time admiring the view, and the famous Land’s End sign (also commercialised, with a fee to take your picture with it), before moving rapidly on. If you go to Cornwall, I really wouldn’t bother visiting – there is a much better point to go to, just a few miles north along the coast!

    The famous Land's End signpost
    [​IMG]

    Looking over Cape Cornwall
    [​IMG]

    Looking south from Cape Cornwall
    [​IMG]

    This much better point is Cape Cornwall. This location is managed by English Heritage. Until 200 years ago, Cape Cornwall was thought to be the most westerly point of the mainland, before the first Ordnance Survey revealed that it was in fact Land’s End. The point is topped by the Heinz Monument, the 1864 former chimney of the Cape Cornwall Mine which was retained for maritime navigation, and purchased by Heinz in 1987 to be donated to Britain as a historical monument.

    Old tin mill
    [​IMG]

    The track towards the coast
    [​IMG]

    North Cornwall coast
    [​IMG]

    From Cape Cornwall we took a leisurely drive back towards the B&B, stopping for a while at an old tin mill, as well as to wait for a number of cows to clear out of the road. In the evening we headed down to Marazion, the town on the mainland side of the St Michael’s Mount, and had dinner at the Godolphin hotel overlooking the mount. A visit to that will have to wait for another time…!

    St Michael's Mount
    [​IMG]

    The next morning we started at a leisurely hour, and took our little Fiat back along the A30 to Newquay airport. The first flight of the day took us east along the Cornish coast; rather than set out straight across the water, we had elected to stay over the land until reaching Barnstaple, then cross the Bristol Channel at a narrower point. This would have the added benefit of keeping us clear of the danger areas on the south Wales coast. As we neared the Welsh coast, ATC informed us that the main danger area was no longer active so we cut the corner and headed straight for the airport of Haverfordwest.

    [​IMG]

    Departure, just north of Newquay
    [​IMG]

    Crossing the Bristol Channel
    [​IMG]

    Coasting in to south Wales
    [​IMG]

    Haverfordwest was a quiet airfield, and we followed the only other traffic we saw during the visit in to land. We refueled on arrival at the self-serve fuel pump, something that is very common in the USA but much less so elsewhere. We took on far more than the required minimum to have the landing fees waived, and then ate in the on-field restaurant. A Flyer Forum member, Tomahawker, was on his way to meet us so we passed the time by walking around the airfield to the “Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Factory” which was every bit as good as we had hoped. Tomahawker drove us back around the airplane and we sat drinking and chatting for a while before it was time to be on our way.

    Meeting Tomahawker at Haverfordwest
    [​IMG]

    The flight to Caernarfon was simple; all we had to do was keep the coast on the left and we’d arrive. The weather was great up until we reached the Llyn peninsula, where we had to punch through a cloud bank before descending into Caernarfon, landing on runway 25 with short final taking us mere feet over the local caravan park. A quick taxi ride took us to the car rental agency and…another Fiat 500! Once again it turned out to be ideal for the tight and winding roads of Snowdonia, and we spent an hour driving through the national park to our next bed and breakfast.

    Aberystwyth
    [​IMG]

    Snowdonia
    [​IMG]

    Crossing onto the Llyn peninsula
    [​IMG]
     
  4. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    1,426
    Location:
    Illinois / Germany
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    Looks like you flew right over Pembroke Dock, which is where one of my great grandfathers used to live and where they made the original full model of the Millennium Falcon.
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  5. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Arrow76r
    Superb!!! Thanks...again :)
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  6. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,482
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    3393RP
    Your photos of the brilliant blue sky above the rocky heads and manicured farm fields are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  7. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,051
    Location:
    New York City
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skip Miller
    @Katamarino +1 on the clarity and coloration of your photos! Please post the make and model of your camera, and what lens you are using. Thanks, and keep the story/pictures coming! -Skip
     
  8. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Astonishingly...it's just a Samsung Galaxy S10!
     
    C-1 PILOT likes this.
  9. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,051
    Location:
    New York City
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skip Miller
    Wow! Keep the pictures coming!
     
  10. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2018
    Messages:
    2,576
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kenny Phillips
    Not so astonishing, the cameras on later Samsungs are quite amazing (I have a recent Note, the non-flammable model.)
     
  11. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Our first appointment of our day in Snowdonia was at “King Arthur’s Labyrinth”. This underground attraction is based in an old mine, the Braichgoch slate mine, and features a boat ride in to the mine followed by a walk around some of the mine, visiting animatronic displays that tell various stories about King Arthur. It was remarkably tacky, and told us nothing at all about the old mine itself, which is what I had really been interested in, so we left rather disappointed!

    Harlech Castle
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From here, we drove back north, along the coast this time towards Harlech Castle. On the way, we stopped in a town along the way to try a lunch of Welsh Rarebit (basically, melted cheese on bread!) Completed in the year 1289, Harlech castle was originally constructed by Edward I in order to help control Wales; it changed hands between the English and Welsh several times throughout its history, eventually being abandoned and partially dismantled in the mid 1600s. Happily, it survived the following centuries fairly well and is now open to the public to visit. We spent an enjoyable hour or so exploring from the top of the six-story tower, all the way down to the water gate, 127 steps below the castle!

    Sightseeing in Snowdonia
    [​IMG]

    Historic steam railway
    [​IMG]

    It was only about 4pm, so we decided to take a drive through Snowdonia, based on a suggested route we found online. We headed north through Porthmadog, and soon came upon the Sygun copper mine, just outside of Beddgelert. This Victorian mine had closed down in 1903, and then been re-opened as a self-guided tourist attraction. Of huge vertical extent, the lower levels of the mine are all flooded, with a selection of the middle floors now being open for the public to walk and climb through.

    The Sygun copper mine
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From here we continued through the hills to Llanberis, passing through Pen-Y-Pass. This is one of the most popular starting points for walking to the top of Snowdon, with three of the main routes up the mountain starting from here. Having flown around two of the UK’s highest peaks, it was nice to see the third, albeit from ground level! From here we continued southeast to Betws-y-coed, and then on to Blaenau Ffestiniog for dinner, and back to the B&B.

    Hydropower near Snowdon
    [​IMG]

    The spoil from a slate mine
    [​IMG]

    The garden railway
    [​IMG]

    We woke early on the Saturday, with a busy day ahead of us. After checking out the wonderful garden model railway around the back of the B&B, we returned our Fiat 500 to Europcar at Caernarfon, took a taxi to the airport, and took off on the westerly runway, with a right turnout to follow the Welsh coastline towards our first stop of the day. This would be Leeds Bradford airport; close to the home of one of my closest friends from university, Ian, and his young family.

