Amsterdam is probably one of those cities where visiting by airline makes so much more sense. Cheaper, quicker and more relaxed. Connected by airline to almost every place in Europe. But flying by GA is just so much more fun, more rewarding and more pleasant.
Sunday two weeks ago, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to fly there and check the place out. The decision was helped by the fantastic weather all around the place. At about 300€, Amsterdam (EHAM) is expensive, even if not ridiculously so. Alternatively, there are two GA airfields in the vicinity of Amsterdam, Lelystad (EHLE) and Hilversum (EHHV). The latter is grass-only, but otherwise a bit cheaper and a bit closer to Amsterdam than the former. Also, coming from the Frankfurt area, Hilversum is ideally located, southeast of Amsterdam. Note for the British flyers: both Hilversum and Lelystad can do immigration (with a PN; otherwise, no PN or PPR is required).
I arrived at Egelsbach (EDFE) airfield rather early in the morning.
By the way, this is the airfield restaurant at Egelsbach, which went bankrupt a couple of years ago. There are no real prospects of it opening again. Seems like it is impossible to make an airfield restaurant of that size work out financially, even at an “upmarket” aifield such as “Frankfurt-Egelsbach”.
This is what we have now . Makes every UK greasy spoon jealous. Anyway, it’s usually closed.
Anyway, I had a VFR flightplan on file and planned to fly more or less direct, after circumnavigating the Frankfurt CTR to the west. Planned ETE: 1:40h. After takeoff, I headed initially west and then northwest. Sneaking below the airspace Charlie of Frankfurt, one often gets good views of big airliners above:
Flying along River Rhine and past the city of Mainz, capital of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Once clear of the Frankfurt class Charlie, I climbed to a more efficient level and negotiated a crossing of the airspace Charlie of Cologne-Bonn.
The slant visibility wasn’t too good; the city of Cologne was almost invisible.
After clearing the Cologne-Bonn class Charlie, the Düsseldorf class Charlie was next. And while I was initially cleared in (the famous “fait-accompli” situation as described by Peter ) having presented myself to them at FL60 just a few miles from their boundary), a little later, they “kicked” me out. But they were busy indeed and my routing wasn’t ideal as I would have been essentially crossing the 12 mile-final of their runway 05L…
Here is a a plot of the entire flight which shows a “kink” where they kicked me out.
Shortly after, I was in Dutch airspace, talking to Dutch Mil. And sure enough, the landscape starte looking “Dutch” right by that time.
Not much later, the descent was started and radio contact with Hilversum Radio was established. At just after 10:00 o’clock, the airfield wasn’t too busy yet (I had heard it can get REALLY busy). The visibility still wasn’t too great, but still, here we are, at the end of downwind for runway 18. The airfield layout can be a bit confusing, but if you do some preparation, and use a proper VFR moving map, it will all fall into place.
A nice atmosphere there was.
A bit of a queue at the pumps (I didn’t need any fuel).
I have to say the gents on the “tower” were very friendly. They commented that my approach was perfect and they said that something like “when somebody comes to Hilversum for the first time, he usually messes it all up”. I paid 20 Euros for a landing fee (it’s the Netherlands, after all) and they called me a taxi. No rampcheck either (a rare occurence in NL ), so I was a happy camper.
The taxi to Hilversum train station takes just over 5 minutes (but still costs 22 Euros – ouch). Trains to Amsterdam Centraal are quite frequent (even on Sundays) and take about 30 minutes (12€ for the return ticket).
Some impressions from Amsterdam. At 22 degrees and with not a cloud in the sky, the city was hooving.
Oh, and by the way, I toured the city with a rented bike, which is the natural way of moving around in Amsterdam.
At a quarter past six in the evening, I was again ready to go. Taxying to the runways at Hilversum has to be done with some care, but it’s really no worse than at most other grass airfields.
A few minutes after departure, I was crossing the Rhine again. Looking west:
I initially climbed to FL55…
…and later to FL70, by request of Düsseldorf Arrival, who this time cleared be straight through (it was indeed much quieter on the radio than in the morning). Cologne cleared me through their airspace as well, so all was good. Here’s the plotted summary of this flight:
Cologne city, now definitely more visible than in the morning:
And Colgne-Bonn (EDDK) airport. As you can see, they are currently doing some extensive resurfacing work on their crosswind runway.
After crossing the Westerwald, it was time to descend and duck under the Frankfurt class Charlie.
This time, I elected to fly aroung EDDF on its eastern side, which brought me almost straight over the Feldberg.
And, as always, a few shots of downtown Frankfurt:
In the meantimee, EDDF had switched runways, so again, I had the airliners approaching above me. This one I didn’t manage to focus, but that gave it an artistic touch
On final for 26 at EDFE, looking north towards Frankfurt.
After another 1:40h in the air, me and “Lisa”, back at EDFE (she behaved very well ).
Nice report and looks like a fine day!
By the way, this is the airfield restaurant at Egelsbach, which went bankrupt a couple of years ago. There are no real prospects of it opening again. Seems like it is impossible to make an airfield restaurant of that size work out financially, even at an “upmarket” aifield such as “Frankfurt-Egelsbach”
That really is a shame. On the other hand, let me mention (again, I think) that someone had the nerve to renovate and reopen the restaurant at one of my home bases, EDLE, even if the future of the airfield is very uncertain. The Check-In cafe turned out quite nice, complete with an Airbus simulator inside and a very nice terrace to watch the airside action on a sunny day. Do stop by on one of your future trips!
@boscomantico : thanks for the nice trip report. Amsterdam is really a nice city worth visiting. Also good to see, that you don’t seem to consider the Dutch as the GA-haters any longer Your trip would have been even nicer, if you’d went up north a further 30 minutes to enjoy a day at the beach on Texel which btw claims to be the friendliest airfield in the Netherlands (hope to meet some of you on the Texel fly-in at the end of August – camping under the wing!).
@Patrick : Agree about the Check-In at EDLE – I hope to meet you there next time