From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Charleroi
On Friday evening, 24 May 2013, Veleda and Rene drove to Steinhausen near Paderborn-Lippstadt airport. We stayed in a hotel in order to leave early on Saturday morning to fly to Rennes, in France. On Saturday morning we went to the airport, where Rene first had to find "hangar Echo". Hangar Echo was inside of the airport terrain, which is outside the aeroclub terrain where the other aeroclub hangars are, so Rene first had to go through security to walk via the apron to the hangar. Rene got the plane, and then taxied to the aeroclub terrain to fuel the plane. With the search for the plane we had some delay on our filed ETD, but the tower was willing to hold the flight plan. The flight time to Rennes was 4 hours and 5 minutes, but we had inserted a fuel stop in Charleroi. After take-off from Paderborn-Lippstadt airport runway 24, we left the control zone via Whiskey.
We passed the Sorpesee with the Sorpe dam (see also Ruhr dams trip report), and further south west we passed Lüdenscheid, where in 1898 the aluminium framework of the first Zeppelin airship was built in the factory of Carl Berg. We flew between the Ennepesee and Beversee, and we crossed the Rhine near Baumberg. Near Liege we had to fly a little bit to the south to avoid very low overcast (just above or on the ground) south-west of Liege. Via Namur we reached Charleroi, where the tower fitted us in between arriving and departing RyanAir 737s. After landing on runway 25 we taxied to the pump. Operations asked Rene to e-mail a copy of the certificate of airworthiness, certificate of registration and noise certificate for the invoice, as there was no administration present in the weekend. After fueling (self service on Charleroi), Rene called Schiphol to file the flightplan from Charleroi to Rennes.
Take-off runway 24 Paderborn-Lippstadt
Left base runway 25 Charleroi airport
Veleda at Charleroi airport
From Charleroi to Rennes
After take-off from Charleroi runway 25, we left the CTR via SW. After crossing the border with France, we climbed to 4,500 ft. When we reached and maintained 4,500 ft, Lille Information asked us to what altitude we were climbing, to check if we would not further climb in the Delta airspace east of Lille. We passed Perrone, Saint Quentin airport that we had visited four weeks before (see Versailles trip report). When we got closer to Paris, the cumulus clouds where higher. We requested and received permission from Beauvais approach to climb to FL 65, the maximum altitude in the area. When we were south of Rouen, we climbed further to FL 85 between the scattered towering cumulus tops, to stay in smooth air as long as possible. After another 50nm or so, the further towering clouds changed in density to broken, at which point we descended to below the cloud base at 2000 ft. The outside air temperature went up again from minus 10 degrees celsius at FL 85 to plus 10. We passed some showers north of us and it was only a little bit bumpy. The weather improved further on the route to Rennes. Rennes approach directed us to point echo, where we contacted Rennes tower. We were cleared to land on runway 28, and on the apron we requested for fuel. After fueling we walked to the terminal.
Take-off runway 25 Charleroi airport
Passing Peronne, Saint Quentin airport
Approaching final runway 28 Rennes airport
Rene at Rennes, Saint Jacques airport
In the very quiet Rennes airport terminal we had a coffee, and in the mean time we booked the closest available accommodation near Guichen in Bruz. The car rental companies were all deserted, so we could not rent a car. We took a taxi from the airport to the accommodation. At the accommodation, the booking was not yet received, but it did not cause any problems. We freshened up, and then we gave Kléber a call that we had arrived. We called for a taxi, and with some detours we got to Kléber's place. After the visit we went back to the accommodation, and then walked to Bruz to find a place to have diner. We only found a pancake restaurant in Bruz, but it had luckely more on the menu than only pancakes.
Desolate car rental companies
Bed and breakfast in Bruz
Creperie in Bruz (pancake restaurant)
Kléber and Veleda
From Rennes to Laval
On Sunday morning we left Bruz by Taxi to Rennes airport. In the terminal at the information desk we paid the landing and parking fee, and then we went to the plane. Runway 28 was in use, and we received a right turn out to fly to point echo via the right hand downwind runway 28. It was a 25 minutes flight to Laval Entrammes airport, and we announced our intentions to land on runway 32 to one other plane that was in the circuit. After we vacated the runway, a parajumping plane took-off. We shortly looked around on the quiet airport, and then we went back to the plane to fly to Le Lans.
Rene at Rennes Saint Jacques airport
Rennes terminal seen from runway 28
Final runway 32 Laval Entrammes airport
Rene at Laval Entrammes airport
From Laval to Le Mans
After take-off from Laval runway 32, we made a right turn out to leave the circuit in the direction of Le Mans. Le Mans has a well-preserved old town, but is most famous for the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing; the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a circuit containing a mix of closed public roads and a motor racing circuit; the Bugatti Circuit which is inside the Circuit de la Sarthe. The airport is adjacent to the Bugatti Circuit. We first overflew the airport and the Bugatti Circuit, before joining the airport pattern to land on runway 20. On the ground we had a chat with a flight instructor, and we could use the computer in the office to check for up-to-date weather and notams to Reims.
