Ever since @aart came up with his delightful report on his microlight trip through Spain, I was thinking of some sort of response and here it is! Our plan was to fly to a couple of different fields in Spain, with relaxed legs in between, none of which should exceed three hours of flight time. This of course required stops in France, even with a Mooney.
The route we took was Mannheim (EDFM) – Alès (LFMS) – Requena (LERE) – Juan Espadafor (LEJE) – Badajoz (LEBZ) – Fuentemilanos (LEFM) – Auch (LFDH) – Mannheim (EDFM).
We left Mannheim on a brutally hot afternoon. Never before had temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius in the EDFM METAR. In fact it was cooler in southern France, at least a bit.
METAR of Mannheim and Nîmes near Alès
Alès airfield is located in the Cevennes Mountains and it was almost deserted when we arrived. Radio is aircraft to aircraft and should be in French. A Robin was about to leave while we refueled at the Total station. We had a short chat with the Robin pilot and then we were alone. We awaited the taxi on the porch of the aero club. The town of Alès is really nothing to write home about.
Refueling in Alès
On the way to Requena
LERE is dominated by what has been called a sausage factory here before. Radio is also aircraft to aircraft but it can be done in English. Reception was friendly and one of the instructors asked if we were willing to trade our Mooney for one of their ramshackle Piper Cadets. He was wearing high vis over his pilot shirt with epaulets, but we weren’t interested in the deal anyway.
Requena is a tiny town, good for a typical late Spanish lunch in an open air restaurant. You can see all the sights after your siesta.
Lunch in Requena
Before departing LERE in the morning
Requena from above
Juan Espadafor is situated to the south of Granada (LEGR), still in the CTR. Despite its beautiful location with vistas of the Sierra Nevada not much appears to happen there. One based microlight did a few patterns when we arrived on a Saturday but after they quit, there was no other traffic. There is a para jumping outfit at the field, but it wasn’t active. RTF is aircraft to aircraft once again but has to be in Spanish. Officially there is no Avgas, but you might be able to get some if you are in need.
Sierra Nevada without snow
Approaching Juan Espadafor
As LEGR is one of the more GA friendly AENA airports, there is no real need to fly to LEJE unless you want to collect another airfield. Visiting Granada, however is highly recommended, it’s one of the most spectacular places in Spain.
Granada, well worth a visit
The deserted airfield of Juan Espadafor
Badajoz is a very sleepy AENA airport but there is Avgas, a rental car company and no handling is required.
Short final in Badajoz
The city of Badajoz is not a major tourist destination but the surrounding landscape is really nice.
We had seen an interesting castle while approaching LEBZ and it was great fun to try to find it later on. It was quite a hike uphill, though.
Castle from the air, hard to see
Castle from the ground
Heading north again
Crossing the mountains on the way to central Spain
Fuentemilanos apparently is glider’s paradise. Pilots from all over Europe come to this place to soar for hours on end. There is a campground attached where many of them pitch their tent. Piston planes are welcome however and Avgas is available. Officially radio communication should be done in Spanish but English is commonly used.
A Mooney and many gliders in LEFM
We stayed at Segovia, a few kilometers north of LEFM where we hadn’t been before. This once again turned out to be a city of overwhelming beauty. It’s not large though, so a day and a half to explore was OK.
The beautiful city of Segovia
Segovia from the air
Our stop in France on the way home was Auch which is controlled, but not on weekends when it’s aircraft to aircraft in French. Again there is a Total station, but this place is not deserted at all. There is a lot of glider activity and moreover, there is a restaurant on site that has a good reputation.
d’Artagnan is from Auch
The whole trip took us ten days and we enjoyed perfect weather throughout. We met a few friendly fellow pilots and visited some beautiful tourist destinations. And we proved that Spain is a worthwhile country to fly to in a certified aircraft, as well
Wow! Thx for the great report!
What type’s your Mooney and how did it behave in the very hot wx?
Thanks for posting, terbang, nice trip!
I had not heard of Espaldafor, looks like my kind of field if going to wonderful Granada again.
Thanks for your report. It inspires me to fly again southbound to Spain.
Thank you! Great report, as always.
Nice trip @terbang thanks for sharing, about the right time for my inspiration as I am doing the same in a Mooney next week
I will check Requena (LERE) on way out (they have cheap Avgas?) and probably Badajoz (LEBZ) on way back if time helps…
If you wanna sell one day: leave the trim fully forward
What a brilliant trip.
Some good ideas for the usual late-autumn meet-up in Spain. We did Badajoz (for Merida) last October (though only 2 aircraft made it) so maybe Segovia this year?
Badajoz was “fun” in that the avgas pump officially shut 1300 UTC so I had to do a really early start from Shoreham; just after sunrise. In the end it turned out that the pump man was happy to wait all day if you were paying cash
Excellent photos! I can‘t quite share your enthusiasm for places in the middle of Spain, but still love your reports. You really put the Mooney to good use.
Cool trip! Looks warm
I’m a closet Mooney 252 fan. Roughly what average TAS and Fuel Burn did you have on the trip? The efficiency is compelling.
This Juan Espadafor airfield is interesting. It must either be new or an upgraded AG / fire fighting strip (there are several in the area). Certainly did not exist in its present form when I lived in the area. The trouble with many of these small strips in Spain is the total lack of local services.