I hadn't really planned out this day but it had seemed possible to make it to Sabadell, Spain. However, another late start and unexpected delays brought us into an interesting situation.
Lessons of the day:
- Have cash on hand for the occasional service that is cash-only.
- You will very likely get assigned an 8.33kHz channel frequency when flying in Europe.
- France is indeed as cheap and friendly to general aviation as I've heard.
- Do not even think about arriving close to the closing time of an airport in Spain.
- Do not expect weather advisories from ATC in Spain.
EDAZ - LFLP (Annecy, France)
I filed the flight plan myself using Autorouter for the first time. It got us a pretty direct route, about 10% overhead. There were a ton of airways in this route:
LUKOP M736 GALMA Z94 ERF Z94 RASPU L984 OSBIT Z118 KOSEK Z93 UBENO N850 NATOR N869 RINLI UN869 NEMOS Y58 SPR Y58 SALEV
Click to see this flight plan in SkyVector
Joe grabbed some omelettes from the restaurant upstairs at EDAZ, which turned out to be top notch. The place is a little slow, but the food was excellent. Highly recommended.
|Eating omelettes from the restaurant on the fly
I also had to re-download the IFR charts onto my iPad since I had upgraded the OS to try to get flight plan filing working on it. That combined with running around to get service and file flight plan, etc. put us at a pretty late departure and I knew we had to hustle to land at Sabadell, Spain before sunset.
We picked up the IFR clearance via Bremen Radio after VFR departure. They gave me direct to a fix and then flight planned route.
The ease of entering airways into the GNS480 is clutch. Entering the above flight plan was easy and at one point later control assigned me direct to GUDOM, a point not in the flight plan but along one of the airways. I just hit Expand, scrolled to GUDOM, and then hit Direct. Easy.
|I think we need a few more waypoints in this flight plan
|Two Headsets and O2 Cannula
We quickly ran into severe headwinds, around 100kts, at FL210. I asked for a descent to FL180 and we picked up a couple of knots groundspeed but it wasn't much help.
We were above the clouds the whole way and didn't see much of the ground except this a snow capped mountain peeking through the clouds.
|Snow capped mountain peeking through the clouds
The approach into Annecy was easy VFR with great views of the mountains and fields.
|Approach into Annecy (LFLP)
|LFLP runway in the distance
LFLP - LEGE (Girona, Spain)
|No fuel taken
|No fuel taken
Our turn around at Annecy was super fast, service and fuel were quick, and I was hoping we could make it to Sabadell before sunset. I filed again via autorouter but could not get a very direct route.
|Departure from Annecy
|Departure from Annecy
Well about 20 minutes later, Marseille called us and told us the airport would be closed when we arrived and asked what we would like to do. To push the issue, I said I thought we would make it. They immediately switched me to Barcelona Approach and asked me to take it up with them. Barcelona was even less helpful, and seemed to pretend they didn't understand my request to arrive a few minutes late. We made a few tries and were generally ignored and repeatedly told to divert to Girona. Super unfriendly service.
We then realized we were running into a pretty serious thunderstorm. It had been tough to tell if the area of gray we were seeing below us was a break in the clouds or dense moisture but as we got close, an abrupt downdraft quickly had us turning around and running the other way with our figurative tail between our legs.
|Pretty but dangerous
|That storm is a little too close
Here's the video of our diversion from LELL and arrival into LEGE:
We got on the ground without issue in Girona and the marshaller immediately advised us we'd have to use a handler. Girona is a large commercial airport and I wondered what the fees would be. Iberia handling turned out to be extremely friendly and told us it would be 20 euro for the night. Not bad. We were quickly on our way to get a rental car and head to Barcelona for the night after securing the plane on the ramp.