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2018 Flying vacation - Sweden to Corsica

This summer I had planned to go vacationing somewhere by plane, but for a long while was hesitating to go north (the weather was fantastic over all of Scandinavia) or south. The choice was settled when I could join my sister and some friends to Corsica, and the weather looked solidly nice over the whole period.
Surprisingly, the bookings on the club planes had been rather underwhelming up to that point, so I could book one of them for 16 days straight without any negociations.
The plan was to fly first to eastern France (LFQW) near my parents’ place to say hello to the family, then to my sister’s place (LFLY) and then on to Figari (LFKF), and roughly the opposite on the way back a week later.

I left my home base ESMK on july 20 towards Hildesheim EDVM. Whether I could make it all the way to France that evening or not, it is more or less the halfway point. I had heard of the place, but never flown in so two reasons to go.
I was cleared to my cruise level FL65 shortly after start. This flight was very uneventful, essentially ESMK DCT SALLO DCT EDVM, the air was calm and smooth with a very slight headwind.
OAT was above or well above ISA during the whole trip, I made good use of the mixture lever including on the ground.

Bye-bye Sweden

Hallo Germany

Flight time 2h45min. Landing fee for a PA28-161 (MTOW 1105kg) was 5€.

Fuel was quite reasonable

Good food at the restaurant. Friday is burger day.

Checking the whether further south, there was a yellow alert for thunderstorms in the eastern part of France. I decided to make a shorter second leg north of that area, to another airport I had never been to but heard good of, Koblenz-Winningen EDRK.

More mountains means more bumpy

Siegerland EDGS

The approach is really pretty over the town, but beware of a lot of glider activity north of the field. At one point I was side-by-side with one (me to the asphalt runway and him to the grass) and my FLARM went properly nuts (now I know what the alarm level sounds like).

Flight time 1h30min. I refueled UL91 (2.31 €/l), parked the plane for the night and could finally get one of those:

Landing fee was 12.1€, one night parking 6€.

It was only my second day of vacation overall and I was a bit tired by then, the shorter second leg was the right decision. I later learned there was fairly intense rain around LFQW that evening, so no regrets.
Taxi to Koblenz was around 25€.

The next day was july 21, the Tour de France ULM (138 machines in total) was doing a lunch stop in Vesoul LFQW. I had discussed this with the club’s chief pilot and planned for arriving after most of them had left. As I could not depart too early anyway I went for an extended stroll through town.
The river Rhine

The fort Ehrenbreitstein with the iconic cable car to get there

The river Mosel

The Deutsches Eck, where the rivers Rhine and Mosel merge.

Kaiser Wilhelm I

The old town



Finally I got back to the airport to be ready for landing after the Tour ULM was gone.
Right after departure I had to fly more east than planned to avoid a massive CB with a big shower under just south of Koblenz, then SW for the next CB. No pictures from that part as I was busy in the cockpit.
Finally from overhead Saarbrücken I was back on my planned route at FL65 above a layer of FEW.

Ten degrees left or right along the way to avoid build-ups, but I can’t have lost more than a few seconds on those.

L’etang de Gondrexange

It turns out the Tour ULM had arrived late to LFQW due to weather at their departure airport in Macon LFLM, and was leaving correspondily late. Instead of landing when they were all gone, I landed just as they were starting to take-off. It was the first day of the tour, some were probably over-eager, I did not get any answers to my radio calls, when I called final there were two planes on the runway and one still on the taxiway but beyond the hold line… Oh well, if they did not want to talk back to me, they seemed to hear me and see my landing light and I managed to squeeze a landing between two departures (and be alone on the RWY!).

Lesson learned, I should have called the chief pilot before take-off to verify the timing.

Flight time 1h50min. No landing fee at LFQW, 100LL is 2.22€/l, Total or credit card.

Some days later I flew a local flight with my nephews (first flight ever for them) and my mother. The point was to see our region from above, but not too far above, so it was quite bumpy at 2500ft MSL in the afternoon’s convection. In retrospect I should have briefed the new flyers a little more, and brought a bag or something (they were quite a bit more quiet and not quite as brave as usual…. ;-) ).

