Tuesday, 23 December 2008

No flying today

Apparently it's not meant to be today.
The fog is clearing everywhere but not where it should disappear.
Better luck next year. Happy holidays.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Crosswind training IFR Eelde 12.2008

Click on the title to see the HD video on DailyMotion

Today not the visibility but the wind is the determining factor. Again there is a big wind shift between runway elevation and the layer starting from a couple of hundreds of feet. From 1000ft upwards there is more than 40kts wind with an angle of 40 to 60 degrees cross on runway 23. Interesting for training purposes, but the turbulence is also challenging for the video crew.

On the ground the maximum gust according to ATC is 29 kts on the last approach which would be on the limit of the max demonstrated crosswind for the DA40 of 20 kts.

Ummetje survived his logo party. Class 8-3 is now called the Governors. Sounds pretty tough and ambitious (I still prefer "Granny's Pride"). We consider to take him with us as well, but after a quick inspection of his weekly luggage he seems better of going back by train.

Whilst lined up on the runway to return to Lelystad again we are able to watch some para's perform their tricks right next to us.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.pancake-airlines.com/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Pancake Airlines at IFR minima

click title to see HD video on DailyMotion

Finally! Nice to have some IMC weather during Marijke's IFR training. During my whole IR training the weather had been to easy. The basics of IFR flying in solid IMC are exactly the same but we were really looking forward to experience what it's like. On this day the circumstances on EHGG in terms of visibility where exactly at the acceptable minima, both in terms of RVR, cloud cover and vertical visibility.

At the same time the cold front was moving from west to east, and visibility and cloud height at Lelystad were already above VFR minima (so we were able to return as well). At first we had to delay the flight plan a little bit because the measured cloud height at Lelystad was still a bit low. Only a thin layer is enough to keep you on the ground. We departed from Lelystad as soon as possible (nr.2 plane that day) to be able to return before the fog would increase again in the final hours before sunset.

Shortly after take-off we were already in VMC on top of the thin cloud layer with beautiful views of the sun playing with the clouds. Further up in the northeast corner of the Netherlands the clouds were getting thicker and the fog reached out to the lower levels.

Now we had to rely fully on the IFR procedures and the G1000 instrumentation during our approaches at Eelde. The local flying schools were not flying, except for a single Beech Baron from KLM Flight Academy. We were not sure whether it would be possible to land. Even if we had to abort or go around, it would already make us happy to be able to practise in solid IMC.

Because of the conditions we decided to make maximum use the G1000 and autopilot; it's able to fly the whole ILS approach on runway 23 down to the decision altitude. From that point at 200ft, if you are exactly on the right track, we found out that you still have plenty of time to make a descent landing. With our approach speed of 90 kts the RVR of about 650m is not a real issue as well. The only real issue in these calm conditions was the vertical visibility, seeing the runway lights on time to be able to continue the descend.

After a touch and go and a full stop, we checked conditions at Lelystad again before selecting the ROLDU1D back to Lelystad. Once in the air you can let the autopilot fly the SID again. The first few minutes after take-off are the most important in these conditions, especially in a single engine plane.

Once in the air we hear both Transavia 780 and 782 over the radio headed for Eelde. If we are not mistaking both of them had to divert to Schiphol in the end; we see one of them passing us on starboard.

Conditions on Lelystad were much better but you could already see the ground fog increasing. As Eelco explains, once the fog really start developing you can often see the ground from above but you loose all (horizontal) visibility when you try to land. The sun is straight over the extended runway, but we use the final part of the instrument procedure for Lelystad as a reference for the landing.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.pancake-airlines.com/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Ummetje gets lost - The Making Of

Click on the title to see the HD video on DailyMotion

This Friday Ummetje's class at KLM Flight Academy has its Logo Party. As a sneak preview you are able to witness the making of his contribution to one of the topics during this promising evening (sponsored by Playboy!?).

Ummetje is filmed on a trip from Lelystad to Texel and back with the Pancake. You can have a look at the result that was used as input for the total class 8-3 video via http://www.dailymotion.com/pancake-airlines/video/x7r5u9_ummetje-gets-lost_travel.

Special guest star Marijke acts as the stewardess for the Unaccompanied Minor, a role that seems to fit her well (a part from loosing her very first UM out of sight in no time).