Veleda at Laval Entrammes airport
Le Mans Bugatti Circuit
Map Bugatti circuit with airport at bottom
Rene at Le Mans Arnage airport
From Le Mans to Reims
After take-off from Le Mans runway 20, we set course to Reims. On the way we passed Paris in the south, and we flew the narrow corridor between the Melun airspace and the Paris class alpha airspace. The maximum altitude to fly in the region is 1,500 ft, which is roughly 1,200 ft above the terrain. When we got closer to Reims, we entered the Champage-Ardenne region, and we saw the famous champagne vineyards. Before landing at Reims Pruney airport, we first flew around Reims, and we made some nice pictures. The airport radio operator spoke good English, and told us runway 25 was in use. After landing we tied-down the plane, we booked a hotel in Reims and called for a taxi that arrived within 15 minutes.
South east of Paris
River Marne near Châtillon sur Marne
Arrived at Reims Pruney airport
We took the taxi to the Ibis hotel in Reims centre. After we had checked in, we freshened up, and then we first visited the nearby Notre-Dame de Reims, formerly the place of coronation of the kings of France. The cathedral became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. After visiting the Notre-Dame de Reims we had a coffee nearby, and then we further walked the town. In the evening we had diner, and then had a coffee in a grand cafe at the square in front of the Notre-Dame de Reims, to await the light show at 10pm. After the light show we went back to the hotel for a drink and to watch some TV on the internet before going to bed.
Veleda with the Notre-Damme de Reims
Inside the Cathedral
After the light show
Rene in Reims
Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne
The Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne was an aviation meet held near Reims in France from August 22 to August 29, 1909. It was the first international public flying event and is seen as marking the coming of age of heavier-than-air aviation. 22 of the world's leading aviators met at a racetrack on the Bétheny Plain to compete in the first organized international air meet.
A large grandstand was constructed for the event, together with a row of sheds to accommodate the aircraft. A rectangular competition course of 10 km, marked by four pylons was set up for the various competitions, with the strip intended for taking off and landing in front of the grandstands.
Gordon Bennett Trophy
The Reims Air Meet featured many prestigious contests, including those for the best flights of distance, altitude, and speed. The Gordon Bennett Trophy was the most prestigious event of the meeting, and was a speed contest between national teams, sponsored by Gordon Bennett, the publisher of the New York Herald. Glenn Curtiss won the speed event, completing the 20 km course in just under 16 minutes at a speed of 74.8 km/h, six seconds faster than runner-up Louis Blériot.
Four planes in the air at the same time
Between 300,000 and 500,000 spectators witnessed the races and contests during the week. Of the 38 planes originally registered to compete, only 23 went aloft, and of those, 15 were biplanes and eight were monoplanes. In all, the pilots completed 87 flights during the competition. The Reims Air Show not only legitimized the importance and significance of flight, but also set the standard by which people would measure all future air meets (see also the early years of air racing on ).
From Reims to Bitburg
On Monday morning, after breakfast, Rene checked the weather and notams to Bitburg and Paderborn-Lippstadt. The weather on the route was VMC up to the Sauerland, but Paderborn-Lippstadt was in IMC, with a forecast to marginal VMC at the end of the morning. We checked-out from the hotel and took a taxi back to the Reims Pruney airport. Rene filed a flight plan to Bitburg, and after paying the landing and parking fee, we went to the plane. We took-off at 10:05am from Reims Pruney runway 25, and headed to Bitburg. On the way we crossed the Luxembourgh TMA, and after leaving Luxembourg we soon approached Bitburg, nearby the American Spangdahlem Air Base. Bitburg airport is a former military airbase. We landed on runway 24 of Bitburg airport, where we first taxied to the fuel station to fuel for the remaining leg to Paderborn-Lippstadt.
Bitburg is home to one of the largest beer manufacturers in the world, the Bitburger brewery.
Rene at Reims Pruney on Monday morning
Goodyear test track in Luxembourg
Final runway 24 Bitburg airport
Rene at Bitburg airport
From Bitburg to Paderborn-Lippstadt
On Bitburg we had lunch, and while we had lunch the weather at Paderborn-Lippstadt became VFR.
EDLP 270750Z 26009KT 220V320 2000 -DZ BR OVC002 07/07 Q1008 RMK ATIS NOV
EDLP 270850Z 27007KT 190V320 2000 BR OVC005 08/07 Q1009 RMK ATIS PAP
EDLP 270950Z 28005KT 230V310 3500 -RA BR BKN012 BKN036 09/08 Q1009 RMK ATIS ROM
EDLP 271050Z VRB02KT 9000 FEW025 BKN055 11/09 Q1009 RMK ATIS TAN
EDLP 271150Z VRB03KT CAVOK 12/08 Q1009 RMK ATIS VIC
We departed from runway 24, and then turned north around the town of Bitburg to the north-east in the direction of Paderborn-Lippstadt. On the way we passed the Nürnburgring, where Niki Lauda had his infamous crash in 1976. Rene once was a passenger of a colleague who drove the circuit in a public session in the mid 1990s. Over the Sauerland, we passed the Biggesee, and later the Meschede Schüren airport near the Hennesee that Rene had visited in March.
After one hour and ten minutes flying time we landed on runway 24 of Paderborn-Lippstadt airport. We taxied to hangar Echo where we parked the plane. After filling in the paperwork, we went back to the car for the drive back home. It was again a very nice trip....
Departure from Bitburg
Closing the hangar at Paderborn-Lippstadt