Looking at my long trips e.g. down to Greece, one recurring thing has been the tedious return flights.
They are made much worse by the usually strong headwinds when flying north-west.
I wonder whether stopping in interesting places on the way back home – the opposite of what most people do – is the way to avoid this.
If the flying is boring, could you use EasyJet?
I wonder whether stopping in interesting places on the way back homeOn my trip to Corsica this summer, I knew before even leaving Sweden that I would PROB99 be stopping overnight at Erfurt on the way home. I don’t know yet where I’m going for my next long flight, but on the way home I will do Kassel, Leipzig or Nürnberg. With a PA28 I have to stop for fuel anyway, they are within 3-ish hours from base which makes for a nice last day flight. There are plenty of GA-friendly places well worth a visit, even for a 2nd or 3rd time visit.
Audiobooks kept me sane as a child in the back of the car driving across France. I have happy memories of going to Duxford for maybe my 6th birthday and discovering The Hobbit (abridged, and on cassette of course).
I’ve tried this on a couple of long uneventful flights but either you can’t concentrate on the story or you risk missing a radio call. BBC iplayer radio or podcast apps are good for 30 minute educational-but-not-too-serious programmes like The infinite monkey cage or The write stuff.
I sometimes do a touch and go near the destination to make it more interesting, but most of my flights are 2 hours or less.
A real stop would become part of the trip.
If stopping overnight then you should stop for two nights. One night stop will just be hassle with refuelling, airport stuff, taxis and getting checked into a hotel. You’ll just end up sitting in the hotel thinking I could have been home.
Two nights gives time to explore and really breaks up the flight.
Another option would be to consider doing as least part of the flight VFR. You’ll never be bored on a VFR flight as you’ll be working too hard! But hopefully it’s an enjoyable challenge type of work!
A Jet prop would certainly be one way but you lose the capability to do short local fun trips. Well, you can “do” them but in reality you won’t because you can’t see much out of the windows, can’t get any decent photos (except possibly sunsets), and psychologically it is hard to accept that the trip from Shoreham around the Isle of Wight is costing you 300 quid (500 in a TBM).
Yes I had in mind 2+ night stops i.e. actually stop in some places you want to see on the way back.
Not doing VFR anymore Too much planning, in some countries. It’s not bad in the UK, with a lot of Class G.
My suggestion is turn the bloody autopilot off! There’s no doubt about it hand flying a GA aircraft concentrates the mind, especially when in IMC, and makes time pass much more quickly on long flights. And it hones one’s flying skills which do suffer from lack of use.
I have often thought that airline pilots who claim 10,000+ hours of flying experience are kidding themselves as less than 1% of that time has been spent actually doing any hands on flying. Of my 6660 P1 hours all but 550 (when I was flying commercially in ME aircraft) have been on aircraft that had no autopilot and that includes 3 transatlantic trips in SE aircraft. Hand flying can be tiring but I suggest it is much more rewarding, I never get bored even on long trips.
I have a friend who reads a book once he is in the cruise and in VMC on long IFR flights. Says it makes the time whizz by.
Set 7600 on the transponder and take a nap while the autopilot flies.:)