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Flying thru Alps

Flying from Southern Italy across the Alps into Germany this summer was an unforgetable experience. I have never seen this mountain range with no snow or ice in all my previous flights over and thru the Alpine valleys. The days were very hot, with temperatures of 38 C on the ground and unusually warm air temperatures even at 7000' in flight.

We started out in Ljubljana, the Slovenian Capital city. Then a visit to one of the worlds largest sports aircraft manufacturing company, Pipistrel Aircraft in Ajdovscina.

We had a few hours to wait out for the strong gusty winds to calm down, so we went to visit the underground caves in Postojna and then the Predijama Castle nearby. Both are very unique and sights to see.

We took off from Ajdovscina airfield in the Pipistrel Virus SW and flew past Venice at just before sunset. Avoiding a large CB, we landed at Cremona airfield. The friendly and hospitable reception we received there got us a hotel room, taxi and hangar space. We were well set up to a night out in the old town square, craning our necks up looking at the marvelous Doumo and other magnificent buildings in the home town of Antonio Stradivari, whose violins are still being played 3 hundred years after his craftmanship made him famous.

The next morning we set off from Cremona towards Kempten, Germany. Our planned route took us over Lake Garda and then the narrow valleys of Trento and Bolzano over the Brenner Pass to Innsbruck. The ATC told us to head straight for the imposing 10000 feet high mountain wall as we flew over the airport, and then a steep turn to the left sticking as close as we dared to the vertical cliffs. We were in awe of the mountain on one side and enjoying the spectacle of watching a large airliner taking off below us at Innsbruck.

A few more cliff hugging minutes brought us to a corner going north into Germany. Haze and low cumulus made some difficult flying conditions but the cold salad was awaiting at Kempten airfield.

Our cooling lunch and cold ice cream prepared us to fly further north into France. Hageunau airfield is the home of the French distributor of Pipistrel aircraft. We were welcomed with ice cold water and good coffee. The hotel on the airfield and the garden restaurant within walking distance was certainly worth the visit.

Next morning the flight from Haguenau to Le Touquet was difficult and easy at the same time. The hazy conditions were difficult but lack of turbulence over the flat plains of France made it comfortable. An overpriced but typical summer French lunch at the airport restaurant revived us for the short flight back to Damyns. The channel crossing took us only 7 minutes in the Virus SW doing 145 knots.

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