Trip from Shoreham to Elba and Greece, September 2018

This article describes a trip from Shoreham EGKA, UK, with the following stops

(1) Elba LIRJ in Italy (EuroGA fly-in, 3 nights)
(2) Brac LDSB
in Croatia, 1 night
(3) Sitia LGST in Greece, 1 night
(4) Karpathos LGKP in Greece, 2 nights
(5) Kastelorizo LGKJ in Greece, 3 nights
(6) Ioanina LGIO in Greece, to refuel and clear exit Customs
(7) Brac LDSB in Croatia, 1 night
(8) Colmar LFGA in France (an unplanned fuel diversion)
(9) Shoreham EGKA back home!

Here is a glossary for non-aviation readers.

The initial stop, Elba, was for a EuroGA fly-in. On EuroGA we normally have two big fly-ins a year, in May and September.

The Elba portion was straightforward. Elba has customs (customs and immigration; these two are usually the same but Europe has various exceptions) and avgas. Airport AIP. A local pilot, Riccardo, very helpfully communicated with the airport to make sure they have the room and the fuel. We had a great turnout - one of the best ever. The island is really lovely, and the difficulty of reaching it conventionally makes it an even better fly-in destination.

The rest of the trip, down to Greece, was not expected to attract many due to the distance and the planning complexity in Greece. In the end, two aircraft made it all the way.

I have already written extensively about flying to Greece in other trip writeups here. It was always a planning challenge due to tight opening timetables of many airports and few avgas options, but with an aircraft that has a good range (and few piston aircraft beat the TB20 at around 1300nm to empty tanks), it was always doable. The great scenery all over Greece and the virtually universal friendliness and welcome from the Greek people made all trips a pleasure. Unfortunately, in 2016, a German company - Fraport - took over nearly all the money-making Greek airports, massively driving up the costs and introducing a tight slot system. When the existing Greek airport handlers saw how visitors were being ripped off by Fraport, they decided to help themselves to some of it "while the going is good" and the end result is an order of magnitude increase in the costs - to the €300 area. Even booking a slot is €50 and if you need to change your plan it is another €50. These slots are not required for IFR arrivals or departures but some airports have found a way around that too. And even some non-Fraport airports jumped on the rip-them-off bandwagon. The end result - see picture below - is that very few airports are Ports of Entry, have Avgas, and cost under €100. There is just Sitia LGST on Crete and Ioanina LGIO in north-west Greece! Between these two one can enter and fly around Greece pretty well and land at the numerous smaller Greek island airports, whose costs are mostly still reasonable. Sitia however has a difficult opening timetable which on most days doesn't overlap with most of the other small airports because they have difficult timetables too... Ioanina is easily reachable from e.g. Croatia but reaching Sitia needs an aircraft with a good range. Other options are Iraklion LGIR (a slightly smaller ripoff at about €150, or €100 if you arrive and depart VFR) and the big Athens airport LGAV (makes sense only as a "technical stop" i.e.not leaving airside when it is "only" about €200). The last two are not operated by Fraport.

Of course one can argue that €300 is fine in the context of a trip on which the fuel costs several times that, but nobody likes to be blatently ripped off and, more to the point, when you get into a situation where you have to email several airports to book slots and most of the published email addresses are duff, it gets really frustrating because potentially you may be denied a landing clearance. There are certainly cases where in Greece (and other countries) a failure to obtain PPR can result in a denial of a landing clearance, so this needs to be taken seriously. With Sitia I never managed to get through on email, not even on the address which they gave me over the phone - presumably due to aggressive email filtering - but I flew there anyway because it is a "known sleepy" airport . In fact the whole Greek section of this trip was plagued with nonresponding email contacts and many bouncing addresses. Even the CAA addresses, found in the official HCAA document, were mostly duff. Fortunately the solution lies in Greek aviation speaking good English (something you mostly don't get in Spain, France and Italy for example) and their phone numbers worked, and provided you phone the CAA office at an airport, and they OK it, it doesn't matter if the handler knows nothing about you since they won't dare question the CAA.

The aircraft was refuelled on every one of the above stops except Karpathos and Kastelorizo, neither of which have avgas, and the latter has no fuel at all. Accordingly the route LGST-LGKP-LGKJ-LGIO was pushing the TB20's range about as far as was safe, although avgas diversions were available at Rhodes, Sitia again, Samos, and Syros, albeit Rhodes and Samos would have cost around €300 due to Fraport.

The Karpathos stop was chosen for two reasons: (a) to see the island and (b) its wide opening hours - it has lots of holiday flights - make it easy to match up the tight timetables of Sitia and Kastelorizo which offer very limited options for a direct flight. Try working this one out:

Sitia:
FROM 01/06 TILL 30/09
MON,WED,FRI,SAT 1400-1545
TUE 0900-1745
THU 0300-0445 0700-2015
SUN 0500-0815 1200-1500

Kastelorizo:
FROM 01/06 TILL 30/09
MON,TUE,WED,SAT 0300-0900
FRI,SUN 0300-0630
THU CLOSED

This diagram summarises the present-day "Greek situation":

If Syros* became a port of entry, the situation would be substantially improved because currently the only port of entry with avgas in "central" Greece is Samos which will land you with a 300 euro bill for landing.

Greece continues to be challenging for VFR flight due to a lack of map data. Old ONC charts marked-up with later data can be found here and tablet products such as EasyVFR and Skydemon cover Greece now. I use EasyVFR but didn't use it on this trip because most of the legs were flown under IFR, which is mostly in controlled airspace. In Greece, IFR must take place in controlled airspace, and if the ATCO sends you OCAS he has to inform you that ATC will not be provided, and they don't want to do this. The LGST-LGKP-LGKJ were done as VFR but they were short low level flights, in remote airspaces where nobody cares about you

A general information page for Greece, prepared and maintained by AOPA GR is here.

On VFR flights it is vital to check enroute notams. One always checks airport notams, VFR or IFR, particularly as in Greece they are the sole source for airport opening hours.

Some background to this trip is in this EuroGA thread.

 

Airport PNR/PPR

All the airports on this trip were PNR or PPR, one way or another, especially on certain days. So all had to be contacted beforehand and this took some time due to mostly duff email addresses in Greece.

 

Accommodation

With GA travel, there is no short-notice cost penalty so you can stay at home until the destination weather is good. The short-notice hotel issue can be tricky but AirB&B and Booking.com can be very useful and are widely used by pilots.

