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

People in Béziers were very friendly and all our 8 planes took off swiftly in the morning. Now we could use our life jackets as I planned to fly along the Spanish coast. I was lucky to have some stunning hilltop views whilst climbing out.

Secumar life jacket
Stunning sights whilst crossing the valleys

Spain here we come

After passing via the always windy Languedoc region, we arrived Spain. The only expected difficulty this morning was Barcelona as the area around the busy airfield is closed for VFR traffic. So called class A. There’s a narrow VFR corridor north of Barcelona one can follow. What bothers me is that I should fly relatively low. As I arrived nearby Barcelona, there were some very low clouds near the hils and I felt uneasy. No way I will cross this corridor with poor visibility and low cloud conditions.

Avoiding Barcelona

My first motor flying instructor, Eric Buyens, learned me in the 90’s the golden CCC rule. CCC stands for call, climb and confess. That is what I did. I climbed out to be VFR on top of the clouds. The air traffic controllers proved to be super friendly and helpful when following a different route than initially scheduled. Flying IFR way points is quite easy. After half an hour, I was back at the coast and continued my journey to Castellane

The Spanish coast

The ghost airport of Castellane (LECH)

My GPS showed me the way to Castellane, but I had to search before being able to find the airfield as we came in low to stay under the clouds. There was absolutely no traffic here ? After flying for more than two and a half hours, I was glad to land and stretch my legs. Franky and me had the impression to land on a huge, but empty airport. Strange feeling. There was more staff than passengers. I don’t know the story of this place, but I had a weird feeling. On the other hand, super friendly people and we topped up the plane and left soon again to continue our journey to Southern Spain

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