    [​IMG]

    Caernarfon airport
    [​IMG]

    Looking out towards Anglesey
    [​IMG]

    Protect the bridge!
    [​IMG]

    As we approached Leeds, I saw a number of familiar landmarks; my father and I had flown right past here a few days earlier! We flew a left base to runway 32, and pulled in to the Multiflight FBO just behind a slightly tatty old PA28 which seemed to be on a cross-country training flight. We were escorted land-side by a very friendly lady from Multiflight, who gave us a discount on the mandatory handling fee, as it was our first time in. Formalities completed, we wandered down to the cafe to meet up with Ian and Pippa, and spent a long time catching up. It had been a decade since we’d last seen each other!

    Henley
    [​IMG]

    From Leeds Bradford, we flew south, almost shadowing the route my father and I had taken a week before. The weather was still beautiful and, being a Saturday, there were a fair few other small airplanes buzzing around, as well as a couple of very active gliding sites to watch out for. We were going to the west of London this time, instead of the east. Luton ATC were very helpful and gave us clearance through their zone, crossing the runway just after an EasyJet 737 had departed. They handed us off to Heathrow who were far less helpful; they pushed us down low and sent us almost all the way around to the west of their zone, although we did at least get close-up views of the Henley rowing facility and Ascot horse racing course.

    Ascot
    [​IMG]

    Our destination was Redhill Aerodrome, tucked into the northern edge of the Gatwick zone. We were planning to meet a whole group of pilots from the Flyer Forum, who were gathering here for the afternoon. We touched down on the westerly grass runway and taxied over to the restaurant, where most of the group had already gathered. One had even flown in his Mooney from Switzerland; although not exclusively to see us! Another had just arrived on a commercial flight from Gatwick and had come straight over.

    Forum meet-up at Redhill
    [​IMG]

    We spent the afternoon swapping stories, chatting about the upcoming Atlantic crossing of two of the other forum members, and having the chance to view some of the historic aircraft tucked in the hangar behind the restaurant. As evening drew in, we made the short flight over to Laddingford where we were met by my mother, and also Charles; the founder of African Promise. We’d really hoped to have the chance to meet up with him while in he UK, and he had made the trip down from London to make it happen! We worked out that it was about 17 years since we had last seen each other.

    Redhill
    [​IMG]

    Headed to Kent
    [​IMG]

    An event on at the hop farm
    [​IMG]

    With Charles, founder of African Promise
    [​IMG]
     
  12. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,821
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Truly amazing pics, Kat. This is the way I'd like to travel the world one day. Low and slow, stopping at various places that are a bit off the beaten path from most tourist attractions.
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  13. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    26,241
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Ahem. That's melted cheese, mustard, cream, beer, and a little salt, on bread, among other things. If you're doing it right you stick it under the broiler to brown. Melted cheese on bread is an open face grilled cheese sandwich. Awesome trip, great pictures. What an adventure!
     
  14. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,482
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    3393RP
    Kat, when will you be at Windsor Castle to receive your KCB from Her Majesty the Queen? :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  15. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    My invitation must have been lost in the mail :D
     
  16. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    The time for returning to work was drawing painfully near. Before parking up the airplane for a month, it was important to take care of some routine maintenance. I organised, through the very helpful Liz of the Flyer Forum, to take the aircraft the 8 miles over to Headcorn and meet “Big Jon”, who had very kindly volunteered to give up a few hours of his holiday weekend to help me out. I had all the tools and materials I needed to change the oil and filter, as well as service the spark plugs, with the exception of a sand-blaster for cleaning the plugs. Not very practical to carry one of those with me!

    Maintenance at Headcorn
    [​IMG]

    Thanks Jon!
    [​IMG]

    The flight from Laddingford was, of course, over very quickly. Headcorn is a beautiful grass airfield, that’s very welcoming to the public; on a sunny holiday like today, the grass parking area was full of families picnicking and watching airplanes come and go. The radio operator had been forewarned of my arrival and gave me directions straight to the maintenance hangar; I parked on the grass outside and Jon met me as I shut down the engine. We jumped straight in and soon had the cowls off, the oil drained, and the spark plugs pulled. Everything looked great, so we took care of the work, ran up the engine to double check everything, and then got the cowls back in place.

    A beautiful day at Headcorn
    [​IMG]

    I said goodbye to Jon, and before departing I filled up with AVGAS ready for my flights out of the UK in a few days. The radio operator, who also took care of payments, waived the landing fee and told me he thought I had the dubious honour of uplifting more fuel than any other civil aircraft had at Headcorn, large historical ones excluded. 294 litres this time! I really missed US fuel prices; the one consolation is that the UK allows a pilot to claim back fuel duty on any fuel uplifted in the UK and then exported. With my tank sizes, that adds up.

    [​IMG]

    My flight out of Amsterdam was at 10pm on Thursday, so on Wednesday morning I set out from Laddingford. While I’d be finishing my day in Rotterdam, I first had an appointment with a gentleman called Joachim in Kassel. I had liked the Avidyne IFD440 GPS that I put into the aircraft enough that I’d decided to upgrade to the larger Avidyne IFD540, and Joachim was looking to buy the old one.

    Goodbye, Mum!
    [​IMG]

    Coasting out north of Dover
    [​IMG]

    France/Belgium come into view!
    [​IMG]

    The Belgian coastline
    [​IMG]

    A positive feature of flying in the UK is that one can depart from the country from anywhere; it doesn’t have to be an airport with customs and immigration, as in most other countries. I therefore took off out of Laddingford and headed east, opening my IFR flight plan through London Information. I had spent some time the day before figuring out an acceptable route using Autorouter, and managed to find one that didn’t take me too far out away from the direct routing. As I coasted out near Dover at 10,000 feet, I could already clearly see the coasts of France, and then Belgium, ahead of me. Conditions were smooth, so I enabled the autopilot and relaxed as I cruised across the length of Belgium, passing overhead Brussels as I went. A left turn took me over Koln, and up towards Kassel. ATC assigned me the ILS approach for runway 22, with the full procedure taking me on a loop around the north of the airport and back in to land.

    Brussels
    [​IMG]

    Koln
    [​IMG]

    Approaching Kassel
    [​IMG]

    Kassel has a very pleasant looking airport cafe attached to the GA terminal; but sadly it seems to have closed down. I sat somewhat hungry for a while and waited for Joachim and his friend to arrive in their Cirrus SR22, which they did right on schedule. Joachim’s friend was also the avionics tech who’d be installing the new GPS, and they gave the unit a quick once-over before declaring themselves happy and concluding the deal. I had filed an IFR flight plan once again, for the trip back towards the Netherlands, but due to ATC lack of staffing there was a 30 minute delay before I’d be allowed to depart. Not an issue I have ever encountered elsewhere!

    With Christian before departure
    [​IMG]

    Refueling at Kassel
    [​IMG]

    Crossing northwest Germany
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After being assigned the easily remembered transponder code of “1111” I flew one of the standard departures out of Kassel, back over the same VOR that had started the arrival procedure, and was soon given a direct clearance to the Dutch border. The waypoint given had not been on my original flight plan so I had no route after this next VOR. As I drew close I asked German ATC where they might like me to fly next; they weren’t sure, so handed me over to the Dutch. They thought about it for a moment and then cleared me direct nearly all the way to Rotterdam.

