Practice Flight on Google Earth

21 Jun 07 3 Comments

I sit at my desk, staring at the web browser. A voice inside my head says, Pass your message.

“November 666 Echo X-ray is a PA32 travelling from Beziers to Altenrhein, Switzerland. We are currently west of the Alps at 7,500 feet and requesting a flight information service.”

7,500 feet! Flying past the Alps! Wow, this is going to be great.

Cliff is going to do the first leg, getting us out of Málaga (who don’t accept VFR traffic on weekends) and to our fuel stop in France. Then I’ll take us to this wonderfully large runway in Switzerland. If you click on the link and zoom out a bit and you’ll see the stunning location on Lake Constance (Bodensee). Have I mentioned lately that I love the fact that I can check out runways on Google Earth before I go there? It makes them so much easier to spot.

Then on Sunday we’ll be crossing over Austria to go to this rather smaller grass airstrip in Bavaria. Frustrating that the detail disappears right before the airfield! This is Kempten-Durach, the highest civil aviation airfield in Germany. It also happens to be right down the road from my cousin’s bed and breakfast. :)

On Tuesday, we’ll do the flight back home, stopping at Ampuriabrava for fuel.

(Cliff did the planning.

“Where?” I asked him.

“Ampuriabrava. In the north of Spain.”


“Because it looked convenient. Why not?”

I somehow can’t get over this arbitrary choosing of exciting sounding places to stop in. Why not, indeed?)

I can do the flight into Málaga as long as we get in before sunset (I went through all the trouble to get my night-rating and they won’t accept VFR traffic after dark!) although I’m tempted to ask Cliff to do that leg so I can take photographs. But that would mean me flying into unknown airfields, which, given a choice, I’d rather avoid. I know I can find Málaga without any difficulty!

I think all the details are worked out. I hope so — it’s been almost 3 months since I’ve flown and about 6 months since I’ve flown a flight that needed planning (luckily Cliff’s done the bulk of the work!). I’ve looked at all the airfields on Google and noted down pretty much every possible frequency we might need, with little sad faces next to the ones that say “non-English”. Cliff assures me I’ll cope. The weather looks like it’ll be good and we might even get tailwinds on the first leg tomorrow.

Wish me a bon voyage!

Category: Miscellaneous,


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