Part 3: From Béziers (Fr) to Castellane (ES)

The longest day

This May 2nd became a day to be full of adventurous flying. Every team topped up their planes with AVGAS as we’ll have to cross most of Spain. There will be no AVGAS available for our planes in Melilla, so I planned to make a fuel (and toilet) stop somewhere in between Southern France and Southern Spain. I choose landing in Castellane (LECH).

We had to park our planes on the grass over night in Béziers
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Part 2 : Macon (FR) to Beziers (FR)

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.

Massif centtral mountain ridge
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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.

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Preparation for Melilla

Only a couple of days to go prior that our UPL-AOPA Luxembourg group flying to Melila starts. The trip will be more than 2200 Nautical miles all together, to be performed in 4 flying days. Quite intense to say the least.

From Luxembourg to Melilla

I intend to fly with the Mooney M20J , with call sign OO-LVT starting in Genk Zwartberg (EBZW) where it is based. I received a call that the plane of which the engine and propellor are to be replaced this spring, will undergo on the last two days of April its 100 hour maintenance.

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