Booking.com is mostly normal hotels although many apartments appear on it also, hence it tends to be "hotel prices". In fact I use Booking.com as the standard way to look for hotels. It is generally better than AirB&B for short-notice trips because you get a guaranteed booking right away whereas with AirB&B you "request" the apartment, and many AirB&B hosts play silly games and take up to 24hrs (the max allowed time) to respond, presumably in the hope of getting a longer-duration booking. Many hosts don't bother to reply, and this gets much worse during the busy season. Fortunately you can cancel your request if you don't hear back within say a few hours. And the host can cancel your booking unilaterally; this tends to happen on booking at busy destinations where you are booking only a couple of days... if the host gets contacted by someone who wants a whole week, he might just "bounce" you. The other problem with AirB&B is that you get every "broom cupboard" on it, so one should not go too downmarket... in one €40/night apartment we had sewage coming up through the floor! So, when looking for an apartment for several people, I normally look at apartments priced around the cost of a single hotel room - say €100/night. However, if you have a few days to play with, AirB&B is usually much better value for money; in most cases one can get a whole 2- or 3-bedroom apartment for the cost of the €100 hotel room. One issue with Booking.com is that most of the establishments offer only 1 room on it (to make it look like they are nearly fully booked, to scare people into booking something fast) which can make it impossible to book for a group; this is obviously solved by googling for the hotel and contacting it directly. Normally the hotels prefer that anyway because Booking.com takes a cut of at least 15%. But occassionally one finds a lower price on Booking.com, and bizzarely I have never managed to get a lower price by booking directly!

For Greece, there is an argument that you should use the small family hotels because they need to be supported and their prices are mostly low anyway. Our experience of these is certainly very positive.

 

Pilot

FAA CPL/IR, EASA PPL/IR, ~2500hrs.

 

Aircraft

The aircraft is this 2002 TB20GT; one of the last made before production ended.

In January 2018 a full TKS ice protection system was installed. This was a big job, with numerous nontrivial aspects, but the end result was well worthwhile in expanding the operating envelope, by enabling safe penetration of non-convective icing conditions - basically icing layers which can be climbed or descended through fairly quickly. It was good to discover afterwards that the TKS system did not affect the cruise speed - something of a problem on other TB20 / TB21 installations where a speed loss of 5-7kt had been reported. The above pic shows the not yet painted TKS fluid refill door, just left of the "3".

The aircraft is equipped for BRNAV (RNAV 5) and can fly ILS and GPS/LNAV approaches using the autopilot. This is sufficient for current European IFR flying. The cockpit is largely as delivered in 2002, with a Sandel EHSI installed in 2011 on the LH side and with the RH side later reworked with another Sandel EHSI and arranged to form a usable "pilot panel" so the aircraft can be flown from the RH side.

There is no LPV approach capability but LPV is not yet (to me) operationally relevant in Europe especially if flying to/from the UK which normally needs an airport with Customs/Immigration. France is ahead of most countries in removing ILS approaches (from airports not served by airlines) and replacing them with LPV. Adding LPV capability (which also gives you the very useful "+V" advisory glideslope on most GPS approaches) could be done with a cheap-and-dirty solution of a used GNS430W, but that would leave various dysfunctional loose ends, and a decent installation would be a Garmin GTN650+GTN750 (or just the 750) or Avidyne 2xIFD540 (the foregoing links are photoshopped mockups) and these jobs would cost about 30k but much more importantly I don't know of any installer who I would let loose on my aircraft on which I value the virtually 100% uptime!

The aircraft has an operating ceiling of 20,000ft in ISA conditions. I have taken it to 21,000ft but in the fairly common summer conditions of e.g. ISA+15 it will reach at most 18,000ft at MTOW.

This is the current (2018) panel, with the Aera 660 GPS on the LH yoke; this is wired to the intercom to provide a GPWS function with audible warnings in the headsets, as well as providing an emergency "DCT box" for navigation following a total loss of electric power

The ADL150 satellite weather receiver was also installed in January 2018. This gives simple but usable graphical weather data for most of Europe, plus tafs and metars, for around €40 per month.

 

Routes

The IFR routes were developed with the Autorouter which was also used to file the flight plans. This facility is currently free. It does IFR flight plans only (I Y and Z but not V). The only other options for autorouting are RocketRoute (over €200 a year) and Foreflight (around €100/year). Foreflight dominates the US market and is working on a European version, but it isn't quite there yet in terms of required functionality. For VFR flight plan filing I use EuroFPL. I also use EuroFPL for filing IFR flight plans for unusual situations e.g. where a specific ETA must be filed (to fit inside a purchased airport slot) and the Autorouter aircraft performance model does not allow that. With the recent demise of FlightPlanPro (one of the original autorouting tools, from 2008) the lack of a realistic backup for the Autorouter is a concern to many pilots... I have already found problems with delaying flight plans, for example.

In case the Autorouter disappeared while on a trip like this, I generate the routings before leaving home and save them in a file which I email to myself. Then I could use one of the other flight plan filing tools (e.g. EuroFPL, or at worst AFPEX) to file the flight plans. This is not 100% reliable because a flight planned route may no longer be valid a week later, but it usually works, or may just need a little tweak.

Some notes on IFR in Europe are here.

 

Shoreham - Elba

This was the first leg of the trip.

Local UK weather was very nice, but there was something convective happening near Elba, with the radar and sferics showing lightning activity. Still, that picture would change over the course of a 5hr flight...

MSLP: 0600 1200
IR Sferics Radar TAFs/METARs
Autorouter briefing pack Gramet

The above Gramet is also contained in the briefing pack but it was run a day later i.e. nearer the departure time. I tend to find that the Autorouter Gramet is a poor forecasting tool for where IMC is likely to be found... The European weather models are not available to the general public (in 3D terms) so all the Gramet presentations use the US GFS model, which is not great at forecasting details like clouds, especially non-convective low and mid level clouds. And convective clouds tend to be pretty obvious from a quick look at the MSLP chart!

The Forecast Winds charts (shows for some of the legs in this report) come from Windy.com which is a very nice presentation. The ECMWF weather model there is certainly more accurate than GFS. I now use it for all my trips, for the wind directions, rain, low cloud, etc.

The route was filed FL100. The Alps normally need FL140+ but on this flight there was bad weather over the Alps so we went around them.

