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Report: VFR to Slovakia

As a fellow reader of the forum, I could learn lots of stuff after getting my license in 2017. Now its time to give something back. Last summer during the end of August, a good friend of mine (a glider pilot) and I decided to make a trip towards South or Central-Europe. We marked Italy, Croatia and Slovakia as possible destinations. During the preparations, I could easily find lots of information about flying in Italy and Croatia, but when it comes to Slovakia, trip reports and useful pilot experiences are very rare. I just wonder why, because Slovakia is a mountainous country with scenic landscapes, tasty food, friendly people, full EU-member and they have quite a few airfields for GA. I’ve been in the Tatra mountains during summer 2013 for mountaineering and winter 2015 for skiing, and I’m still dreaming about it! So why wouldn’t flying be awesome too?!

A few days before our planned departure from my homebase in Germany, the weather forecast was quite unreliable. After almost every hour, the forecast on our planned routings changed. One destination was secure though: Prague in Czech Republic. Since my last visit to the city was quite a while ago and my friend has never been there, we decided to fly first to Prague and then further to Slovakia and maybe Croatia later on. We already contacted some airports in advance, so accommodation, fuel and rental car could be arranged in advance.

On the 26th of August, we took the turbocharged Super Dimona of our local flying club and headed for Prague. We choose Letňany (LKLT) as first destination, which is the most closest airfield to the city center, including its own subway station! Furthermore, you have a big aviation museum direct next to the airfield. The people on the airfield are extremely friendly and helpful. Obviously, they enjoy getting visitors from abroad. We paid 700 CZK for landing and parking, which is quite cheap for its first class location. I never thought that a capital city in Europe could be so friendly to GA…

Since I love to capture all my adventures on camera, we decided to make a video series of the trip. Creating time for editing is not always easy, but I finally find a way to continue our project of showing Europe from the pilots perspective. We talk in German, but everything has been subtitled.

The most important learning moments of the first leg are:
1. Flying VFR “on top” is great, but make sure you get a clearance for the entire way. In our case, Czech ATC kicked us out of airspace Charlie at the border, just at the time we flew shortly over decent undercast. We knew, that the ceiling would quickly change to broken and scattered behind the Ore mountains, but that didn’t change the fact that ATC forced us to descend.
2. Be sure to tell ATC if you’re not able to follow up their instructions. I did ask for access to the TMA, but after being rejected, I didn’t tell I couldn’t descend further due to undercast. Luckily enough we found a gap in the clouds very soon, so a descend was easily possible before the TMA would drop. But the hassle wasn’t necessary if ATC would allow us to enter the TMA for only a few minutes.

Nonetheless, we had a great flight and even Czech ATC came up with a redress. Enjoy the video!



Will be continued. Next stop: Jasná (LZJS)

EDKM, Germany

Very nice video, it looks like you had some serious fun!

Thanks a lot for sharing!

EHLE, Netherlands

Nice video guys! I am still rated for TMG but it has been many years since I last flew the Dimona. Every time, the TMG class rating is extended together with the SEP rating. I remember the great view from the cockpit. You guys are living your dream!

EHRD, Netherlands

Hi Frans,

very nice, enjoyed it. And subscribed to your channel.

Loved the life vests… :-) I assume there was no more space on board for them, so you just put them on?

This one is a good example of where a flightplan, although not strictly requited, might have somehow eased getting clearance for the German class C and the Praha TMA….

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Nice video, great trip, thanks for sharing!

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Love it. Especially that you included all the radio coms, really felt like I’m in the cockpit with you.

Btw, my FI told me that getting vfr clearance into C (above FL100) is almost impossible in Germany, but you got it quite easily. Need to try this in the future, too. And I’m slightly annoyed with myself that I didn’t try it so far :(

Switzerland

Great report, Frans, and a nice video. Thank you for making it and posting it

Great to see people going places.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Thank you all for the first feedback! Love to hear you guys enjoyed it! Lots of more to come within the next episodes. However, besides the videos, I will keep writing some further background information here about the trip.

AeroPlus wrote:

Every time, the TMG class rating is extended together with the SEP rating. I remember the great view from the cockpit.
That’s a big advantage of having both class ratings. I do the same trick in reverse, building hours in a TMG. The Dimona is great for its price-performance ratio and suitability for mountain flying. The cruising speed (up to 110kts TAS) is even reasonable too. That being said, I would also take a DA20 any time, but none are available in our neighborhood for a similar price.

boscomantico wrote:

Loved the life vests… :-) I assume there was no more space on board for them, so you just put them on?
Very good guess! :-) The Dimona offers not that much space for luggage, especially having an aerotowing-installation on board and stuff for mountaineering, so we had to be creative.

boscomantico wrote:

This one is a good example of where a flightplan, although not strictly requited, might have somehow eased getting clearance for the German class C and the Praha TMA….
Yes, that’s something we suspected as well. In the upcoming legs with flightplan, they cleared us automatically through CTRs and TMAs. Never thought a VFR-flightplan could be so useful, at least in the Czech and Slovak Republic.

HBadger wrote:

Btw, my FI told me that getting vfr clearance into C (above FL100) is almost impossible in Germany, but you got it quite easily. Need to try this in the future, too. And I’m slightly annoyed with myself that I didn’t try it so far
Actually, I did it before even without an active flightplan and it worked too. I guess it depends on where you want to fly above FL100. I never tried it near Frankfurt or Munich, but it worked also above Cologne/Bonn. Just give it a try someday! ;-)
Last Edited by Frans at 26 May 10:21
EDKM, Germany

@Frans: why wear life vests if the flight is (mostly) above land?

EHRD, Netherlands

@AeroPlus: We didn’t had more space left in our baggage room, so we had to wear the vests on each leg. @boscomantico observed it correctly. ;-)

EDKM, Germany
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