Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:34 pm
Thanks to all for your responses last week and just thought would report back having been to Carpentras over the b/h weekend.
Flight down was all straightforward but the restricted areas to the N and NW of the airfield make the approach from the N look a little tricky on the charts. However, spoke to Orange who gave us a transit through the area immediately to the North of the airfield before giving us a frequency change to Carpentras.
I made a few calls as we approached and based on what I had read was not surprised that first two calls were unanswered. I had obtained ATIS from Avignon Caumont so knew R30 should be the active so planned to join for left hand circuit for that.
On my third call, a response...initially French then in English simply saying "we have gliders".
So, with eyes on stalks we entered the circuit continuing with position calls, spotted one glider just departing on tow and second short final. Continued a cautious approach with a smooth landing on 30 and after taxying and parking up next to a Piper Malibu (the only other SEP there on arrival) found a chap in the office. In my best Franglais explained I would like to park up until Monday and how much should I pay him...after a few shrugs he suggested Euro 8 - not bad for landing fee and three days parking! If I'm honest, I am not 100% sure he was actually anything to do with the airport - possible just using an office that happened to be on the airfield...but it felt better having paid somebody something to land!
Our friends we were staying with had arrived as we touched down so we were soon back at theirs having a rather nice glass of chilled wine by their pool!
After a lovely few days with them, we returned to the airfield on Monday, filled the tanks with the self service pump (worked fine except for a relatively low value cut off which meant we had to do three separate card transactions to get near what we needed.)
On departure there were no gliders active and in fact a microlight and a Robin both landed while we were re-fuelling and were put to bed in their hangar.
Departed R30 and went to Provence Info to activate our flight plan and obtain flight information service and were asked to route west via AVN VOR before heading North which kept us away from the restricted areas etc. They actually then cleared us to track Northerly before we reached AVN which took us through the Western part of the Orange Class D and on track homeward - the usual good French ATC service (in my experience).
Overall, a lovely little airfield with a decent length, good condition runway and self service fuel....and perfectly placed for the southern Rhone wine region....I am sure we will be returning!