Ed, Mike and Miriam: thanks very much for your contribution to this video.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.pancake-airlines.com/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

Friday, 5 December 2008

G1000 IFR training examples 12/2008

click the title to see the HD video on DailyMotion

Now it's Marijke's turn to get her instrument rating. She's planning to do her last 3 ATPL theory exams in January so it makes sense to prepare for the practical exam as well. As you might have read before, my experiences with Eelco as instructor and Wings over Holland where pretty good. No wonder that Marijke chose the same combination.

Due to mutual holidays the start up in 2008 is rather slow. There's no need to rush, since we are allowed to fly IFR together with my rating. I don't think either of us would go flying solo IFR just for the fun of it.

Marijke still has about 45 hours of instruction to go. Gives me the perfect opportunity to come along in the backseat. Especially in the winter months this should bring us a couple of new references in solid IMC conditions and/or dealing with lower freezing levels.

It also gives me the chance to follow the IFR training on video. Existing training video's are more desk based, with screen captures and endless ranges of buttons to push. I wonder how it would look like if we would show the IFR training elements on video from a real live environment. This video is a try out in search for the right format. Please let us know if you have additional idea's or suggestions that might improve the format.

You will still need some button-knowledge to able to do this yourselves. The practical use and the possibilities of the Diamond DA40 with G1000 however are clearly visible. And yes, I will clean the windows and the MFD/PFD next time. In this try-out I used sub-titles in stead of a voice over because it's easier to use the pause button on the video player to read them in detail if you need to.

I will just publish the recordings parallel to Marijke's IFR training, as it should have a logical sequence in it. Let's have a look at it afterwards to determine whether it makes sense to edit it into a more structured way.

The IFR training flight in this video is on December 2nd 2008 from Lelystad (EHLE) to Groningen/Eelde (EHGG) in the Netherlands. The weather is fine, with some showers and lower clouds. Freezing level is around 3000ft. We file 2000ft LLS DCT EEL DCT SO.

Reaching the Eelde TMA, the ATIS informs us the ILS is temporarily out of service. We here Danny of Eelde Approach saying it will be active again in about 10 minutes. So we start preparing for a VOR/DME approach for runway 23 first, based on own navigation in the direction of the holding at SO. We will make a parallel entry into the holding at 3000ft and will be ready for the approach after one full round in the hold.

After the VOR/DME approach we will perform 2 ILS approaches, one with maximum use of the G1000 & autopilot and one manually flown with a full stop.

In the meantime I have plenty of time to make pictures and videos of the training and of Eelde airport (and wave at Sander in school or in building B).

The video shows that we are asked to speed up the last one to enable a small training jet behind us to follow along. Although we did our best to expedite vacating the runway, the jet has to make another bonus round.

On the way back to EHLE you can see the weather getting a bit worse already as a first sign of the approaching occlusion from the west. Snow is predicted and Eelco clarifies that experiencing a snow shower is totally different from a rain shower. In a snow shower you will loose all visibility and you have a higher chance of disorientation. We got back to Wings well in time before the first snow showers hit the country; so we will save this for one of the next training flights.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.pancake-airlines.com/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

2008/11 Diamond Aircraft visit Wiener Neustadt

click on the title to see the video on DailyMotion

Last Friday the 14th of November we were invited to the Diamond headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, just 40 kilometers south-west of Wien. We flew in the day before with SkyEurope, a Czech low cost carrier, so we could spend some time in Wien.

From the airport you can take a special train to reach the city center within a few minutes.

The video shows some pictures of Wien including the Stephansdom and some other historical buildings. From Wien to Wiener Neustadt is also easy by train, it takes less than half a hour.

Diamond Aircraft is located on one of three airports in Wiener Neustadt and is located in the north-eastern sector of the city. This is the airport where we first saw our current plane the PH-PCA Diamond DA40. We have been flying it for only a year but if you see all the blog stories together it seems much longer. The DA40 really outperformed our initial expectation measured on what we are actually doing with it, and the ease with which this seems to be possible. Even for pilots with our limited level of experience.

Diamonds' Bernard Gruber gave us a warm welcome in the Katana Cafe of the airport. The headquarters is still a very busy place. Besides all the activity around the factory and the test flights with experimental versions of the plane, there are of course also all kind of marketing and sales activities carried out on the premises. That day a French media team was inspecting the DA42 NG on several demo flights. The NG is equiped with two Austro Engines, from the nearby sister company that started developing this diesel engine a couple of years ago.

Of course the financial problems at Thielert did have an impact on Diamond as well. The Thielert situation has also effected existing plane owners and Diamond has always been Thielerts number 1 customer. The positive news is that during our stay in Wiener Neustadt we sincerely got the feeling that we are close to a solution of the current situation. A solution not only focused on the upcoming Austro engines and for both new and existing Diamond customers.

The Austro 2.0 liter diesel engines will be a little bit heavier than the current Thielert engines, but the extra weight should be more than compensated by the higher power of the engines. In addition Diamond expects them to be even more fuel efficient. Certification of the engine itself is expected on short term, the type certification on the DA42 and DA40 should follow shortly afterwards.

We already saw a significant number of DA42 equipped with the Austro's in final assembly. On the video you can see the difference in rate of climb between an Austro equiped and a Thielert equiped DA42 that took off in sequence, without being absolutely sure of course that the same take-off technique was used. Another feature of the Austro seems to be that it makes a lot less noise when running idle.

Next to the Austro alternative Diamond seems to continue implementing newly delivered Thielert engines into its planes. It will be interesting to follow how the future will look like, what alternatives will be available and what scenario's will be developed by Diamond for both new and existing customers.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.diamond-aircraft.at/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

2008/10 Diamond DA40 Burgos to Holland

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After diverting to Burgos (LEBG) on Wednesday there was no chance of flying back to Holland on the next day. Severe thunderstorms, very early snow in the north of Spain and over 50 kts of wind lead to an additional day in Burgos.
The people on Burgos airport are unbelievable friendly and supported us all the way. We were even offered a space in the hanger to get shelter for the storms during the night. Both landing fees and overnight parking charges are very cheap in Spain, as we found out in both Valladolid and Burgos.

Burgos turns out to be a very authentic Spanish city with all kind of local shops, restaurants and tapas bars. Lots of tiny little alleys, beautiful buildings (cathedral, castle, plaza major), and nice view from the hills. Apart from the hotel and airport virtually nobody seems to speak English, so we had to improvise with the few words of Spanish/Portuguese we were able to produce.

The next day, Friday October 31st, we decided to try to leave as early as possible to use the short and only temporary improvement of the weather. ATC at Burgos starts a bit later than the airfield opens which was new to us on an airport of this size. The very friendly girl from operations recommends using blind transmissions during backtracking and departure, in case of eventual other traffic.

Between two layers of clouds we were able to follow our VFR flight plan over Vitoria (LEVT) and San Sebastian (LESO) into France. The Pyrenees don't extend all the way to the ocean, so you don't have to fly very high to be able to cross the Spanish/french border over land. Both San Sebastian and Biarritz (LFBZ) are very nice airports close to the ocean. The beautiful San Sebastian airport is even directly parallel to the water in a small bay.

ATC allowed us this time to follow the coastline across all restricted area's around the coast between Biarritz and La Rochelle. Further north we encounter some rain showers until we have to decide whether to stay below in marginal visibility or go on top. The TAFs promised us an easy descend further up north, and clouds seem stratified and not to high so although freezing level is at FL50 we start to climb. After an additional hour cloud tops are getting gradually higher and higher until we are at FL115 and minus 10 degrees.

The altitude is no problem for the DA40 with its turbo diesel whatsoever, but with this temperature we would have to stay out of clouds even when switching to IFR. ATC provides us with MET updates for Deauville and Le Touquet (both are indicating good weather), but in real life the overcast extents a lot further north than we had anticipated.

We had been flying for almost 4 hours already at that point, but with the long range tanks still no worries. No worries would be appropriate for experienced pilots. The lack of experience with icing conditions made the situation for us personally lot less relaxed. Finally we decide to descend through a number of mailbox like openings in several layers of clouds and we find out that there is no ice build up at all.

Later we are told that even if there would have been a thicker stratified cloud layer of a couple of thousand feet, a freezing level of FL50 will give you plenty of time to loose the ice if you are building up some. Nevertheless, a DA42 or DA50 anti-icing system would offer a more relaxed descent to us in similar situations.

Approaching Le Touquet we asked Paris area control for an ILS approach. No problem for them, and he gives us a heading at 2000ft across the Channel. According to the MFD we are almost in the UK before we get a base and intercept heading which gives us clear view of some huge container ships at high speed.

Arriving at Le Touquet (LFAT) after a 5 hour flight we witness a lively discussion between a German private jet pilot and the local tower about their flight plan, who has this flight plan and who should have had this flight plan. The jet is already at the holding point for the runway, has to catch a connecting flight somewhere south with very little margin in time; but has to return to the apron nevertheless. 10 minutes later we see it depart anyway, lovely sight the acceleration and climb rate of a private jet.