EGKA N0145F040 DRAKE/N0149F070 DCT SITET/N0152F100 A34 LGL H20 BENAR A34 KOVAK H20 DOMOD A3 SANCE R31 MTL R161 AMFOU A3 CAPCO/N0151F090 A3 MIRSA VFR LIRJ

Alternates: Bastia LFKB

730nm as filed
648nm GC

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking)

 

This paper package is what I always prepare at home before any significant trip. Each stack contains the whole route chart, a plog (waypoint list; this is rarely used since the route picture shows most of the waypoints, and the flight is done with GPS navigation), and the terminal charts for the departure, destination and alternate(s). For terminal charts for unplanned airports I have a collection of PDFs on various devices including my phone

Nice day at Shoreham

Crossing the French coast, near Le Havre

Unfortunately the clear conditions soon ended, with most of France being overcast. Here we are at FL100

This is the Massif Central. FL120 now, due to the higher terrain and to stay above some cloud. Temperature is -1C which shows how warm the air was (the standard temperature at FL120 or 12000ft is -9C) although this is typical of summer flying

The fuel totaliser is forecasting 30 USG on landing, based on the current ground speed and distance to run. We have a nice tailwind of about 20kt, giving us a ground speed of 165kt

The more south you go in Europe, the more interesting the scenery gets

The "French Riviera"

Now we have a fair bit of water to cross; this is a heading directly east, to Elba, with Corsica somewhere on the right. As expected from the original weather data, there are more buildups here

Elba:

There is a lot of sailing going on down there

The airport is now visible in the centre

We get the easy approach, from the sea. The other way needs a lot more care because you are turning in front of those hills - I did that on this trip

A good number of the fly-in pilots are already here. We had almost 20 aircraft!

That's us parked up on the left, with doors open

The sandy apron was of considerable concern to me. It looks nice but actually it is a horible solution for aircraft because the sand gets everywhere; into the controls, into the landing gear, and it does a lot of damage unless everything is stripped down afterwards. Calvi was even worse...

As one always should in aviation, we refuelled immediately on arrival. There is no bowser and you have to get the aircraft to the pump. Due to the loose sand all over the ground I decided to pull it manually onto the tarmac and only then use the engine. Avgas is not cheap on Elba and many visitors refuel elsewhere. These are pretty well Greek prices

The airport is really nice. They do get a fair number of high net worth visitors and this always shows. Locman watches have a large showroom on Elba

Our Italian pilot friend Riccardo organised a great welcome by the airport, with free drinks. Non alcoholic drinks only

 

Photo Gallery - flight Shoreham to Elba

This is the video of the entire flight, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

Elba is a highly scenic destination, for both walking around and driving to see more of the island

It is easy to find really nice healthy food

We found an apartment, La Zizzolo, on booking.com but it showed no rooms left so I contacted them directly The place looked a bit run-down on the outside but it was lovely

Elba has a lot of sandy beaches, which were not too crowded (September)

Walking around the airport, most of these aeroplanes were there for the EuroGA fly-in

This is the "special Elba perfume" which is sold all over the island

There are lots of places to drink, eat or chill out

How many believe this is for "medical" uses?

My friends Emir and Hinda rented a car and very kindly drove around the island

We did the amazing cable lift up the mountain Capanne

I hope I never have this view while flying an aircraft

On the top is a helipad - strictly for "real" helicopter pilots only

Back in town

Napoleon's house. This is where he was under "arrest" the first time round. The second time round they put him somewhere more remote

 

Photo Gallery - Elba

 

Elba - Brac

This was the second leg of the trip. With full tanks and nice weather this was a very easy flight.

MSLP: 0600
IR Sferics TAFs/METARs Forecast winds
Winds Autorouter briefing pack

The route was filed at FL100-110

LIRJ GILIO/N0152F100 IFR Q195 GIKIN L865 ANC M730 TORPO/N0152F110 M730 SPL LDSB

Alternates: Split LDSP

319nm as filed
284nm GC

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking)... you can see every shortcut was asked for

 

The sand from the parking surface was everywhere - obviously thrown up by other aircraft taxiing past under power, and stuck to everything which was moist from the morning mist

The only sensible thing was to manually push the aircraft onto the tarmac before engine start, to avoid getting more sand everywhere from one's own propeller. This is the sort of stuff which renters tend to not worry about, but the reason my aircraft is still in a good condition after 16 years is because I have looked after it...

Departure was on the opposite runway to arrival, so straight out over the sea

We initially flew along the coast to the west to get photos, before turning back towards Italy

Portoferraio

This shows the arrival and departure tracks, on an old (2013) VFR chart which I run on a tablet, for emergency purposes

Landing fuel on board forecast at 56 USG which is enough to fly to somewhere in Turkey... That single lightning strike after ANC is either just one little buildup (it doesn't take much of a cloud to make one strike which gets picked up) or is much further away, over the Croatian mountains

Crossing the mountanious spine of Italy. Italian ATC lost radar contact with us near KATAR at FL120!

Ancona airport

Our friend Chris overtook us 1000ft below in his turbocharged Bonanza

The unmistakable coast of Croatia with the huge number of small islands

The island of Brac... the airport is somewhere on top of it, at 1700ft above the sea, not yet visible

Final approach to Brac, runway 04

This is their new runway extension. They now have some Boeing and Airbus aircraft doing passenger flights.

The mountains of mainland Croatia

Parked up next to Chris's Bonanza

The brand new airport was built c. 2005 and was nearly closed a few times; most recently 4 years ago when the staff were given their notices. Then it got new management and now is seeing a rapid growth in traffic – 70% up on 2017 and getting Airbus and B737 aircraft, so its future is now assured. The staff are simply the most friendly anywhere – a real dedicated “mostly female” team.  I am also sure that EuroGA is responsible for a lot of their GA traffic growth in recent years

 

Photo Gallery - Elba to Brac flight

This is the video of the entire flight, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

I have been to Brac many times and it features in a number of my trip reports, so here are just a few pics.

This is the little town of Bol which is located right under the airport and, for a 1 night stay, is a better choice than the main town - Supetar.

There is a fair bit of money around...

Nowadays I eat a "mostly plants" diet but this is difficult to keep up when travelling, because one cannot get the more nutritious vegetables like e.g. sweet potatoes. So fish is the best option. Fish is in short supply in the entire Mediterranean (due to over-fishing; too much tourism) but the prices here were reasonable. Most of the fish are farmed in the vast fish farms which one sees when flying around

My friends Chris and Karen, and me. At around this time my girlfriend Justine was travelling by airline direct to Sitia

The typical Brac architecture, made in the white stone which is found everywhere

 

Brac - Sitia

This was the third leg of the trip.

MSLP: 1200
IR Sferics TAFs/METARs Forecast winds
Autorouter briefing pack

The route was filed at FL100-120

LDSB N0152F100 SIPAL L607 DBK L187 TAZ Y400 POD/N0150F120 N732 MODRA N142 AKIKA/N0152F110 DCT MAVAR N130 TSL/N0152F100 L617 SKP B1 ATV M749 MIL L617 ALIKI A14 XAVIS LGST

Alternates: Iraklion LGIR

759nm as filed
651nm GC

Obviously I was hoping to avoid the ridiculous kink to MODRA which is just an artefact of the rules implemented by Eurocontrol software.

