Taking it easy
On May 1st, our group of AOPA Luxembourg planes (8 in total) was all supposed to land in Béziers in Southern France. That would be the first gathering of our group. As we were already ahead as being in Macon, we took it from the relaxed side on this Labour day. I took only off just before noon towards Béziers.
In the past, I’ve used the low altitude VFR corridor East of Lyon to cross to this narrow area. This time I climbed out to a Flight Level and following IFR waypoints, we passed Lyon from the Western side leaving the hills and mountains under us. The excellent weather proved to be helpful.
Simply enjoying the new technology onboard
The weather was really what pilots call CAVOK, which stands for ceiling and visibility ok. We enjoyed our 1:46 hour flight to Beziers. Our Mooney OO-LVT is a well-equipped plane, with its Garmin GTN-750. This new Garmin device (with a touchscreen) visualizes my entire flight plan. I explained to Franky that back in the time I was student-pilot myself, we had to plot our flights in the old fashioned way. That means to fly from VOR ( which stands for VHF omnidirectional range station) to NDB (Non-directional beacon), whereas today, the GPS simplified our pilot lives.
What makes a big difference and this is something I value a lot about this plane is that one can see other traffic/planes in the direct vicinity. Now I can see where other planes are located. I get even an audible warning when other planes get to near to me. Very nice tool, tremendously increasing the security.
Arrival in Béziers
I performed an easy landing in Béziers with the Mooney (the many touches and go’s as part of my training prior to this trip were useful). Next thing, I catch a taxi and checked in at the Campanile hotel in quite basic rooms. As pilots, we like to spend our money on planes rather than fancy hotel rooms. Soon after checking in, I met with all the other pilots of our group at Restaurant La Marmite du Pecheur in Valras- Plage. It became a truly great pilot’s dinner in a great fish restaurant. What do you want when 18 male pilots are meeting, it is big fun!
What I did not know on this evening of May 1st, is that it would become the sole occasion on which all the AOPA pilots of our would meet together….
A perfect mix
For this fly-out, organized with UPL-AOPA Luxembourg (the Luxembourg Airplane Owners and pilot’s association), we were happy to have 3 student pilots joining us.
Furthermore, we have private pilots from Aviasport and Aéro-Sport, the two leading flying clubs of Luxembourg as well as individual plane owners. A perfect mix. Some pilots fly alone, some others share a plane by three. Some have faster planes, some slower ones but speeds always vary between 100 and 200 knots.