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What have you done with, or on your aircraft, this weekend? (April 20-21 2024)

I see that nobody has created a thread for last week-end, does that mean that nobody went flying? Because I did :-)

ENVA, Norway

I did circuits! :)


On Sunday the weather was perfect in the area, so it was time to do a flight in the mountains in the South. No pizza joint on the other side as Dan usually finds when he flies South, but a very nice grass airfield with awesome views:

I was flying with and air force pilot from the Norwegian army and he recommended a slight detour South to fly through the Erkedal valley, and I’ll do that again next time, the pictures do not do it justice, it’s much better in reality:

He mentioned that he usually flies it at 450kt, this time he had more time to enjoy the views, we were doing about 4 times slower :-)

On the way back we spotted backcountry skiers, can you see them on the picture?

And you, what have you done with your aircraft this week-end?

ENVA, Norway

Very nice @WingsWaterAndWheels, and I’ll sure try to incorporate another Norwegian tour in my 2024 Summer schedule. You live in an awesome country for sure 😃
Tell your air force pilot that he sure can’t fly as close to the terrain in the fjords, and sure misses most of the awesome scenery at these speeds 😉

Nothing my side, the weather’s been terrible around here for the last 2 weeks… had 10cm of snow on Sunday, luckily slowly melting away as temperatures are slowly on the rise. Spent quite some time working my HIL (Hold Item List), fixing things I had been delaying for som time, such as fixing fibreglass gear leg fairings, air filter box, and so on, on top of a 400h (engine exhaust valves wobble check) inspection.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Dan wrote:

Very nice @WingsWaterAndWheels, and I’ll sure try to incorporate another Norwegian tour in my 2024 Summer schedule. You live in an awesome country for sure 😃

Do let me know when you come, I’d be more than happy to meet you!

By the way I took many more pictures: here

ENVA, Norway

The weather has been cold, but weekend was OK. Made a few sightseeing flights and flew right seat with a friend who wanted to refresh the Savannah experience.
Picture is RWY 06 at my homebase – EELM

EETU, Estonia

Amazing that the Tupolev 134 can operate out of that place 🤓

Thanks @WingsWaterAndWheels, willco. Memories of my last visit at ENVA (a few years ago) with a blustery Southerly had me work pretty hard getting in with the Falco I had at the time… But my present ride is happy grazing and therefore able to use smaller strips 😆

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Amazing that the Tupolev 134 can operate out of that place.

I had the same reaction, thinking there must be another runway… but nope just a very short grass field and a museum. Looks like an interesting area to fly regardless, if you have the short field plane to do it!

Flew home the Savannah on Sunday from the refuge at ENVA during almost a whole month of “teleløsning” at ENMO Didn’t take any pictures though. Due to the nice weather I first flew to Henning (a small airport north). There I met two other planes going to Vinnu. Perhaps you met them @WingsWaterAndWheels ? They departed about 5 pm taking the coastal route south. I flew to ENMO and parked.

WingsWaterAndWheels wrote:

and he recommended a slight detour South to fly through the Erkedal valley

Cool. You mean Eikesdal and Eikesdalsvatnet? There’s also a very nice “GA route” in that area. I have only tried it once some years ago. Start at Oppdal (ENOP for instance), then over and along Gjevillvatnet entering the top of Innerdalen. What’s cool about it is that is it goes around Innerdalstårnet. It’s a flat-ish mountain peek, a very popular hiking destination. Flying there you can actually wave up at people standing above you Turning left around Innerdalstårnet, almost 180 degrees and into Flatvaddalen. A couple of minutes later you are entering Sunndal at 90 degree from 4-5000 feet, and on short (but way to high) final at Vinnu Really cool.

The elephant is the circulation

I had quite a busy flying weekend; I had a few days booked off work which I had intended to use to go to AERO Friedrichshafen at EDNY – it would have been my first time. However, cancelled that due to the poor weather forecast – while it might just about have been flyable I don’t have any de-icing on my aircraft and so I didn’t want to risk it.

Instead I did a few other things:

1. Visited RAF Brize Norton EGVN to see a friend stationed there. He flies the A400M for the RAF. No pictures unfortunately, but was a very interesting visit. Ministry of Defence airfields are generally open to the public, and Brize has 48 hr PPR.

The (mandatory) handling is outsourced to Serco, who didn’t seem to do much other than respond to emails and provide marshallers. No Avgas 100LL there, but the RAF will sell you Jet A if you need it. The Brize flying club does, however, have Avgas and they may sell it to you if you organise this in advance. I didn’t need any in the end. My friend picked me up from the parking space; you do need an escort if you are not serving military and so I guess PPR may be refused if you are neither in the military nor have organised an escort.

Flew the ILS into the airfield:

See the UK military AIP for further details. A bit on the expensive side: £111 to the MoD for landing, casual use indemnity (even with an insurance policy that includes the Crown indemnity), parking and £60 to Serco.

