background on myself and the airplane:
I woke up
late for aviation when someone ‘offered’ me the FS2000 for 5 euros back in
2003. Later the FS2004, IVAO online when in 2012 I decided to start the PPL(A).
In order to accommodate with my professional activity, I did the theory and
some practice in Malta, finishing later the license in Portugal.
Tired of flying
inside my comfort zone and around places where I was familiar, wiling to expand
and take advantage of Schengen, buying would be the way to go. After research
on how and what (youtube helped a lot), finally I decided buy an Arrow IV
with a long history on Finish Air Force and the rest in the hands of a private
the certification on complex aircrafts, my first experience: ferry the aircraft
from EFKU to LCPH during winter, gave me the confidence and the
alertness/situational awareness to what follows.
On 11 June
2017 an early rise for a long flying day. Annual checks recently finished
with 78, 76, 78, 76 and only the brake disks replaced, it was time to start
the trip. Tanks full with AvGas (2,91E/L), direction to Skopje with a technical
stop for refuelling in LGSM. Expecting already headwinds above 13kt, a technical
stop somewhere in between was advisable, and Samos was the elected place.
the items on the luggage compartment:
Leg: 11June2017 LCLK 0542Z – LGSM 0931Z
speed: 112 kts
VANES DCT USINI DCT LARKI DCT
departure we are authorized to join R19. Nothing major till approaching Rhodes
when we are requested to deviate due to intense traffic to Kos. Initially ATC
requested a bigger deviation, a few exchange of communication and we were
allowed for a much shorter route. It was going to be my second landing in Samos,
despite my brief experience I already learned that if there is something to
expect in Samos is a considerable crosswind. So, there we go for the 09 with a
14 kts left side crosswind.
landing, direct taxi to the pump, with an approximately 3 euros per litter. Expecting
the continuation of moderate headwind to Skopje, we took the minimum possible
to arrive Skopje with enough fuel (hour and half with deviation to Nis, Ohrid
closes Sunday mornings) and be on the safe side.
fed, it was time to take care of the crew, pay the fees and continue. Making a
long story short, (we already have a trend open on Fraport taking over airports
in Greece), things aren’t better. I requested a technical stop for refuel,
meaning staying on the airside. The handler offices are on the landslide,
meaning that you are obliged to pass through customs. While crossing both areas
I am approached by a customs officer and asked if I have something to declare.
I replied that I have no idea what they are talking about since I am supposed
to be on the transit area. Again, "do you have more than 10,000 euros with you?
No, but I wouldn’t mine”; and so we went. When we were returning back to the
airplane we are stopped again on the customs area to show the passport from which
I complaint with the argument that I am supposed to be on the transit area. For
the record, that costed me 30 euros for customs fees which I only realized
later. Meanwhile, it takes time for you to pay the handling, and additional
time to go to another office to pay the landing fees. The latest, because I had
not with me (was in the plane) the ARC, it cost me additional 11% VAT; 130
euros for handling, 58 euros for landing.
Cloud cover over Cyprus,
we were denied VFR so we had to go SVFR:
At 65% power
and 114 kts of GS. At least 25 kts headwind:
11June2017 LGSM 1101Z – LWSK 1415Z
speed: 118 kts
H59 MES DCT NEMIS DCT LUPIS DCT GIKAS DCT DIKNI DCT FSK DCT DISOR DCT KORIV DCT
Back to the
plane, additional kts crosswind made it a quite challenging t/o. Departure from
rwy 09 does not give much room for rwy heading, Turkish airspace is right in
front. We are requested for left heading DCT ORMOS which I kindly refused,
instead requesting a right heading followed by a 180 turn DCT ORMOS. Such
procedure allowed us to gain some altitude over the mountain area adjacent to
the north side of the airfield.
Up we go to
8,500 ft., no more surprises till Skopje. Approaching LWSK, we were request to a
hold due to approaching traffic, and after to report final. Despite the good
visibility, we request and got cleared for a 5nm final; ILS frequency on NAV1
and there we go, eyes on the instruments, taking advantage for training
2 days visiting friends and a walk through the memory lane for old times.
my landlords from the time I lived in Skopje:
in the vicinity of Skopje:
it’s not Paris, it’s Skopje:
working there for almost 2 years at an International Organization, I am very
critical on a way that money was spent to transfigure an entire city into
a nationalistic representation.