Next travel day was July 25 to get from Vesoul LFQW to Lyon Bron LFLY. Also some TCU and showers here and there, but also a lot of nothing and good visibility (better then it looks on the pictures) in between.

Les Dombes

Turning final LFLY RWY34

Flight time 1h15min. Refuel (100LL was 2.03€/l) and park on the grass. For landing fee and on night parking I paid the “long stay package” for 32.28€, they don’t give details (# of night, pax etc..).

Next day July 26 was the departure to Corsica. Full fuel, 2 POB + bagage, we were more or less at MTOW.
Departure at 12:00Z, OAT on the ground was 30°C. ISA + ~15°C means 2000 feet higher density altitude, climb performance was less than stellar.
Our filed route was LFLY LUKUM EVALA RETNO DGN STP LONSU AJO LFKF.
We got a short-cut on departure to fly via the BR NDB instead of the S and SA VRP, but this means staying below the LFLS TMA at 2500ft max. Scenic but bumpy.
After that we were cleared to climb to FL75, but I actually stopped the climb at FL55 because I was redlining the oil-temperature. The next thousand feet I got for free from the first updrafts when we got closer to the alps. I know FL65 is the wrong half-circle level for our heading, but the cloud bases were just above us so FL75 would have meant a lot of avoiding, and FL55 was too little close to the hilltops. Except for gliders and paragliders, we were the only light GA in the area though. My FLARM box was certainly handy here to see and be seen by the non-motorized folks.

Convection over the mountains

Near Sisteron

Lac the Sainte Croix. R138 was active, that’s how close I could get.

The bay of Saint-Tropez, with Sainte-Maxime to the left and Port Grimaud to the right.

Popular place

Next land must be under these huge build-ups

Upon arriving near Corsica, all VFR traffic is sent to the VRPs along the coast at 2000ft or below and report (NW, W, SA, S, WF, WAF in sequence). It is not a published VFR route in SD, but all VFR trafic I heard was directed that way.

Aproaching Corsica near Cargèse (point NW)

Ajaccio at the bottom of the bay (point W)

Propriano (point S)

Approaching Figari LFKF, joining left hand circuit for RWY23.

On the downwind

Waiting for fuel (I do not have a Total card), 100LL was 2.0€/l. We later discovered the booth with the card reader was air-conditioned, so we stayed in there.

Flight time 3h20. Landing fee in LFKF was 36.54€, parking on the grass was 12.18€/night. Parking is PPR during the season, from the friday the hard apron gets quite full, there were 3 jets and a couple turboprops when we landed, a Business CRJ left while we refueled and a PC12 landed as we left for the GA terminal. The grass apron has 10 places, there was already an SR22T, a DA40 and an Arrow. The ground there is rock hard, the usual screws have zero bite in it, I imitated the neighbours and used two large stones. The wind did not change direction during the whole week so you can put the stones on he correct side.

Corsica is a very pretty place

Lunar eclipse the first evening

We went sailing and snorkeling in the Lavezzi Islands

Jetskying

Views of the limestone cliffs near Bonifacio

Restaurant on the beach. I ate mostly fish the whole time, delicious

We also went canyoning near the Aiguilles de Bavella, but I managed to not take a single good picture that day. The scenery in the canyons is absolutely stunning, especially as we went in the afternoon so the light got warmer.

The return trip started on august 1. Filed the same route as coming down but in reverse. It was already 32°C on the ground at 11:00Z, I was not unhappy when the tower offered an immediate departure from the intersection C (TORA of 1400m down RWY23) to get the cockpit ventilation going.
After that the VFR route again initially but I requested and got to climb before crossing Ajaccio LFKJ, I guess they had no traffic just then.

The air of the Mediterranean was again very smooth. Approaching land, the weather over the Alps looked like CU with bases at or below our altitude, but they were sufficiently sparse to never be a problem. Same mountains and same clouds, I forgot to take pictures. This time I barely saw any gliders, despite my best efforts looking out.