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking):

This leg was flown IFR, for the usual planning simplicity reasons. However, Sitia is a "coordinated" airport, so for IFR you have to obtain a slot! This is despite it not having been taken over by Fraport. There is a process for obtaining the slots by emailing a specific email but that never replied so I used the other method which is to get the handler (Skyserv) to obtain the slot. They charge around €50 for that Unfortunately I never managed to establish email contact with them either. I was even emailing them while airborne to Sitia (there is a sporadic 3G/4G connectivity as you fly over the land and past some of the islands) but they never got any of it. In the end, nobody cared after I landed there and nothing was mentioned... Like a lot of southern Europe, Greece functions well enough when everything is left loose; the organisation collapses when tight rules are attempted. Sitia is a sleepy airport anyway, despite the huge new terminal, so it is possible they are simply ignoring the whole issue.

The departure weather at Brac was pretty good

On the right of the pic, Bol and its trademark sandy horn beach which sticks out. On the left is Hvar

Tivat airport, Montenegro

FL120, and the fuel totaliser is forecasting 32 USG on landing at Sitia, which is plenty

I got a shortcut to MAVAR, right across Albania

Albania...

There are rather few options here in Albania, in case of an engine failure, but much of the route was within gliding range of the sea, or flat areas, to the right of the pic

Macedonia - or more correctly called Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Now we are in Greece

The island of Skiathos

Athens, and the - now largely abandoned - Olympic complex built for the 2004 games

Tatoi airport - mostly military

Folegandros, near Milos

The unmistakable outline of Santorini, which I visited in 2005

Sitia airport with the town on the right. Landing on runway 05. There was about 20kt of wind straight across the runway, but there is plenty of tarmac The VOR was INOP so the airport was VFR-only, which makes a visual approach (an IFR procedure, strictly speaking) a moot point

Parked up at the AIR BP fuel station, with the avgas drums... For some reason AIR BP never did a permanent installation, or got a bowser. When I first visited Sitia in 2004, the drums had United Nations stamped on them

The old terminal (no longer used) and the tower

The fuel man is from Australia and has been here "since forever" (actually since 2008)

The Greek airlines play funny tricks with their CAA, to see if the officials will spot the funny registrations SX-ROD – the usual visitor is below (another is SX-JOY)

The vast new terminal. It was unfinished for about 15 years but they finally did it. Who paid for it? It is big enough to handle more tourism than this part of Crete could possibly absorb

 

Photo Gallery - Brac to Sitia flight

This is the video of the entire flight, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

I have been to Sitia a number of times and have written it up, so here are just a few pics.

I metup with Justine on Sitia; she doesn't do long trips with me and gets an airline instead. She managed to go Gatwick-Athens-Sitia in one long day (with a 3am start) and already had an apartment sorted out on Sitia, near the beach. The better known Sitia Beach Hotel was apparently packed...

Kataifi and fresh orange juice

Above the town is a fortress which was always permanently closed in the past, but they seem to have restored it and opened it

There is not much inside

There was just one solitary old lady at the entrance, collecting the admission ticket fees of a few euros...

Greek food is simply the best. You get great quality ingredients, with no sauces needed to cover up bad stuff

 

Photo Gallery - Sitia

 

Sitia - Karpathos

This was the fourth leg of the trip. Being a short leg it was done under VFR. That also avoided slot issues at both Sitia and Karpathos which are both "coordinated" airports (though neither is Fraport). There is no avgas at Karpathos, though like all Greek “tourist business” islands it is a port of entry.

TAFs/METARs
Sferics

The route was filed at FL080

LGST DCT LGKP

Alternates: Sitia LGST, Rhodes LGRP

Distance approx 50nm

 

Departing Sitia was complicated. They were x-raying everything including hand luggage and then took everything out to airside, leaving us to do a passport check which is not required for an internal flight within Greece. Unfortunately my passport was in one of the bags! So the handling guy had to go and get it. Two very important looking policemen stared at the passports for a long time and, not knowing what to do with them, wrote down some of the info on a bit of paper Clearly the huge new terminal is not generating enough work... This is a far cry from how Sitia used to be - a small friendly place. But it is still fine - there are far worse places in Europe - and it has not been taken over by Fraport so the price is still ok.

Over preceeding days I was unsuccessful at contacting Karpathos - either handling (Goldair) or the CAA - by email. Eventually I phoned the CAA number and the lady just said "we know about you now; you can fly here"

The flight was filed for FL080 but it was so short that I didn't bother and flew it around 2000ft.

That little white blob on the far coast is a curious enclosed housing development which, last time I took a close look, was almost unoccupied

Sitia town

Here is that strange walled housing development again

Chris and I used this low level flight to get some pics of each other. He has done a lot of formation flying so I just flew along on autopilot and he went "around" and we got great photos. Each of us had a passenger who could do the camera work. We had asked ATC for permission to depart in close succession, which they allowed... well sort of. They allowed Chris to depart once I was off the runway

Flying past the island of Kassos, with Chris showing up on TCAS 200ft above me and a few miles ahead. It was time to end the photo session... When planning this trip we considered stopping on Kassos too but the timetables got too complicated.

Karpathos, and the airport is visible

It is a big runway, apparently acting as a diversion for the Greek air force. It has an arrestor wire which makes a bump when you run over it

It was almost sunset when we landed

It looks like another sleepy airport but they get busy at times, with holiday flights

I don't think they see many of these little planes They didn't know what to do with us. The handler said he had no prior notice... well, that was true, and it was because all their email addresses were either duff or (since some didn't bounce) nobody was reading them! So I told them the CAA approved it and they went away...

 

Photo Gallery - Sitia to Karpathos flight

This is the video of the entire flight, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

Karpathos has quite a lot of tourism, and it looked like "package tourism". It was fine for a 2-night stay though

This "tourist info" office was abandoned - as is the case on many smaller Greek islands

There were impressive buildups in the afternoons - a great reason to do any flying in the mornings!

The town had a lot of scenic spots

This is the "town hall" I believe

Overall the standard was good. Actually all the Greek islands we have ever been to (and we have done lots of them) are of a good standard - except Corfu and Zakynthos which have collapsed under heavy tourism. In the popular places it is best to book a good quality hotel; the cheaper ones are likely to be rather bad - whereas on the less touristy islands the standard tends to be higher all around. This food is just wonderful...

 

Photo Gallery - Karpathos

Karpathos - Kastelorizo

This was the fifth leg of the trip.

TAFs/METARs
IR Sferics Forecast winds

The route was filed at FL080

LGKP DCT LGKJ

Alternates: Rhodes LGRP

Distance: 126nm

 

The early morning departure at Karpathos was totally manic. There was only one handling (Goldair) employee - a woman who just ran around all over the place. Just as we thought we "caught" her, some pushy airline passenger grabbed her and she spent 20 minutes doing some kind of seat upgrade for him. Then she vanished again and we thought that perhaps we would be escorted to airside and forgotten (a good result ) but she reappeared at the last moment to produce the invoices. And a police passport check again, for another flight within Greece...