    Approaching Rotterdam
    [​IMG]

    The Romeo arrival to Rotterdam
    [​IMG]

    The new Central Station in Rotterdam
    [​IMG]

    As I drew closer and started the descent, I cancelled IFR and joined the very familiar Romeo VFR arrival in to Rotterdam. Having been based here for nearly 5 years, this was very familiar territory! I landed after a Transavia 737, touching down halfway along the huge runway to ensure I was well clear of the wake turbulence from the larger aircraft. I had contacted the FBO, Jet Aviation at Rotterdam, a while back to enquire about keeping the aircraft in a hangar there for the month The reply made it clear that they did not want to be bothered with any light GA aircraft; about €1,500 for the month, which would rent you a fairly nice apartment in the city. I had therefore contacted the aviation department of my employer, who keep their aircraft at Rotterdam, and they had very generously agreed to keep my little C182 in the hangar with their Falcon jets to support the flight.

    Crossing mid-field to join downwind at Rotterdam
    [​IMG]

    Parked up in good company
    [​IMG]

    When I arrived, a small breakdown in communication meant that the guys in the hangar didn’t know I was coming, and wondered who this crazy man was who thought he was going to park his Cessna in their spotless hangar. Happily this was very quickly sorted out and “Planey McPlaneface” was tucked in next to the 3 week old Falcon 7X that had recently arrived. Th jet and hangar were so beautifully kept that I made a point of quickly polishing up my own aircraft to get rid of all the bugs, so that it wouldn’t look too out of place! Before being collected by my friend Justin, I had a chance for a quick tour of the aircraft. My suggestion of an airplane swap was politely declined. I said goodbye to Planey, locked him up, and it was off to work for a month, before the second section of the flight would begin…
     
  17. Gary

    Gary En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,251
    Location:
    Harleysville, PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gary
    What a wonderful thread and quite the journey! Thanks for taking the time to post all this. 53H looks pretty good sitting in the hangar next to the Falcon - sort of just "belongs" there!!
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,747
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Gonna be a long month for us...

    Awesome looking grass at Headcorn.!!
     
  19. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    838
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    StevieTimes
    "Planey McPlaneface is 10 to the northwest at three thousand five hundred with Kilo, inbound to land, full stop."

    "McPlaneface expect runway one zero left."
     
  20. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    1,426
    Location:
    Illinois / Germany
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    He is on the move again. Flew right past me in Germany and didn't say hi. Jerk. ;)
     
    Ted DuPuis likes this.
  21. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Messages:
    596
    Location:
    Bush Alaska, Colorado Rockies & Valley of the Sun
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SToL
    How are we gonna splain this to all the flat earthers?
     
    RyanShort1 likes this.
  22. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    838
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    StevieTimes
    Easy. I asked Katamarino the same question, privately; here was his response.

    "We have gotten near the edge of the disc of Earth. Soon we will transition over the wall, around the underside, and flip over back on the other side. Wish me luck. This part is tricky with all the gravity implications and all that."
     
    SToL, mcdewey and murphey like this.
  23. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    :fingerwag:
     
    StevieTimes and mcdewey like this.
  24. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    After 28 days in the Iraqi sun, it was time to get back to the Netherlands and Planey McPlaneface. An upgrade to an Emirates First Class Suite on the flight back from Dubai made an auspicious start, and I landed in the Netherlands well rested on the Friday morning. My first stop was to check on Planey, parked up in Rotterdam; the main reason for this visit was that I had failed to plan ahead, and had left my overnight bag in him. As I’d be staying a couple of nights with my friends Justin and Shalale, I’d be needing this! Copilot Elsa had flown in to join me for the first week, and we met up at Rotterdam station before heading back to J&S’s for a lazy afternoon, followed by dinner at a Michelin star restaurant just a short walk from their hours. Apparently, they’d discovered it by chance just a few days before!

    Mandatory giant-clog photo
    [​IMG]

    On the Saturday we took something of a whirlwind tour of Holland. In the morning, a walk around Den Haag to see the parliament and other historic buildings. It was the Dutch Veterans Day, with a military parade through the city and fly-bys from air-force helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. We wandered through the city, ending up at the Peace Palace which houses the International Court of Justice, before taking the bus back to Central Station. Next stop was Haarlem; we were just a little too late to visit the windmill so instead we sat with drinks in a cafe and watched the boats on the canal run back and forth; it was one of the hottest weekends of the year.

    The Dutch Parliament, in Den Haag
    [​IMG]

    The Peace Palace
    [​IMG]

    Windmill in Haarlem
    [​IMG]

    The final stop of the day was Amsterdam, for a canal boat tour of the city followed by dinner. Returning home, Justin and I spent a futile hour attempting to channel the air conditioning from his car through 12m of flexible pipe and into the upstairs of the house. It could charitably be described as an abject failure.

    [​IMG]

    Sunday morning, Justin drove us to Jet FBO at Rotterdam and we loaded up Planey. Jason had sent over the cockpit cover from the US, and I’d also stocked up with a couple of crates of oil and some other tools and supplies. We departed Rotterdam IFR, being vectored around ongoing parachuting near the city, and climbed up to 9,000ft. Temperatures on the ground had been mid-30s, so the cooler air at height was a welcome, albeit temporary, respite. Our route took us southeast through the Netherlands, across eastern Belgium and Luxembourg, and then along the France-Germany border to the airport of Mulhouse-Habsheim.

    Departure from Rotterdam
    [​IMG]

    Looking towards Europoort
    [​IMG]

    Crazy Benelux airspace
    [​IMG]

    Luxembourg
    [​IMG]

    Hills in north-east France
    [​IMG]

    Approaching Ben, at Mulhouse-Habsheim!
    [​IMG]

    This airport is best well known for the unfortunate 1988 crash of the Airbus A320 during what was both the first passenger flight of the aircraft, and the first public demonstration of a fly-by-wire aircraft. Such was the importance of the aircraft to Airbus, and by extension the government, that credible rumours persist of a cover-up in the accident investigation to lay the blame on pilot error, rather than deficiencies in the aircraft. Here we met Ben, a pilot from the UK who’s now based here together with his very nice Mooney; he is an instructor and was kind enough to make himself available to do my 2-yearly check flight to keep my European Pilot Licence valid. Today was the day it expired, so I was just in time!

    Elsa waited in the nearby McDonalds, given the fact that it had air conditioning, while Ben and I took a flight out to the mountains west of the airport. We ran through maneuvers such as slow flight, stalls, emergency descents, and even a practice ILS approach into Basel airport. The hour went by very quickly, and before long we were fueling up back at the aero-club, and heading to McDonalds for a debrief and to enjoy some of that air conditioning ourselves!

