Michel Trial passed away

This week, we got the terrible news that my friend and gliding nstructor, Michel Trial of Fayence, passed away. Here’s the text I posted on this blog some two years ago about Michel

” I’m close with Michel Trial. He just became 65 years and he brings 25.000 hours of gliding experience. What I like about Michel is his enthusiasm. After so many years, he is still extreme enthusiastic about every single flight. He has a profound knowledge of all the mountains in the Southern Alps…if I would only 10% of his experience, I would be happy.”

Here’s what happened. Besides gliding, Michel had a second passion and that’s mountain hiking. He deeply respected the Southern Alps. He loved to fly over the hilltops searching for nice walking trails and go and hike these trails. He knew where the gems where located, Michel Trial knew all the secrets of the mountains. Last week, he left on a hike to the Sommet du Laupon, altitude 2430 meter ( nearby The Allos valley). 

As he did not came home in the evening, his wife Teresa, alerted the police. A search and rescue operation was launched bu the authorities. The gliding club of Fayence sent also a search team. After three days, his body was discovered. Apparently, he made a deadly fall.

Michel Trial started his professional life as a GO at Club Med. Thereafter, he became a professional gliding instructor for several decades. Not just an instructor, but a really passionated one with great enthusiasm.

The last time he and Teresa came to our place for dinner was last summer. He told me he’d continued to fly, even after his retirement in November 2012. Michel and Teresa did not have children.

I met him some weeks ago for the last time at the Fayence gliding airfield, where he continued spending lots of time. We planned going flying again on a ASH25 next Month.

And now he’s gone. 

All the best, my dear friend. Kika and myself will never forget you. Promised.

Rental costs

I compared rental rates for some planes between my Belgian ( Limburgse Vleugels at EBZW Zwartberg-Genk ) and my Luxembourg club (Aerosport at ELLX). The outcome is quite interesting:

At both airfields, one can find AVGAS 100LL, which is very convenient. 

In Genk, billing is based upon clock time and in Luxembourg, billing is based upon engine time which is different. My experience is that when I have been flying let’s say one hour, that the Luxembourg bill is often not 1,0 but rather 0,9 or sometimes even 0,8. On the other hand, in Luxembourg, which is an international airfield, one needs to taxi longer before taking off and one needs to orbit 360° circles in downwind, because of traffic which has priority. All by all, I think you therefore can compare both rates for local flights at least

A Cessna 172 (N-series) costs in Genk 150€ per hour and in Luxembourg 164€.
For a Cessna 172SP with glass cockpit, the price per hour is in Genk 180€ and in Luxembourg  196,5. 

Some other rates:
– C182Q costs 261,7€ per hour in Luxembourg
– C182RG costs 306€ per hour in Luxembourg
– Mooney costs 210€ per hour in Genk
– C152 costs 120€ per hour in Genk

OO-LVA converting to C172SP

This weekend, I headed to my Belgian flying club, “Limburgse Vleugels” located at the Zwartberg/Genk EBZW airfield. The last time I flew the C172SP with Garmin 1000 glass cockpit dates from 2008.
That’s five years ago since I last flew it, reason enough to take some flight lessons on this machine.

I booked three flights with my flight instructor, Kristof Goossens. In advance of these lessons, I ordered the G1000 course of ASA and started the self teaching program.

It proved to be very theoretical, I therefore was glad to have some practical lessons with Kristof. He took the time for an extensive pre-briefing, which is very helpful. My flights went quite well: we practiced several “simulated forced landings” and all kind of procedures and settings. I’m almost ready to fly this machine solo. I need one last short flight next time in Belgium. In the mean time,  I’m going to pursue my theoretical self-study lessons.

With the C172SP you’ve got a 21st century plane, equipped with automated pilot, which is quite convenient when I’m planning a longer flight. The plane is less flewn in our Belgian club, so reservations can be made days in advance

Cozzy evening flight over Luxembourg

Finally, spring has arrived in Luxembourg. Over are the dark rainy days. It changes everyone’s mood right away. Last evening, we invited our Belgian friends Eddy Depickere and his wife Bea for dinner at home. Eddy only told his wife at the last moment that we were going for an evening flight over Luxembourg. Surprise, surprise ! 

Weather outlook was simply superb. Calm wind, great visibility. My 3 year old son joined us.

This is the track we flex (courtesy Air Navigation Pro)

Ready for take off

My son Alejandro is in a good mood

Bea is closely watching

Let’s grab some AVGAS fuel

Going to holding point 06
Bea is ready for the flying experience

Cleared for take off
Taking off
heading north


exit point charlie

Luxembourg is even more beautiful from the skies

Cattenom in sight

My son expresses loud and clear he thinks it is time to land


short final 06



 After a safe landing, we headed home. My wife welcomed us with a great dinner and drinks. Life can be sweet 🙂

Batteries of Garmin GPSMap 495 are both dead

I wanted to charge and update my Garmin GPSMap 495 but discovered that both my batteries do not work anymore. Grrr ! The reason is probably because I did not use my GPS for a year. I called the Garmin support service desk in the UK…and they confirmed that this was indeed the reason. They can’t be revived…they’re dead ! The guy on the phone told me I need to charge them at least once a month. I’m very much surprised by his answer, I think there must me other pilots who don’t charge their battery every month. Too bad, now I’m obliged to purchase a new battery. Is anyone reading this having an idea on how to revive my two old batteries ? Any suggestion is welcome

JP 15/34 FG glider of Jean Magne

Today, I made a one hour flight with a very special glider at the LFMF airfield of Fayence. This plane (F-CRJB) was built some 30 years ago by gliding instructor Jean Magne. Jean is nowadays 83 years old and still a flying instructor.

I planned to fly a Ka-6 glider today, but Jean came to me and proposed me to fly on his plane. He explained me that from a flying experience it is something between a Ka-6 and a Pegase 90.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures (stupid), but no worries, I’ll fly it again in July when I’ll return to Fayence.

I made a seamless 52 minutes flight in this plane. The JP15 glider flies nice.

View of LFMF Fayence Tourrettes airfield