A hot Summer day flight
My family and me remember late July 2019 in Luxembourg for its extreme hot record temperatures of 40 degrees Celcius. I’ve booked since quite some time a Cessna 172 SP – call sign LX-AIO – at my flying club Aéro-Sport for a long weekend fly-out. I always enjoy when my wife and 9 year old son are joining me for a flight. The extreme hot weather won’t keep me from flying to the French Riviera. Arriving in the Aéro-Sport clubhouse, another pilot informs me that the plane I booked, call sign LX-AIO, has an error with the G1000.
The Garmin G1000 is an integrated flight instrument system typically which consists of two display units, one serving as a primary flight display, and one as a multi-function display. He tells me that the right display does not work and has to be repaired. Asking the Secretary of our club, she was not aware yet about this new problem. At such a moment, the questions come up: shall I accept this or should I cancel my flight as this maybe hides another problem with the plane?
After thoroughly checking the Plane, I decide that the plane was maybe not fully functional. We should be able however to conduct a normal flight to the French Riviera. So, I top up the plane with AVGAS . Shortly after, we take off at Luxembourg Airport with my wife Kika in the co-pilot seat, heading south.
The error that GDL 69 does not function pops up right away, whereby GDL does not stand for Grand Duchy of Luxembourg:). I further get an error that the plane has an XTALK error. I noticed I only had one radio working as well. The autopilot does not function either. The only Navigation Aid to be expected is on a tiny inset display. Great, this will be hard work for the pilot.
Thunderstorms in North Eastern France
Some Thunderstorms are expected in the afternoon, but a real-time weather map shows that the first Thunderstorm already developed in the morning and blocked my way in the Metz and Nancy area where I had to pass. Having virtually no navigation support to be expected from my plane, I take no risk and navigate at 3000 feet between two Thunderstorm systems which are far enough from each other. I manage to get without any problem behind Nancy.
As it was terribly hot in the plane, we climb out to Flight Level 65, which was much more comfortable. As I lost nearly 30 minutes between starting the engines in Luxembourg and taking off effectively, due to heavy traffic, and as wind was blowing from the South, I decide to make a landing half way at Bourg-Ceyzériat (LFHS). We avoid making a long final on the Runway 18 coming from the North.
I always prefer to fly over the Airfield, look out what is going visually on the ground. One extra reason to do so is because this Airfield is on a so called “Auto-Information” regime, meaning…I am entirely on my own with no Tower support. So I overfly the Airfield and make a classic circuit and landed seamlessly in Bourg.
French Restaurants maintain strict serving hours
As it was after 2.30 pm, the Restaurant closed serving guest and the Chef reacts even surprised when I ask him whether we still could get something to eat. Any restovers would be fine, I explained him. We only receive a piece of bread. Not a problem, if one is hungry, we accept anything. I top up the plane with AVGAS and depart after a short break towards Fayence (LFMF) at the French Riviera. This time, our son Alejandro serves as my co-pilot
Arrival in Fayence (LFMF), French Riviera
No military zones are active today and we are able to climb out after Lyon to Flight Level 85 towards Fayence airfield. The seats of the Cessna are particulary uncomfortable and even painfull- design of half a century ago. My wife was so happy when I mentioned I had our final desination in sight. Fayence also enjoys the “Auto-Information” status, so I overfly the airfield at first, announcing every step on the Radio for whoever listens. Landing was smooth and we are happy to get out of the plane. As the Thunderstorms are coming our way, I secure the plane tightly. With the Drivy app, I am able to secure a car from a local within 15 minutes. Only a couple of minutes later, I arrive at our Summer House on the hills of Tourrettes…with views of the Airfield