Mountain flying

From Dutch flatland (EHHO) to the French Alps (LFMR) and the mediterranean see at Cannes (LFMD)

My parents have a lovely little camping near Barcelonnette in the Alps. It's a great place to be because the weather is almost always beautiful in this valley and the camping is situated next to the river l'Ubaye, which is great for superb river activities. The beautiful and undisturbed nature area's are within a close distance. We are very lucky that Ilona's parents live there so we have a nice and free place to stay, in a magnificent area to fly around. We go on a holiday to this place with the kids!

Our first fuel stop at Troyes (LFQB) in La France. We had to fly via EHMZ (for maintenance of the PH-VZV), and we only could depart as late as 5 PM so we will stay here for the night. You see the red roof? That's the airport hotel, nicely close to the field.

Frans his kids: Laura and Thomas, just like me and my sister when we were young but now not in the back of a car but in the back of an airplane :-D

Thomas and Laura posing at St. Etienne (LFMH)

If you don't see the embedded videoclip, you can click on this link.

St. Etienne turned out to be totally abandoned and a freaky place to be at that time. We searched everywhere to find a place to pay the landing fees, without success. We then walked into the passengers area through a door which opened by itself, to find out that nobody was there and... we were locked in! There was no way out, the door only worked one way and the doors to the other side of the building were all closed too. We worked our way through the baggage area, the custom boots, to the check-in desks, searching for a way out. Underwhile there was a continuous alarm going off because of our unauthorized presence "whhhiiiiieeeewwww whhhiiiiieeeewwww whhhiiiiieeeewwww...". Kind of freaky. Despite the alarm, nobody showed up. About a quarter after us arriving there, we saw another pilot, trapped just like us! Finally we got to a door which we could open a little bit just by pushing our fingers in between and then pushing as hard as possible. We hopped in our Cessna and departed again ;-)

Huge clouds developping over the mountains, we are almost at the spot where we no longer fly south but instead fly east, into the Alps for our destination: Barcelonnette

Lac de Serre Poncon, we know that we have to fly into the valley of the tip in the right of this photo to arrive at our destination.

On final for the nice airfield Barcelonnette. The traffic circuit is on the left hand side, the first time that you fly here you feel that the mountains are in your way for making a decent traffic circuit ;-)

Here's a lot of glider activity. That's something to keep in mind when you fly over here: keep a VERY sharp lookout, there are really many 'things' in the air: gliders, parapents, microlights and other aircraft. The morning is the best time to fly: light winds, no turbulence and up- & downdrafts, and much less flying activity. When we arrived here, we immediately took lessons from a local mountain instructor to get to know the ins and outs of mountain flying in this area. We've learned a lot, and that was really necessary to keep it all safe. Flying in the mountains is absolutely not comparable to flying over flat country and it is very easy to make a mistake and be wiped away from mother earth...

My granddad likes to come along with us, he is accompanied by Jan, a client of the camping of Ilona's parents. We will make a nice tour through the beautiful Alps.

One of the many mountain lakes

Flying next to the mountains, ain't that looking magnificent?

It really is a joy to fly here, it's so beautiful and special

The temperature down at our camping (approximately 6 minutes flying from this place), is about 30 degrees, but up here the snow will stay all summer long

Do you see the white spot? That's the remaining of an airplane that landed here years ago by accident. The pilot never intended to land his airplane but the visibility was poor, his instruments not set to the right QNH, so he just flew into the mountains. He and his passengers were very, very lucky that it was here, on this shallow slope. The aircraft actually landed itself instead of crashed, everyone walked away! (why the airplane still lies here, after all those years? We have no idea, maybe it's the French attitude, it would never be possible in the Netherlands ;-)

At 8000ft

Mountainfield Alp d'Huez

This is Pra Loup, which is one of the ski resorts in the proximity of Barcelonnette

Here you see a glacier

Nice village on top of the mountain, it's called Chateau Roux

You better won't be afraid of heights if you walk this bridge ;-)

A low pass over Lac the Serre Poncon

The same lake. It has many beautiful private places to sit and relax

Back again into the mountains

Always keep a very sharp lookout and don't get trapped by the clouds

The men in black ;-)

My parents also like to join us in a mountain trip. We fly the beautiful route again, and of course...

...we circle above their "camping River" for quite some time so they can look at it from this perspective ;-)

Also the camping. The camping is situated in between Lac de Serre Poncon and Barcelonnette so when we fly to Barcelonnette from the Netherlands, we always circle and wiggle our wings to let them know that they can drive the 8 km to the airfield to pick us up ;-)

Back at Barcelonnette. You see the mountainwaves

Of course we also like to see the nature from down to earth. Here we are (almost) in the National Parc the Mercantour, that's within app. 20 minutes driving from our camping.

The Alps are known by their large variation of vegetation beautiful flowers

A small cascade, one of the many out there

Many sheep around here.

And also many marmots!

You see a lot of people on racing bikes, it's the famous area of the seven colls, the tour the France also visits this area.

Having fun in one of the many ice cold and chrystal clear rivers.

On our way back to the camping.

A lovely shaped combination of mountains :-)

It's time for some fun in the water with a raft.

Besides nice trips with a raft, you can also take the challenge by kayak or hydrospeed (real fun to do!!!), it starts in the proximity of the camping. By the way, don't worry for the person on the hydrospeed, the kayakker isn't there on the same time, it arrived later and I just mixed two pictures together.

Thomas in the challenging adventure park

We decide to visit the French coast by plane again, this time we will visit the wellknown city Cannes

Our Cessna is a "poormans-plane" around here! There are big jets all around, most of the time only transferring a very few people, less than four, which we clunk together in our Cessna 172 ;-)

Happy to have arrived here, the plane is being fueled up.

You are not supposed to walk around here, so after fuelling and taxiing to the "non-classy-little-airplanes-department" :-D which is situated somewhere in the back of the airfield, we are being transported to the main hall.

The mediterranean see brings us a very welcome cooling down, it's awfully HOT over here. Later this day, Laura will collapse while we are walking back to the airport because of the heat..

Departure from Cannes

On our way back to Barcelonnette

The end of this journey which we made in the summer of 2008 (shame on me, I'm writing this page in april 2010, almost two years later....)

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