Raduno 2012: Day 2

Posted July 5, 2012 by stevelup
Categories: Out and About, Post PPL, Raduno 2012

This morning the weather was pretty grotty again so we walked down to the beach…

Le Touquet beach

The two chaps you see in this picture are Customs officers. Never seen them at the airport – we know why now 🙂

Eventually, we decided that the best thing to do was head to the airport and see what the weather was doing elsewhere…

Le Touquet airport

All looked good so off we went!

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Mainly light scattered clouds…

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And some occasional nastiness…

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My weekend pad…

Nice little house...

Spooky cloud…

Cloud looks like a face!

Eventually Troyes airport appeared out of the murk…

Troyes runway

…just moments before it started pouring down with rain!

Landed at Troyes Airport

We hung around for a while at the airport – it was getting late, the restaurant was closed, and the rain was showing no intention of abating so we called a taxi and headed into town.

Gorgeous hotel room…

Nice room Nice sink
Nice shower Nice iPod dock
Nice bed Nice artwork

We went out into the medieval town for dinner

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Raduno 2012: Day 1

Posted July 4, 2012 by stevelup
Categories: Out and About, Post PPL, Raduno 2012

So… The day arrives and the weather is grotty beyond belief.

After hanging around for an hour or so, blue patches started appearing overhead and the METARs at all points along our route were flyable so we decided to make a dash for it.

Leaving Oaksey Park
Shortly after takeoff

As we neared the south coast, the weather rapidly deteriorated so we diverted into Shoreham.

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Just before Shoreham diversion

Safely on the ground, we had some lunch and started chatting with a Cirrus pilot who had dropped in to have his headsets refurbished. All the time, the weather was improving and a blue sky began to show itself so we decided to continue on our way.

Coast at Shoreham
Just after taking off from Shoreham

It is hard to believe that those two pictures were taken just 90 minutes apart…

Looking back towards Blighty, the nasty weather could still be seen sitting in a band.

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An uneventful channel crossing was made at around 5500 feet and before long, we were over French soil

France
Le France

The nice weather was not to last. About twenty minutes into the journey, there was some angry looking weather off to our right…

Shower to our right

Eventually, there was no safe way through it so we turned around and headed for Le Touquet instead.

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With the nasty stuff now behind us and to the left, the trip to Le Touquet was trouble free and soon enough was in sight…

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We were given a straight in approach for 32…

Le Touquet runway

Dinner at Le Cercle, Le Touquet

And before long we were settled at our hotel. After a tiring day, what better to do than eat at a nice bistro? We ended up at Le Cercle and highly recommend it.

Dessert at Le Cercle
Yummy Desserts

Raduno 2012: The Plan…

Posted July 1, 2012 by stevelup
Categories: Out and About, Post PPL, Raduno 2012

First of all, apologies if you just got a heart attack. Yes, I’ve just posted to my blog after over a year of not doing so…

So what’s happened over the past year? Bits of flying here and there, but all ‘business as usual’ and none of it very exciting so I didn’t think it all needed blogging…

Which neatly brings me on to what is planned for next week – a proper adventure!

We’re – all being well – going to fly to Italy with a bunch of other Flyer forumites.

The plan of attack is:-

Wednesday 4th July
Oaksey Park to Troyes Barberey
Lunch
Troyes Barbery to Cannes
Spend the night in Cannes

Thursday 5th July
Cannes to Sansepolcro arriving lunchtime ish

Friday 6th July
Spend the day in Sansepolcro

Saturday 7th July
Fly to Sassuolo for the VFR Meeting 2012

Sunday 8th July
Back to Cannes

Monday 9th July
Cannes to Troyes
Lunch
Troyes to Oaksey

Fingers crossed for flyable weather…

Trip to Le Touquet

Posted May 15, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Out and About

Hi Folks,

Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything here!

The plan was to make our first cross-channel trip as a bit of a birthday treat for myself a couple of weeks ago. A faulty battery in the aircraft coupled with thunderstorms quickly put a stop to that.

So, with a serviceable aircraft and the weather looking good, myself and Mel managed to make it on attempt number two this weekend.

As usual, I did all my planning with the fantastic SkyDemon software. If you have been living under a rock for the last 18 months and still haven’t tried this, you really must!

So, armed with PLB, life raft and life jackets, off we went. The plan was to cut just underneath the south western corner of the Gatwick CTA and coast out over Hastings.

