31 Jul 2016 Erfurt (2)
1 Aug 2016 Brno (1)
2 Aug 2016 Kosice (4)
3 Aug 2016 Piestany (3)
4 Aug 2016 Kunovice (1)
5 Aug 2016 Stockerau (1)
6 Aug 2016 Hosin (2)
7 Aug 2016 Leipzig (4)
8 Aug 2016 Leipzig
9 Aug 2016 Hilversum (2)
The summer holiday flying trip report of 2014 was headed by the title "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans". This became particular true for 2016's summer holiday flying trip. Not because of external circumstances, but due to a tiny formality that we had overlooked.
For this year's destination for our summer holiday we had set our eye to Romania. Although Romania is not further away than, let's say, Spain from where we live, we had not been to Romania before. As usual, we did not prepare an itinerary. We just decide per day what we want to do and where we want to go, and the weather plays a decisive role in the decision making process. Being flexible is key, and we book our accommodation per day, where we end up that day.
As we wanted to make short hops, we chose to fly the trip with a Piper 28. We had booked the Piper Archer D-EXHV. It was the same plane that we used two years before for the Norway trip (although for that trip we initially planned to use a Cessna 182). The Archer's are well equiped, and include an S-Tec 55 autopilot.
From Hilversum to Erfurt
We started our trip on Sunday, 31 July 2016, from Hilversum airfield. We had filed a flightplan to Erfurt. There was an occluded front ahead, followed by a trough, forming an area with low clouds and low visibility that we encountered near Paderborn. We decided to make a stop at Paderborn to wait for the weather to pass the hills ahead of us. After an hour and a half we continued to Erfurt.
René at Hilversum airfield
A stop at Paderborn-Lippstadt airport
To runway 28 Erfurt-Weimar airport
Krämerbrücke in Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital and largest city of Thuringia and was first mentioned by St. Boniface in 742. Erfurt's old town is one of the most intact medieval cities in Germany, having survived World War II with very little damage. Tourist attractions include the Krämerbrücke (Merchants' bridge), the ensemble of Erfurt Cathedral and Severikirche (St Severus's Church) and Petersburg Citadel.
In 1392 rich merchants founded the university, allowing students to study common law, rather than religious law. Its most famous graduate was Martin Luther, who studied philosophy here before becoming a monk at the local Augustinian monastery in 1505. Martin Luther stayed in Erfurt until 1511 and was ordained as a priest in the cathedral.
From Erfurt to Brno
The next morning we flew to Brno in the Czech Republic. Just south-west of Erfurt lies the town of Arnstadt, with it's own aerodrome east of Arnstadt. Arnstadt is definately also worth a visit. We flew north of the Thüringer Wald, and entered Bohemia in the Czech FIR west of Karlovy Vary. Just south west of Karlovy Vary we passed the town of Loket, meaning "elbow" in English, named after the shape of the river that bends around the town.
Trivia: Loket is also a James Bond movie location, used to portray a small town in Montenegro in the 2006 movie Casino Royale.
We flew south of Prague, where we had to fly low to stay clear of the Prague airspace. When we approached Brno, we were directed over the city to fly to the base leg of runway 27, where we landed at about 2:30 in the afternoon.
Veleda at Erfurt-Weimar airport
Landing at Brno airport
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul (Petrov) is one of the dominating features of the city of Brno. The Mahen Theatre, built as German Deutsches Stadttheater in 1882, was one of the first public buildings in the world lit entirely by electric light. The Špilberk Castle became a national cultural monument in 1963.
The Villa of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat from the years 1929-1930, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is an installed monument to Modern architecture. It is the only examplar of Modern architecture in the Czech Republic recorded on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage.
From Brno to Košice
Tuesday morning we walked to the bus station across the street, and took the bus to Brno airport. The idea was to fly to Košice in two or three legs. Following received permission by phone from the aeroclub, we first flew to Senica, a small private aerodrome operated by a local aeroclub. There was no other flying activity at the aerodrome, and we continued to Trenčín after a short stop.
At Trenčín there was some activity. We landed on the 2000 meter long concrete runway 04, and then taxied around the grass strips to park near the bar, where we had a coffee. The city of Trenčín is worth a visit, however we wanted to fly to Košice that day. Perhaps we could visit the city on the way back from Romania. Our next leg was to Sliač, a Slovak military airbase also allowing civil traffic.
We approached Sliač over the mountains west of the airport via Kremnica reporting point. There was military activity, with Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainers landing and departing. There were also a few MiG-29s parked at the airport. After landing runway 36, we were directed to the apron, and then we were escorted to the terminal. René filed the next flight plan from Sliač to Košice, we received a coffee, payed the fees, and then we were escorted back to the aircraft. We received instructions to back-track on runway 36 behind two MiG-29s landing simultaneously. After take-off we made a right turn out to the south-east, and then we headed east to Košice.