Flight time 3h20min. Same deal with fuel, parking and fees.

The trip home continued the next day with a first stop for lunch in Freiburg EDTF.

Lac de Vouglans

Pontarlier, with the airport LFSP visible

I used to go skiing in these mountains when I was a kid

Montbeliard and Hericourt

Transitting the Basel TMA is usually not a problem even VFR, but being near the airport with three arrivals back to back the controller sent me on a detour north. On the plus side I flew over the old town of Neuf-Brisach.

We have used Freiburg as a fuel and food stop several times, and it is a very nice place.
Flight time: 2h05min. Landing fee 10€, 100LL 2.32€/l, restaurant by the apron.

Destination for the night was Erfurt.


Quite some glider activity over the mountains, FLARM was very handy.

Flight time 2h10min. I had been there 2 times but only for quick refuel and food. The guy at the handling had recommended to visit the city though, which I wanted to do now. So I parked, we refueled quickly (100LL 2.41€/l), he noted all the details to prepare the invoice for the next day and dropped me off near the exit. The tram is 50m away, goes every 10 minutes and for 2€ brings you to downtown in about 30 minutes (with one change). The town was almost not bombed during WW2, so remained very original. The old town dates from years 1100-1200.

The cathedral up on a hill, with the stairs used as the scene for the opera festival.

Houses around the cathedral square.


The Town Hall built in 1275 and its square


The Merchant Bridge





Erfurt also had one of the earliset universities in Germany. Here a Student House for the less fortunate pupils

The university hospital

The second reason I like Erfurt is handling 11.9€ (follow-me car, fuel truck on the apron, bus to and from the GAT, security on the way back in), landing fee 7.91€, one night parking on the hard apron 4.86€. Let’s use these numbers as the benchmark towards the FRAport non-sense.

Finally from there was a straight line back to base on July 3. Again very quiet in the air at FL75.


Hello again Sweden

Fligh time: 3h00min.

Total block time to Corsica and back was 22h15min.

Average fuel consumption 31l/h. One liter of oil. Average speed 105-110KTAS. While totally feasible, with a faster plane I’d certainly do it more often.

ESMK, Sweden

Thanks for a great report! Nice to see the machine I trained in and did my IR exam in (2011) :)

ESOW Västerås, Sweden

Thank you Arne for that beautiful trip report! That´s certainly a long trip, and all VFR. I hope you tried the “Eiskaffee” opposite the Erfurt cathedral. I´ve taken the tram down from the airport just for that!

EDFZ, Germany

Great report/pics Arne.. Sorry about this swarm of darned ULM’s getting in your way

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

A super report and super pics. What an experience, especially to have done it as VFR!

You are very fortunate to have a wife who does these trips with you

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I like your report! Your entry point to Germany was in the region of Barth, one can see the famous Darß, which is from my point of view the nicest beach on the Baltic see in Germany. Regarding fuel at Hildesheim: they raised the price three month ago, Avgas was 1,85 Euro before, which I would call quite reasonable.
The restaurant at Koblenz airfield is a greek restaurant, one of the best in Germany.
I have been at Figari three times already, each time landing and parking was free. Unfortunately, things are changing. But good to know that handling is still not mandatory.
And yes, Erfurt remained pretty original, next time you should visit nearby Weimar which is easily reachable by train. Erfurt/Weimar would be a great place for a fly in.

Berlin, Germany

And yes, Erfurt remained pretty original, next time you should visit nearby Weimar which is easily reachable by train. Erfurt/Weimar would be a great place for a fly in.

I do agree completely with @highflyer, Erfurt is worth a fly in and they do have everything, customs, fuel parking space.

Additionally Weimar has it‘s own field: EDOU, 670 m grass. We have been there last year with the Bonanza. Nice.

@Arne thanks for the trip report. We made it in the other direction. Flying north. Trip report will follow.

EDDS , Germany

Thanks for the report!

EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

great report, thanks

EBMO, EBKT

Härlig resa, @Arne !

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