We won't do that again !

Grodou

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
57
Location
Ans, Belgium
Aircraft
MTO Sport and Calidus, club owned.
Total Flight Time
Not much !
Long time did not share an adventure… Let’s fix that ! ^^

As for the last 3 monthes, I have been partially gounded due to the roll over of our club Calidus, I have gone back to flying the MTO… but when it comes to traveling a bit, the comfort of Laurent’s Eclipse is definitely appreciated.

So on a sunny-TAF day of November, we took off from our base LFQD with the intent of visiting Tournus in eastern France. The project included flying over the Soane river and a few castles.

After about 1.5 hour flight the FEW became SCATTERED and finally BROKEN with less and less windows for a ground view !!! Oddly enough for us, the weather was still reported as fair over Troyes where we were planning to refuel and have lunch.

About 10-15 minutes from destination… we ended up flying over a solid white mattress… and we went stupid !
Despite radio confirmation that if would clear up over the ‘target’, we agreed that getting back to VFR regs would be appropriate to approach the controled airfield. This implied getting under the fluff not exactly knowing of much of a margin we would have between ceiling and ground. (You feel it coming, right ?)

Buddy pilot spots a hole about the size of a rotor and enters vertical descent…Gulp !... When it clears, the ground is really close (our evaluation is 300ft) and the hole above is gone !!! For a few seconds Laurent scans the surroundings for a field landing while I track chances of blue above… Luck comes around and I’m the first to talk again : 2 o’clock, blue patch, spiral up. (You feel it coming again ?)
Of course the blue patch, follows the wind… and soon disapears as we enter the spiral !
Time really follows Einstein’s theory and 15 seconds can really become 3 minutes when fate is against you !
I took liberty to edit this as a reminder of DON’T DO THAT AGAIN !
FLY… YOU FOOLS : https://youtu.be/QPbUzWOSSo8


Once we got back up, we seriously considered aborting the trip…
But radio came to the rescue :
- The destination airfield was confirming good weather.
- A friendly IFR pilot in training on their circuit switched to us for confirmation and coordination with his trajectory through the clouds.
- 15 mins later we were having luch and debriefing with the promise to not try that again !

The rest of the trip was a succession of aviation safer decisions as the weather kept playing with our nerves. The reports were changing by the minute with sometimes hard to believe conflicting conditions : CAVOK, storm, overcast, few, rain, sunny !!!!
But is was also the occasion to fly over new places and great sights while accumulating experience.

This is the weekend trip vid for those interested (Sorry for those allergic to 360° videos but it saves big time on editing !) : https://youtu.be/DudYoThIkTA

Safe flight to all,
Fred
 

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fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
3,256
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
3600+ .. New to gyroplanes
You are flying for fun and adventure. You don't need to get anywhere quick. Be safe. We all do stupid things and stories like this are a good reminder and we have the time to stay on the ground and enjoy company of new friends. Beats the alternative
 

XXavier

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
999
Location
Madrid, Spain
Aircraft
FW Savannah XL + ELA R-100 and Magni M24 autogyros
Total Flight Time
1396 FW + 537 gyro (Dec. 2019)
One question: Flying into France from Belgium (or from elsewhere), do you need to file a flight plan with the French?.
And don't you have limitations concerning flight altitude...?
 

Grodou

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
57
Location
Ans, Belgium
Aircraft
MTO Sport and Calidus, club owned.
Total Flight Time
Not much !
Minimum 500 ft AGL (except training low level airfield circuit with CFI)

As for crossing a border in the air, you're supposed to have a flight plan... that also means radio contact with flight information service.
I'm aware that some pilots ignore it because they only loop over the other country and don't land... I would not take that chance even if crossing belgo-french border is much safer than flying south of Canadian's !!!!

Also Belgium does not register gyro's... foreign gyro's may fly in our airspace after paying a 100€ tax only for 30 days period.
SO... trailering your machine in to avoid the flight plan is no legal option ! (Even though some of my friends do... and fly without contact or ident).

Flying to France also implies that you're aware some (if not most) airfields are FRENCH SPEAKING ONLY.
The airfield map mentions it. Flight info service will assist you in french AND english of course.
 