At Košice airport we landed on runway 01, and we parked on the south side of the apron. Via the general aviation terminal we walked to the bus stop near the main terminal, from where we took the bus to Košice.
Departure from Brno airport
René at Senica airport
To land on runway 04 Trenčín
Landing MiG-29 at Sliač airbase
Arrived at Košice airport
Veleda in Košice
cathedral of St Elizabeth
Košice is the biggest city in eastern Slovakia and the second largest city in Slovakia after the capital Bratislava. The city has a well-preserved historical centre, which is the largest among Slovak towns. Almost all of the sights are in or around the town's long plaza-like main square, Hlavná. The central square is dominated by Europe's easternmost Gothic cathedral of St Elizabeth, the city's oldest architectural landmark.
Veleda in Košice
St. Michael's Chapel located to the south of the Catedral, is a single-nave Gothic edifice from the 14th century. Originally a cemetery chapel, it is the city's second oldest building. Also the State Theatre of Košice is situated in the main square. It was built in a Neo-baroque style according to projects of Adolf Lang during the years 1879-1899.
From Košice to Oradea in Romania...
The next morning we took the bus back to Košice airport. While we taxied to the holding point runway 19, passengers boarded a Travel Service Boeing 737. We first flew to Nyíregyháza in Hungary to fuel, and from there further to nearby international airport Debrecen, where we would clear Schengen customs. From Debrecen we would continue to nearby Oradea. At least, that was the plan.
Upon arriving at a further very quiet Debrecen airport, we discovered that one of our passports had been expired. So instead of continuing to Oradea in Romania and leaving the Schengen area, we had to adjust our plans. As the NOTAM's had shown a lot of restricted airspace that was active in Hungary, we decided to fly to Pieštany in Slovakia instead. Romania was cancelled for this trip.
Departure from Košice
René at Nyíregyháza airport
Veleda at Pieštany airport
From Pieštany to Kunovice
Although Pieštany is Slovakia's premier Spa site, the small airport and town appear impoverished. It is not a place we would recommend. The next morning we went early to the airport to fly to Kunovice to visit the town of Uherské Hradiště in the Czech Republic. After we arrived at Kunovice airport, we called for a taxi to take us to town.
Departure from Pieštany
Final runway 03C Kunovice airport
René in Uherské Hradiště
Church of St Francis Xavier
Uherské Hradiště was founded in 1257 by the Czech king Otakar II. The town is the center of Moravian Slovakia. The Second World War damaged the town to a large extent. After 1989, most of sights and historical monuments in its historical centre were reconstructed and adapted to fit the needs of our time. The main square is dominated by the Church of St Francis Xavier.
From Kunovice to Stockerau
Because of a cold front that was approaching, and Kunovice is closed on Saturday and Sunday, we decided on Thursday night to leave early on Friday morning for Stockerau, north of Vienna in Austria, and await the passage of the cold front in Stockerau. The outlook was that the front would arrive in the morning, and we might encounter the front if we would fly to Hosín. Some other airports were also closed in the weekend, and we did not want to get stuck somewhere during the weekend.
Kunovice airport opened at 08:00 AM, and Stockerau airport would open at 09:00 AM. The flight time with the head wind taken into account was estimated at 35 minutes, so if we would take-off just before 8:30, we would arrive just after Stockerau opened.
We went to Kunovice airport at 8:00 AM. While Veleda settled the fees, René prepared the plane for departure. We took-off as planned, and arrived shorly after 9:00 AM at Stockerau airport. We first fueled the plane before parking it. The airport had a small car available that we were allowed to use. We did some sight seeing around Stockerau. It did not start to rain until later that afternoon.
Analysis, Friday 5 Aug 2016, 12:00 UTC
Departure from Kunovice
Flugplatz Stockerau car
Veleda at Kreuzenstein Castle
From Stockerau to Hosín
On Saturday morning we flew to Hosín airport in the Czech Republic, to visit the town of České Budějovice. On the way to we also made a stop at Krems, Langenois airport, still in Austria. Hosín airport lies north of České Budějovice, while České Budějovice airport lies south of the city. We passed-by the latter airport in May when we made a Trip to Vienna. Upon arriving at Hosín, we called for a taxi to take us to the city. Although it was Saturday afternoon, the shops were closed, and it was very quiet in the old town.
