Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back in the saddle

Yesterday we took our new puppy, Alko, to Naarden and then on to the coast. With the weather being so nice, and with us being so close to both Hilversum and Lelystad airports, my thoughts turned skyward again. Marina knows that every now and then I simply HAVE to go flying, regardless. She calls it my "flying addiction" and she knows that pretty soon I'm gonna have to go flying, no matter what. So today was one of those days.

I spent a while last night looking at the TAF's and also figuring out where to take "November Papa". I was deciding on Ameland, or Midden Zeeland. But in the end, I thought why not do a round robin and test the new GPS software from PocketFMS. I downloaded it onto my old Qtek mobile phone and tested it on a train journey earlier in the year. I fiddled with the setting and practiced using it en-route. But of course, nothing is quite like the real thing. So with the GPS software updated and the latest WX and flight plan uploaded we were off.

It was also a fun time since we were going to introduce Alko to life at the airport for the first time. Marina had not seen "NP" yet either, so it was a chance for her to check out the plane. She really liked the plane and looked all round it. I did the walk-round and sat in the cockpit. Marina and Alko sat on the bench and waved goodbye as I taxied out to the run-up area. I started up the GPS and lined up for take-off.

It was pretty blowy today, and I had to use the rudder a lot after lifting off, but I was soon climbing up to the cloud base and settled her in the cruise at about 700-800ft. Any higher and I was zipping in and out of clag. So I kept low enough to avoid the cloud but high enough to avoid the wind farms.

The mission for today was to do a round-robin trip from Lelystad towards Teuge, then route North to Zwolle and back towards Lelystad. But I ran into a fair bit of turbulence overhead the forest between Harderwijk and Apeldoorn. I was also worried a little about carb-icing but the engine was ticking over nicely. With a strong tailwind (GS was about 125kts) I was soon overhead Teuge and turning towards Zwolle. Zwolle was pretty easy to find (just follow the river North and hey presto) and soon I was turning South West for Lelystad. The GPS was working perfectly, and even flashed whenever the airspace changed or if an obstacle was up ahead. I just need to get myself a cradle for the window to hold the GPS whilst flying.

Heading towards Lelystad, the weather started to turn a little sour. I found myself zipping in and out of the odd light shower here and there. I was told by the folks in Lelystad's tower to keep an eye out for a Beechcraft King Air on long final. I found the traffic, and set myself up into the circuit, letting down slowly. The Robin really does turn on a dime and it's so lovely to fly in the circuit. With the last little bit of flap to bring in, I was set-up nicely for the approach. Just a little crosswind to deal with. With a little flare, the main wheels kissed the ground gently and I rolled clear of the runway.

Marina and Alko helped me put "NP" to bed......I pushed as they looked on and made sure I didn't hit anything. Another hour in the log book.

Oh, before I go, there's one last thing to let you know about....the new cafe above Martinair's flight school. It's always existed, just run by somebody else before. But now it's under new management and they have a new menu....which is FANTASTIC. Marina had a mustard and taragon soup with a salmon/cheese toasted sandwich, and I had a fantastic BLT with a mayo mixed with a small amount of chili peppers. If you're looking for somewhere to visit on the airfield for some food, then check out the restaurant above Martinair. We both totally recommend it. Oh....and it was THE best service I've had in Holland. They even gave Alko a bowl of water ;-)

Blue Skies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's the breed of your and Marina's puppy?