A trip to Mount Grimming

ckurz7000

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It was still morning and the day was shaping up to become very flyable. So we looked at each other and decided to take it by its word and spend it flying somewhere nice. We decided to visit Mount Grimming, a really nice destination in the mountains. It is a great destination for someone wanting to get his feet wet in mountain flying. You need to plan your route well, pick the passes and valleys to follow. It isn't really difficult and the mountains get only up to about 7-8,000 feet. But if you get trapped in a wrong valley you face the danger of having to ardously climb over the mountains and cross some very inhospitable terrain. Not something one would volunteer for.

It was about 70 °F on the ground and close to freezing only 3-4000 geet AGL. This strong temperature gradient made for some interesting thermal air currents. It pays being able to anticipate where the turbulence is and where not.

We, that's my wife Katharina and I, live in the flat parts of Austria in the very east. It is warm and dry there. Quite a contrast to what the mountains have in store.

I got a briefing over the net (it's virtually impossible to get a personal briefer and I don't even know if you actually can any more). Since we were planning to cross the international border Hungary-Austria I needed to file a flightplan. This is actually quite painless and can be achieved over the net as well. Filing a flightplan gives you the piece of mind that if you are overdue by more than 30 minutes they will start looking for you with all they've got. Not such a bad thing in inhospitable terrain.

I called up the tower of Fertöszentmiklós, "Fertöszentmiklós Info, servus Gyula, OE-XKM requests taxi to rwy 34 for a fvf flight to LOGO." Gyula, the guy up in the tower came back with, "OE-XKM, hi Chris, taxi to rwy 34, back track on the runway, take-off at own disgression, sqawk 7603." I got a wind check just before prerotation and off we were. The airport is located at the western rim of the Hungarian plain and the landscape was dotted by bright yellow patches of blooming canola fields:

Rhapsfelder

Right after having left the airport vicinity I switched to Budapest Info, the area advisory frequency that offers all sorts of good things to VFR pilots. First, they watch out for you on their radar. They provide met reports on your beck and call, they help you out figuring out which airspace is currently active, they coordinate clearances with other ATC stations, etc., etc. So I called them up, "Budapest Info, OE-XKM, jó napot." -- "OE-XKM, go ahead!" So I gave them the required information on my initial call: "OEXKM, type AC10, VFR from LHFM to LOGO, departed 18 past the hour, 5 miles west of the field at 2000 feet, climbing to 3000, squawking 7603," -- "OE-XKM, roger, QNH 1018, report crossing the border."

Only a couople of minutes later, as we were crossing the state border, before I myself made the call, the asked me to contact Wien Info on 118.525. As I contacted Wien, they just verified my altitude and took over from there.

There was a lot of activity in the air: it was a Sunday, the weather was good and the time of year featured mother nature from a very attractive side. That's the only downside of filing a flightplan: you have to maintain radio contact which hampers in-plane conversation with my passenger. But when i fly by myself I actually enjoy listening to them and forming a mental picture where everyone is going and what is happening in the air around me.

There was moderate turbulence which bounced us around and I saw the VSI changing from being pegged at 1500 fpm up and the same number going downward in a couple of seconds. But the thermals were well marked by cumuli, so at least you could brace yourself. Approaching the foothills we could already discern the snow capped peaks in the medium distance:

Alpenvorland Hinweg

Our course followed two main valleys with growing mountains on either side. I decided to fly at about 5000 feet MSL which turned out to be about 2000 feet above the valley floor but still well below the peaks of the mountains to either side. A severe downdraft would put me down in a meadow in the valley. So I was scanning the ground and always made sure I had one within reach. The trick is to be prepared for that mega downward slam. if it happens, don't waste precious time fighting it. That would be in vain. Just shove the throttle forward and pitch to a brisk forward speed well above Vy while turning to your selected landing spot. Chances are you will be able to fly out of it before you need to commit yourself to a landing. But if not, you're setup for a good landing and will make the best of the situation.

After about 1:15 we spotted Mount Grimming's distinctive features in the distance. It is the highest mountain ahead in the mid-distance.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/TLJFsw]
Grimming beim Hinflug

There is a military airport with associated restricted area which ATC told me was not going to be active so I could simply fly through it. That shaved off a couple of minutes of flight time.

We saw a lot of gliders in the air, which wasn't really surprising because conditions for thermal soaring were ideal. After landing I gassed her up at the pump paying 1,30 EUR per liter premium gas. Not too bad considering that AVGAS on the next pump over was closer to 2,35 EUR per liter. I parked her in the grass just off the airport restaurant:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/Ui3QxL]
James in Niederöblarn

We enjoyed lunch outside and soaked up some rays:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/T5i32y]
Katharina

On the airport three tow planes were being kept busy by all the gliders trying to take to the air all at once. Here is a view of the airport toward Mount Grimming.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/Ui3MHs]
Niederöblarn, nach dem Landen

We enjoyed our lunch and I filed a flightplan for the return trip. After talking to some locals, we got ready for the return trip:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/TLJHcJ]
Chris

Fighting some moderate head winds on the way back wasn't really a problem because we enjoyed the scenery so much. We landed a total of about 5 hours after taking off with a lot of fond images and memories.

Greetings, -- Chris.
 

All_In

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Wow, beautiful!!!
I love flying with gyro friends around the world!!

Thanks for sharing Bro!!
 

DavePA11

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Thanks for sharing! Beautiful scenery! What manufacture/model is that gyro?
 
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ckurz7000

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Thanks to all for te friendly comments. Yes, I am really happy with this gyro, it's a charm to take on cross county trips. Part of the fun after the flight is to revel in the afterglow and share the joy wih othes.

Thanks, -- Chris.
 

fara

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Beautiful pictures Chris.
 

Vance

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Nicely Done Chris! Thank you for sharing the fun.
 

chipchap42

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Chris,

wow - that's a great report and some stunning pictures. Those thermals sounded er, interesting +/-1500fpm is some big hits. Great if the AC20 could handle them. I'm heading up to Lake Tahoe in California in a couple of weeks and it seems very similar in terms of the challenge. Hope I get some pics half as good as yours.

Tschuss,
Paul.
 

Grodou

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Adding my wow to the already impressive list !!!!

Thank you so much for sharing pics and taking time to comment them.
 

GyrOZprey

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Brilliant report with fabulous illustrations ... many thanks for the share.
 

WaspAir

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Grimming is certainly an interesting shape. I'll have to check that out as a possible climbing destination.
 

ckurz7000

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Hi Jon, there are two faces to Mount Grimming: one side you can hike up, even though it's a strenuous hike of about 4-5 hours.The other is an easy level 2-3 climb. There is a rustic cabin available near the top to overnight. The scenery is breathtaking from up there.

Greetings, -- Chris.
 

ckurz7000

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Hi Jon, there are two faces to Mount Grimming: one side you can hike up, even though it's a strenuous hike of about 4-5 hours.The other is an easy level 2-3 climb. There is a rustic cabin available near the top to overnight. The scenery is breathtaking from up there.

BTW, Mount Grimming is the highest free standing mountain of the Alps.

Greetings, -- Chris.
 
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