163.8h – Aviation Sunday

This was no lazy sunday! ๐Ÿ™‚ After an incredible Muse concert on saturday…my father had the brilliant idea to go flying!

C175-obstacle-landingWe flew to a small grass field, called Sitterdorf (LSZV). It had a short runway of just 1570 feet and both threshold were to be overflown at 60 feet. I looked up the take off and landing figures and I learned I had to fly exactly according to the pilot’s operating handbook (POH). A few knots too fast and I would flare too long, a few knots to slow and I couldn’t pull up to flare. The thing is: the POH gives information about the performance of the aeroplane – flown by a test pilot.

A private pilot is able to fly close to the numbers in the book. Even so, we have to understand all factors of a precise landing. If any factor is not according to POH a short field approach should be aborted.

But no worries! After landing even the airport operator told me the approach looked fine. After a quick lunch we prepared for takeoff. Again the airplane had to be configured and operated according to POH. I was surprised by the slow acceleration during the ground roll. The grass made it feel like a floatplane on step at an incorrect angle (missing the sweet spot). Off the ground, I remained in ground effect and pulled up at Vx. I was very very happy about the performance of the aeroplane and I think it has been good practice to always, at every airport, climb at Vx. This way the short field take off felt – after the ground roll – familiar.

Bern-ColmarNow my parents and I headed towards Bern-Belp to pick up my girlfriend from work. As we entered the CTR a Fokker 100 was climbing towards the Alps and we were cleared to settle down on the 5600 foot runway. As I turned onto taxiway Kilo we were told to follow the follow me car. It was big fun to be marshalled into the parking position because I used to work there as a marshaller myself. It felt great to meet some guys from the ramp. I think I had a good time at this airport. Many memories of marshalling Dash 8 and Dornier 328 in any imaginable weather… The last time I landed in Bern-Belp was during my EASA practical test. That is probably why I felt so well prepared this time.

We filed a flight plan for a flight to Colmar, about 70 miles north in France. Clear of airspace Delta at Bern I called Basel Information. I established two-way communication followed by my position and intention. ATC seemed to have a bad day. As you can see on the flight log I had to do orbits at two points. Coordination between Information and tower seemed to be slow. It was a bit odd because the airport didn’t look that busy.

In Colmar we enjoyed a beautiful sunny afternoon. The pretty old town reminded of Venice with its buildings and restaurants along the channels. It is a great destination for general aviation. After a short hop from Switzerland you find yourself in a different culture with many things to explore. ๐Ÿ™‚

On the flight back to Grenchen ATC at Basel was superb. A calm clear voice of a controller motivates everybody on the frequency to be professional on the radio. This time our flight log looked pretty much like the magenta line on the map. Despite forecasted convective activity in the Jura mountains the air was smooth and calm. At our homebase the controller was happy to hear some traffic and asked us if we could accept a tailwind of 4 knots and gave us a straight in approach. I accepted but am not sure if I would do it again. The landing was okay but it did feel fast. A headwind is good for the aeroplane and the brakes – it is about good airmenship. Why stress material if you don’t need to?

…But we were home fast and had a big big smile on our faces. 4 more hours are now in my logbook. Four hours full of sensations and adventure. This truly was an aviation Sunday!

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