From Luxembourg to Fayence with friends

Cessna 182

The initial plan was to fly together with Luxembourger Guy and my son Alejandro to Billund, Denmark to visit Legoland. Denmark is complicated this year because of Covid-19. Therefore, the plans changed and we agreed to go for a weekend with Guy, his spouse Chantal en my nephew Franky to Fayence in Southern France. The Cessna 182 with call sign LX-AIX is perfectly suited for this.

Take-off in Luxembourg goes smoothly and we are heading south. Views are stunning as always. Some two hours later, we land at Bourg-Cyzerat (LFHS) for refueling and changing pilots. Corona 19 made a victim as the airfield restaurant disappeared. Continuing with an empty stomach is not an option. Whilst considering options, I get into talks with a Czech pilot who also landed at Bourg. He transports some stuff for a Quad. The van driver of the quad company is willing to drive us to a nearby restaurant. Great plan for hungry souls ! The ride proved to be rough as we had to stay in the back of the van (completely dark, sitting on the ground between machines)

Norderney, here we are !

Summertime is flying time. The weather is under influence of a low pressure system over Scotland, bringing many Thunderstorms and heeps of rain over the Beneluc. I therefore have to very precisely time my flight from Genk to Norderney. I am hesitating because of heavy winds. A call with my Flight Instructor Kristof Goosssens convinced I can give it a try. And so, I take off at Genk Zwartberg heading north at high speeds

CB over Norderney

Luxembourg to Koblenz

Alternative flight

Since the club plane we booked for a week had only had only a couple of engine hours left prior to go for revision, I have to develop an alternative for the planned flight to Southern France. So, we decide to go for the day to Koblenz. I plotted a route flying over all the Moselle castles and the dormant Volcano of the Eifel Region. The weather is nice and so we head for Koblenz

Luxembourg to Koblenz in a Cessna 172

We’re getting married !

This Friday, We are getting formally married. Kika and I know each other from the mid-’90s, we’re formally engaged since 1999 and our son was born back in 2009. We however never formally married. The Covid-19 crisis with its confinement brought us closer to each other and so we are now marrying this Friday, May 29th. I’m a lucky man as being with Kika made me happier than ever before. She has been flying with me for many years although she is not an aviation enthusiast as I am .

Deconfinement with restrictions

No Pan-European rulesetting

There is non Pan-European common approach with regards to General Aviation, it seems unfortunately not part of the EASA mandate.

Every country is putting its own set of rules in place. In Belgium, one can resume flying with a set of sanitary and security measures, but one can only fly in non-controlled areas (no CTR or TMA crossing).

Covid-19 uniform
Covid-19 uniform

Confinement actions

AOPA at work !

With the arrival of Covid 19, our world changed. We got confined Immediately after the last check flight back in March on a C182 with Bernard Frechen. All of us need to stay at home. A NOTAM was published causing all private pilots were suddenly grounded.

The confinement period took way longer as we initially thought. Our Pilot community complied. However, the flight restriction was quite radical and caused problems as one needs to have a plane in the air every month to keep the engine healthy. The alternative, which is putting a different kind of protective oil in the plane, seems complicated.

With AOPA Luxembourg, we’ve been reaching out to the Minister of Transport outlining the troubles General Aviation was confronted with. In parallel, the flying clubs and schools have been putting a plan together with safety and health measures to tackle the Covid-19 virus.

All these actions helped and since this week, all flying restrictions are lifted. But it remains complicated to cross the border.

AOPA Luxembourg

The digital road with Zoom

With the current lockdown in Luxembourg, our pilots are all grounded. We have no idea at this moment how long this crisis will take and how we will come out of it. In the mean time, life and club life goes on. With AOPA Luxembourg, we will have tomorrow evening our first video conference call using Zoom communication software. Quite a difference for our club. Typically, our board gathers once a month Continue reading “AOPA Luxembourg”

Last pre-Corona flight

Annual check flight

On March 14th, 2020 I conducted my most recent flight in a Cessna 182. I flew from Luxembourg to Trier airfield with Bernard Frechen for my annual check flight.

The weather was so-so, but flyable. I did some 5 touches and go’s at Trier airfield. The check flight went seamless. Not bad after a long winter break of your private pilot.

Whilst returning to Luxembourg Airport, we flew nearby the Luxembourg prison of Schrassig. I did not realize at that moment that all pilots shortly would feel imprisoned.

Corona crisis developing

As the Corona crisis was developing, also in Luxembourg, our flying club Aéro-Sport initially took some precautionary measures to promote social distancing. However, I did not expect that this would be my last flight momentary on a club airplane. The day after, a bold decision was taken to shut down operations and prepare for a lockdown of our club and the country. The situation seems to worsen rapidly. We are now all grounded for an indefinite period, whereby weeks can become months. Quiet a disaster for the people, our businesses and for us as pilots.

It looks to me this crisis is now only a developing sanitary crisis, but quite possible a big financial crisis will be following next. Possibly devastating in many ways. Meaning, no new flights anymore in the pipeline whilst the weather seems to start improving shortly. This Corona thing looks very bad, reason enough to drink my last Corona bottle in my house after today’s flight. I made the reflection that Corona was until today a Mexican beer and as of now, the name will be remembered as a devastating and destroying global virus. What a tragedy!

The last nice Corona beer