    Departing Mulhouse-Habsheim
    [​IMG]

    We said goodbye to Ben, and took off from Mulhouse-Habsheim. Basel Info opened our flight plan for us, VFR this time but still required as we were crossing an international border, and we climbed out to the east over the picturesque mountains of the Black Forest. We cruised at 5,500 ft this time, high enough to be in more bearable temperatures, but there was no reason to spend time climbing much higher as the leg was less than 100 miles in length. As we crossed the mountains we passed para-gliders, circling in the thermals and updrafts, some as high up as our level.

    Industry north of Basel
    [​IMG]

    The Black Forest
    [​IMG]

    Freiberg
    [​IMG]

    Our destination was the main Stuttgart airport. They cleared us straight to a downwind leg for runway 25, but had us fly in circles for a while as jet traffic came and went. As soon as a gap appeared in the arrivals we were cleared to fly direct to the threshold, with a short approach; we headed directly for the runway at 90 degrees, timing our turn so that we touched down almost as soon as we finished rolling out, and were off the runway at the high speed taxiway just seconds later. The FBO, Kurz aviation, was right ahead of us and they helped us tie down before giving us a bus ride the short distance to the GA terminal.

    Downwind at Stuttgart
    [​IMG]

    The temperature in Stuttgart was stifling. That evening we simply relaxed and walked to a local Italian restaurant. The expected German efficiency was not in evidence, as it took more than 2 hours to a plate of melon and a pizza. Perhaps that was the restaurant’s Italian heritage shining through!

    Evening in Stuttgart
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    We had a day to spend in Stuttgart, and started off with a walk in to town and breakfast at a cafe along the way. We wandered north through the old town, enjoying the mix of old and new architecture. The city itself has a population of just over 600,000, and the central district is very compact. Given that it was a Monday, many of the buildings and other attractions were closed, and we ended up on a mostly-empty open-top bus for a sightseeing tour of the city.

    Tasty treats available for breakfast
    [​IMG]

    Exploring Stuttgart
    [​IMG]

    The New Palace
    [​IMG]

    Quality advice on the open-top-bus.
    [​IMG]

    The tour was remarkably good, explaining much of the city’s history and covering all the major landmarks including the world’s largest pig museum (we gave that one a miss). Stuttgart is home to both Mercedes and Porsche, and the rich automotive heritage is reflected in the number of museums and other attractions dedicated to the motor car. We alighted on top of one of the hills overlooking the city and enjoyed a walk through the vineyards before the next bus came along; as well as cars, the city has a strong pedigree in wine!

    Vineyards overlooking the city
    [​IMG]

    The view from Killesberg Tower
    [​IMG]

    The final stop of the tour before making it back to the town center was the Killesberg park, including the 40m high steel Killesberg tower. This was erected atop one of the high points in the park, and has spiral staircases ascending the outside, taking you to beautiful views over the city. The stiff breeze was a welcome respite from the high temperatures, still in the mid 30s although better than the day before. It was still hot enough that once we got back to the city center, I spent a while shopping for shorts and a couple of new shirts. Much better!

    Church in central Stuttgart
    [​IMG]

    That evening, we met up with Christian, the COO of E-Aviation who had read about my trip in a Facebook Cessna 182 group and invited us to visit. We had dinner in a tremendous local sushi restaurant with him, his wife and their young daughter (who was extremely well behaved!) E-Aviation is a Stuttgart-based jet charter and management company, and Christian and his father also own a modern Cessna 182 which they mostly use for business travel around Germany. They were excellent company and we had a great evening together before heading back to our accommodation. The next day would have an early start for the flight to Prague!

    With Christian at the 182
    [​IMG]

    Christian collected us a little before 8am to drive out to the airport. He was keen to come and see the aircraft, and to show us a couple of his; and we were equally interested! To get back to the aircraft we had to pass through full security, which was a bit of a nonsense for general aviation. Because our bags had liquids in (shower gel and the like), we weren’t allowed to carry them to the airplane; an FBO employee had to carry them instead, and then leave them there for us to load by ourselves!

    One of Christian's jets
    [​IMG]

    Christian met us again to have a look around the aircraft, and then gave us a tour of their Cessna Citation Latitude jet. A little more luxurious than ours!

    Our route to Prague
    [​IMG]

    We had to wait about 30 minutes until our IFR slot time came around. As we sat watching the airplanes land, we saw a Delta 767 come in. I was surprised to see that it had come all the way to Stuttgart from Atlanta! All the other traffic was local from Germany, or other nearby European countries. Finally our slot time arrived; only for ATC to tell us to depart VFR instead, and pick up our IFR clearance in the air! We headed out to the north; as soon as we were clear of Stuttgart’s surface airspace we were cleared direct almost all the way to the German border and climbed up in to the smooth, cool air at 10,000ft.

    Stuttgart on departure
    [​IMG]

    Crossing Germany towards the Czech Republic
    [​IMG]

    Entering the Czech Republic
    [​IMG]

    Kbely Airport, from left base to Letnany
    [​IMG]

    The flight was uneventful, with another shortcut given to us before we left Germany that took us almost all the way to Prague. Prague radar started dropping down lower as we approached the city, and directed us around to the south before cancelling our IFR and leaving us to call up the next controller for arrival. This was the tower controller at Kbely, the larger military airport just south of our destination of Letnany. Letnany is a small grass airfield with a flying club and plenty of flight training; we parked up next to the another visiting aircraft before installing the cabin cover and taking an Uber in to the city.

    AN2 at Letnany
    [​IMG]

    But...why...?
    [​IMG]

    That evening we took a walk to Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge, two of the classic tourist attractions in central Prague. I had only ever visited before during winter; and in July, things were significantly busier! There were crowds of tourists everywhere (to which, of course, we were contributing) – thankfully by around 10pm the crowds had thinned and we were able to enjoy a quick and tasty Vietnamese meal before heading back to the hotel. Service levels here left Stuttgart trailing well behind!

    Bears in Old Town Square
    [​IMG]

    Exploring Old Town
    [​IMG]

    Sunset over Prague Castle
    [​IMG]

    Night time in Old Town Square
    [​IMG]
     
  26. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    1,426
    Location:
    Illinois / Germany
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    Prague is awesome. Did you have a trdelnik? Soooo good if you’re a fan of sweet pastries.
     
  27. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Not this time. I think I lost my appetite after seeing the airplane with the teeth.
     
  28. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Messages:
    681
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cluemeister
  29. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,833
    Location:
    Olympia, Washington
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ghery Pettit
    We spent a couple days in Prague in 2015. Beautiful city and we'd love to go back some time. There's still a bunch to see.
     
  30. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    It was a long time since I’d visited Prague, so it was good fun to re-explore the familiar tourist attractions around the Old Town, and also check out some new locations. After a relaxed brunch on an outside terrace at the Cafe Louvre we crossed the Vltava river and slowly ascended the many steps to the Prague Castle complex, built on a hill overlooking the city. It was packed with tour groups, all following guides who displayed various emblems on top of umbrellas or long sticks so that their followers could pick them out of the crowd.

