An amazing escuse for an amazing flight – Part I

Perhaps you have read my previous articles… maybe not. If you have done, you certainly speak French. In that case, maybe those two sentences in English are too much and you will stop now… It is pity. You are going to miss a beautiful story full of stress and surprises.

If now we have a look on my logbook, we can see I have flown more than the French pilot average… without being in France. How that is possible???

An Idea From China


All started from an invitation received in Shanghai. A wedding invitation. My friends gave me an invitation for attending their wedding…. In France.

If you have read my previous articles, you noticed I have been in several parts of France by plane… excepting the north East. It is very far. The wedding will take place in Strasbourg! What better opportunity is to fly there?

How long I haven’t flown? I mean, how long I haven’t flown for real! I don’t take in consideration the short flights. 1 YEAR for real! Reminds, my last real navigation was to fly to the South of France and coming back through the East of France (Annecy, Lyon).

Wedding in August and in Strasbourg. Mhm… I haven’t planned to fly back to France for this summer. In reality, I wanted to enjoy my vacation by traveling around China. Finally, I only went to Taiwan and HK. I am also interested in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and The Philippines. BUT OK, a wedding does not happen every year. Hence, my answer was “YES”.

proxy.duckduckgo.comWe can imagine to make that easy, like the most part of the international guests invited: landing in Paris, taking a direct train from Paris to Strasbourg and that all. BUT, 1 year I haven’t flown. And I like to make it complicated.

I decided to take a train to Angoulême where my flight club is. From there, flying to Strasbourg. The idea it was to offer a “just married” flight to my friends. Finally, two weeks before the D-day, I cancelled that last idea. For two main reasons:

  1. I just gave my resignation, so from September, no more incomes!
  2. Wedding schedule was realllly just in time. It was going to be complicated to add a new item in their planning.

So the plan is done, I fly to Strasbourg for the wedding. The cost is going to be high. I will try to share my plane to share the price.

Anyways, in all cases, 2 months before… I have booked plane.

1.5 month before the D-Day


Poster AugustFlying alone is really boring, especially for a flight that long (3H30). Fortunately, my brother and my sister-in-law also go to this Wedding. Even if they stay in Paris for a few days and directly going to Strasbourg, for the return, they want to go to Angoulême. I won’t be alone for the return flight at least!

We are really from overseas to attend this beautiful event. Maybe some will be interested to stop in Angoulême for flying to Strasbourg after all. Besides, I gave my resignation 2 weeks ago, so if some can participate by sharing the cost, can be interesting and helpful for me, because from September I won’t have incomes anymore —Indeed, at the moment I was planning this event—. Oh? For my work? No worries, I always have another plan. You will see.

As usual, all people from Asia, we use Wechat. And as usual for organizing and communicating around this event, we have a dedicated group. To find people, I created a poster to introduce the idea and published on the group. To increase the chance to find at least one friend to make this flight great, I also made one poster for Facebook. Maybe one friend will be interested to fly to Strasbourg. Just notice that: I have seats to go, but nothing to fly back haha.

 

A weight story


“Singapore” you said?!

boarding-passAs you probably know, in aeronautics, the weight is THE enemy! Each plane has its own load capacity. It is according to the engine and the wings (to make it easy).

You remember, I wrote just before that my sister-in-law and my brother are going to fly with me for the return. Both of them are going to Paris from Singapore where they are living now. Both of them coming for a couple of weeks. You easily can imagine they won’t come naked. They will have huge luggage and probably heavy.

10 planes, Only 2 Suitable

Two questions: do I have a plane with enough volume AND weight capacity. We have 10 planes. We directly can remove all planes with only 2 seats :D. Easy!

Now 4 planes are left. Within these planes, only 2 have enough space to hold large luggage. Besides, I also want comfortable planes. We are getting old and for 3H30 flight, I prefer something comfortable now haha.

Fortunately, these criteria are compatible with “enough space”. Finally, I choose that one with enough space, enough weight capacity, 6hrs range, full options (almost IFR certificated), autopilot. I named “Cessna F172”. The problem with this plane is maybe the speed. It is slow!!

