Saturday, 22 November 2008

2008/10 Portimao diverting to Burgos

click on the title to see the video on DailyMotion

After 10 days in the Algarve we had to head back to Holland again. We wanted to be back on Friday, and because the weather did not look very promising for both Spain and Portugal we decided to start already on Wednesday.

We tried to take-off as early as possible, but Portimao is at the far end of the Faro TMA and you are not allowed to leave without a local controller present at Portimao airport. Never mind about filing flight plans before via the internet; this country has its own rules and everybody will stick to them. In Portugal you have to file a flight plan for local flights, even when not at or towards a controlled airport. Leaving before the filed departure time, even for a VFR flight is out of the question as well.

After take-off we were able to have a good look at the new racetrack near Portimao that would be opened that weekend. Some people say it might even be used for F1. Nearby is the Baragem do Bravura, where we considered buying some land. You could buy a lot of land, for not a lot of money, but I am glad that we decided to go for more developed parts on the coast.

The first part of the trip in Portugal was fine. The weather had not changed yet, and we were able to fly underneath the big restricted area's in the north east of Portugal and the west of Spain. Whilst passing Evora a dutch instructor wished us a good trip home. The NLS (now CAE) is using Evora as the base for their flight academy and we had already seen a couple of the dutch students on Portimao airport. The route straight through the Salamanca area went well, be it a bit turbulent between the local hills.

Just after passing Salamanca you are approaching Valladolid airport. Valladolid is a reasonably big regional airport. We had to circle around for a while at the southern approach point to give way to a Ryanair plane with a medical emergency. The, apparently dutch, female captain seemed to be in control.

Behind the Ryanair, we were allowed to land and our parking position was just next to the emergency medical helicopter that was ready for take-off.

Because of the deteriorating weather we just stopped for a quick lunch. Refueling was again not necessary since we had filled her up the previous day at Portimao. Worth mentioning is that the cross country landing including parking and handling cost at Valladolid where about 4 euro's (the airport would have been the number 2 airport in Holland).

When taxiing out to the runway again another Ryanair plane backtracking on the runway gave way to us so we could cross the runway to the taxiway on the other side. Not a very usual experience for us ..

We tried to fly over San Sebastian / Biarritz towards one of the smaller airports on the west coast of France. We had prepared the charts for a lot of options to deviate to but in the end we did not get that far. Big towering clouds where blocking the passage between the ocean and the Pyrenees. We tried flying over them, as we did on the way in. But at FL105 is was clear that this would not work this time, or at least we were not going to take the risk.

Above the Bay of Biskaie thunderstorms were predicted and we could already see the snow in the Leon area. Flying north over the ocean and trying to cut of a large corner did not seem a careful alternative as well. Even Vitoria was out of reach for a VFR approach so we called Burgos on the radio for approach instructions. Pure coincidence but surely a good choice afterwards.

Burgos has a large asphalt runway, and a whole new airport terminal. The people at the airport are very friendly and they help you with anything you need. Because they expected snow they even offered us a space in the local hangar, at the old part of the airport where the fueling stations is as well. Gladly accepting the offer, we were picked up and brought to the terminal building, received an advice for a hotel downtown. Perfect.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders ( and Wings over Holland ( Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

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