Flight from Shoreham EGKA to Mali Losinj LDLO, May 2013
This writeup is a simplified version of my normal ones in which I go into a lot more detail of each trip.
FAA CPL/IR, JAA/EASA PPL/IR, ~1600hrs.
The aircraft is a 2002 TB20GT
Oxygen is used on all IFR flights, with the Mountain High O2D2 electronic regulators and cannulas
European IFR flight is only marginally feasible without oxygen (due to the Eurocontrol routings) and the direct Alps crossings such as the ones described here are not feasible at all under IFR due to the MEAs. They are feasible under VFR but one would be flying so close to the terrain (on the routes used here) due to controlled airspace bases that one would need to pick very stable weather with light winds. Flying say 5000ft above the terrain provides a lot of protection from mountain waves.
Weather was generally very good, though it became very convective at the Adriatic end for the return trip, which had to be brought back 1 day earlier than planned.
These were developed using FlightPlanPro and filed using EuroFPL
WIZAD M140 DVR L9 KONAN L607 RUDUS L984 ASKIK Z74 KOSEK L603 OLETU Z106 BAVAX M867 LOMRO/N0150F150 M867 NOKDA Q100 ARNOS P125 URAVA L607 CRE
PUL P11 ROTAR L615 DESIP N851 ELMUR L613 HOC G4 RLP B3 BILGO H20 XORBI H40 ABB N20 KUNAV Y8 WAFFU
When filing via EuroFPL, one gets a waypoint list from Eurocontrol, which is delivered by email and, if using their premium service, by SMS also. This one is for the outbound route:
Time Point Lvl T. Dist 07:37Z WIZAD F140 50 07:40Z *1WIZ F140 55 07:44Z DVR F140 66 07:48Z *5108 F140 76 07:55Z KONAN F140 90 08:06Z KOK F140 114 08:20Z MAK F140 147 08:22Z GOLEX F140 152 08:29Z DENOX F140 168 08:42Z GILOM F140 198 08:58Z LNO F140 234 09:08Z ARCKY F140 258 09:11Z SUXIM F140 264 09:20Z ROPUV F140 286 09:29Z EMGOD F140 305 09:39Z UBIDU F140 328 09:42Z RUDUS F140 335 09:50Z ASKIK F140 352 09:56Z KOSEK F140 368 10:03Z AKONI F140 383 10:05Z SUPIX F140 388 10:09Z RATIM F140 397 10:22Z TAKUT F140 427 10:28Z DINKU F140 440 10:35Z AKANU F140 456 10:40Z LUPOX F140 467 10:45Z RENLO F140 478 10:50Z BESNI F140 490 10:57Z OLETU F140 507 11:03Z BAVAX F140 519 11:06Z MUN F140 527 11:15Z VAVOR F140 547 11:21Z LOMRO F145 562 11:50Z NOKDA F150 632 11:58Z ARNOS F150 651 12:01Z URAVA F150 659 12:06Z PESUT F150 672 12:13Z OGODI F150 690 12:24Z *ILB F150 717 12:26Z GEMKA F150 723 12:41Z CRE F68 758 12:51Z LOS F15 780
TCU (and bigger) stuff near Shoreham (showing up as lightning on the stormscope) but luckily not in the direction I was going
Climbed up to FL130 initially, through some holes
Fuel on Board stabilised at 29 USG early on, and actually I landed with 29.0 in the tanks
Munich airport from about FL150
This is just staying above the muck. I was lazy and stayed at FL150 over the Alps, because skimming over the top is fun, and there was no turbulence (the wind aloft was c. 10kt and I was c. 5000ft above the terrain)
Engine failure options appear unattractive but actually there are loads of big flat-bottomed canyons and I was running a special topo map of the Alps (ripped off from Google Terrain using an automatic tool called Mobile Atlas Creator) as a GPS moving map, running under Oziexplorer
A bit of zigzagging around bigger stuff was needed but usually one could pick a line which missed a load of buildups in one go
At last, the Adriatic appeared on the MFD
A few more impressively large buildups to avoid
After the Alps, in the general area of Venice, it cleared up a bit
but the stormscope was mapping the CBs pretty well
Finally, Losinj LDLO
Earlier, the wind was 260/11 or so, so I expected runway 20, but they gave me 02 and the wind was OK for that at the time, but it turned around just as I was on final so I went around and landed on 20. This is the second time the wind turned around really quickly within a week
On the ground. It looks like it always used to, but they have a new bowser, which is accurate
They are building what looks like a hangar; apparently it is intended for the King Air 350 shown in the photo, for VIP travel
No yellow jackets required for the walk to the "passenger terminal"...
A super little cafe; a perfect place to have a beer after such a gruelling hard IFR adventure
The town of Mali Losinj is very scenic
The food is excellent. The Med has been over-fished and a fish like this would have been 50% more (€30+) in Greece. But then Croatia is not in the € (they accept Euros freely, however) so they avoid the huge price hikes suffered throughout the Eurozone
I spotted this amazing aircraft on the way out - a pressurised turboprop Lancair Evolution
I decided to return a day early due to the worsening convective outlook, with the MSLP chart filling up with troughs
The departure wx was better than on the way there, but still with some buildups. We got a departure clearance straight up to the filed FL140 and "cleared to EGKA" as per classical IFR ... little do they know EGKA is in Class G so the clearance is meaningless. I climbed to FL160 to stay above some of the stuff
and then we have the Alps, on a different route this time
The end of the Alps...
The value of an IR
In terms of ATC interaction this trip was completely trivial. Unlike with VFR, they work with you, with a clearance implied for the entire route. However, had everybody operated airspace according to ICAO rules (instead of running unpredictable private policies on VFR access) the whole trip could have been done VFR, at the same levels, except the UK Class A portion.
The two filed routes were:
The Alps crossing above is probably the shortest possible crossing of the high terrain that can be filed via Eurocontrol. If you actually fly that DESIP-ELMUR leg as shown, i.e. without asking for the obvious shortcut, you get across the mountains very quickly.
I was asking for every shorcut possible, as usual, and I got some 150nm+ ones.
London Control offered a very late descent, from FL140 about 30nm out, which normally is what is desired, to maximise height when out over the sea, and have the best options to avoid weather in the arrival area. In fact I really got the impression that London Control have revamped the way they see light GA and are trying to be extra helpful nowadays, providing traffic reports, etc as you descend. Very professional!
The Mountain High O2D2 oxygen regulator worked great as usual; at FL160, with heart rate of 75 and blood o2 of 95%. It's the way to go!
The decision to depart a day early was fairly well validated by looking at the following day's IR image which shows a lot of convective activity N of the Alps, though it may have been OK with a detour into central France
All pics were taken with the Nokia 800 phone. This takes a ~ 40 megapixel image and reduces it to a (configurable) 12 megapixel image of a quality which approaches that of a DSLR. The pictures are not up to the DSLR standard but the 808 makes it possible to do a trip like this without carrying all the normal gear. The 808 has various issues, one of which is a difficulty in getting a good focus, and it is not really suitable for "action" photography, but it is good enough.
Very little oxygen was used on this trip - probably 10% of the 48 cu. ft. cylinder.
This page last edited 19th July 2013