    Charles Bridge
    [​IMG]

    The cathedral
    [​IMG]

    Palace guards
    [​IMG]

    View of the palace and cathedral
    [​IMG]

    Queues to go inside the buildings were enormous, so we contented ourselves with wandering around outside and admiring the architecture, before stopping for drinks at the cafe in the palace gardens. From here we walked to the Petrin Tower, inspired by the Eiffel Tower. The people of Prague will tell you it’s taller than the Eiffel Tower, but this is only true if you include the hill which it’s built on top of. We didn’t have time to ascend it, because we had a 2pm appointment to join the “Real Prague” tour, visiting some of the city’s less tourist-heavy areas on electric bikes.

    Communist era block on the bike tour
    [​IMG]

    The tour started off through part of old town, and we were very happy for the electric motor assistance as we climbed the steep hills and cobbled streets. From here we headed to the Great Strahov Stadium, atop a hill west of the city. Built under the First Republic, between the wars in the 1920s, the stadium was designed to host displays of mass synchronized gymnastics and claims a capacity of 250,000 spectators. Leaving the stadium, which has seen better days, we descended steep park trails back towards the river and the Dancing House, before heading out along the river bank to see one of the original, officially sanctioned “graffiti walls” that came to popularity after the fall of communism.

    On the bike tour
    [​IMG]

    The dancing house
    [​IMG]

    After the tour, we met up with Venno; another new flying friend, met through the Cessna 182 pilot Facebook page. An American, he had been in Prague for over a decade working in the aerospace industry and had been very helpful with tips for planning my flight to the city. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting over drinks, before releasing him to head back to his family, and making our own way back down into Old Town for dinner.

    =======================================================

    Ready to go at Letnany
    [​IMG]

    The next morning we went out for a brunch of ramen and ice cream (not together) before taking an Uber out to Letnany airport. We had paid the very reasonable fees the day we arrived, so all that was left to do was to load up the aircraft and head out to the southeast. Straight after take-off we were handed over to Kbely tower who cleared us through their airspace at 2,500ft, and once we got a little further out we started a gradual climb up to 8,500ft to get on top of the turbulence.

    Our route to Vienna
    [​IMG]

    Leaving Prague
    [​IMG]

    Approaching the Austrian border
    [​IMG]

    We were flying VFR, and simply set course direct to our next stop of Wiener-Neustadt East airport, close to Vienna in Austria. The plan was to meet up with Christian, one of the intrepid Bonanza pilots that Mike and I had run into in Kulusuk, Greenland. He lived in Vienna, and was a member of the Diamond Flying Club close by; he’d very kindly arranged for us to park with them for a couple of days, and would show us the sights. We flew a slight dogleg to the west, so that we could remain clear of the Vienna class C airspace and not have to descend into bumpier air.

    Downwind at Wiener Neustadt
    [​IMG]

    Wiener Neustadt East airport is situated in slightly complex airspace, with a military base directly to the west, Vienna airspace above and to the north, and a couple of other restricted areas besides. We managed to follow the proper VFR arrival procedure with only gentle reminders from the tower, and touched down on runway 09 to be met by Christian and another member of his flying club who directed us to our parking space by the club hangars, and helped us secure the aircraft.

    With Christian on arrival
    [​IMG]

    Christian drove us into Vienna, about a 30 minute ride. The hotel we’d chosen was wine themed, and we enjoyed some complimentary glasses of welcome wine before heading out for a couple of hours walking tour of Vienna with Christian as our guide. It was great to be shown the city by a local, and we worked up quite an appetite for dinner at a local restaurant which he had selected. We ate outside on a quiet street enjoying the cooling air and local specialties of asparagus and, interestingly, octopus!

    Evening in Vienna
    [​IMG]

    Exploring Vienna
    [​IMG]

    Beethoven lived here (and apparently many other places)
    [​IMG]

    Evening in Vienna
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Time for dinner
    [​IMG]
     
    Skywalker, Zeldman and G-Man like this.
  31. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    We met Christian at the hotel the next morning, and started the day with breakfast in the Cafe Landtmann. This is something of a Viennese institution; it was founded in 1873 and has been the preferred coffeehouse of many renowned Austrians including Sigmund Freud. We ate next to a large, relaxed dog that was asleep on the floor, clearly enjoying the relaxed coffeehouse atmosphere.

    Breakfast (and a big dog) at Cafe Landtmann
    [​IMG]

    Touring Vienna
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Breakfast complete, we continued our tour of the city, ably guided by Christian who had very kindly taken the morning off to spend with us. We visited St Stephen’s Cathedral, as well as exploring the side streets and other historic buildings around the town center. Elsa even managed to find a coconut to drink from. We finished up at the Opera House where we met up with my new copilot; my father would be joining me for a second section of flying, from Vienna down to Turkey. We enjoyed a light lunch as a foursome, before Christian said his goodbyes and set out for his long drive to a family event in eastern Austria.

    The summer palace
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Having walked around most of the city center we elected to go and visit the Schönbrunn Palace. This is slightly outside of the city center, and was the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. The grounds are expansive and stunning, and can be visited for free; highlights are the large pavilion on a hilltop overlooking the palace, as well the incredible ornamental fountain. There is also a zoo in the palace grounds with pandas. We had only scratched the surface of exploring the gardens before it was time for our tour of the palace, covering 40 of the I-don’t-know-how-many rooms in the vast structure. Sadly, photography was not permitted inside. It was striking how frugally the last emperor had decorated his quarters; he apparently regarded himself as the first civil servant of the empire and worked long days at his desk to keep things running.

    =================================================================================

    Dog and cat wagon
    [​IMG]

    We had a lazy morning, with breakfast nearby, before parting ways and heading to our respective airports. The daughter of Michael, Christian’s flying partner, kindly drove us back out to Wiener-Neustadt and we loaded up the aircraft before taxiing down to the fuel pumps and waiting for about 10 minutes for the pilot of the C182 that had been abandoned there to come back and move it. According to the fuel attendant, it was a Cessna company airplane being flown by a dealer, and was only a few months old. We filled the mains and auxiliary tanks; with no fuel at our next stop, and very high prices in Romania, the plan was to tanker fuel all the way to Bulgaria at the earliest.

    Ready to leave Vienna
    [​IMG]

    The route to Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    Departing Vienna
    [​IMG]

    Passing Bratislava
    [​IMG]

    We received our IFR clearance through the remote clearance delivery frequency on the ground, and departed straight out off of runway 09. The only route that would validate when I filed was rather circuitous, but thankfully air traffic control started giving us good short-cuts right from the beginning. We climbed out to the northeast, crossing into Slovakia and passing just south of Bratislava at 10,000ft before being cleared almost direct to destination. We flew just to the north of Budapest, and then started a steep descent into Debrecen, Hungary where we’d be spending one night.