Skopje and not having this desert for diner at Pelister Restaurant (former
long legs restaurant as I like to call it) is like going to Paris and not
see the Arc de Triomphe. Ok, I kind of saw it without being in Paris but the
desert is a must anyway:
costs: AvGas Euro 1,1/L and Euro 55 for landing, handling and 2 days parking.
13June2017 LWSK 0806Z – LDSP 1049Z
9500 ft., 8500 ft., 6500 ft., 4500 ft.
speed: 115 kts
TETOV/N0135A095 DCT MAVAR DCT ODRAS/N0135A085 DCT VOLBI/N0135A065 DCT
PETAK/N0135A045 DCT MAMOL DCT TILVO DCT NERRA DCT TIKSA DCT SIPAL DCT BAMRO DCT
to the aircraft, all paid and t/o rwy heading with a right turn direct above the
city of Skopje. After Tetovo we requested to follow the highway until the city
of Gostivar, turn right to Mavrovo Lake, with the Debar valley on our left side
before the mountains that separates FYROM from Albania. Arrived to Albania, we
started to request a descend step by step based on terrain clearance till 3,500
over the coast line. Clear sky.
FYROM. Mavrovo Lake, the place where I have learned to ski. There are a few
videos about it, but definitely not interesting:
mountains between FYROM and Albania with Kosovo at the horizon:
in Croatia, we were requested to further descend to 1,000 ft., and follow
the coast line. Obviously ‘devastated’ by such request, I am obliged to share
my attention between flying an aircraft, looking for traffic, navigate, and
look to the scenery while taking a few photos.
one has to go through while flying:
holds, we are clear to final and land. And what a landing…… while flaring,
I am of the impression (now) that I left a bit of remaining power on the engine.
It was a strong one followed by a bounce, and a final landing. All in front
of an A320 waiting for departure.
comments on the landing:
efficient handling, 20 minutes late we were outside looking for the bus stop
night after a couple of hours in the beach and a walk around the city:
14June2017 LDSP 0934Z – LJPZ 1117Z
Max speed: 124
speed: 110 kts
DCT GAPRI DCT ZDA DCT LUKAV DCT ULPIN DCT PUL P28 ABLAT DCT 4525N01339E DCT
after t/o soon transformed in a sort of mist with dust, making it hard to have
a defined horizon. After a report it to ATC, it was time to pay additional
attention to the AI. After departure we are requested to head immediately right,
away from rwy heading. Recorded a few interactions with ATC, mostly to follow a
few VRP along the route. ATC was very cooperative, allowing us to choose
between a few options on route and altitude (1,000 or 1,500 ft.).
As far as I know, there
are no Croatian Islands for sale:
we requested to be passed to Portoroz CTR. Landing was a no brain, straight
to rwy 33. Waiting for us was the already famous follow-me quad and the golf
car to the terminal. After a quick refuel with a Jet A1 shot, time to visit
Piran. The airport has a shuttle service to Piran, 15 euros one way. In our
case, they also provides us with advice on a hotel after a mistake on booking
a place to stay. After 3 days of relative long flights, my back was already
on a complaint mode, so we found time for a full body relaxing massage. Services
and passport control were easy and simple.
city of Piran:
15June2017 LJPZ 0844Z – LOWS 1117Z
Max speed: 149
speed: 116 kts
DCT 4532N01334E DCT 4533N01345E DCT 4536N01356E DCT EPODO
DCT NIPEL DCT REKTI DCT EVAXI DCT VAXIS DCT RASTA DCT PEREX DCT 4741N01307E DCT
morning we again used the shuttle service provided by the airport. Time to pay
the bill, refuel and sign the guest book. About costs: AvGas Euro 1,93/L and
Euro 36 for landing, handling and 1 day parking. Jet A1 short on arrival was
needed a handset radio so I had the chance to buy it there. Also I was lucky to
find my new flying mascot which you will later see having fun at the Berchtesgaden
DCT PS1, and a lovely air perspective over Piran. The route was as planned
with minor deviations approaching LOWS. There, we were allowed to a straight
in to the rwy 33 final. Yes, my first
time over the Alps, it took additional planning and special attention to weather.