There was no problem on the preceeding days contacting Kastelorizo regarding permission etc. They asked for a lot of information however, including a VAT number! That happens a lot in Spain; the best solution is to make one up as GBxxxxxxxxx since they cannot use it for anything useful.

Due to Kastelorizo's opening hours we departed at first light. This also reduces the chances of strong winds, which can be a serious problem at Kastelorizo; see the short final photos further below. I am advised that  Olympic Airways does not fly into Kastelorizo (ATR42) with more than 12 kts crosswind because of the rotors from the hills on the sides of the runway. There are no tafs or metars for Kastelorizo but Rhodes LGRP showed only light winds
LGRP 140050Z 26006KT 9999 SCT020 23/19 Q1011 NOSIG
and the foecast winds from windy.com (screenshot above) confirmed that.

Thee was some rain in the vicinity and it was not clear until we got airborne which way we would be able to turn. A left turn would clear the terrain and would have to be done if the cloudbase was too low, while a right turn was directly towards the destination and obviously preferable

Upon getting airborne, however, the visibility turned out to be fine

The flight was filed for FL080 but we just climbed to about 6000ft to stay above some clouds, and to maintain some sort of radio contact in this very remote part of Greece

This is my tablet running a 1998 US ONC chart, but not much changes around here You can see how close Turkish airspace is!

The island of Kastelorizo in thick haze... the background is Turkey

The airport, with the twin commuter turboprop sitting on the apron. They did not allow anyone to land while the other aircraft was parked, which was completely unnecessary since as you can see below one could have easily taxied past him

The main (and only ) town

Finally, after about 10 minutes of orbiting, he is moving. I was keen to not waste fuel because I had to go all the way to Ioanina in N Greece from here

You can see that winds from the right (roughly 030 bearing i.e. north-easterly) are a particular problem. On this occassion the reported wind was 300/11 for R13 and 340/05 for R31, so I landed on R31

The main terminal Everyone was really friendly - like a little village

Chris landed shortly afterwards. He had to drop off his wife to Rhodes (and make a ~€250 “donation to Greece’s creditors” (via Fraport) for the 1hr spent there ).

This is probably the biggest crowd the airport has seen since this Greek visit in 2006, shortly after the airport opened. On that occassion they fitted 14 aircraft in (very tightly) but this time they told us they cannot accept more than 4.

I always leave EuroGA leaflets at airport on my travels, although in this case - not many GA visitors - they will either remain there for ever or get binned

 

Photo Gallery - Karpathos to Kastelorizo flight

This is the video of the entire flight, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

Kastelorizo is one of the most scenic places I have ever been to. It is a real gem. There isn't much to do there (in terms of opera houses etc ) but one could just take photos all day long, in between chilling out...

The town centre and the tourist office

There is a tragic story behind Kastelorizo... decades ago the population was many times larger (around 10,000; now around 250) but it was almost destroyed in WW2. These hillsides are covered in rubble of the houses which once stood there

You can see the rubble of the former houses here...

The Greek navy was very present, with this missile boat

Several of the hillsides have Greek flags painted on them, presumably to be visible from Turkey

Great colours in the evening light

That's Turkey in the distance. The town on the far left is Kas to which you can do a day trip on a boat

Plenty of freshly caught fish. The water looked pretty clean; there were very few large boats and you could catch the fish just by sitting in the harbour. Most harbours in the Mediterranean are so filthy that you cannot see anything in the water

We got a boat around the island, with this great story teller

In the middle here is the rubble pile which forms one end of the runway

We visited the famous "blue cave". This is the entrance! The boat can only just get in there, if everyone lies down on the floor. The outboard engine has dents on it from the rocks

Inside is vast and really beautiful, with a sand "beach" with turtle footprints

Chris had a tighter schedule and departed the day before us. He flew right over our boat

These are Greek army observation posts

For red meat eaters, the meat here is definitely free range and organic

These turtles were swimming everywhere

Kastelorizo, despite its tiny population, is actually very "functional". The apartment we had, Mari Apartment, was lovely, spacious and with a super friendly host, there was a good supermarket, and everyone was really nice. The food was all outstanding. A lot of the vegetables come from Turkey; there is an informal trade going on. One could pretty well live there... in retirement

On the last day we did an afternoon/evening trip to Kas in Turkey. It was OK but really busy, noisy and dirty...

We got back from the Turkish trip at 11pm which wasn't good for my 4am wakeup the next morning to fly all the way to Brac. I usually sleep badly before a flight, anyway...

 

Photo Gallery - Kastelorizo

Kastelorizo - back home

This part covers the return journey: Kastelorizo - Ioanina - Brac - Colmar - Shoreham.

On these long trips, I always find return flights tedious - because one is not going anywhere interesting, one usually has headwind all the way back, and often earlier passengers are not coming back on the same route. I think I will structure future trips differently so that they contain interesting stops on the way back.

Kastelorizo is not a port of entry and in this case the most cost effective way out of Greece is via Ioanina. This is an excellent and GA-friendly airport without any of the silly issues which plague most of Greece. It is not "coordinated" so doesn't need a slot, and has not been taken over by Fraport so the price is still reasonable. And it has avgas... It was always a port of entry but the avgas is a recent addition.

I could have spent a night at Ioanina but decided not to and just do a fuel stop. At this point on this trip I had "done" what I wanted to do and just wanted to get back home. The only constraint was that I had to collect my passenger who I had left on Brac a week previously. Justine was not flying back with me; she got a ferry from Kastelorizo to Rhodes and a few days later flew back from there to the UK on Easyjet

Kastelorizo - Ioanina

MSLP 0600 1200
TAFs & Metars
Autorouter briefing pack

The route was filed for FL100

LGKJ N0152F100 VANES/N0152F100 IFR M601 GILOS B34 ASTIS M601 MADEX L53 GARTA LGIO

Alternate: Corfu LGKR

487nm as filed
465nm GC

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking):

 

The airport opens early and since I had a long journey ahead, with a fuel stop at Ioanina (which could take hours, or not - you just never quite know) and needing to reach Brac by 1400 UTC, I departed 0400 UTC. It was quite strange to be getting into a taxi (the only taxi on the island) in total darkness...

This is the CAA office Everyone was really friendly. I think the manager (who also does the radio) is quite keen on GA. There was the usual 50% AOPA discount and the lady there picked up that my US AOPA membership card expired a few days before (I did have continuous membership in fact and was able to show this before departing – this was worth some €50). Since Ioanina has fairly wide opening hours, departure timing was not critical but usually I prefer early morning flights, to get going before convective weather gets started, and on this occassion there was the Brac closing time deadline too.

