Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 3 – Szeged, Hungary

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Today we made a shorter one-hour flight across Hungary to Szeged. I had previously checked they would be open on May 1st bank holiday and that they had AVGAS. A NOTAM check the day before further clarified that the hard runway would be closed for a motorcycling competition, leaving the 1100m grass runway available.

A flight plan is not necessary for internal flights in most countries but I thought it best to file one anyway. My flight plan using SkyDemon was accepted without issues and I think helped with air traffic services received.

LHPR Gyor-Per to LHUD Szeged

There was no particular rush, so we took our time and departed a little later than our 1000 local filed time. After departure, Per Information asked me for my requested altitude en route. I proposed 3,500 feet initially. This must have been co-ordinated with the regional FIS and was approved. As we departed the Per TIZ, we were handed over to Budapest Information. It was quite bumpy so I requested 5,500 feet which was quickly approved, and it was indeed much calmer when higher up. The stronger headwind caused a groundspeed penalty which cost us about five minutes or more overall but it was so much more comfortable that it was worth it. It appeared to me that I would be transiting through the controlled airspace of Kecskemét TMA ahead, and I queried this and was quickly told that the TMA was inactive. Other TMA sectors closer to Budapest certainly were active, and I thought the FISO was proactive (and helpful) to other pilots warning them if a transit would not be possible.

Hungary was fairly flat with wide open plains – we wondered if these were salt flats
North of Szeged

With about 20 miles to run, I changed to Szeged Information and descended without too much fuss to join a wide right base for 16L grass. The surface was quite smooth and well maintained, including the grass taxiway and parking area. All of the lines of parked aircraft were facing downwind, which with a strong and gusty (20 knot+) wind, didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Although I had shutdown, I decided to quickly start up again, taxi round and face into the wind. It only took a couple of minutes but was well worth it for my peace of mind.

Landing on 16L grass runway while bike riding competition was held on the main runway 16R
Covers on but oriented downwind – before I decided to turn it around facing into wind

A quick visit to the tower confirmed that our departure the next day to Romania only required a flight plan, no immigration or customs checks, and we could go whenever we pleased. The Schengen zone expansion on 31st March was still fairly recent and only applies to air traffic, not road vehicles. Szeged airport website is an excellent source of information, with clear technical information for visiting pilots including the latest AVGAS prices and landing fees.

A really active and well equipped flying club

The airfield has well maintained hard and grass runways, hangarage, engineering/maintenance, static fuel pumps, classrooms, cafe and exudes the buzz of an active community of pilots.

Lots of parking space for visitors

Szeged City Centre

I used the BOLT app to request a taxi which appeared a few minutes later and whisked us into town. Our hotel had an excellent cancellation option (free until 1800 on the day of arrival), and proved to be a good choice. We walked around the city centre, which was lively but with little traffic because of the May bank holiday; we enjoyed some food, drank in the atmosphere, and basked in the sunshine.

Josef Attila – Hungarian Poet 1905-1937

PIC today: 1:15

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