The numerous existing valleys allows one to find places to land in case something
goes terribly wrong. The route was planned taking that into consideration.
from 10,000 ft:
and there is not much more to say about the service provided. From the gate
to the terminal area was a quick step, followed by a simple goodbye, see you
in 2 days. 15 minutes after and we were on the way to a rent a car.
National Park was for long time on my wish list for places to visit. Almost
2 years ago when I drove my motorbike from Portugal to Lebanon, I did plan
to stop there. An unfortunate episode postponed my intentions, regardless
of I arrived safe into Lebanon.
were we spent the afternoon. We cross it by boat and later had time for a
2 hours walk around part of it. One can really find peace of mind in there:
the sightseeing balcony before enter the tunnel and lift to Eagle Nest.
Eagle Nest at the top of the Kehlstein
Mountain. From the historical perspective, Eagle Nest was built as a birthday
present for the 50th anniversary of Adolf Hitler. Sad history facts
apart, it is a beautiful place:
only we reached the top, 5B-CLV recent mascot also reached it. We still had
time to visit a couple more beautiful places around:
Two days that
seemed too short ended and it was time to continue our trip.
17June2017 LOWS 0955Z – LKTB 1122Z
Max speed: 147
speed: 124 kts
4752N01308E DCT MATIG DCT LNZ DCT LADAG DCT LOKVU DCT GIVIP DCT
deviation from the plan. Originally we had plan to fly to Skopje, refuel and
continue to OHRID. Weather forecast was not favourable towards south, which was
also confirmed by the meteo briefing given by the meteo office at LOWS.
to remain there or fly north away from the unstable Alps area. We choose the
second. LKTB was the obvious choice by a number of reasons, I knew the airport
and I also needed to visit the flight school there in order to try to find some
compromise, in terms of time (available to both), to continue the ATPL.
fuel and expect to find it cheaper at LKTB, we paid Euro 65,08 at LOWS for
landing, handling at 2 days parking. On that, I have to say that the service
provided is excellent, planning room which includes the possibility to a phone
meteo brief with the meteo charts on a screen in front of you.
approved, time to go to the airplane. Minutes later we were on the air, with
initial points after t/o, Maria Plain and Eugendorf we were after directed to
the points on the FP. It was a non-eventful flight, already in Czech airspace
and after GIVIP we were passed to the Brno Tower and requested to join the left
downwind rwy 27. Landed, quickly out of the airport, visited the flying school
and soon we found ourselves on the way to the city. Sorry but Brno is not
interesting enough in order to publish some photos (and we didn’t take any).
18June2017 LKTB 0552Z – LWSK 0954Z
Max speed: 181
speed: 136 kts
A4 BERVA P974 TABLIN L616 ALAMU DCT TORNO DCT VEBOS DCT BABIT T23 RISTU DCT
LAVRO DCT INRES T23 VAGEN DCT RAXAD DCT SKJ DCT
as we had a long day ahead. First, refuel the aircraft. After paying, filling a
few papers and pass through customs we were ready to go. The coats were: Euro
1,56/L AvGas, Euro 77,44 for handling, landing and 1 day parking. Again, it was
an efficient service.
had a few concerns weather related, in particular the last part of the flight,
south part of Serbia. If the initial part was again non-eventful, after Nis we
started to have a few problems with the cloud coverage. In one point, while crossing
a few clouds, a slight layer of ice started to accumulate on the wing tips.
Immediately reported to ATC, that time NIS APP, when we requested for a descend
from 8,000 to 6,000 ft., that was refused due to MSA south of my route. Because
ATC had no radar, the only way to descend to the requested altitude was to
follow a specific radial, completely in opposition to the direction we were
going. That obviously would be an option case the level of icing would started
to accumulate. Again to 8,000 ft., hopefully that was not the case, and
strangely after a while there was no sign of ice on the wing tips. The approach
to LWSK was bumpy with a couple of downdrafts and a bumpy ride all way to the
ground. Right downwind rwy 34, final and sweat landing. Due to the workload on
the last part of this leg, sorry but no time for photos: fly the aircraft,
navigate, communicate and for the last, take some photos. Photos were
definitely at the end of the list. That was my first ice encountered.
18June2017 LWSK 1108Z – LCPH 1635Z
Max speed: 177
speed: 137 kts
Time enroute: 05:24
DCT SKJ/N0135A060 DCT TIKVA/N0135A080 DCT ERANA DCT
ALIKO/N0135A105 DCT ELPIS DCT AGISA DCT PELAS DCT SKS DCT ERIMA DCT USINI DCT
VANES M601 DASNI W195 TOBAL DCT
stop for refuelling and use of the facilities. No change on price on the Avgas,
because I forgot to mention on the first report for LWSK, fuel needs to be paid
in Euros or USD, no credit card. Probably it is possible to pay with some
the services: EURO 33 for handling and landing.
ft. broken, and some high terrain along the initial part of our route, ATC was very
cooperative and gave us a lot of latitude as long as we defined an exist point
to be coordinated with Greek ATC. So we followed along the valley and crossed
the border east of what was initially planned at the MAKED point. Able to
climb, we then followed the route as planned. After LGSY, AMISI, we requested
6,500 ft., due to cloud ceiling, which was authorised. We experienced a few
communication problems between EVENO and DASNI, soon we switched to Nicosia and
requested Athens info to be informed of the frequency changed.
10,500 ft. somewhere along
the Greek airspace:
rwy in sight we were instructed to join left downwind rwy 29.
the nightmare arrived. Yes I own a Cyprus registered aircraft, with all
documentation in order. Yes, my aircraft is allegedly stationed in Pafos. I had
a number of problems again, which I will refrain to address in here since they do
not contribute to the general knowledge. Other issue, second time I land in
Cyprus, but, and I already looked, never saw a single piece of information
about what they call the General Declaration that one needs fill and sent to a
number of authorities regarding all flight in and out of Cyprus. That was
finally filled, signed and given to those authorities. Another nonsense paper.
Pafos and rest.
morning a bit of pool, beach and sun, before the last leg to LCLK in order to
mount a new ELT.
19June2017 LCPH 1404Z – LCLK 1442Z
Max speed: 148
speed: 115 kts
Through a 5B-CLV
mechanic’s friend, I got access to my aircraft, filled a local FP (something
new again, the ICAO standard ones and the AeroPlus FP seems not to be accepted)
and it was time for the last leg. Note from the author: I don’t intend to fight
the system, what I would like is to find where the rules are written in order
to learn and comply with the system. Continuing, after departure, left turn
heading, proceed to Pakhna and Limassol training area. After Salt Lake already
with Larnaka Tower, cleared to right downwind and final rwy 22 for the best
landing of the 9 legs.
base rwy 22:
the end, it was a nice adventure across south Europe, where finally I crossed
the 100 hours barrier of total flight time. A first not pleasant ice encountered,
something that I was pretty elucidated since I had to ferry the aircraft from
Finland to Cyprus during winter time. Didn’t happen that time, on a couple
of minutes I entered a cloud layer over Latvia, happened now, a clear prove
that moisture and negative temperatures can lead to ice even on summer times.
now-a-days, as it was demonstrated by the experience in Samos, is a place where
GA seems to be not welcomed. Comparing Greek prices with like places like
Salzburg, Portoroz, Skopje, Brno, or even Split in the peak of summer it is an absurd
and extremely sad exercise. I am of the impression that southern countries,
including mine (Portugal), more recently, are going on the wrong way when it
comes to GA.
A word for
LJPZ. They are all what GA should be. Sympathy, friendly and family environment,
makes you feel welcome and with a desire to return. Loved it and I will for