A long sightseeing flight
After a prolonged wet spell, the weather became nice from the middle of the week onwards for a few days around Wednesday, 10 February 2021. There was snow, though, and the folks of Hilversum airfield were uncomfortable about letting people fly who might not have enough experience taking off in the thin layer of snow.
But since the weather was too nice not to take advantage of it, and the board of the small flying club with one airplane – a Cessna 172 – at Hilversum requires to have flown the specific aircraft type within the previous three months to rent, we decided to go to Paderborn to fly a Cessna 172 from there. Then at least we had room again until spring to also occasionally fly a Cessna 172 from Hilversum.
Charlotte would go with René. Charlotte had to reschedule a piano lesson that she teaches, but luckily it worked out. On Saturday morning we left for Paderborn. The plan was to fly over Mühlhausen to Arnstadt and land there to visit the town. Then – if there was still enough time – to fly to Eisenach for a short stop before returning to Paderborn.
When we arrived at the airport we grabbed the papers and keys to the plane, and after the usual checks and after refueling the plane we were off.
Charlotte with the C172 at Paderborn
René refuels the Cessna
After taking off from runway 24, we left the CTR at visual reporting point Sierra. Then we flew south of the Autobahn A44 to Kassel.
Take-off runway 06 Paderborn
Autobahn A44 to Kassel
Near Kassel we saw the Hercules monument, an important landmark in the German city of Kassel. It is located in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We flew over the center of Kassel, where we had a good view of the city.
The Kassel World War II bombings left the vast majority of the city center destroyed. The city was almost completely rebuilt during the 1950s and is a combination of renovated or reconstructed old buildings and architecture of the 1950s. The St. Martin church is the main Protestant church of Kassel. It is in the Gothic style and was begun in 1364 and completed in 1462, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. It was rebuilt to a slightly modified plan after the Second World War.
Hercules monument at the Bergpark, Kassel
Kassel with the St. Martin church
East of Kassel, there still appeared to be a low overcast over the hilly landscape. This was not attractive to fly over, and we made it known to Langen Information that we would not fly further to Arnstadt, but would make a sightseeing flight of it.
We turned north, following the edge of the overcast to the Harz Mountains. We passed Göttingen, the famous university city and home to the oldest university in Germany.
Low overcast ahead
The Harz mountains held back the low overcast, and we were able to fly nicely over the Harz to the Brocken, the highest mountain in the massif.
From 1945 to 1989 the Harz region was a frontline in the Cold War, and the Brocken was used by the Soviets as a military base. From August 1961 the Brocken, which lay in East Germany's border zone, was declared a military exclusion zone and was therefore no longer open to public access. On the summit were two large and powerful listening stations, and since 1976, a television tower for the state television. The Brocken is now a popular tourist destination for visitors to the Harz.
From Göttingen to the Harz
After we circled the Brocken, we flew north-west. We saw the smaller and larger reservoirs that have been built in the Harz for centuries, first for the benefit of mining and later primarily used to generate electricity, to provide drinking water, to prevent flooding and to supply water in times of scarcity.
On the north-western edge of the Harz lies Goslar. This pretty town is one of the most popular places to visit in the Harz. It is famous for its beautiful Altstadt (old town), with significant sections of its medieval wall and gates still intact. The Rammelsberg south of Goslar houses the Unesco World Heritage–listed Rammelsberg mine, the only mine which had been working continuously for over 1,000 years when it finally closed in 1988.
Also north of the Harz mountains there was low overcast, the edge of which ran north-west in the direction of Hannover (Hanover). But south of that line, the weather was great.
We flew to Hameln (Hamelin) to take a tour around the city. South of town is the Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant which is operational. Hameln is best known for the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It is a pleasant town with half-timbered houses in its circular Altstadt.
According to the tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, in the 13th century the Pied Piper (Der Rattenfänger) was employed by Hamelin’s townsfolk to lure its nibbling rodents into the river. When they refused to pay him for his services, he picked up his flute and lured their children away.
Between Jerstedt and Hameln
Next we followed the River Weser to Porta Westfalica. Veleda and René flew past Porta Westfalica also two weeks before, but this time there was no clouding and the visibility was fantastic. We made a pass over the gorge and had a good view on the Kaiser Wilhelm I monument (Emperor William Monument).
The Porta Westfalica is the gorge of the river Weser between the Wiehengebirge and Weser Mountains in the northeastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Emperor William Monument is a colossal monument above the Weser gorge of Porta Westfalica. It was erected by the then Prussian Province of Westphalia between 1892 and 1896. The monument, which is around 88 metres high, is classified as one of Germany's national monuments. It is the most important landmark of the town of Porta Westfalica. Today's Porta Westfalica city was formed in the course of the municipal area reform in 1973 by merging 15 municipalities.
After Porta Westfalica, we flew in the direction of Bielefeld. Over Bielefeld we saw the soccer stadium of the soccer club Arminia Bielefeld en the Sparrenberg (Sparrenburg) Castle.
The Sparrenberg Castle was erected as a castle sometime before 1250 by the counts of Ravensberg. It guarded the Bielefeld Pass over the Teutoburg Forest, as well as acting as the ruling seat of the counts of Ravensberg, and as protection for the city of Bielefeld.
We made a touch-and-go at Bielefeld's general aviation airport, then flew on to the Sauerland. On the way, we passed the CTR of Paderborn-Lippstadt west of the CTR.
Touch and Go at Bielefeld
We continued across the Sauerland. We passed the Bruchhauser Steine, a rock formation with four large rocks on the flank of the 728 meters (2388 ft) high Istenberg in the Rothaar Mountains. Then we made an orbit over Winterberg.
The Sauerland is the largest tourist region in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a rural, hilly area spreading across most of the south-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, in parts heavily forested and, apart from the major valleys, sparsely inhabited. Winterberg is one of the major ski resorts in central Germany. It is a popular international destination, especially with skiers from the Netherlands.
René and Charlotte
Bobsleigh track and ski slopes Winterberg
North of Winterberg is Willingen, over which we then made an orbit. In the spring or fall, we sometimes go there for a weekend break with long walks through nature. Willingen is a winter sports resort and is best known for its annual World Cup ski jumping competitions at the Mühlenkopfschanze.
After Willingen, we flew back to Paderborn-Lippstadt to land. We made a so-called Whiskey Arrival (via VFR reporting point Whisky), and were instructed to fly directly base runway 06. Following the landing, we taxied back to the hangars of the flying club.
Ski jump at Willingen
Right base runway 06 Paderborn-Lippstadt
At the carousel hangar, we turned the carousel so we could put the Cessna in place. Just before the center of the parking space of the Cessna was in line with the center of the hangar doors, the turning carousel stopped. There was no movement anymore. We were just able, very carefully, to put the Cessna back in the hangar. But the planes that came back later had to be placed in another hangar of the neighboring flight school.
We walked back to the cabin where we filled out the journal and put the papers back in the closet. Then we headed back home. The total flight time was 3:20, which is quite long for just a sightseeing flight. But we had a lot of fun.
René with the Cessna Skyhawk at Paderborn
Charlotte and René