Sunday, August 15, 2010

Swapping the Jersey Islands for Texel Island

I have been suffering a wee bit from cabin fever, ever since the gorgeous Summer weather decided to up sticks and bolt to the southern climes of this fair continent that is Europe. But since I have the Wooden Wonder, aka "Nippy", I thought that I'd make the best of the cards that Summer had dealt us and planned a long weekend chasing the sun south.

I've always wanted to visit the Jersey Islands, and as a pilot, it's also a destination which provides a nice challenge to add to your skillset. You are effectively flying in Class "A" airspace and so need special dispensation from ATC to complete the mission.

The plan was to take a leisurely flight to Jersey, stopping off at picturesque Dieppe for lunch on the way.  But as is the case with all the best laid plans, the weather was less obliging. A large trough of low pressure was edging southwards from the UK and Ireland and was forecast to settle along the Northern French coast and hover over the islands for the entire weekend, hampering any effort to get there and back and also resulting in us choosing to spend a weekend in the rain. Once bitten and all that, I decided to stay away from volatile weather systems and chose the old adage of "better to be on the ground wishing to be in the air, than being in the air wishing you were on the ground", so I decided to scrub the Jersey trip.

Initially I was a little bummed. I checked to see what the weather was going to do elsewhere. Funnily enough, as is usually the case, Mother Nature was playing silly buggers and plonked a great big HIGH right over Holland. So we decided on a short hop over to Texel. A recent development has been the transfer of Nippy maintenance from the Wallet Grabbing Extortionists in France to a more able and reasonable AME actually on Texel. So I arranged to meet them on Saturday, have them look the plane over and discuss what is required to have them take over the job of applying TLC to Nippy from now on.

The sight of having one of the Aviodromes DC3's sat next to us at the run up area got Malinka's pulse racing. She was amazed at the size of it compared to our little Nippy. The DC3 had 21 POB and was off on a pleasure flight around the polder. I pushed the throttles to max power and we were shooting up into the hazy skies above. A brisk 30 minutes later and we were on final for Runway 04 and a greaser of a landing on Texels' green sod. 

A very nice meeting with the new AME has meant that we're really happy with the decision to have to folks in Texel look after Nippy from now on, and given it's a 30 minute flight to Lelystad, I will certainly save money on the simple logistics I getting down to Strasbourg and back. 

Au Revoir Extorqueur.....Goede Dag Verfrissende Verandering.

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