Veleda and René at Stockerau airport
Final runway 29 Krems, Langenlois airport
At Hosín airport
In České Budějovice
Town Hall at Ottokar II Square
České Budějovice is the provincial capital of southern Bohemia. The city does have one of Europe's largest main squares and a charming labyrinth of narrow lanes and winding alleyways. It's also the home of 'Budvar' beer (aka Czech 'Budweiser'). The city was founded in 1256 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Among the architectural treats is the 1555 Renaissance Town Hall (Radnice), which received a baroque facelift in 1731.
Street in České Budějovice
Next to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas is the 16th century Black Tower. The Dominican Monastery is the oldest gothic monument in České Budějovice. The Church of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Piaristic square was founded at the same time as the city of České Budějovice in 1265; initial construction was completed around 1300. The Museum of South Bohemia holds a large collection of historic books, coins and weapons.
From Hosín to Leipzig
The weather outlook for the days to come was not that great. We decided to fly to Leipzig-Halle airport, to visit the city of Leipzig in Germany. Leipzig also would be in an area of good weather for the next days to come. On Sunday morning we took a taxi from our hotel in České Budějovice to Hosín airport. On the way to Leipzig we made short stops at Příbram and Panenský Týnec. During a stop at Chemnitz, René studied the charts for Leipzig-Halle, as it appeared to be a big, and therefore probably busy airport. However, a local pilot at Chemnitz told us Leipzig-Halle is not a busy airport. It is primarely a cargo airport with freighters operating at night. Before landing at Leipzig-Halle, we first made an orbit over the city. After landing we were taken to the General Aviation terminal, and then we walked via the passenger terminal to the S-Bahn station to take the train to Leipzig. We stayed in Leipzig for two nights. It is a nice city that we can recommend to visit.
Town of Hosín after departure
Panenský Týnec airport
At Chemnitz, Jahnsdorf airport
To land at Leipzig-Halle airport
Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus)
The city of Leipzig, long famed for its old fairs and markets, lies in the Saxon Lowlands at the junction of the Weisse Elster and the Pleisse rivers.
Leipzig became known as the Stadt der Helden (City of Heroes) for its leading role in the 1989
Peaceful Revolution, when its residents organised protests against the communist regime in May of that year.
Lonely Planet names Leipzig Saxony's coolest city.
Statue of J.S. Bach at St Thomas church
The Markt in Leipzig, for many centuries the hub of city life, is dominated by the Old City Hall (Rathaus), a Renaissance building erected in 1556. Southwest of the Leipzig's Markt stands St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche), home of the world-famous St. Thomas Choir. Behind the Old City Hall in Leipzig is the Naschmarkt, a quiet little square laid out in 1556.
On the north side of Naschmarkt is the Old Commercial Exchange (Alte Handelsbörse), an Early Baroque building dating from 1678 now used for community events. The St Nicholas Church is one of the major churches of central Leipzig. Augustusplatz is flanked by some of Leipzig's most famous buildings, including the opera house and the Gewandhaus, home of the world-famous Gewandhaus Orchestra.
One of Leipzig's most important monuments is the magnificent Battle of the Nations Monument (Völkerschlachtdenkmal). Completed in 1913, the monument commemorates Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig. The battle was the culmination of the 1813 German campaign and involved nearly 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
From Leipzig to Dessau, then to Hilversum
When we flew to Leipzig, we also considered to visit the north-eastern part of Germany near the Baltic coast afterwards. However, a low pressure area of Scandinavia caused very strong winds, and also bad weather was approaching from the Atlantic. We decided to fly back to Hilversum on Tuesday, making a stop at Dessau to visit the Technikmuseum Hugo Junkers.
Maurits and René had visited Dessau and the museum before in 2013, and at that time a Junkers F13 Replica plane was still under construction. As the construction of the plane was now finished and had been put on display in the museum recently, and we were in the neighbourhood, we visited the museum. It is a beautiful replica, accurately constructed by a group of volunteers over a ten year period. Their next project will be a Junkers J1 metal aircraft. We bought a model Junkers F13 at the museum, for the collection on the dresser at home.
After visiting the museum we walked back to the airport to fly back to Hilversum. There was a rather strong headwind, and we flew a somewhat northern route to avoid the hills such that we could fly low where it would not be too bumpy. We passed two rain showers south west of Hanover, but the weather improved behind the trough. It took us 2 hours 45 minutes to get to Hilversum, but we had made the right decision. The next two days the weather was not good. In the mean time we were already planning a trip to France, as we still had days left for our holiday.
René filling oil
Technikmuseum Hugo Junkers at Dessau
Junkers F13 under construction in 2013
Veleda with the finished Junkers F13
Passing a rain shower
René at Hilversum airfield
Junkers F13 model added
Bad weather the next two days