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Wednesday, 29 May 2013


I wasn't going to go to a bunch of airshows I knew about, because I would be on holiday doing other stuff at that time. There was Oostwold Airshow, the 80th anniversary of the Eindhoven Aeroclub (including a flfy-in), Harbour days in Hoorn (with the Dutch PBY Katalina), the Texel Taildragger Fly-In, and "Volkel in the
Clouds", with Frank Versteegh. All very nice ways to spend a day, but I hadn't done anything to go there yet. Until a couple of days ago, when I was contacted by Cees Ootjers of KLM Aeroclub. He knew of a plane that would fly to Oostwold Airshow, and still had two sets unoccupied ... Needless to say I was quickly convinced. I asked my brother in law, Edwin, along, and he agreed instantly too :)
Oostwold Airshow is an airshow at a green strip east of the city of Groningen. As it is a green strip, most planes are SEP (Single Engine Piston), exactly my favourite :)
Early morning, the weather did not look very "fly-able":

but the weather had until half past 9 to improve; that's how late we agreed to be at KLM Aeroclub. But ubder way to Lelystad, it was soon clear that there was no improvement whatsoever. Of the wind turbines along the roadside, only the "stem" wasw visible, and the blades that point down. The blades that point up were invisible, and they were not moving, because of lack of wind...

Too bad, but I was at least going to have a look at "my" KLQ.
The guest plane was also parked in the hangar: a 1966 Piper Comanche, 260 hp, retractable gear, full IFR, ... sweet! (IFR: Instrument Flight Rules). We were already admiring the Aquila, when our designated pilot, Kees, arrived in the hangar with his traveling buddy Kees. It was soon agreed that we would not fly to Oostwold that day, but the airplane needeed to be flown to Mönchenglagbach (EDLN) the next day, for maintenance. From there, Kees'wife would drive back to Almere, so Lelystad would not be too much of a detour ... A quick telephone call to the homefront, and it wass settled: I was to go along for the flight to EDLN, the next day. :) Edwin and Kees the Passenger had other things to do, so it was just pilot Kees and me, flying to EDLN.
In order to be able to depart more quickly the next day, we then started to pull out 4 of the 6 planes in the hangar, and push them back in in a different order, so that the Comanche was directly behind the hangar doors.

We then tried to get over the missed airshow with cappuchinos and warm apple pie at Flantuas. After some nice chit chat, we all went our separate ways. The weather was supposed to be better, the next day, the plane is IFR equiped, and the pilot has his instrument rating. So weather should not be much of an issue for that flight.

The weather was indeed improving, with EDLN already under VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions) early morning. After picking up Kees in Almere, we proceeded to Lelystad Airport. We arrive around noon, which gave us plenty of time, because the flight plan was filed for a 13:00 local time departure. So first things first: cappuchino and apple pie!
Once we arrived at the club, we found that the airplane was again parked all the way in the back in the hangar. Apparently, the Piper Archer had flown the evening before. Ah, well, we had already some experience with moving the planes around, so we did it all over again, but just with the two of us. It takes a little more co-ordination, and walking up and down, to ensure nothing is hit, than it did the day before, but all went fine. All in all we were ready for departure at 13:05, so there was no reason to change the flightplan. We only did not have as much time to review the flight preparation, as I would have liked to do. I had made my own IFR route, and that was exactly the route Kees had filed


Lelystad is a towered field, but the men in the tower are not Air trafic Control (ATC). Lelystad Tower only has a Flight Information Service (FIS), so tower will only give all the information necessary for a safe departure: runway in use, wind- visibility- and cloud- information, and the barometric pressure (needed to correctly set the altimeter). So Lelystad Tower will not issue IFR clearances, so to activate the flightplan, we need to contact ATC (Dutch Mil, in this case) as soon as possible after a VFR take off, to get the clearance for the entire route. That all went pretty smotth, because the flightplan was filed an hour before, so Dutch Mil could anticipate. We were initially cleared as filed, up to 4000ft. Even before reaching that altitude, a clearance to 7000ft (actually FL070) was given with a "direct TEBRO"(the border crossing point on this route, between the Netherlands and Germany). Climbing through a cloud layer is definitely a special experiance, especially when you're sitting up front. You cannot do anything but rely on your instruments, and ATC, because looking outside I could not even see the wing tips. It did give me the opportunity to study all instruments, and see if I could identify them all (which I could, of course ;-P ). Once arrived at 7000ft, we flew in between two cloud layers, of which the one below us was already breaking up. A beautiful sight, but no pictures because we were also approaching TEBRO already. Time to dial in the frequencies for Langen Radar (German ATC for the western part of that country), and EDLN approach, in the stand-by frequency boxes. We put EDLN approach on com2, to listen out which runway was in use. Soon that was said to wbe rwy13. And because Kees knew the ILS was unservicable, it would be a VOR - DME approach. Always handy to know up front, so one can look for the coorect charts, and dial in the navigation frequencies and headings (courses) well in advance. Approaching TBRO, we were handed off to Langen Radar, which issued a "direct VEBAK", and soon after a descend clearance to 2000ft. We also got a traffic alert. I spotted the traffic at 1 o'clock low. Very low ... and we were only at 2000 ft. This little SEP plane flew in between two wind turbines. As it turned out, it was preparing to land on a green field we just flew over.
Much too soon for my taste, we got the EDLN runway in sight. The approach is a pretty steap one, because of hills and other obstacles in the vicinity. Checking with the DME and altitude versus the approach chart, and with the visual aids on the ground (PAPIs: lights next to the runway that shine red when too low, white when above glideslope; a mix of red and white is OK) we made the steep approach without a problem. A beatiful view of the by now sunbathing runway :). We landed with a long flare, to drain all the extra speed that comes with the steep approach. A little less than three quarters of an hour after take off, we were already parked at the maintenance company.

What remained was about the same distance back over land. Kees' wife arrived at the airport as we parked the plane, so timing was perfect. After all the necessary paperwork, and arrangements with the maintenance company, we could start our way back to the Netherlands. In the end that took about three hours, because of evening rush-hour, but that was well worth the three quarters of flying! :)

Here's a Google Earth file of the flight:

Until a next message!

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