I have to say that I found Farnborough East radio absolutely horrendous. There was some kind of beat interference on all transmissions both from controllers and other pilots – it made some of the RT almost unintelligible.

Once clear of the CTA, we climbed to 5200 and before too long, we were over the channel. The weather instantly changed from an overcast drizzle to clear blue skies. We were soon past the last bit of CAS so climbed to 6200 feet for the rest of the crossing. Before we knew it, we were at the FIR boundary so contacted Lille.

This – to me – seemed almost entirely pointless as just five minutes later it was time to begin our descent and contact Le Touquet tower!

It seemed to take an eternity to descend back to circuit height, and we were given a surprising ‘join downwind left hand for 32’ – this contradicted the airfield plate, and the advice I’d received from other seasoned travellers. I asked him to repeat just to be on the safe side, then joined as instructed.

The landing was a bit interesting to say the least. I still find it a bit difficult controlling the taildragger on hard surfaces – I had better get some more practice in… Anyway after snaking down the runway for an eternity (including missing the first intersection), we finally taxied to the apron and shut down.

Not sure what to make of Le Touquet itself. Everything was vastly overpriced – typical tourist town… That ghastly swimming pool complex on the beach just needs blowing up – it’s astonishingly hideous!

The airport was really nice though and there are some frankly stunning properties nestling in the tree lined lanes near the airport. Some of them were breathtaking – I dread to think the value of them, but they must be multiple millions.

We walked both ways between town and the airport – it’s a gentle 25 minute stroll which anyone should be able to manage.

I can heartily recommend the ‘Scoop’ restaurant – it’s on the main road on the way between the airport and town. Very good food at reasonable prices.

On the return trip, visibility crossing the channel was seriously nasty – there was no visible horizon at all. We followed the same route as the outbound journey and it took about 25 minutes longer due to the wind.

For anyone who hasn’t done the cross channel trip yet and is apprehensive about it, I’d say just get on with it and do it. It’s no different to flying in the UK apart from a few bits of extra paperwork. I really do not understand why some clubs enforce a mandatory ‘cross channel checkout flight’ with an instructor. It’s hard to believe this policy is anything other than a money-making scheme.

Where next? Well Cherbourg is the obvious choice, but I’ve been given quite a few other interesting suggestions too…


Clouds and rain over Blighty…


.. gave way to clear blue skies over the channel …


One of many large vessels seen


Land ahoy!


It was a beautiful day in Le Touquet


Downwind for 32 LH, this is the view over the right wing


Just a bit of fun – here’s the approach in time-lapse 🙂


A windy beach!


The next day, Bravo Oscar was found where we’d left her…


‘Orrible weather on the way back 😦


Coasting in over Hastings


My house!


One of the many new schools in Swindon


Third Day!

Posted April 4, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Vegas

Today was a fantastic day. Probably the best day’s flying I have ever had.

I’m utterly knackered after logging 4:50 in some pretty turbulent weather.

Flew over the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Wilmslow Crater

Landed at Sedona, took the crew car into town (free if you buy 10 gallons of fuel) and had lunch, then flew back to Henderson.

Today was a day of personal records. Longest flight, highest flight (12000ft AMSL), and by far most expensive flight :shock:

I got my complex signoff, and the flight review.

Unlike previous days, I managed to take loads of photos. I’ll post some below. The rest can all be found here.

I need to log one more hour with an instructor tomorrow in order to meet the insurance requirements to solo the Arrow, then I’ll be heading back home.

I think I’ll need to sleep for a week to recover from this!

Second day of flying

Posted April 2, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Vegas

The plan for today was to do some circuits and radio work. The problem was the wind which was in the high 20’s gusting to the high 30’s.

Oh, and it was a crosswind too! 1.3 hours logged of probably the most tiring circuits I’ve ever done.

I think the radio stuff is now coming together, I just need to get used to saying both less and more.

Less in the sense that you hardly say anything at all at a towered airport – no calling final, no advising you’re leaving the frequency and so on.

More in the sense that when you’re not at a towered airport, you make constant updates telling people of your position and intention. The language is very informal too.

We did five circuits at Jean (0L7) and three at Henderson before calling it a day. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it was!

The workload at Henderson was high – we used both runways, and did two right hand circuits and one left hand one. You have to be careful in the circuit there as well – if you extend too far, you end up in Class B airspace.

When we returned, we spotted a fantastic looking aircraft sat in a hangar so stopped off on the way back to the terminal building for a nosey:-

Breakfast #2 at KHND

Posted April 2, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Uncategorized

First Flying Day

Posted April 1, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Uncategorized

First things first. Damn, it was hot! 34 degrees on the ramp and no air conditioning.

