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One off Maybe?

Trials and Tribulations

Trials and Tribulations 2

I Learned About Flying From That (Pilot Magazine 1982) PDF submitted br Gron Jones


By Malcolm Evans

OK, folks, today is a 160NM round trip cross country (hardly a cross country since it mainly follows the coast), land and have a cup of coffee and then do the return leg. This will be a night flight since it is about a tenner cheaper to hire a 152 after dark. On the way down we will over fly at 50ft. yes 50ft. what is probably one of the longest runways in the world-yes Florida-yes the shuttle landing facility at the Kennedy Space Centre all 5182 metres by 305 metres, more than three times the total length and seven times the width of the longest Haverfordwest runway. I gave the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) a telephone call earlier this afternoon requesting permission, they are happy to oblige down to 50ft., to do a touch and go they would have to check the runway to ensure there was no alligators asleep on the concrete. (There are about 4000 around the facility) and the cost might make your eyes water.

7PM and we call Ormond Beach Airport (OBA) for taxi and take off clearance. No need to call JAX Jacksonville as we will be going south along the coast. Next, we call Daytona Airport for clearance through their airspace; it’s often busy with commercial flights. We get a squawk and are cleared down the coast not above 2000ft. once clear of Daytona we will call the equivalent of Flight Info and request flight following and weather info, they have radar so will keep us up to date on weather and any conflictions that might affect our trip.

Flying just off the coast it’s time to call (SLF) for permission to carry out our flyby, cleared not below 50ft. and the runway lights come on, all three miles of them, down to 50ft. and track the centre line, climb away, thank (SLF) and request a frequency change to Space Centre Executive airport just a few miles away to the East. We get clearance to land and when down since it’s a while since we were here before we ask for progressive taxi whereby they more or less lead us by the hand to parking. We get a coffee sadly only from a machine at this time of day.

We leave Space Centre Exec and aim to do a flyby at Arther Dunn Airpark some 20NM to the North. As we approach we select the appropriate frequency then five clicks on the press to talk button and on comes the runway lights. We now head back up along the coast, off to the East we can see the lightening flashing off in mid Florida and cleared through Daytona we land back at Ormond Beach—time 9.50pm and log 2.05 mins.

This little episode took place back in the mid 90’s actually referring to my log book 11/04/1992 but I am now reliably informed it is no longer possible at the SLF.

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By Malcolm Evans

It’s a fairly obvious assertion that the more travelling one does in a light aircraft the more likely one is to run into problems of some sort be they mechanical, navigational, weather related or the more mundane, just the lack of a place to put your head down for the night. These days with the aid of I-phones and the like and hotel that allow you late cancellation without charge, life is much easier than say a quarter of a century ago.
This reminds me of a trip back from Finland, four of us in a Husky and a cub, no fancy navigation aids, just a map, compass and mark one eyeball. We landed at the Belgium airfield of Kortrijk-Wevelgem where we were kindly given a lift into Ypres famous First World War town and battle field by the airfield manager who would pick us up again at 8am the next morning. Little did he or we know the Americans were in town and it appeared all of the few hotels were booked solid. I was left sitting on a wall in the town square looking after the bags whilst the other three searched far and wide for any accommodation. On return the sum total was one room in a grotty guest house so as beggars cannot be choosers that was it. Grotty, well, it was clean but had seen not a coat of paint since before the First World War or so it would seem.
Bags deposited, walk to the Menin gate with its nearly 55,000 names of the fallen and where the last post is played by trumpet each evening—slightly  emotional.

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Menenpoort ieper.jpg

The Menin Gate

For the missing of Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand and Newfoundland) who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War.


24 July 1927

Location°51′07.6″N 02°53′30.1″E / 50.852111°N 2.891694°E / 50.852111; 2.891694Coordinates:°51′07.6″N 02°53′30.1″E / 50.852111°N 2.891694°E / 50.852111; 2.891694
Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium

Designed by

Reginald Blomfield

Total commemorated


Burials by nation

Allied Powers:

Burials by war

World War I: 54,896

To the armies of the British Empire who stood here from 1914 to 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave

Statistics source: Cemetery register: DetailsReportsPlansPhotographs. CWGC.

We wined and dined in the village square until all options were closed, then wandered back to our billet, I slept on the floor that night or what was left of it. We got a truly first class breakfast and our transport as promised returned us to the airfield from where we made our merry way home. I suppose the trials and tribulations made this a more memorable trip than many.

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By Malcolm Evans

This story follows on quite nicely from the previous although a few years later in time and by then the use of first generation GPS’s.

John Fisher and I were to be part of the British Precision Team to go to Austria to compete in the World Precision Championships.We had decided to leave early morning (distance just short of 850NM in total) and overnight at Grenchen in Switzerland some nearly 600NM, not bad for one day in a Cessna 150 and a Glastar. Due to a business problem, John had to delay his departure by a couple of hours so it was decided that I would go as planned and arrange the hotel for the night.

The route envisaged was Haverfordwest to Lydd to clear customs, refuel, and file a flight plan and a little light refreshment whilst waiting the mandatory time for the flight plan to be activated. From Lydd avoid the Paris class A airspace to Troyes in the middle of France, more or less. Same again, customs, refuel (first self-service) flight plan, early lunch and go. Next and last intended leg Troyes to Grenchen which was over the plus 4000 ft. mountain range then drop down smartly into the Grenchen circuit and land. It helps to have been here before. Once again customs and fuel then set about getting accommodation for the night---not a hope in hell---a major football tournament was taking place in the town. No choice, wait for John and decide the next move, we could of course go to Mollis in the mountains a place we had been to before but it would have to be Johns call as he will have been airborne for nearly eight hours by the time he got to Grenchen.

When John arrived he shrugged his shoulders “ok, we’ll carry on, you go on and make sure we have hotel and transport at Ried, I’ll have coffee and a bun and see you there” you have to admire his stamina, another 250NM plus in the saddle all the way across Switzerland and southern Germany. Now as you all know a 150 is not particularly fast and slightly limited in range, I guess we were both lucky that we had benign weather and light wind or no wind the whole way otherwise we would have needed more stops, each one a minimum of half an hour. John landed about 45 minutes before dusk so off to the competition hotel for supper and a few I think deserved beers.

We had a week in Ried and although probably the oldest competitors we did not disgrace ourselves. The last night was party night at the airfield, a great party, yes well no, for the next morning we found that our aircraft had been vandalised. John had his door damaged and his VHF aerial broken off, mine was much worse—pilots door catches broken, glass faces of all six blind flying instruments broken, GPS wrenched off of its mounting and thrown into the hedge and I suppose worse of all the throttle and mixture plungers bent at right angles, fortunately if that’s the right expression in the circumstances the radio, transponder and intercom was not damaged. Police called a total waste of time but to be fair to the Austrian aero club they rallied around and helped where they could on a Sunday. They managed to get John a new aerial and me a new throttle. We jury rigged the mixture using some string and a piece of inner tube (don’t tell the LAA) I flew G-LAZZ back all 850+NM VFR—eyeball and map whilst holding the door closed, not that it would have opened far but would be noisy and drafty and not above 80 knots. One stopped the engine by pulling on the string. The trip back was pretty tiring but the weather was good except for having to fly down the right valleys in the Jura mountains whose tops were well in the cloud—a long journey back.

What did I learn from this episode—not a lot, probably don’t go again to Austria-I haven’t—re accommodation, things are much easier now, you can book ahead with free late cancellation—as for the rest –no comment, I still have friends over there.

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