    Arriving at Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    The hotel in Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    The airport has just one runway, and a only single taxiway. However, it’s still mandatory to follow the “Follow-Me” car that the airport provides. Perhaps they’re concerned that one might take a wrong turn out the airport gate and up the road into town? We taxied past old cold-war era fighter shelters, and were parked on a large almost empty apron next to a Cirrus SR22. The handlers were quick and efficient, and gave us a short ride to the terminal where we picked up a taxi to the hotel. No Uber in Debrecen!

    Out and about in Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After a rest, we walked the 40 minutes into town, crossing the rail lines and passing through a large chemical facility. Dinner was at an excellent Italian restaurant which even offered Pina Coladas – heaven!
     
    StevieTimes and Skywalker like this.
  32. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    807
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AirmanG
    In Germany, you refueled at Kassel?

    I bet you could do the Kassel Run in 12 Persecs!




    (Sorry, I had to.)
     
    StevieTimes and Katamarino like this.
  33. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Storms were forecast over the Carpathian Mountains in central Romania and Alex, our host in Iasi, had recently sent me some photographs of a German Cessna 182 which had been destroyed by an encounter with a storm and violent hail. With this at the front of my mind, I decided we’d make a relatively early start and fly during the morning, hopefully beating any storms! A short taxi ride to the airport, and the very efficient handling agents had us back at the airport and ready for departure in no time. To the southwest were dark, ominous clouds, and as we started up light rain started to fall. We followed the “follow-me car” as we taxied past the old cold war era fighter bunkers, and not a moment too soon we took off and turned en-route to the northeast.

    A quiet airport in Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    Old fighter shelters in Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    Departure from Debrecen
    [​IMG]

    Debrecen city
    [​IMG]

    Our route across the mountains to Iasi
    [​IMG]

    ATC cleared us to climb straight to 11,000ft – in the end, we couldn’t quite manage the climb gradient they demanded so they relented and allowed us to turn on course across the mountains as we passed 10,000ft. There was no other traffic at our level and ATC gave me free reign to deviate left and right as required to avoid build-ups. Most of the towering cumulus clouds were off to the north, and we crossed the Carpathians a little south of our planned route. We only caught glimpses of the mountains below through a low cloud layer. Overhead, we could hear airliners on frequency asking for deviations and climbs to avoid the weather; including EK147, my usual Emirates flight home from Dubai after finishing a shift at work!

    Heading for Iasi
    [​IMG]

    Romanian countryside
    [​IMG]

    Parked up in Iasi
    [​IMG]

    As we approached Iasi we were dropped from radar service and handed to Iasi tower. We passed through many small, circular restricted areas (none of them active) which our host Alex later told us were where anti-hail rockets were launched. Not something you want to run into in a C182! Once again we followed a car to parking, and after covering the aircraft headed through passport control. Luckily, we were just ahead of a 737 full of airline passengers! We took an Uber to the International Hotel where Alex had provided rooms for us on the 10th floor, overlooking the incredible Palace of Culture.

    The Palace of Culture
    [​IMG]

    Inside the Palace of Culture
    [​IMG]

    An oil press!
    [​IMG]

    Alex was down at a Romanian sea-side resort, flying back that afternoon in his TB20 touring aircraft, so my father and I went out to visit the museums inside the Palace of Culture, and enjoy some drinks in the late afternoon sun. Alex came to meet us after he got back, and we had a long and delicious evening at a top Italian restaurant near the hotel before turning in. Alex turned out to be a remarkably interesting man, having travelled to over 100 countries and mastered all kinds of exciting pastimes such as skydiving. Conversation flowed freely over some excellent Romanian wine!

    Relaxing in Iasi
    [​IMG]

    =========================================================

    We had a lazy morning, with Alex collecting us at around 1130 for a tour around the city. He drove us all around Iasi pointing out major landmarks and telling us a little about the history of the city, and what it was like to grow up there. We parked up in the center, and visited a few of the churches; apparently Iasi has around 800! Alex told us how Romania used to be something of a gateway to Europe, regularly attacked by the Turks, with varying results through the years.

    Exploring Iasi
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We didn't eat here, but Alex couldn't resist showing 2 Brits the local British pub!
    [​IMG]

    Early afternoon, we headed out to the Aero Club where Alex bases his TB20. The grass runway is just off the end of the main Iasi airport runway, and confusingly is also aligned the same direction. A few light aircraft are based there, as well as some Antonov AN2s that perform crop dusting work and other duties. We met a friend of Alex’s who flies 737s for a regional Romanian airline; he had suffered a crash in his microlight aircraft and was now busy rebuilding the wings and upgrading them from fabric cover to carbon fiber.

    With Alex, by a Wilga
    [​IMG]

    In the aeroclub hangar
    [​IMG]

    This done, we returned to the hotel to rest a bit, carry out flight planning for the next day, and in my case shop for a new new clothes! I’d had to discard a few that turned out to be rather worn out, but the large modern mall next to the hotel came through for me.

    The traditional restaurant
    [​IMG]

    Our giant meal; this was the second course of three!
    [​IMG]

    Alex collected us just before 7 and took us to dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant. The first two courses were a wide selection of seemingly every traditional Romanian item on the menu, and he told us a bit about each one and the history behind them. They were delicious, although we ended up with enough food to feed a party of 10! The evening involved plenty more Romanian wine and spirits, ending late, and requiring Uber rides back to our respective homes with the car to be collected in the morning!
     
    Skywalker, Zeldman and SoonerAviator like this.
  34. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Alex wasn’t available in the morning, so after a light breakfast we took an Uber to the airport and spent a while asking around before we managed to find someone from the handling agent to guide us back to the aircraft. Fees were extremely reasonable for a 2 night stay, at less than 60 Euros total.

    Iasi, on departure
    [​IMG]

    Our route to Bulgaria
    [​IMG]

    We were flying this leg VFR as Alex had suggested a detour to sight-see over the Danube delta. Several danger areas and restricted areas were active along our route, but ATC gave us clearances to pass through all of them, with a few restrictions on where we could fly. We headed south along the border with Moldova; underneath it was all tiny fields and tiny villages. As we approached Galati, and turned east to parallel the border with Ukraine, things started to become more developed and industrial. We received clearance through the airspace around Tulcea and headed out to admire the delta.

    The Danube (I think)
    [​IMG]

    Above the delta
    [​IMG]

    Passing Constanta
    [​IMG]

    From here, it was a simple matter of following the coast down towards Varna. As we approached the border ATC wanted us out to see a little way, to enter Bulgarian airspace over one of their set entry points; the reason behind this wasn’t terribly clear. As it was we were forced to stay closer to shore than they wanted due to a pair of large emerging thunderstorms that we had to thread our way between. Nobody seemed to mind.

    Arrival at Varna
    [​IMG]

    Varna have strict, and pretty low level, VFR routes that have to be followed in and out of their airspace. The ground along this part of the Black Sea coast was high and we skimmed the terrain until we suddenly shot out over the top of a high ridge and saw Varna and the airport laid out before us. We were put straight on to a right pattern for runway 27. A follow-me car met us as we taxied in past a long row of regional airliners, and led us to a parking space just in front of the terminal.

