Part 1 : Genk-Zwartberg (BE) to Macon (FR)

Departure in Genk

Our fly-out to Melilla starts ! By late Tuesday April 30th in the afternoon, our Mooney got out of the 100 hours maintenance by Smets aviation at the Genk-Zwartberg airfield. Ready to go !

As I learned from the french AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) and the NOTAM’s (notice to Airmen) that there are plenty of military exercises on this April 30th on my route towards France, I managed to speak to a French Army captain who informed me that after 6pm, the exercises are over for the day. He learned me that no exercises were any planned above Flight Level 75 on my route. The weather outlook was favorable (scattered clouds) and so we took off around 6pm local time quite heavy packed.

As I have no night VFR rating (yet), I needed to land before sunset and we opted to head for Macon , a flight something about 2 hours from Genk -Zwartberg.

Flight Level 85

We filed a flight plan for Flight Level 85 and after passing Liège, we were able to climb out as well. On our way to Macon, we spoke to Brussels Info, Liège approach, Belga radar , Paris Info, Strasbourg info, Seine Info and Lyon Info. So many different radio zones we were crossing and always helpful people. We flew rapidly on top of the scattered clouds and enjoyed a deep happy feeling at the beginning of my first long fly-out with the 22 year old Mooney of the J-series, the OO-LVT.

flying south

This is also the first fly-out I’m doing together with my Argentina nephew, Franky Coene, who is a student pilot. Franky has been extremely helpfull in organizing this fly-out to Melilla for UPL-AOPA Luxembourg.

Macon

We enjoyed our flight in French airspace. No traffic on our route and just before sunset we landed easily at a totally abandoned Macon airfield after a flight from nearly 2.5 hours. Literally nobody there.

Abandoned airport of Macon

We had to stay overnight in Macon and got organized as it was rapidly getting dark now

We had to call 7 taxi companies and wait for an hour prior to getting to town. In the meantime, we also tried hitchhiking, but that seems out of date these days. It was totally dark by the time a taxi showed up.

Finding a hotel was easy (Hotel du Nord) and with low rates. We concluded the day with a fine Burgundy dinner at the nearby La Martine restaurant. Over here I got into talks with the local sommelier, Samuel Berthier. Great guy and a possible contact to buy Bourgogne wines from, but not today. Time to go to bed after a nice start of our trip to the African continent with the Mooney.

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