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Shoreham EGKA to Cologne/Bonn EDDK June 2013

This was the EuroGA meet-up.

First - a quick look at the weather:

The MSLPs for 0600 and 1200 showed the wx would gradually improve through the morning. Same for the 0600 and 1200 SigWx - not often I look at those but some people like them.

The GRAMET plot for the outbound flight suggested in would be doable between layers OK, with an escape route into warm air below the 0C level if necessary

The return flight looked a lot better

Returning to the outbound trip - the IR image looked scary

but sometimes this is due to wispy high altitude cloud, as indeed suggested by the first plot above. The higher-resolution UKMO IR image shows this cloud a bit better. One can see it is just thin stuff

Finally, on the morning of the flight, the radar image was clean

as was the sferics (lightning) image

The filed routes were



The return route was filed at just FL110 because anything higher takes one over pointless a tour of the North Sea... at artefact of the airways structure in south east UK (which Eurocontrol enforce but ATC ignore on actual flights anyway).

The general conditions are here

We soon climbed up into the cloud

and here we are between the layers as expected. It wasn't quite as per the plot; the first layer was FL080-FL110 and the base of the next one was about FL150. But in the context of reasonable IFR aircraft performance this was good enough

I levelled off at FL130 because any higher would have been a bit too near the layer above.

With generous engine temperature management, the TB20 climbs to FL130 in about 20 mins, which is pretty good.

At FL130, -3C, TAS was 152kt at 9.6 USG/hr. There was about 10kt of tailwind.

As an aside, the only other aircraft seen were airliners high up, as usual, but I did see one on TCAS which after a lot of work I did eventually spot as a tiny dot... amazing how small an airliner is 5nm away

Nearer the destination I got the weather over the satphone

Still between layers, during descent

Despite the dozens of STARs, everything is radar vectored so it's easy.

A couple of airliners on the ILS before me, and some more after me (not yet showing up)

The ILS was 32R. As about 1000ft, visual, I got an invitation to do a visual approach to 32L and here we are established on a 5nm final for 32L

Short final 32L

You get a FOLLOW ME car for both arrival and departure (though the latter cleared off after about 20 metres)

A Lear with wingtip tanks holding enough fuel to take a TB20 around the world...

The handler van turned up immediately... here we are waiting for the avgas

The BP avgas man claimed he takes only AIR BP cards, not Visa etc. I gave him an AIR BP card (doesn't get used much these days) but I did enquire about Visa and eventually it transpired you can pay by Visa, via the handling company...

The bowser fillup was just 0.2% off my fuel totaliser figure...


The tall building in the above pic is the EASA HQ - the organisation which has caused so much grief to European pilots generally and to the IFR community specifically, with their purely politically motivated attack on FAA licensed pilots. They certainly picked a choice location, with loads of superb restaurants and "night life".

The return weather was much better

and off we went

The airport behind us - the departure was from 32L

There was a thin layer of cloud about FL070

The return flight was all at FL100, as filed.

We got a DCT to KOK - a shortcut of 155nm right across the whole of Belgium.

Now the BAD NEWS

Superficially at least, the Shoreham (EGKA) weather was well below minima, which is 800ft for the 20 approach.

I had actually got that data before departure, but there wasn't much point in hanging around Cologne... even diverting into a dodgy motel at Southend (or even Lydd) is better because one can get transport back home.

Also the fog tends to clear. Also, a Metar reports weather within a 5nm radius of the airport so it could exist in one direction only and the rest could be blue skies.

Crossing the UK coast near Dover

one could see the Lydd runway still nicely visible outside the blanket of fog, and I did consider going in there while it was available, but it was more sensible to at least call up Shoreham (its ATIS could not be heard from that distance) to see what the conditions there are.

London Control were busy so I got changed over to Shoreham fairly soon so I could find out the conditions. They turned out to be OK, with the fog hanging over the coast

There was a fair bit of light cloud around at low level so I did the RNAV approach to 20; here we are established on the final approach track and descending

Some other traffic around

Just getting in before the fog

Later, driving home, one could see the stuff pushing over the hills just inland of the airport

The actual return route flown is here

I did not get a chance to capture the outbound route from the EuroFPL site although I do have the GPS track.

Both flights were just over 2hrs airborne time.

The handling company at Cologne is very efficient and very posh. The total cost was €110, which is not totally outrageous for a single visit, though I got ripped off by another €20 because I did not have the right sort of noise certificate. I had three of them, but none showed the current tail number. All three shored the airframe S/N but they did not accept that. For an N-reg there is a way to self-generate one and I must get around to doing that... Germany and Switzerland seem to operate this noise certificate charade.

After all that business with avgas needing an AIR BP card, it turned out that the man did not apparently use it, so I paid for the fuel with everything else, upon departure. Avgas was about €2.2/litre.

I think there will be a further invoice for a "navigation charge", though I don't know who the German CAA is going to send it to.... probably the US trustee, whose details they can find on google.

Incidentally, Hangelar is a total dump and I would not recommend it for anything other than perhaps a cheap landing onto a runway. On Saturday afternoon, it was like a small UK town in 1969... everything was shut. Not even a little cafe. And nowhere to stay. For fly-ins, one needs to pick reasonably good places, even if the landing fee is a bit higher.

Thank You to those who turned up. It was a great meeting. A pity the others could not make it. This shows the value of an IR, though one does need to be based at an airport which has instrument approaches if this is needed.

All pics taken with the Nokia 800 phone

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Thank you, very interesting.

I wouldn't have imagined the conditions to be so "good" on saturday morning. Obviously, you were lucky coming from the west, thereby missing the bad stuff that had already moved further east and south by that time. Sure was a very rainy saturday morning here in southern Germany...

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Great pictures, nice write up. I went down to Shoreham today to fly and there was a fog bank hanging around just like that one. I sometimes think I should take the plunge and do a full IR. It certainly gives you flexibility if you have the correct aircraft to go with it.

Always looking for adventure

Unfortunately fog is the one thing which will ground you in just about anything...

It is interesting why one so often sees fog hanging over the coast and not moving in, despite ~20kt of wind trying to drive it inland.

Obviously the answer must be to do with the temp-DP separation - if they meet up you get solid IMC - but what keeps them separated over the land?

Is it the radiation from the land heating up the water particles above?

It's probably the same answer to why clouds almost never go all the way to the ground. I recall asking that question somewhere years ago. It was something to do with heat from the ground.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Incidentally, Hangelar is a total dump and I would not recommend it for anything other than perhaps a cheap landing onto a runway. On Saturday afternoon, it was like a small UK town in 1969... everything was shut. Not even a little cafe. And nowhere to stay. For fly-ins, one needs to pick reasonably good places, even if the landing fee is a bit higher.

Why did you stay there, especially when the weather was crap? Hangelar is a housing area but the airfield serves Bonn and Cologne. The tramway is a 5 minute walk from the airfield and takes you into Bonn in a few minutes and Cologne in a few more. That's about as good as it can get for a GA airfield, usually they tend to be remote and hard to reach. Both Bonn and Cologne are great towns.

You don't fly to Stansted to see Stansted, do you?

Thanks Peter, interesting to see the meteo forecasts and the images of the actual weather during flight.

Looks like the clouds over Belgium I saw.

A bit later FL160

I got the same direct to KOK yesterday.

[edited for text formatting - always put a blank line before/after a pic if the pic is small]

EGBE - Coventry, United Kingdom
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