XXavier

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
999
Location
Madrid, Spain
Aircraft
FW Savannah XL + ELA R-100 and Magni M24 autogyros
Total Flight Time
1396 FW + 537 gyro (Dec. 2019)
Minimum 500 ft AGL (except training low level airfield circuit with CFI)

As for crossing a border in the air, you're supposed to have a flight plan... that also means radio contact with flight information service.
I'm aware that some pilots ignore it because they only loop over the other country and don't land... I would not take that chance even if crossing belgo-french border is much safer than flying south of Canadian's !!!!

Also Belgium does not register gyro's... foreign gyro's may fly in our airspace after paying a 100€ tax only for 30 days period.
SO... trailering your machine in to avoid the flight plan is no legal option ! (Even though some of my friends do... and fly without contact or ident).

Flying to France also implies that you're aware some (if not most) airfields are FRENCH SPEAKING ONLY.
The airfield map mentions it. Flight info service will assist you in french AND english of course.
Thanks...!
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,452
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
Flying to France also implies that you're aware some (if not most) airfields are FRENCH SPEAKING ONLY.
The airfield map mentions it. Flight info service will assist you in french AND english of course.
Is ICAO English proficiency required for gyro pilots there?
 

Grodou

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
57
Location
Ans, Belgium
Aircraft
MTO Sport and Calidus, club owned.
Total Flight Time
Not much !
In France, gyroplanes are one of the 6 categories of microlight aircrafts (ULM) and are operated under a generic license (same theory exams for all classes and a specific in flight test)... the exams are in french... the flying is in french !... ULM status is way less demanding than PPL.

The FL055 (english proficiency test) is not mandatory in France, still some of us are taking the test to travel abroad (UK, Belgium, Germany...)
Our club counts +60 pilots and I know of only 3 with FL055 !!! I don't have one.
Still we can fly across the Channel and go to England in approximately 30 minutes !

Lots if not most, airfield Visual Approach Chart indicates 'FRENCH ONLY' next to the radio frequency info.
Many airfields are operated under self-information status (no tower) so everyone naturally speaks the local language.
In northern France, most coastal airfields (and specially those with customs offices) can welcome British and Dutch pilots in english of course.

In Arras, where I fly from... Self-information in French and a radio is not even mandatory !
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,452
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
Flight to Arras is a very good book, too! But that's the English title; you guys will know it as Pilote de Guerre, perhaps unware that the the translation made you famous.
 

XXavier

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
999
Location
Madrid, Spain
Aircraft
FW Savannah XL + ELA R-100 and Magni M24 autogyros
Total Flight Time
1396 FW + 537 gyro (Dec. 2019)
Flight to Arras is a very good book, too! But that's the English title; you guys will know it as Pilote de Guerre, perhaps unware that the the translation made you famous.
Yes... When I read or hear the name of that city, it's 'the flame of Arras' that comes to my mind...
 

Grodou

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
57
Location
Ans, Belgium
Aircraft
MTO Sport and Calidus, club owned.
Total Flight Time
Not much !
I still need to read Saint -Exupery's classic… I only came familiar with that title a few monthes ago.

Many of our airfields were created during WWII. If some have disapeared or will shortly, most are still in use.
I often fly by 2 abandonned Luftwaffe airfields… One cement runway is still used for storage by farmers !

At the club house, we have a military map of the WW I trenches on top of which Arras airfield was built.
04 Treshold is on former German positions, 22 treshold is build on Brits/French position !
When on circuit, you pass over 4 memorials.
Within 5 mins flight, we are over Vimy Memorial (Canadian), then Notre-Dame de Lorette, the return road takes you over Polish army cemetery and Red Cabaret, british cemetery, that is shaped like a plane !

I highly recommend any gyro friend passing by, to contact us for the experience…
- WW memorials and monuments
- Flying over the beach of Dunkirk/Duinkerke/Dunkerque (Depending of your language preference) blockbuster style !
- Seashore and cliffs of Dover + Eurotunnel train mega complex
- ...
 
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