Henderson Airport is spectacular and just shows what you can have when the state is paying for something and it doesn’t have to turn a profit!

A fantastic terminal building, great restaurant and some lovely machinery sat on the apron.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t take any pictures whilst flying today – my brain was just too frazzled to start messing around with the camera. I did, however capture the GPS track so I’ll slot in some Google Earth images as compensation.

Before I go on, I have to say one thing. The staff at Cactus Aviation are all absolutely brilliant – you could not ask to meet a bunch of nicer people.

Right – new stuff to learn, namely wobbly propeller, retractable undercarriage and lots of different airspace. So after an hour long briefing, we headed out to the aircraft.

I’ve clocked up about 7 hours on the PA28’s at Lyneham so am familiar with the type which made things more straightforward. One new addition to the run up tests is cycling the propeller, but apart from that, the pre-departure checks were the same.

I am a living disaster on the radio. It’s like being a 8 hour student again. I keep saying ‘November’ when you don’t need to and I’m sure a ‘Golf’ or two slipped in there. The ground and tower stuff I can just about cope with although it’s all very fast and quite a bit of ‘informal’ language is used. One thing I immediately noticed though is that you have to say a heck of a lot less than you do back home. There’s no calling final, and you don’t have to tell ATC when you are leaving their frequency. Both things I found a bit odd.

Where I really fell to pieces was with the non-towered stuff… In the US they have something a bit like our SafetyCom channel, except they are on published frequencies and shared by more than one airfield – often many miles apart. You really have to listen out and make sure what you’re hearing is meant for you, and all calls are both prefixed and suffixed with the airfield name. I really struggled with this on a number of levels. Firstly, lots of unfamiliar place names – I had no idea half the time where we were! Secondly, I really don’t know what to say in the first place! I’m sure it will come to me soon!

The Arrow is an exceedingly heavy aircraft. You really need to haul it off the ground, but once it gets going, the rate of climb is pretty impressive.

Departure to the south east from Henderson is interesting. You have to aim for a fairly narrow gap in the mountains in order to slot in between terrain and class B airspace. It’s a pretty impressive sight as when you pass the ridge, the ground rapidly drops away beneath you to reveal a dry sand bed.

We climbed to 6000 feet and did steep turns, stalls with power off, stalls with power on, practice forced landing and simulated gear failure.

Airwork done, we set course for Bullhead City using the Garmin 430 GPS where I then proceeded to do one of my worst landings ever. Completely screwed up the flare. The constant speed propeller is really confusing me at the moment. I’m used to whacking some power on to climb, and pulling it off to descent. All it seems to do with a CS unit is make you go faster and slower. I’m going to seek some clarification on that tomorrow and do a bit of reading tonight.

We departed Bullhead and decided to head over to Kingman. Now what a strange place that is. Huge two runway airfield – just a guesstimate, but I’d say considerably bigger than Gloucester for example – yet it’s completely uncontrolled. Not even air-ground radio. And this place had passenger jets on the ground, dozens of them. All brand new still with their protective plastic bits on obviously awaiting delivery.

There was little or no wind so we picked a runway at random and headed back to Henderson…

… where I did three more shockingly bad circuits …

2.8 hours logged today. I need to get 10 in by the end of the weekend so should be good to go!

Agenda for the next day… Yes, circuits!

Here’s my track in Google Maps

I promise to take photos next time!

Breakfast at KHND

Posted April 1, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Vegas

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Arrived in LV

Posted April 1, 2011 by stevelup
Categories: Vegas

Well, I’m in LV.

Some of the scenery en-route was breathtaking. Unfortunately, crappy shots out of the window don’t really do it justice, but here you go…

These are unedited, and there are likely to be duplicates / blurry shots.

Airport was an absolute nightmare with huge delays at immigration and baggage retrieval. I really thought that Sharm-el-Sheikh was the worst airport I’d ever been to but I now have a joint least favourite…

Picked up the hire car from the breathtakingly large rental centre at the airport. I’ve never seen anything like it… Vast!

I think driving here is going to be more of a challenge than flying. There are barely any road markings, and the turning right at red lights thing is taking some getting used to.

What with all the aforementioned delays, I was running very late and the FSDO was about to close. They stayed open late for me and I’ve got my temporary airman’s certificate. Can you imagine the CAA doing that?

My next challenge is to force myself to stay awake for a few more hours!