Weekend trip to Locarno
In June the flight school at Locarno airport opened up again after it had been closed since March because of the Coronavirus. When the border of Switzerland opened on June 15, Maurits and two other students immediately went to Locarno. Veleda, Charlotte and René went to Locarno for a short weekend visit four weeks later.
As the weather in the Alps was not good on Saturday afternoon July 11 (it was raining and even the Formula 1 classification in Austria had been cancelled due to the rain that day), René picked-up the plane at Paderborn-Lippstadt airport on Saturday and first flew it to Hilversum. We were going to fly to Locarno the next morning.
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Hilversum
At Paderborn-Lippstadt René first did two touch-and-go's and a landing with an instructor to be current again on the C182. The last time on the C182 was in August the previous year for our trip to Portugal, so it had been a while. Then René flew to Hilversum.
René at Paderborn-Lippstadt
Dülmen, Silbersee I and II
From Hilversum to Locarno
On Sunday morning we departed at 8:30 LT for the flight to Locarno. The gafor had shown that the VFR route over the Gotthard was open. We were not permitted to cross the Zürich TMA, so we had to fly underneath below 5,500 ft west of Zürich. Near Zug we started our climb to cross the Gotthard Pass. South of the Gotthard Pass we followed the Leventina Valley, and later we landed on Runway 26R of Locarno airport.
Maurits had just arrived at the airport to welcome us. We first had lunch at the Ristorante Aeroporto.
Spangdahlem Air Base
Crossing the Alps
Approaching Locarno airport
Charlotte, Veleda and Maurits
Lunch at Locarno-Magadino Airport
Contra Dam and Ascona
After lunch at the Ristorante Aeroporto we first went to the hotel in Locarno to check-in, and then we had a look at the appartment Maurits was sharing with other students. We then went for a drive to the Contra Dam, commonly known as the Verzasca Dam and the Locarno Dam. The dam became a popular bungee jumping venue after a James Bond stuntman jumped off it in the opening scene of the 1995 film GoldenEye.
We then continued north along the Lago di Vogorno and the Verzasca river. The Verzasca river is very popular area with sunbathers and swimmers in the summer. It is a beautiful area, but it was very crowded on that Sunday afternoon. We saw the "ponte romano" bridge, but could not find a parking spot. We turned, and then went to Ascona.
Ascona is Switzerland's lowest lying town. It is located at 196 meters above sea level on the northern shore of Lago Maggiore. Ascona is famous for its Old Town and a lake promenade which is dotted with street cafés. The church of San Pietro e Paolo is a landmark of Ascona.
After we had visited Ascona, we went back to the hotel for a drink, and we had diner there. Maurits then left to prepare for his flight the next morning. We were going to fly to Paderborn-Lippstadt the next morning, and we prepared the flight and filed the flightplan with Schiphol AIS by telephone.
From Locarno to Paderborn-Lippstadt
On Monday morning Maurits picked us up at the hotel after breakfast to take us with him to Locarno airport. There we fueled, and paid for the landing fees and fuel. We then said good-bye to Maurits. He went to his plane, and we went to our plane.
Maurits departed ahead of us, going to the south. We were going north. Because the Gotthard pass was in clouds, we first had to climb to 13,000 ft to cross the Alps above the clouds. South of high mountains we received vectors through the eastern part of the Zürich TMA at 9,000 ft that was a longer route than the original plan. After landing at Reichelsheim we measured the fuel left in the tanks, and fueled an extra 10 gallons.
We then continued to Paderborn-Lippstadt, and landed there on runway 24. It was the end of a nice weekend trip.
Maurits and Charlotte saying good-bye
Veleda and Charlotte
Climbing while orbiting Arbedo
Crossing the Alps at 13,000ft
Konstanz at the Bodensee
Charlotte and René
Arrived at Paderborn-Lippstadt airport
Veleda, Charlotte and René – end of trip