    The handlers, Fraport, met us at the aircraft. The were friendly and efficient, and the prices were very reasonable for an overnight stop at a large airport. It was clear that not many small airplanes come by, as we noticed the fuelers and a couple of other airport staff taking surreptitious selfies with Planey! We fueled up on arrival (fuel prices, sadly, were not in any way reasonable) and then headed in to the city and the “Hotel Boutique Splendid”.

    Part of my palatial room in Varna
    [​IMG]

    Varna has been populated for millennia, with the oldest evidence of settlements dating back 100,000 years. A Roman city covered 47 hectares here and our first stop, after an abortive attempt to visit the archaeological museum, was the ruins of the Roman baths. Not much remains, but from the sections that are still present, it’s clear they were an enormous and impressive structure. From here we walked down to explore the beach and the very quiet port, bumping into a wedding party taking photos by the quayside, by one of the beautiful sailing vessels moored alongside.

    Fat cat
    [​IMG]

    The archaeological museum
    [​IMG]

    Varna sea-side
    [​IMG]

    Roman bath ruins
    [​IMG]

    Cathedral
    [​IMG]

    A walk through the park took us into the center of downtown, so before dinner we stopped in to see the cathedral. The second largest cathedral in Bulgaria, it was opened in 1886, and is visually stunning from both within and without. We finished the evening with an exceptionally good Italian meal at a restaurant near the hotel. Without a guide, we decided not to try and figure out traditional Bulgarian food!

    ====================================================================

    We left the hotel some time after 8am and took a taxi back to the airport. The Fraport rep led us rapidly through the crew channels to the departure doors, and eventually a bus turned up to carry us the very short distance to the aircraft. We pre-flighted and started up, earning ourselves a small telling-off from ground control that we hadn’t called for start-up. Of course, information like “you need to call for start-up” is something contained within the AIP package of a country, and Bulgaria choose to hide theirs behind a registration wall. I applied 3 weeks ago for access, and never heard anything; so they have nobody to blame but themselves!

    The colourful Varna airport
    [​IMG]

    Our flight took us along the coast past Burgas, and then we started to head inland to cross the Turkish border. We were handed over by Sofia Information at the border, to Ankara, but never got within range of them. Instead we called the tower at Corlu directly, shortly before entering their airspace, and were cleared in to their airspace at 1,500ft. We landed in between training flights; it turns out that Corlu has a large and busy flight school, with a gaggle of Diamond DA20s moving in and out all the time. Turkey is not a GA-friendly country, with extortionate handling fees. We had contracted with “Gozen Air Services”. They were helpful and responsive for obtaining the permits, but their performance in country turned out to be very poor and I would suggest anybody visiting Turkey tries a different handling agent such as Celebi. In Corlu, Gozen had no presence so had subcontracted to a local agent (Celebi) who turned out to be excellent when they finally met us; nobody at Gozen had told them we were coming!

    Approaching Corlu
    [​IMG]

    Interesting traffic at Corlu
    [​IMG]

    Customs met us at the airplane together with the handling agents once they showed up. The customs lady wasn’t interested in any of our baggage, but only wanted to take a photo of the instrument panel! We were transported to the terminal in a large bus more suited to unloading an airliner and the friendly and efficient handling lady led us through immigration and filing of flight plan for the onward leg. Soon we were back at the aircraft, waiting on our flight-planned departure time to head to Selcuk-Efes.

    Coasting out into the Sea of Marmara
    [​IMG]

    After crossing the Sea of Marmara and hitting mainland Turkey we climbed to 5,500ft to stay clear of the hilly terrain. The afternoon thermals were starting to make things a little bumpy so I took it off auto-pilot and hand flew, to save wear and tear on the servos. I’d be relying on the autopilot more on the long legs to come later in the trip! We were impressed by the huge amount of industry and manufacturing we could see as we flew along, it’s no surprise that so many of the goods seen in the Middle East and elsewhere are labelled “Made in Turkey”. The approach controller at Izmir seemed concerned that we were flying direct destination, rather than following the rather circuitous VFR routes shown on the charts, but she accepted the fact that this exact clearance had been given to us on departure. Communications between controllers are often not very joined-up for VFR flights.

    Our route through Bulgaria and Turkey
    [​IMG]

    The tower controller at Selcuk had us fly holding patterns north of the airfield for a while before letting us into the zone to land on runway 27. As we pulled in we could see Gavin and his parents waving, along with a small local welcoming committee of interested airport staff and students; there is another, much smaller, flying school here. The stop at Selcuk was planned in order to swap copilots for the final time on this leg. My dad would be flying back to the UK, in time for a Rod Stewart concert. The adventurous Gavin would be joining me for the flights as far as Thailand. He had found my website a year or so ago and then kept in touch. His parents have a place in Selcuk, making it a good stop, and the small local airport would be ideal for us to do some routine maintenance.

    Arrival at Selcuk
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We immediately got stuck into an oil change, switching up to the heavyweight Aeroshell W120 for the hot areas to come. Things went quickly with assistance from the boss, engineers, and interns of the maintenance facility on the field who came over to see what we were up to, and got stuck in. They told me they didn’t see many aircraft other than the C172s and the light twin that are based there. The heat was brutal so as soon as we could we ran up the engine for a leak check, got the cowlings back on, and headed to freshen up at the Curtis residence.

    Beer me!
    [​IMG]

    Dinner that evening was in Selcuk, at a local restaurant. The owner is a good friend of the Curtis’s and somehow runs an entire restaurant, with fantastic food, from a kitchen smaller than what I’ve seen in most 1-bedroom apartments! “I only have a small kitchen”, he told us, “so I had to get a small wife”. Somehow, though, he works miracles and we had a great meal before wandering through the town a bit and back to an early night. While I had a lie-in to look forward to, my dad would be up at 7 to get his flight.

    See lots more photos and a longer write-up on the website: https://katamarino.co.uk/index.php/2019/07/13/round-the-world-eurasia-days-11-and-12/
     
  35. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Dad left the next morning, and Gavin, his Dad and I spent the day with a couple of tourist visits; Ephesus, and the Turkish train museum; and then relaxed in the afternoon, flight planning for the following day. It would be a long one, and take me to the third continent of the trip, Africa!

    The library at Ephesus
    [​IMG]

    At the train museum; examples of all the steam locomotives that had been in service through Turkey.
    [​IMG]

    We were ready for departure at opening time at Selcuk-Efes airport, 8am. The first flight was just an hour, to the airport of Dalaman which offered both customs/immigration and AVGAS.

    Ready to go at Selcuk
    [​IMG]

    Rainbow village in Turkey
    [​IMG]

    We were instructed to hold for a while over a holiday resort, to wait for landing traffic. Helicopters were fighting a fire, coming and going across the runway centerline every minute or so.
    [​IMG]

    "Gozen Air Service", our mandatory Turkish handlers, were pretty good at communication but not great at billing. They presented me with an invoice for more than double the written quote. After some back and forth, we agreed I'd pay slightly less than the original quote (which was still over $1,200 for visiting 3 airports, and arranging our permit - Turkey hates GA). Gozen did, however, organise fuel with no delay. The cost was $2.60 a liter (as opposed to $4 a liter in Hurgada), so we took 500 liters (132 gallons).