The weather was again pretty good. Sunrise... They get the fire engine out and running whenever there is any aircraft movement!

These are the most beautiful (in fact probably the only) sunrise photos I have from flying. The video (further down) is even better

Looking back at Kastelorizo and the airport

This is the whole island, with Turkey close behind, and one has to be careful to not enter Turkish airspace which is really close. No idea what would happen…

Here the fuel totaliser is forecasting 18 USG at Ioanina, which is getting a bit tight...

Having crossed Rhodes, this is the tiny island of Alimia. No significance; I just got a photo of it

The island of Tilos

The fuel reserve improved to 22 USG. On the right are islands visited on this trip

Astypalea, where we did a EuroGA fly-in in September 2017

Without realising it I flew over the Corinth Canal. Here is a pic subsequently extracted from the video

An interesting "wind farm island" with nothing else on it. It is called Agios Georgios and a google on Agios Georgios island wind power digs out some fascinating information on how it was done. A good use for an uninhabited piece of rock but hard to believe it was worth doing for the few tens of megawatts, after having to run thousands of tons of 150kV cable to the mainland, 20cm diameter with insulation, and weighing 80kg/metre. Must have been a helluva subsidy harvesting job, not to mention the necessary "compensation to local officials"

Approaching the rugged terrain of northern Greece

Flying the VOR32 approach

This was the only instrument approach flown on this entire trip (other than visual approaches which are also under IFR) and it was one which you have to do right otherwise you will go into a mountain. There was some cloud around and you only need a bit of cloud in the wrong place at the same time as you screw up...

Final for Ioanina

Ioanina looks like a nice city which would be well worth a visit - another time!

The airport went really smoothly, with excellent helpful ATC and really quick handling and refuelling. It has really everything - nice staff, customs, avgas, no slots, and no Fraport to jack up the costs 10x! They have a vast amount of parking space, so no wonder they didn't fall into the "coordinated airport" trap. Ioanina is highly recommended as a port of entry into Greece, now that Corfu has been lost to huge fees.

Ioanina does get a few airline flights

I actually emptied out their little bowser. They had more avgas in a big tank but with something like 150 litres uploaded I had more than enough fuel to fly to Brac

 

Ioanina - Brac

Autorouter briefing pack

I had already checked the weather earlier, all the way to Brac, and it was fine.

The route was filed for FL080-120

LGIO N0150F120 TUMBO L611 RODON/N0152F100 L611 LOKRU P748 DBK L607 TIKSA/N0150F080 L607 SIPAL LDSB

Alternate: Split LDSP

308nm as filed
284nm GC

Obviously I was hoping to cut out the dogleg, and managed it ok. Note that almost 200nm were out of gliding range of land! Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking):

 

Runway was 32. The SID was TUMBO1A whose minimum climb gradient is just possible to do in the TB20. This SID is actually for the opposite runway (14) so ATC did me a favour by eliminating the extra track miles, but that made the required climb gradient even tighter. However the conditions were VMC (or VMC could be maintained) and there were alternate tracks between the mountains ahead. The climb to FL120 took 15 minutes.

The departure is directly towards that mountain in the middle of the runway which goes to 9000ft I have a good GPWS (ground proximity warning system) presentation on the Garmin Aera 660 and it was uncannily accurate as I was approaching the rocks and then cleared them. A slight turn left or right would have also avoided any issue. I would not have done this in IMC...

After an uneventful flight along very familiar landscape, approaching Brac

As on most days, there was nobody in the tower so I had to fly over it to check the windsock, which is pretty hard to see from 1000ft above

 

This is the video of the entire flight Kastelorizo - Ioanina - Brac, edited to show only the more interesting bits:

 

I met up with James my young passenger who had been enjoying himself on Brac for a week and who was flying home with me.

 

Brac - Shoreham, fuel stop at Colmar

MSLP 0600 1200 1800
TAFs & Metars Forecast winds IR Sferics Radar Radar-Croatia
Autorouter briefing pack Brac-Shoreham

The route was filed for FL100-140

LDSB N0152F100 SPL4T SPL L607 ZDA N606 PUL/N0152F110 P11 ROTAR L615 AKADO Y265 INBUT N503 VIC L615 LEGLO/N0148F130 L615 DESIP N851 UTAVO/N0147F140 N851 SOPER/N0148F130 N851 ELMUR/N0150F120 L613 HOC G4 HR/N0152F110 G4 RLP B3 BILGO H20 XORBI H40 NEBRU/N0150F120 H40 ABB N20 KUNAV/N0150F080 DCT HARDY/N0145F040 DCT SFD EGKA

923nm as filed
825nm GC

I have done this route a good number of times. It is not the shortest one which validates through the Eurocontrol system below FL200, but the "horizontal" portion south of the Alps has the strategic advantage that you can climb above any cloud cover above the peaks, before turning north over them. I don't like crossing the Alps in IMC anymore... Even TKS is of limited use because at max flow it lasts only just long enough.

This long flight requires very little and preferably zero headwind. Looking at the forecast winds (link above) it was not quite clear whether this could be done in one leg on this occassion, but with an accurate fuel totaliser (which forecasts the fuel at the destination to within a few litres) one can have a go and divert if necessary. Without a totaliser this sort of flight would be impossible. There are many options for diversions along this route; some much more convenient than others. In the end there was too much headwind and we diverted to Colmar in France.

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking):

The right turn in the track above was us avoiding some buildups over the Alps. This wasted yet more fuel and a quick decision was then made to divert for fuel.

Another nice day on Brac

The famous beach again, lined with deckchairs, with each one having a neatly spread towel on it

Most fish you eat in the Mediterranean comes from these huge fish farms. I just hope they don't pour antibiotics in there like they do in the Scottish lakes! Unfortunately a quick google confirms that antibiotics and vaccines do get poured in there... Today, of the larger fish, only Alaskan wild salmon is uncontaminated...

