Do you remember in 2011 I went to Cannes by plane? It was an enriching experience and a really awesome one. Since that day, I went in the “starting-blocks” to live it again!! By the way I dreamt of having been there in “this article” but I need time, good weather conditions, money and a plane.
Let’s summarize the situation with this little drawing: the red stone represents all the challenges that retrains me to do this trip: ie: time, weather, money, and an available plane…
When will I be able to go? When will I be able to overcome the challenges? Where will I forget them? Sooner than I think!
I have been corresponding with a nice Hungarian young woman. We became friends and had decided to meet during her trip to France. We had decided that she would come spend a weekend in Bordeaux.
The weekend coming rapidly… we are at 7 days of meeting. I receive a text from her letting me know that because of a she will not be able to come. She is stuck… on the Riviera close to Cannes, in Gassin!!! This weekend ‘s weather is supposed to be beautiful all over France… and also the festival de Cannes is supposed to start.
An idea grows on my mind…. The adventure starts!
The constraints of a challenge
I have classes on Monday morning at 8 am in Bordeaux. By the same token, I also have classes on Friday afternoon until 5:45 pm. And since we are discussing schedule, the plane is only available Saturday at 4 pm and by chance the entire Sunday.
We can also add to this: the festival de Cannes and the grand prix of Monaco and also St-Tropez.
Why St-Tropez? Have you ever been to Cannes and St-Tropez by car? The day of the festival? It is awefull!
Cannes’ festival a constraint? But it is awesome, you will be able to see stars.
Stars, let’s talk about them! And how do you think that they come the stars? By bus? By taxi? No, by jet. And where do they land? In Cannes of course!!!! It is funny how airports can have a limited surface. OK it can be difficult to land there… and also while I am thinking I have not read the NOTAM. I am being informed that the airport is off limit for the occasion and that I need an authorization!
Let’s talk about the festival, this one is going to obviously generate more traffic on Cannes’s frequency therefore planes to be careful off and also probably a waiting time.
All the little challenges concern the plane only but what am I going to do once there?! The other part of this big challenge!
Problems?! Only solutions!
CANNES and its autorization
I call Cannes. Good news, the restriction does not apply to VFR. But I can’t say yet if I will have a spot. The tax is not very high…
I call again other pilots to fly with me… Still nothing!
Notre prise en charge…
Aaaaah, the big problem of the plane is that we are stuck where we land and after that we are at the merci of public transportation, taxis, or friends.
By chance my godfather can come pick us up on Saturday afternoon and offers us also a place to stay. Thanks to him!!!!
The next day my godfather is only available until 11 am. I will take a small ride by plane at the airport LE LUC LE CANNET located near St-Tropez. Zxofia will come meet me there with her host family. The departure will be there… so now no need my uncle’s help!
The reality: the art of adapting
To immortalize this bid adventure, I called my companion Damien A, he will meet me in other adventures of this type. His passion is photography and video. His job is video . That is perfect no? As soon as I spoke to him about my burlesque plan, he immediately accepted to help. But I will let you take advantage of the —— of these two passions through the pictures and the video that illustrate this article!
D Day, the weather is still good. Some front wind, it is 9 am and I have already been a the club: it is time for the preparation.
In the days that preceded after a few phone calls: airport, OPEX Miltary, Club parachute, and at ask the director technique of the flights of the paras… I gave up the idea to land the plane at LUC LE CANNET. It is an airport open to the general aviation but there are military constraints that go with that. But anyhow…I reserve a round trip train ticket for LUC LE CANNET!
Let’s go back to our preparation… I sit down on a chair… facing a table. I open my two maps. My PC next to me… I prepare may route, check the weather.
The big points of my navigation: Direct Cannes via Montelimar : We are going to have a great time!
I am still looking for a co-pilot… it is 11 am, I am still getting ready.
Hello? Hello? Cannes? Sir, we lost a spot!
I call Cannes… once, twice, three times, still nothing. They are unreachable. They must have a lot of traffic. I do no take any chance, I go to plan B: CUERS, I call my godfather to know if it is possible for him to pick me up at CUERS (one hour away). Call made and solution available!
A feet in flight club, the other one in plane: a meeting.
12:00… a new member of the club. An helicopter pilot but new with plane.