2. Left Brize to go up to Sywell EGBK to see my parents. Unfortunately the RNP approach is long gone, and the AFISO service has been downgraded to A/G. The airfield insists on PPR in writing for some reason, and their inbox is not monitored on Mondays. Hard runway was closed on the day I visited (Friday) for “motor vehicle testing” (per the NOTAM), which in reality seemed to be motorcycles going very fast up and down the runway and practicing jumps and wheelies.

No Avgas here either; usually available but they had run out by the time I arrived. The NOTAM went out while I was at Brize. Fortunately I had refuelled at the start of the day.

Much cheaper to land and park overnight, £27 in total.

3. IFR to Exeter

My first visit down to Exeter EGTE, and I went ‘airways’ / Eurocontrol IFR so I could get high up to benefit from the strong tailwind – 150 ktas with an almost direct tailwind got me nearly 190 kt GS. Made great time in some fantastic weather. The last bit OCAS was with Western Radar, who provide radar services OCAS above FL070 in the SW of England/Wales.

Fortunately Exeter had fuel. Overnight stay to visit friends and saw the Exeter v Bath premiership rugby match, in glorious weather.

4. Early start for Belfast City EGAC (after a few too many ciders at the rugby…) to visit my sister. Belfast has a few airfields – City EGAC and International (Aldergrove) EGAA are airline focussed, with the usual hassles that entails (mandatory handling) and Newtownards EGAD (or “Ards” in the local parlance) is the more typical GA field. City does not have Avgas; Aldergrove and Ards do. Avgas in NI is more expensive than England. I had previously visited Aldergrove and paid well north of £3/litre (including VAT). At the time of writing, Avgas at Ards is £2.88/litre – Exeter and Fairoaks for comparison are £2.40 and £2.16 respectively (including VAT). No instrument approaches at Ards.

In any case, I needed something in the City centre so I went with City – it’s only a 15-20 minute taxi journey to the city centre (Aldergrove and Ards are much further). Good handling experience with Avflight, all in about £325 (inc. VAT) for two landings, two off-peak departures, overnight parking and 2x handling charges.

ILS approach in over the city; they kept me quite high and needed nearly 1700 fpm at the end; fortunately was clear air.

Both Exeter and Belfast City are police designated airfields, so no police notification required. No GAR required either for GB→Northern Ireland and vice versa.

Unfortunately was fighting the wind that I had benefited from the previous day all the way up. Very slow flight, but didn’t want to go too low over the Irish Sea.

Final on the ILS:

5. Day trip to Islay EGPI Quick turnaround at Belfast City – collected my sister and departed straight away, VFR, to Islay in Scotland. Fantastic weather. We visited a local beach for a few hours, eating the picnic that my sister had brought with her.

Check the unusual opening hours – out of hours use is permitted but an out of hours permit is required and there is a charge for these. I didn’t need it. The RNP approach is available for all – with PPR (on a slot basis) – it is not just for approved operators as per the approach plates.

I’m waiting for the invoice but with the new fees (see the other thread) total will come to nearly £80, unfortunately. No longer possible to pay by credit card at the airfield.

Upon landing I claimed the achievement of visiting all four constituent countries of the UK in one day – if you will accept flying over Wales as counting. Perhaps I should have done a touch and go at Caernarfon to really seal the deal.

6. Back to Belfast – VFR arrival this time, had to orbit on downwind but the Tower did a good job of fitting me in between airliners – I arrived at a busy moment.

No time to backtrack so I had to vacate and taxi via the main apron, stuck behind the BA A320 that had arrived from Heathrow for a few minutes while it waited for its stand to become available. Probably was a mildly amusing sight for the passengers in the terminal building to see my little PA28 waiting behind an airliner.

7. Fuel stop in the Isle of Man – Ronaldsway EGNS I had intended to go to Ards for fuel on the way home but that was also NOTAM’d AD closed and no fuel at the last minute – not having much luck with fuel on this trip! I didn’t have much left, so the options were Isle of Man, Liverpool or Blackpool. I chose IOM simply because I’d not been before. Handled by 3 Legs Aviation, very helpful. £54 (inc VAT) for landing and handling; no parking charge for 2 hours.

Glad I went there because 3x RAF Hawks (RAF Valley, their main training base for RAF fast jet pilots, is not far away) came in just after me. Also glad I didn’t choose Liverpool, as I found out on my return journey that the airfield had closed for some reason – airliners were diverting to Manchester.


4° offset ILS.

8. Home, via Southend EGMC in the airways again for the trip home – weather a lot poorer by now and a few level changes to avoid ice. Always very impressed by London / Scottish Control, particularly LC in the Luton/Stansted/Southend area who are dealing with arrivals to those airports and Heathrow (one of the holding stacks at the LAM VOR is in that area) – there is constant rapid-fire R/T but they got be across in basically a straight line at FL070. Pretty cool when you’re above the airliners.

Went to Southend first because the cloud base was pretty low and I don’t particularly like the DIY approach to Fairoaks.

All in all, an excellent trip that I really enjoyed. Shame it was so expensive, though – airport fees totalled £800, and the fuel wasn’t cheap either. Could have been less, obviously, but I was on a bit of a tight timetable and needed the comfort of approaches, etc.

EGTF, United Kingdom
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