Thursday 23 May 2013 12:23 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
Tatenhill - Poitiers - Perpignan - Girona - Bordeaux - La Rochelle - Dinard - Tatenhill
Two of us had originally planned a leisurely trip to Majorca but the weather in the UK put an end to that! So with 3 days available we decided to head off on a shortened version but still with the intent to get our wheels on the ground into Spain!
We departed on Friday, in not the best weather, with a direct route via Havant and MP to Poitiers. Weather around Le Mans not great with low cloud but good enough to get into Poitiers. Departed Poitier enroute to Perpignan and much improved weather. Great views of the Pyrenees approaching Perpignan and an overnight stop for us - good hotel and excellent restaurant. Next morning a trip down the coast to Girona (obtained a slot the previous evening from a very friendly ATC chap). Stunning views down the Costa Brava and slotted in between the many Ryanair flights that use Girona - a very busy airport but no problems for GA traffic (think it was a 12 euro landing fee). Filed a flight plan, had a drink and snack and then departed for Bordeaux routing o/h Perpignan, Carcassonne, around Tours - all in excellent weather. Very hot in Perpigan and Girona with clear blue skies - great!
Landed at Bordeaux and met by a friendly handling agent who looked after us in a very comfortable lounge. Drinks, notams, weather etc provided without having to ask. Two pilots already there having arrived in a Cessna Mustang and waiting to head off to La Rochelle, They were keen to show us inside the aircraft, luxurious seating and a very swish all glass cockpit.
We also departed for La Rochelle and took a great flight up the coast, again with some excellent scenery enroute. Landed at La Rochelle (with the offset approach to final) for our second overnight stop. Managed to book the last room available (due to Music and Arts Festival that was taking place) in Hotel Saint Nicolas. Very nice hotel in a central location close to Vieux Port and all the restaurants - would recommend it.
Next morning another sunny day with clear blue skies, so refuelled and headed off to Dinard to clear customs and check on UK weather. Slight issue on the ground at La Rochelle as after taxying for fuel we shut down, and when we went to start again all electrics had failed! Did some wiggling of battery connections and fuses and after 10 mins it started again with no further problems.
Landed at DInard and checked weather etc and although not the best weather decided to head back to our base. The weather was probably better than forecast with a nice layer between 2500' and 4500' with great viz (lot of broken cloud). As we approached Oxford weather deteriorated which required some flying at 1800' but still with good viz, after Coventry the weather improved for a very gusty and turbulent approach to Tatenhill.
All in all an excellent trip and I cannot praise the French controllers enough for the assistance they provide which makes it a stress free trip!
If anyone has any concerns about flying in France (and indeed Spain) there is no need - they are very GA friendly.
I have uploaded some photos on Flickr of the trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28076097@N08/sets/72157624410579815/
Great pics! Looks like you had a fab trip - reminds me of a trip to Barcelona (Sabadell) we did in a Warrior some years ago which included Carcassone and La Rochelle: I recall appalling turbulence and wind shear along the Costa Brava, must have been a bad day in terms of wind speed from the wrong direction! Glad you enjoyed your trip!
Hi AA - Sabadell would have been great, we just didn't have the time (but maybe next time).
We did have quite a lot of turbulence routing over Perpignan towards Carcassonne but I guess that this is normal due to the wind coming over the Pyrenees.
Pretty aircraft.......a little younger than mine. Have I seen it parked at Cranfield? Do you have 75 or 90usg?
I intend to live forever.... so far, so good.
Is http://www.flickr.com/photos/28076097@N ... 410579815/ G-LEAM?
That seems to be my recently sold Dakota. Now that's unfair!
AF - thanks for that (not as exotic as some of the trips that you have made!), but ok for a 51 year old 'bird' that will happily cruise all day long at 140kts!
FF - yes we had some work done at IAE so well spotted (1959 PA24-250). It has four tanks making 310L in total.
RS - pretty sure it was G-LEAM and we certainly thought it was a Dakota. Quite a coincidence, as we pitched up at Poitiers, just as G-LEAM was departing and found out that one of the pilots was doing his training at our home airfield!
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