    Fueling at Dalaman
    [​IMG]

    We started up, waited for clearance, and then were told there was a problem with our route and shut down again. We had no way of getting back to the terminal and the flight plan office weren't answering the phone but eventually a call to Gozen sorted it out. Finally we were away, climbing nice and slowly with all the fuel on board. This leg of the flight would be 690 nautical miles.

    Departure from Dalaman
    [​IMG]

    Goodbye Turkey; coasting out to cross the Med.

    Our route across Turkey, and down to Hurghada, Egypt, Africa!
    [​IMG]

    Crossing the Med
    [​IMG]

    The water crossing was only a couple of hours, and soon the shore of Africa was in sight!
    [​IMG]

    Coasting in over Egypt
    [​IMG]

    The Nile Delta was incredibly lush and heavily cultivated. Towns and small cities were everywhere.
    [​IMG]

    Soon, we were passing over Cairo, and the famous pyramids of Giza
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cairo faded behind us into the desert haze, and we were off along the Red Sea, down towards Hurghada
    [​IMG]

    As we drew near to Hurghada, pretty resorts started appearing
    [​IMG]

    For previous flights, GASE (our flight support company and good friends) had told us, fueling here was always from barrels. However, the Egyptian Air Force were keen to show off their new AVGAS bowser. It delivered fuel at about 10 gallons a second, and the nozzle was too big for my filler holes. My funnel didn't work as the flow rate was about 100 times too fast for it and was only "full on" or off. After a failed attempt at using a cut-up water-cooler bottle as a funnel, we found an empty AVGAS drum, filled it from the truck, and then used my hand pump to refuel the aircraft!
    [​IMG]

    Finally, fueling complete!
    [​IMG]

    Finally, relaxing in the hotel bar with a very bad Pina Colada. It was the "Captain's Bar" and our waiter had three gold stripes on his shoulder.
    [​IMG]

    Distance so far: 8,761nm.
    Hours so far: 78
     
  36. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,833
    Location:
    Olympia, Washington
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ghery Pettit
    Looks like you had a much smaller crowd at Ephesus than we did 10 years ago. Interesting place, isn't it?
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  37. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    126
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Andrew
    An epic General Aviation trip... thank you for sharing !!
     
    Katamarino likes this.
  38. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    We spent a day relaxing in the resort at Hurghada, and I prepared the flight plans for the next day. With the help of GASE it was pretty straightforward, they had also organised all the permits required.

    Chilling on the beach in Hurghada
    [​IMG]

    Evening in Hurghada
    [​IMG]

    =================

    Our taxi collected us from the hotel at 4am. I was very happy that we'd elected to fuel on arrival, given the chaos 2 days before! Getting through the airport with the help of the excellent handler from EgyptAir was straightforward and pretty quick, although security took quite a harsh line with me when I tried to take a few bottles of water through. Once it was explained that I was the Captain they were all smiles, and all liquids were passed without trouble. Gavin put his gold bars on and was just waved through!

    On our bus to the aircraft
    [​IMG]

    It would be along flight today; more than 960 nautical miles, the vast majority of them over Saudi Arabia.
    [​IMG]

    In the cooler, but by no means cool (still about 30 degrees) air of the early morning we headed out over Hurghada, and across the Red Sea.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The sea crossing wasn't long, and within an hour we coasted in over Saudi. I had always assumed Saudi would be a vast, flat sea of sand, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, there was plenty of sand; but also mountains, rock formations of all types, agriculture, and cities. We spent the entire time with our faces glued to the windows, hour after hour.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Half way across, suddenly, a familiar sight from the American west!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The city of Dammam
    [​IMG]

    Bahrain approach didn't seem to understand the slow speed of a Cessna 182 and sent us off on a 100+ mile arrival procedure, eventually agreeing with our protestations that this would take all day, and vectoring us onto a downwind.
    [​IMG]

    Approach to Bahrain
    [​IMG]

    For some reason, tower absolutely refused to let us taxi to our handling agents hangars, despite 2 requests before landing, and 2 after. We had to shut down on the opposite side of the airfield, wait for our handlers to argue the case with the controller, and then 30 minutes later taxi across to where we were supposed to be in the first place.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had plenty of space once we did get to the hangar.
    [​IMG]

    That evening we explored Bahrain a little, before finishing up with one of the best curries I've ever had, at the Crowne Plaza.
    [​IMG]

    Distance so far: 9,725nm
    Hours so far: 86

    Lots more pictures and full write-up: https://katamarino.co.uk/index.php/2019/07/30/round-the-world-eurasia-days-15-and-16/
     
  39. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    25,489
    Location:
    Paola, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    #bandozer
    Loving this trip. I'm learning quite a bit about geography and history from this.
     
    Katamarino and flyingcheesehead like this.
  40. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    After a night in Bahrain, we were off again. This time it would be a relatively short flight down the Arabian Gulf to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. We were expecting a few nights at the next stop, as we'd been told the permit for India hadn't come in yet due to difficulties finding fuel and finalising a route (I had wanted to fly to Ahmedabad, and then south from there).

    MENA aviation took us quickly through the terminal, and then drove us all around the airport back to their hangar, giving a good tour through the DHL hub and the US air force section!

    The hangar was as empty as when we arrived. Apparently all the jets were off taking rich locals to Europe for the summer.
    [​IMG]

    With the MENA aviation crew
    [​IMG]

    We backtracked on the active runway a little way, and were cleared for takeoff.
    [​IMG]

    There's a lot of land reclamation going on, to grow the size of the island.
    [​IMG]

    Our route down the Arabian Gulf, keeping clear of Qatar airspace.
    [​IMG]

    Views over Bahrain
    [​IMG]

    We were out of sight of land for a couple of hours, with only oil facilities and tankers for company

    Oil platforms in the Gulf
    [​IMG]

    Sir Abu Nu'Ayr Island
    [​IMG]

    A small artificial island being constructed
    [​IMG]

    Arrival over the UAE
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The highway north to Dubai
    [​IMG]

    A strangely placed airport; looks like they just built it directly on top of a road?
    [​IMG]

    The controller in Al Ain was American, and quizzed us about where we had come from. "Pittsburgh!" "That's awesome man". We flew a DME Arc to the ILS approach.

    Parked up just down from an Antonov AN-124
    [​IMG]

    We took a taxi to the hotel, and then got the news; GASE had managed to get the permit in record time, and we'd be flying tomorrow to central India. Any plans were cancelled, and we had room service for dinner, I finalised the flight planning, and it was off to sleep. We'd be taking off well before dawn tomorrow!

    Dinner time, with flight planning
    [​IMG]

    The view from the hotel in Al Ain
    [​IMG]