Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 4 – Arad and Cluj, Romania

A very short and straightforward VFR flight today, crossing the border from Hungary to Arad in Romania. Now that both countries are in the Schengen area, border controls shouldn’t apply. However, this is a fairly recent development and applies only to airports at this stage. I was told that the border agencies do keep an eye on movements, and if they wanted to inspect our flight then they would already

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Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 3 – Szeged, Hungary

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

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Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 1 – Karlovy Vary

After our successful Baltic tour last year, I booked our TB20 aircraft share for a similar two week holiday with my wife again this year. Various directions were possible – Europe has so much to offer – and I sketched out a rough route through the Balkans including Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montegro and Croatia. These were all new countries for CORB, and me as a pilot, although I

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Belfast Aldergrove

August has been a very busy month with constant demand for flight instruction. Nonetheless, I was determined to take at least one flight in my shared TB20. My IR qualified friend Adam was keen to join me on an airways flight somewhere, and we settled on Belfast Aldergrove, staying nearby overnight. It’s the one large airport in Northern Ireland that I hadn’t yet visited and enabled a reasonable but not

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Old Warden

Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden

I’ve spent most of my time this summer as a full time flying instructor. The risk is that you stick to the syllabus, fly only to a few nearby airports and almost forget what it’s like to go places. While I have made a couple of day trips in my TB20, today I had blocked out some time to fly with another club member (John) for a sociable landaway. Old

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Baltic Tour 9 of 10: Lübeck, Germany

Bydgoszcz to Lübeck The sunshine in Bydgoszcz wasn’t matched by the low cloud IFR reported at our planned destination of Lübeck, so we took full advantage of the 12 noon checkout at our hotel and delayed our departure to 1pm. I’d reviewed the route, checked the weather and NOTAMs, and expected this to be a fairly straightforward VFR flight. I filed my flight plan just before checking out. We took

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Baltic Tour 6 of 10: Spilve, Riga

It would be about an hour’s VFR flight from Tartu (Estonia) to Riga (Latvia) – a little longer than a direct flight due to military restricted zones. I looked into which airport to use there. Riga international has a poor reputation from GA pilot reports: it is considered expensive with poor service, long delays and no AVGAS. Spilve is the GA-only airport close to the city centre, but requires careful

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Baltic Tour 5 of 10: Tartu and Tallinn, Estonia

Today we would reach Tartu – our furthest destination after which it would be ‘downhill’ all the way home. It would also add a new country for me, Estonia, which borders Russia. I had researched landing at Tallinn airport, which although a capital city, isn’t particularly busy. Sadly there is a mandatory 500 Euro handling fee which ruled that out. A popular alternative is Parnu to the south west, which

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Baltic Tour 4 of 10: Västerås, Sweden and Turku, Finland

Another day, another country. The plan today was to fly across to Turku in Finland. The bad weather front was forecast to clear Turku by late afternoon, so I thought that if we stopped en-route to explore another Swedish town, we could arrive later in the day when the bad weather had cleared. I had previously intended to land at Västerås ESOW hoping to meet one of my ‘remote’ students

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