After a short stop on Le Touquet (if you have more time visit the fish restaurants in town in stead of the airport restaurant) we were just in time to be able to beat sunset at Lelystad (EHLE). Flying at 2.500 feet we were just on top of a cloud layer in the sun, marvelous sensation. Holland turns out to be rainy, with poor visibility (what else is new).

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.diamond-aircraft.at/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

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 (www.dwarf.nl) and Wings over Holland (www.wingsoverholland.nl). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on www.diamond-aircraft.at. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

2008/10 PCA in the Algarve

click on the title to see the video on DailyMotion

During our 10 day stay in the Algarve we had time to do all kinds of things in still beautiful weather (most of the times anyway). The first week in Luz was reserved for golf and relaxing. First stop after landing in Portugal, as always, was a visit to our prefered restaurant the Dolphin. The Dolphin is a South-African restaurant in Praia da Luz, and if you once have the chance of going there do order Oom Tom Schalks Kudu Filet, with mushrooms in garlic sauce as a starter and of course a descent Dom Pedro for the finishing touch.

During another diner with our friends Joost & Marijke who are residents in Portugal, we made plans for local flights in the Algarve on Monday.

The video starts with a beautiful sunrise above the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday morning and some heavy rain falling out of the thunder clouds over the land. Funny to see that at the same time the sun keeps shining brightly as most of the times the clouds disappear above the cold ocean water.

First Marijke and I made a flight with Joost. 3 adults, not to heavy and full fuel tanks. There was almost no wind, and the wind kept on turning. Sometimes it changed all over sudden in a respectable tailwind. Taking off in the direction of Portimao there is a hill just in the take off direction. When we landed our approach was from this direction, but when taking off the same hill suddenly looked a lot bigger.

Later on we saw other planes, like some Cessna's take a short cut route directly to the right over the airport building to avoid the hill. We sticked to a conventional circuit but barely made it. We chose to use a short field take off technique, with flaps in the first position. Always difficult to judge whether it is better to make a flapless take-off to build up more speed followed by a steeper climb.

Heading to the west we had a magnificent flight over the Alvor basin, the harbour in Lagos and the typical rock formations at Ponte de Piedade. Further down our route we circled Reserva da Luz and flew over Burgau and Sagres to Cabo de Sao Vincente, the most south-westerly point of Europe. There are high cliffs over there with a nice light house at the end of the road. Around the corner the landscape is rough, but with beautiful beaches where Sander sometimes goes for wave surfing.

When Marijke flew with Marijke later on, on the same runway in similar conditions there was no problem whatsoever. About 125 kilo's less makes a huge difference. The second flight turned out to be a short flight because of an approaching thunderstorm from the north.

On Friday my sister and Rens arrived together with Walter and Christine on the daily Transavia flight to Faro. We did plan to make an additional flight with them, went to the airport, filed the flight plan, were on our way to prepare the plane ..... and found out that we left the planes keys at home. Smart.

Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.diamond-aircraft.at/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.

2008/10 Holland to Portugal in PCA

click on the title to see the video on DailyMotion

Within a year after buying the Diamond, and even within half a year of getting my PPL, we were ready for our longest trip so far. From Holland to the most south-westerly point of Europe, in the Portuguese Algarve. More than 1200 Nm and over 10 hours of flight.

It was not important how many days it would take, focus was on fun and safety. We wanted to start on Thursday morning, but a row of CB's made that impossible. Behind the thunderstorms the weather would improve significantly and we stayed prepared to depart as soon as the weather permitted it. Finally, just after 3 PM, we were able to take-off in the direction of La Rochelle (LFBH) in France.

La Rochelle is just south of Bretagne on the Atlantic coast on the mainland at Ile de Re. It's an IFR field with a long asphalt runway, appropriate lighting and an ILS.

We prepared a number of airports to divert to if needed but according to our flight plan we might just make it to La Rochelle before end of daylight. When there are no abnormalities, they FMS of the DA40 gives a very good indication of your estimates at each way point. You can choose between interval or cumulative times or distances, and your are constantly informed about IAS, TAS and Ground Speed.

If necessary you can adjust the power setting to anticipate on changes in wind speed and direction to maintain the target ETA. The DA40 can be run on 100% power for an unlimited period, but we fly between 55 and 70% most of the time. The additional speed at higher power is limited and the difference in fuel consumption and range is much bigger. At 55% we can fly for more than 8 hours and still at an IAS of about 110 knots.

