Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pancake Airlines - Annecy & Meribel

After visiting Aero 2010 in Friedrichshafen we flew along the northern side of the Alps towards Annecy. Good idea to practise our IFR skills in not all to difficult situations because our departure was a bit rusty. But it's coming back again so we should be ok when circumstances get a little less comfortable. Easy drive from Annecy to Meribel with a local rental car and 3 days of perfect skiing in the last week of the season over there. Loads of sun and perfect pistes if you pick the right ones.

Monday also started fine, but later in the afternoon it suddenly started snowing. In no time everything was white again from about 1000m altitude. We seem to be on the very border of a bad wheather system in Italy and the very south of France. Does not help for our plans to fly back to Holland the next morning. Luckily the thunderstorms stay south of us and the cloud cover does not look to thick, but still we don't have a wheather radar and no de-icing. Freezing level is around 3000 feet early morning.

Just a couple of minutes after our departure we manage to get on top of the clouds and climb further to FL100. No ice, no problems. The IFR routing through France does not allow you to fly in a straight line to Holland, we have to follow most of our filed plan via Dijon and the east side of Paris. Around Paris we encounter a not to active little front system, and we wonder what will be the effect of the minus 8 degrees flying through these clouds. No ice again, and the rest of the flight is nice and easy towards Eelde.

Sander is currently in it's last week of training on the Baron at KLM Flight Academy. Today he is allowed to take Har and Michelle along, so we are going to have a look as well.

Pancake Airlines - Traben-Trabach & Friedrichshafen

En route to Aero 2010 in Friedriechshafen we planned a stop on top of a hill in the German Eiffel. Mont Royal airport inTrabe-Trabach has a 750m grass strip and is surrounded by trees. Additional challenge is the 2% slope. Afterwards all preparations didn't make a lot of sense, because when circling around above the airport, there simply was nobody there. No PPR remarks in Jeppesen or in the Notams, and a beautiful sunny day, but still only one solution: divert. We diverted to the nearby Frankfurt-Hahn airport, almost 4km long, and not very busy at all. A taxi had to take us back to the beautiful town of Traben-Trarbach on the shore of the Mosel. Nice hote (Bellevue) an a nice walk to the top of the hill (airport and old ruins) and back again through the wine fields.

The next day we used the last leg to Aero as an IFR practise flight in clear blue skies. Thomas and Martina reserved a room in the Waldhorn in Ravensburg, the same as last year. We had a marvellous evening together with them in an Italian restaurant in one of the harbours on the Bodensee.

Thursday was Aero-day, easy to get to the Messe by train and shuttle. Aero was basically a copy of the last year version. We did not see a lot of new stuff, does not seem to make sense to go every year.

Positive where the optimistic signs from Centurion, where the 2.0s would definitely be a much better option for our DA40 compared to the heavy Austro engine. We have a couple of years to go, but it's nice to know that there is good solution for the continuity of the Pancake. Of course it's still very important that Centurion finds a viable business model for the long run.

Part II will cover our flight to Annecy on Friday, a couple of days ofskiing in Meribel and the flight back to Holland.