Zadar airport with its 3500m runway, and the shorter runway at right angle for use when the strong Bora wind is blowing down from the mountains behind it. Zadar is a really nice city; we visited it here

This mystery runway is a former Yugoslav military airbase called Šepurine. It was totally devastated in the war but the runway is in perfect condition. Someone tried to get it back into operation for general aviation but was frustrated by local political games

Mali Losinj - one of my most frequently visited airports, the location of a great EuroGA fly-in in 2014, and a super place to pop down to anytime the weather is ok. It is generally easily reachable from Shoreham, in one 5hr leg in the TB20

The Landing fuel on board is now showing 14 USG which is cutting it very close and unless this improves over the coming hours we will have to stop for fuel

As is usually the case these days, The Autorouter Gramet (from above briefing pack) was complete fiction; it was showing blue skies but there was significant cloud cover over the Alps. However I knew that, from the IR image for example, hence we climbed to FL160 which was as high as the aircraft would go in the very warm air (-5C at FL160, which is 12C above standard) and with nearly full tanks. It looked like it would be enough to stay above the cloud tops, which was important because if you dip into IMC at -5C you get rapid ice accretion; -5C is the "best" temperature for icing

Unfortunately the tops rose, as they do as the day warms up, and eventually we ended up just below the tops. The TKS ice protection system worked great; here you can see the wing is clean except for the unprotected areas: the wingtip and the joint between the TKS panels. The unheated stall warner was of course totally frozen in a lump of ice!

Swiss ATC were rather pedantic about track changes etc... not sure why they should be bothered since they have everyone on radar, and in all probability there was no other traffic.

After about half an hour of this, and some doglegs around buildups (there was never any real turbulence) using the ADL150 weather data receiver, I decided that enough was enough. We were clear of the terrain and descended rapidly to FL100 where the temperature was about +3C and the ice melted rapidly.

An hour or so later, heading into France, and with the headwind no better, I decided to refuel. Colmar was near the route, is an easy airport with very little activity and it was showing good clear weather so we went there. ATC were very accommodating, with everything done really fast. Here it is, straight ahead. The cloud bases were around 8000ft

It was hazy, and amazingly hot!

The temperature on the ground was +30C! The self service machine needs the AIR BP card, which I have, but the instructions are in French - at least on the initial menus, until it works out that the card is UK issued. I can't speak any French but James my passenger does so we sorted it out in no time The airport costs only about €10 to land... Many of these French airports are subsidised by the local chamber of commerce... long may it last!

 

Colmar - Shoreham

At Colmar, we had to clear customs (immigration actually) because we arrived from Croatia which is a non Schengen country, and we were departing to the UK which is also a non Schengen country. The PNR for this exercise is 24hrs which would have meant an overnight stay, had the French police chosen to exercise their rights to the maximum extent. We enquired at the desk about the options and obtained a phone number for the police. My passenger spoke fluent French and he phoned them up, telling them it was a fuel diversion, and they said they were not interested in checking us! So on we went... I filed a new flight plan with the Autorouter.

Then some problems appeared. The flight plan was rejected, saying there was one already in the system. The Colmar tower said they definitely closed my flight plan, so this was a mystery. The old flight plan was somehow stuck in the system. Autorouter has no helpdesk, and the developers of the site have long vanished from EuroGA which originally played a big part in promoting it. I have a (not widely publicised) number for London Control and phoned them up, asking if they can clear out any existing flight plan. They were very helpful and made some phone calls and - whether or not this was a coincidence I will never know - after some 20 minutes the new flight plan filed OK.

Autorouter briefing pack

I had already checked the weather for the whole route earlier. There was nothing significant.

The route was filed for FL100-120

LFGA N0152F100 STR R7 GTQ DCT MTZ DCT MMD M163 SUIPE H9 REM B3 BILGO H20 XORBI H40 NEBRU/N0150F120 H40 ABB N20 KUNAV/N0150F080 DCT HARDY/N0145F040 DCT SFD EGKA

Alternates: Biggin Hill EGKB Bournemouth EGKK Lydd EGMD

Actual route flown (Eurocontrol radar tracking):

 

As you can see from the above, every shortcut was asked for, and - unusually for a weekday - we got most of them. France is full of military areas and on weekdays most of them are religiously guarded, especially the ones between Paris and the Belgian border. It's a matter of asking several times until they get fed up and make the phone call to the military...

It is always nice, at the end of such a long trip, when the UK appears on the GPS again KUNAV is on the airspace boundary between France and the UK, although the handover to London Control usually happens when still above France. The GS is only 114kt so we have about 30kt of headwind! The total airborne time Brac-Colmar-Shoreham turned out to be 7.5 hours.

North coast of France, near Calais

I always like to photograph the patterns the ships make in the water Also one would try to ditch near one of these in case of an engine failure, though preferably not near one of the big ones because they can't stop, and might not even see you

The cliffs at Beachy Head... it is not unusual to find cloud when you reach the UK...

This is the huge new wind turbine farm south of Shoreham

Brighton Marina

Shoreham airport is on the left

Landed, refuelled, packed up, and the 100% reliable old girl is back in the hangar.

It was great to be back home and get some decent sleep! This trip had too many early morning rises and as a result I was in a semi permanent state of insomnia. Yet this is often the way in aviation because (a) the weather is usually least convective in the morning and (b) it is most practical to arrive at the destination early, to refuel, do whatever other time-wasting formalities, and get to the hotel.

 

Photo Gallery - Ioanina - Brac - Colmar - Shoreham flights

 

Flight times (airborne times)

Shoreham EGKA – Elba LIRJ 5:00
Elba LIRJ – Brac LDSB 2:15
Brac LDSB – Sitia LGST 4:40
Sitia LGST – Karpathos LGKP 0:30
Karpathos LGKP – Kastelorizo LGKJ 1:10
Kastelorizo LGKJ – Ioanina LGIO 3:40
Ioanina LGIO – Brac LDSB 2:10
Brac LDSB – Colmar LFGA 4:30
Colmar LFGA – Shoreham EGKA 3:05

 

Fuel on landing (US gallons)

Elba LIRJ 30.3
Brac LDSB 55.5
Sitia LGST 34.1
Karpathos LGKP 78.2
Kastelorizo LGKJ 63.5
Ioanina LGIO 22.7
Brac LDSB 54.0
Colmar LFGA 34.0
Shoreham EGKA 48.4

For an idea of the reserves, the fuel burn enroute ranges from 11.5 USG/hr at low level to 8.5 USG/hr at FL160.

 

Airport costs (including VAT) for TB20, 1400kg MTOW

Elba LIRJ €93 (3 nights) avgas €3.18
Brac LDSB €51 (1 night) avgas €2.00
Sitia LGST €82 (1 night) avgas €3.17 via AIR BP
Karpathos LGKP €65 (2 nights)
Kastelorizo LGKJ €55 (3 nights)
Ioanina LGIO €50 (fuel stop only) avgas €3.10 via AIR BP
Brac LDSB €63 (1 night) avgas €2.00
Colmar LFGA €10 avgas €2.12 via AIR BP
Shoreham EGKA £30 avgas £1.98

I strongly recommend everyone to keep airport invoices/receipts "for ever" (certainly for a year, minimum) because there are too many cases where an airport sends you a repeat bill, and if you cannot prove payment you have to pay it again otherwise you may get impounded next time you go there - or when the next owner/renter of the plane goes there. This practice is not limited to any one country; I have had it from Spain, France, Italy... and a recent case is from Greece.

