Well folks, it’s all systems go for our west coast trip. I’ll be moving 56NE across to Wim’s airfield tomorrow where we’ll load both aircraft for departure on Thursday morning. Initially we’ll be heading south-west towards Biarritz stopping once along the way at Montpezat to check everything’s shipshape before landing at a small private airfield just short of the Biarritz CAS and overnighting in our tents.

The next day we’ll head across to the coast at Capbreton where we’ll then turn north and start heading up the coast at low level following the coastline. Over the next couple of days we’ll keep heading north, stopping to refuel and overnight under canvas at various small airfields. We’ll be heading as far north as St Nazaire, as far as Vannes actually. Originally I wanted to go a bit further and transit the Class D CAS of Lorient airport, but as we don’t have transponders fitted they refused us permission. I think it has something to do with the fact that, unlike most airfields in France, it’s not open to ‘public air traffic’, just military and commercial, as previously explained. But anyway, it’ll be a great flight north, taking in the pine forests and sand dunes of the Landes, the Atlantic coast, the Gironde estuary, the salt marshes of the northern Gironde delta and much besides.

From north of St Nazaire we’ll start heading back again via Nantes and expect, subject to weather, to get back home again on the following Monday. We have already postponed the trip once due to uncertain weather but this time it looks as though it will play ball and be fine all the way, a total distance of something like 1500 kms, I think.

Today I filled up two 20 litre jerry cans with fuel to take with me in 56NE and also filled up two clean 1 litre orange juice bottles with 2T oil from my bulk container that I brought with me from England and am still using, to add to fuel that we purchase along the way. Tomorrow on my flight over to Wim’s I’ll be able to check how 56NE flies with most, if not all, of the gear loaded. I’ve also been checking the weather for the whole trip for the last few days and updating my computerised flight and fuel plan sheets and everything is looking hunkey-dorey.

Anyway, I’ve still got a few last-minute things to do including, would you believe, some ironing so that’s all for now. I’ll be incommunicado until we get back on Monday (subject to weather and any other vagueries) but hope to be taking plenty of video and still shots for the postings I plan following the flight.

See ya then!