Cessna F172 Skyranger

Fuel or package

I tried to convince my brother and my sister that they don’t need their luggage. After all, it is more important gas than some clothes and gifts, right? They can leave them at the airport, they will be able to get some money by selling them, right? :D.

Devis de masse

The picture above is a weight and balance of the plane I am going to use. That document is to see first if the total weight is under the maximal limit and second, if the weight balance is compatible with the flight. For example, if the cross is over the left or the right blue limit, the weight balance is incompatible with the flight. Concretely, the plane won’t be able to fly. Now if the cross is above the top blue limit, we have in overweight. The engine and the aircraft structure is not adapted and calculated for this weight. In all cases, these configurations are dangerous.

In the screenshot above, we can quickly see, I have 15 kg overweight. The balance is good.

1.5 months ago, my brother was worried about the luggage. Will we let their luggage on the ground? That was the question.

To go to Strasbourg, we need gas for 4h30. This plane consumes 32 L/hour in cruising. This value is the high value. Actually, the plane will consume less in high elevation or with the economic speed. What is your choice? If you were at my place, what will tell you to my brother?

“YES, WE DO.”

I told him. Am I crazy??? No, I asked to the mechanic to change the engine to put one with more power. Actually, I could ask him to change the wings… But, honestly, it is really hard to find an adapted wing. So, I just ask him to change the engine.

Right, maybe I just adjusted the gas to take all the load. 15 kg equal 22 L so less than 1 hour of flight. So by reducing the gas at 170 L, it is fine J. We still have 5h18 fuel.

Finally, when they arrived in France, they gave me the accurate weight of their package. We have 5 kg less than the forecast!!!! We can take 5 kg fuel more :).

The luggage weight issue is solved… YES, but what about the luggage volume…

A size problem (un problème de taille)

We have to load the plane with the luggage of my passengers, the mine and the stuff for the plane…

How can we do that?

Fortunately, I got a crazy idea!!! To make space, I removed a door. Several advantages:

  • It is too hot (day had been noticed as the hottest day), we will have fresh air;
  • Save weight, not a lot, but all are good to take;
  • We can make space, and fit the luggage inside. That will be a bit outside, but it is fine;
  • Taking beautiful pictures without windows reflect is possible!!

Yet, one problem was to keep empty the plane at the airfield, because 1 door was missing.

A booking story


openflyer

OpenFlyer – Connection page

2 weeks ago to fly to France, I wanted to check my amount on my flying account. Yes, to fly in fact, the flight clubs work like kind of bank. We have a virtual account where we transfer some money. And we fly, that use the money and we have to add again to fly more, etc…

So I was checking my account just to know how much I will have to add after the fly to have a balance at 0.

AND disaster… My plane was not booked :'(.

I immediately called the secretary and try to understand what happened. I got it, just a box to tip and also, the plane was already booked for a few hours. That blocked my booking, but I did not notice. But let’s come back. Now, several pilots have booked the plane I want during THE period.

Fortunately, the pilots are really solidary. First, I call one whose booked the plane in the middle. It was for an event.

« I will try to arrange you. I only can tell you on Sunday of the previous week, when the registration is over. That will depend on how many people we have. »_he said.

By the end, he had really arranged everything to help me. I had been able to book the plane!!! Really thank you to him, he will recognize himself. That made more logistics workload.

The most important is solved. Now, only two other pilots to arrange, one is easy. It is single flight organized by the club for someone wants to discover the flight. When I called the secretary, they told me it will be possible. I did not call the pilot until I got confirmation from the main important pilots (previous one). Yet, finally, he postponed his flight by himself. Thank you to him. One left. He booked the plane the whole day on Friday. After several phone calls —by Skype—, I decided to manage that from France. If I cannot postpone it, I can take off on Saturday morning… to arrive for the wedding. That is the magic of the plane.

To be continued…

Arg, I really miss the flying, pilot atmosphere. Meet friends, eating in the restaurant, kidding and speaking about planes with engines noises and have new flight adventures!

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