September 17, 2018

Back to…

Condat, Galinat, Sarlat-Domme, Belvès and Ste Foy la Grande. In the Savannah. Having completed the work on its slat and wingtip, I couldn’t wait to get the Savannah back into the air again. So as I hadn’t flown it for four months or so, I’d thought that a trip around the area taking in a good few take offs and landings to get myself back into the groove again would be a good idea and had therefore prepared a suitable flight plan.

Here’s the route that I flew on Saturday, which achieved everything that I wanted.

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Saturday was another fine, warm day and with temperatures still in the high 20s degrees C, we’re still getting lots of thermals bubbling up in the mid-late afternoon making for very bumpy flying conditions. So I wanted to get away early enough to avoid those as well as returning to land at Malbec with conditions on approach as unstable as we know that they can be. I made it away just before 11.00 am, which was a bit later than I’d wanted after spending longer than I’d expected cleaning the aircraft after it had stood for so long in the hangar.

Here are a couple of shots that I took for the shear fun of it after taking off and turning onto heading for Condat.

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And here are a couple of shots of 77ASY back on the ground again at Condat.

Savannah MXP 740 at Condat sur Vézère

Savannah MXP 740 at Condat sur Vézère

After filling in the movements sheet, it was time to take off and head back to the south-west for a landing at Galinat.

Savannah MXP 740 at Galinat-Tamniès les Eyzies

Savannah MXP 740 at Galinat-Tamniès les Eyzies

It’s always good to go back to Galinat with its 450 metre gently upward sloping runway. Mind you, Wim told me a story yesterday about a LSA owner who decided to bring in his aircraft from Périgueux Bassillac, landed too short, hit the upslope and took off his nose wheel assembly. Very expensive, but luckily nobody was hurt.

The plan then was to fly almost due south from Galinat to Sarlat-Domme. Here are a couple of shots that I took as I flew past Sarlat on my left side.

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Apart from seeing a single parachutist land, there wasn’t much going on at Sarlat-Domme, so I went into Control, filled in and signed the movements sheet and took a few shots of 77ASY on the ramp.

Savannah MXP 740 at Sarlat-Domme

Savannah MXP 740 at Sarlat-Domme

Savannah MXP 740 at Sarlat-Domme

Savannah MXP 740 at Sarlat-Domme

Just before I fired up the Savannah to take off and head for Belvès, I stood on the ramp and watched another ULM pilot come overhead and decide which runway to land on. I’d landed on 10 but as the wind had by now changed direction, he joined nicely and landed on 28. Unfortunately he then went and spoiled things by taxying in and parking his aircraft slap bang in the middle of the parachute landing circle! I allowed myself a smile as I imagined the conversation that he’d be having with the parachute captain 😀

Shortly after taking off from Sarlat I passed the Château de Beynac off to my right. The château is perched 150 metres up on the top of a cliff overlooking the river Dordogne and is an amazing and spectacular landmark.

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Then, as I approached the Aérodrome de Belvès, I flew past the town of Belvès which also sits high on a raised promontory overlooking the surrounding countryside. There is also an underground ‘city’ at Belvès dating back to the Middle Ages and beyond containing dwellings and other structures which unfortunately I’ve not had the chance to visit but which I’m told is well worth seeing.

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There is no formal control tower at Belvès but the aeroclub building, which is probably the most charming in the whole area, houses the closest thing to one. Unlike the last time that I was there, there was nobody around and the door was locked but in the early afternoon sunshine, it must certainly be one of the prettiest that you’ll ever come across.

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Time to take a few shots on the parking area before firing up again, taking off and heading for Ste Foy la Grande.

Savannah MXP 740 at Belvès

Savannah MXP 740 at Belvès

Flying westwards south of the Bergerac Class ‘D’ control zone, you begin to head into wine country and field upon field of vines are soon to be seen below.

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Ste Foy la Grande is situated on the south bank of the river Dordogne but is located in the Gironde département. The following shot shows the river but Ste Foy itself was behind me to the right of the Savannah when it was taken and as a result is not shown.

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Finally, shots of 77ASY taken at aérodrome de Ste Foy la Grande. Unfortunately, despite its being a beautiful afternoon, there wasn’t a soul around and I took off again later without seeing anyone. The reason may have been the fly-in planned for the following day (Sunday 16 September) by club ULM Evasion, which Wim, Victor and I went to, of which more in my next post.

Savannah MXP 740 at Ste Foy la Grande

Savannah MXP 740 at Ste Foy la Grande

Savannah MXP 740 at Ste Foy la Grande

Savannah MXP 740 at Ste Foy la Grande

My return leg from Ste Foy to Malbec continued my circuit clockwise around the Bergerac control zone. After 35 minutes, I arrived to the most bumpy approach at Malbec that I can recall for a long time and a bit of a thump of a landing (worse than the following day in the Weedhopper), but no harm down and you just have to put it down to experience.

So at the end of the afternoon, 6 legs and a total flying time of nearly 2½ hours. Great fun, very enjoyable and more to look forward to the following day.