The knowledge that you are capable of making an instrument approach really helps in situations like this. In the end we made it in time to make a visual approach before sunset, but we would have decided to deviate to an airport earlier on the route without that reassuring thought.

The center of La Rochelle is super! Our hotel was direct on the old sea harbour with the solid castle like towers at the entrance. After checking in we just had to walk out of the hotel door to find several interesting restaurants. We chose the fish restaurant just next door, because it was full of people, and we were happy our plane had brought us here in time.

The next morning we headed in the direction of San Sebastian. Around Bordeaux there are a lot of restricted area's and it depends on the military activity and the flight level you are able to maintain whether it is possible to follow the coast. We were guided a bit to the east over the land, before we were allowed to fly direct to LESO again. There are a lot of airports in this area, and the video shows Bordeaux, Biarritz and the beautiful airport of San Sebastian.

Close to the Pyrenees the clouds where reaching higher and higher. Because of the mountains on the northern coast of Spain we decided to try and fly on top of the clouds. We climbed to FL105 and with a little bit of avoiding we managed to stay clear of clouds on that level. Marvellous view on the clouds in all kinds of shapes and layers.

Our next planned stop was Leon (LELN). Because of the thick clouds around Leon and the presence of a lot of mountains we did not feel very comfortable to try and find a way to descend there. Certainly not on a VFR flight plan.

Fuel enough, so we just decided to continue flying towards Portugal. In the north east corner of Portugal there is a local airport called Vila Real (LPVR).

The size of the runway is comparable to Lelystad, the only difference is the number of planes that use it. Five on average per day! Because of this very busy traffic on the airport, the controller had us changing parking position for 3 times before he finally was happy about the end result. During the hours we were there we have not seen another plane and even reaching the controller was only possible after the regional traffic controller at Lisboa decided to call them by phone after 15 minutes of futile attempts via the COM.

Our friend asked us what PH stands for. He worked there for 6 years and had never seen a PH registration before. The ease of flying with the Diamond DA40 gives us the feeling that it is just normal what we are doing. Remarks like this bring some doubt about the regularity of our trips.

After refuelling and just paying for the fuel (landings are free) we commenced the final short leg to Portimao, only 2 hours away. Traffic guidance in Portugal is fine, except for some area's with bad reception (distance / mountains). Crossing the last mountains at Monchique we were ready for our descend to our final destination.

At Portimao we were free to choose our own circuit direction, so why not choose an approach over the ocean and the rock formations at Portimao. Perfect end of a very exciting journey which took us in total 1,5 day.

It's a lot cheaper, much faster, and more independent of the weather to fly with Transavia but flying the Pancake there ourselves is an experiences we are not likely to forget.

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

2008/10 Texel - Holland's greenest airport

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YES! I managed to pass the IFR exam last Friday (Oct.10th). Performing an exam is not my favorite hobby, but the flight to De Kooy (EHKD) and back with examiner Jan van Wonderen went quite OK. Thanks a lot to Wings over Holland, Patrick and a special thanks to Eelco. Eelco did not only prepare me for the exam in only a couple of months. His attitude towards using the capabilities of the Diamond to the max will certainly help us when we'll really be using it in our next travels.

Having an instrument rating still does not mean that you can always fly, but gives additional possibilities and easy of mind in a lot of situations. Of course we still respect the fact that we fly in a single engine plane, without any form of de- or anti-icing like for instance the DA42 or in the near future the DA50 will provide. Apart from that the Diamond DA40 TDI G1000 offers an amazing number of features that enable inexperienced pilots like us to fly the plane in a relaxed and comfortable manner.

I still have to wait until the IR is added to my license (I wonder how long this will take this time) but it feels great that it's in the bag. Just the feeling that I can do this already gives a lot of support for our Pancake trip next week to Portugal.

To celebrate Marijke and I decide to fly to Texel the next day and spend the night in the airport hotel. Ed and his son Mike are indisputably the warmest hosts we have ever seen at any airport so far. It is only a short flight, but it is always fun to visit the billiard like long grass strip on the island. Even if it's only for coffee and back again. There's always a lot to see at the airport with a lot of parachute drops and plenty of old planes.

The next day we first flew to Eelde to let Marijke make additional practise approaches for her IFR training and then back to Lelystad. Har and Rud, Marijke's parents would come to Lelystad as well to fly with us to ......Texel and back again. In the meantime I had the chance to take some images of Martin's Air Charter, the PH-DDZ Dakota during its landing on Lelystad.

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