 

Contacts

Airports generally and Greek airports particularly are bad at looking after their email addresses, and publishing them properly. In general, handlers are better in this respect than the airport authorities who mostly don't care about whether anybody flies there. I have a good number of tested email addresses so if you are flying in this area and going to the same places, drop me a line (contact details link at the bottom). I don't want to put them here because they will get even more spam than they currently do. On a trip like this you need to shoot off emails to all the airports a number of days before leaving home, to establish contact and to establish which ones are difficult or impossible to contact.

 

Oxygen

An oxygen system is practically necessary for IFR in the Eurocontrol system. Occassionally, the weather is nice and one can fly at FL090 or so but most people would still get tired after several hours. Also many routings are not available below oxygen levels, due to controlled airspace structures, and in some cases terrain.

On this entire trip the usage was around 50% of the 48 cu. ft. cylinder, for 1 or 2 persons at various times. Without oxygen I would have not done the trip because one cuts off the top half of the aircraft operating ceiling (the Alps cannot be crossed, for example, and one cannot climb above most cloud) and in the wrong conditions could spend most of the flight in icing conditions and turbulence.

 

The Value of an IR

On this trip, the flights south of Brac could have been done legally under VFR, but not the others.

 

Photo Galleries

For the photo galleries I have for many years used the feature in Photoshop, which works well enough. The galleries in this report were generated with Juicebox which has a free version with various limits (e.g. up to 50 photos) and a $45 version which does everything. It runs on Adobe Air and seems to have issues with large galleries on a win7 64bit machine so I run it in a winXP compatibility mode It delivers good results but has some annoying features e.g. stripping off EXIF data, which should arguably be preserved, or at least be configurable. It also can't process images over 5000 pixels wide which the Pentax K1 does exceed so I have to downsize them a bit first.

 

Gadgets

No trip report can be complete without this bit The links below are Amazon syndicated links so if you buy one of the items I get a small payment. That said, my earnings from this, over the past few years, are exactly 0.00 so either it isn't working or nobody is doing it

The flying videos were taken with an externally mounted Sony FDR-X3000 camera, at 1080P (full HD) 50 frames/sec and with a video bandwidth (mp4) of about 25 megabits/sec. The result is a high quality video but at over 10GB per hour there is a lot of it! This trip generated almost 500GB of video data. Editing removes some 95% but it still cannot be hosted on any reasonably priced commercial video hosting site if the bandwidth is to be maintained. I also cannot host them on the server used for peter2000.co.uk because of the limited storage allowance. So I use Vimeo and pay them $60/year to give me a 5GB/week upload budget (which is wasted most of the year). They still downsample the video to around 5 megabits/sec. The result is ok, especially for a slow moving subject like a flying video, but if you want to see the original file there is a Download option on Vimeo. You will need a fast PC to play it however... In case you ask "why not 4K"... well, good quality 4K generates about 100 megabits/sec, can be more hassle to edit, stabilised 4K cameras are only just appearing, there is no way to host it online without reducing the quality to something like 1080P, and only a top-end PC with a top-end graphics subsystem can play 4K smoothly at 100mbits/sec. For anything beyond being a sad bastard and watching your own videos at home, 4K is simply impractical and will remain so for many years due to the multiple limiting factors. The collapse in the sales of action cameras tends to confirm this...

Video editing is done with Vegas (formerly Sony Vegas) Pro v14 and later Vegas Pro v16. There are many editors which will do the job but I like this one since it is relatively bug-free. It is well supported by plug-ins; for example the Vegasaur plug-in has many features including an import facility which makes the GPS subtitles possible. I have been in the Vegas "upgrade pipeline" for years and have just upgraded from v14 to v16 for $199. Otherwise, it can be expensive to buy it straight. V16 has some good stuff like the ability to attach text or an effect to a part of the scene so it moves with it. However, for the sort of simple videos in this trip report, if you don't need GPS subtitles and such, you could use Vegas v11 which can be found on Amazon or Ebay for peanuts, or most other video editors for that matter... I have avoided the current fashion in videos which is a series of automatically generated headache-inducing short sharp cuts

The photos were shot mostly with a Samsung S7 phone and a full-frame Pentax K1 DSLR which is really outstanding especially with the 24-70 f2.8 lens. A few were done with an old Canon S95 pocket camera; this is not really better than the S7 phone in reasonable daylight conditions, but it has optical zoom which makes a big difference when needed.

Nearly all photos were taken in DNG raw format and processed in Lightroom to crop and remove some haze. This avoids the fashionable but ridiculous enhancements (over-saturation and over-sharpening) which the phone makers do. The other program I use instead of Lightroom is ACDSEE PRO which is easier to use in the way it can be used on any randomly chosen picture folder. Lightroom workflow is a lot more formal, but Lightroom is much quicker for processing lots of photos. All these programs try to impose weird workflows which are counter-intuitive unless you work in just the way they want you to... I went on a 2-day Lightroom course and didn't get very much from it.

In theory one could do everything needed on a trip with just the Samsung S7 phone. It can be used to get weather, file flight plans, run the ADL150 app, and of course do all the normal comms with other people. It can even take "ok" photos. It is however too painful to use for much typing, or viewing approach plates. So, I have the Samsung Galaxy T705 8.4" tablet. It is functionally practically identical to an Ipad (which I have too, kicking around the house, for web browsing) but is much better for a "power user" because it isn't as restricted as an Ipad. For example it can be expanded with a micro-SD card; say another 128GB. The T705 version of this tablet takes a SIM card and with a contract SIM (I have a Vodafone contract on both the S7 and a cheaper version of it on the T705). This tablet also acts as a "backup phone" because it is a fully functional phone. I have VOIP installed on both the S7 and the T705, via the Localphone VOIP service which works most of the time and this delivers extremely cheap outgoing calls. On the phone I use the CSIPsimple VOIP app and on the T705 there is a built-in VOIP function which seems to work.

One cannot beat a laptop for productivity, and I use a Dell XPS13 (I have the older XPS13-9360 version with a 1920x1080 screen) which is does basically everything anyone could ever need and with the quad core I7 processor is very fast - good enough for movie editing/rendering and faster than most of today's ~3GHz desktop computers.

In the aircraft I run an old Lenovo T2 10" tablet with Windows 8 and this runs everything needed there. It ought to be replaced with the above T705 Android tablet, now that I have the ADL150 satellite weather receiver which replaced the Thuraya XT satellite phone which required the Windows tablet, but I will probably run it until it breaks

I would like to thank all those who made the Elba fly-in. Next one, May 2019, is going to be Venice-Lido LIPV

 

This page last edited 3rd December 2018

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