« –Quentin, are you still looking for a pilot? Yes? Ask him if he is free”
Tells me Martine, our favorite secretary, while showing me the young pilot on my right.
« –Are you free this WE? Cannes are you interested??? –you bet you!!! »
And that is how we make wonderful encounters! Just registered he is already going to have his butt on a plane for an awesome destination!!!! And me? And me? Immediately less stressed: He is not a plane pilot? It does not matter an helicopter’s pilot knows how to navigate as well.
…The adventure is only starting…
3 pm the flying plan is activated, the take off done. Direction 109 fixated. Cuers here we are!!!
6:0 pm, we have landed, refueling is taking place. We have a delay of only 20 minutes on the original schedule. This delay is essentially due to the face wind. My godfather arrives at this moment. I had told him at what time we were taking off :D… It is really and awesome place :).
After a brief stop at the house to leave our things, we are on the Riviera… A few minutes later, we are in a traffic jam… Normal you are going to say. Even though we are on foot. Nervertheless, my belley is rumbling, my companions’ as well! After having left the crowd, we are in a very good restaurant in a parallel street. 3 drinks later, 12:30 we are back at the house but I am still awake. Now I have to prepare tomorrow’s day!
I open my PC and turn on my phone. I check my messages: change of plan.
She suggests that we meet in Toulon, 20 minutes from Cuers. I cancel my tickets for LE LUC LE CANNET and I take a ticket TOULON-CUERS. I have a train at 1 pm and another at 3:50 pm. If I take the last one, I will arrive at 4:10 at the train station and then I will just have to get to the airport! I plan on 15 minutes, my objective is to take off at 4:30 because I have other plans and my pals as well. I can’t afford being late… the schedule is tight!
Now I just have to figure out how to get from the train station to the meeting place, my godfather is not here so I take a taxi. I write 5 different numbers on my phone so that tomorrow I can call the taxi, I do not want to have to wait. I want the taxi to be waiting for me when I get out of the train. I love that!!!
Why did I copy five different numbers? Because only the last umber called answered me. My taxi will wait for me at the train station at 4:10 pm. No problem. I must say that I love getting out of the train, getting in a car without waiting and getting on a plane without waiting…. nicely plan…. almost!
« Landing Gear G+D: Tight and locked, nothing around the engine. Tank: the fullest has been selectionned and openned. Control planes: unattached and in the good way. Battery: ON; ON– Pump: ON; ON — Flaps: retracted; … »
The….. do not come in. Remember my last adventure on the Riviera… The same problem! I call the mechanic… not available. The second mechanic: no available. The president: not available. The supervisor…. he takes the call but he is in the middle of the Rallye.. I let him know that I may be stuck in Cannes..
I give my instructions to my copilot: I need a key of 10, and a special key. Problem lived, solution already known! Let’s start the repairs. My copilot brings the necessary tools and I start to work. Fortunately this time it is just a false contact because I am able to fix the problem right away. Problem fixed in 30 minutes.
It is 5 pm and here we are taking off… The decision has been taken: nevertheless, we are going to fly around St-Tropez!
My navigator gives me caps to reach our objective: St-Tropez. We are leaving Cuers, a really nice place, I will come back!!!
After a little tour around Saint-Tropez, here we are going back to Angouleme. The navigation on the way back will be easy. scenery…. we are taking it all in!!!!!
Following a shooting over St-Tropez, we are flying to Angoulême. The back navigation is quiet. Our lower elevation allows to have a new view of landscape… We enjoy the quiet… Sunday, end of the day… Nobody is on the frequency :D.
3H14 flight hour later, detour by St-Tropez included, we are indeed landed to Angoulême airport: it is 8.30pm. I am calling my carpoolers:
« Hi, Quentin P on the phone. Following some mechanicals problems, we just landed at Angouleme airport. Time to take transit at home to take my packages, and I will be on the appointment at 9H30pm. »
A business which is working. 9.30pm, passagers boarded, and we are on the road to Bordeaux… but this time, it is by car.
1 NOTAM it is a information bulletin about an airport. All restrictions is written, all what can be a danger for air traffic is written on the NOTAM.
2 FL095 it is an elevation from the isobar 1013 hPa called a flight level. FL095 = 9500 feet.