Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 2 – Piešťany, Slovakia & Gyor-Per, Hungary

Posted by

The original plan for today was to fly across the width of the Czech Republic to Slovakia, staying overnight in Piestany. We did land there but continued on into the north of Hungary, landing at Gyor-Per.

Karlovy Vary to Piešťany

We refuelled before departure from Karlovy Vary. The AVGAS bowser comes to the aircraft, you then walk back to the terminal and pay. I normally try to refuel on arrival, but that wasn’t possible the previous day.

I had filed a VFR flight plan from the hotel but it was only on the way to the airport that I emailed Piešťany Airport to ask the price of their AVGAS.

A lot of Saharan dust was deposited on the aircraft overnght.

LKKV Karlov Vary, Czech to LZPP Piešťany, Slovakia

Beautiful VFR day on departing Karlovy Vary, although slightly bumpy in the late afternoon heat

My previous research had overlooked double checking that Piešťany airport would be open over the May bank holiday. There was no NOTAM and other airports did not seem to be affected. It was only as we were airborne that I received an email response warning me that they were closed on May 1st and also didn’t have AVGAS.

I did consider diverting to my alternate of Bratislava, but thought that might be quite expensive (pilot reports were inconsistent about the total cost), so decided to land at Piestany anyway with the intention to depart somewhere else fairly promptly.

It was fairly bumpy at our initial 3,500 feet cruising altitude so I climbed up to FL55 for the rest of the flight, which was better but far from the smooth flight of the previous day. This can often be an issue with flying later in the day on hotter days, and why morning flights are preferred. Praha Information gave an excellent service throughout the flight, confirming that my planned level would not be a problem, that Danger Area 7 was active up to FL45 (despite the chart indicating an upper limit of FL65), so FL55 was fine. Namest airport had some sort of airshow display and routed me via their South VRP which was a small deviation. On handover to Slovakian airspace, Štefánik Radar checked my planned route and cleared me to proceed, descending at my discretion. Piešťany Tower gave me a right base join.

Very wide base join. Piešťany itself is middle-top right on the far side of the airport

I positioned for a wide base leg and landed quite easily despite fairly gusty winds.

On arrival, the airport handler again remarked they were closed for the next two days and didn’t have AVGAS. He suggested we might proceed to Gyor-Per airport (LHPR) in northern Hungary. There is no need for immigration since we remain inside the EU Schengen area, just a flight plan. I was asked not to publish any photos I took of the airport on the ground for commercial reasons which I have respected.

LZPP Piešťany, Slovakia to LHPR Gyor-Per, Hungary

I quickly checked the destination, emailed to confirm they were open, and filed a flight plan, paid the landing fee and requested startup. On requesting taxi, the tower asked for my flight details. Only when I was taxiing did it become apparent that they didn’t have my flight plan. An email reported that it had been rejected and only gave a phone number to send one by fax. After shutting down to deal with the matter, the tower didn’t know an appropriate phone number to call, and I couldn’t quickly find one in the AIP. However, it did come through a few minutes later and we were good to go.

Overhead Piešťany after departure
South side of Piešťany after departure
Piešťany to Gyor-Per

The flight itself was a fairly straightforward direct route for 30 minutes. Štefánik Radar monitored my flight, remaining within controlled airspace until almost at the border where I changed to Per Information. I was warned of some aerobatic aircraft operating far above me, and positioned for a wide left base and landed. The phrase “Land at your discretion” isn’t used here – it was more like “the runway is clear” – but the meaning was consistent.

A follow me car directed us to our parking spot in the deserted apron. The operations manager spoke good English, was very friendly and helpful. Other staff put chocks and bollards in place. We packed up, put the covers on, and called a taxi. Per itself is a village about 15 minutes taxi ride from the city of Gyor. We did consider staying overnight in Per, but thought there would be more choice of restaurants and accommodation elsewhere.

Our first choice of hotel wasn’t to our liking, so we walked around the city centre, had dinner and took a taxi to another hotel on the outskirts which proved to be a much better choice.

PIC today: 2:35

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *