We are happy to report the Le Touquet flyout today was a success! 5 pilots in 2 aircraft made the crossing, returning with smiles and duty-free purchases.
Five hungry pilots, two aircraft and one good weather forecast = Lunch in Le Touquet…All in the interests of broadening our aviation experience of course – thus it was that we found ourselves taxiing out on a nice day a couple of weeks ago having completed all the necessary formalities that are required to partake in an expedition of this magnitude.
These included the filling in of the legendary GAR (General Aviation Report), which of course has to be faxed the day before to ensure the 12 hour notice required – and that old English custom of ‘filing the flightplan’ – the piece of administration requested by the authorities if one wishes to cross an international boundary in order to explore and experience the realms of mystic lands with their strange customs and rituals. France in our case. First off was the crew of G-EDGI closely followed by ourselves in G-ERFS. Mustn’t lose them or how else are we going tofind Le Touquet? Actually we did lose them and we arrived in Le Touquet 10 minutes before they did (but that is another story).
We decided to employ traditional navigation techniques that were pioneered by some of the legendary explorers of yesteryear – VOR tracking. This took the form of hopping from VOR to VOR in an easterly direction until we reached the one near Lydd called LYD. From there a short hop over the English Channel (armed, of course,with our life jackets, dingy and ELT) towards that strange and haunting land where air traffic controllers speak in a curious and romantic accent, much garlic is consumed and three taps are fitted to kitchen sinks – hot water, cold water and wine.
So after receiving some instructions from a controller at somewhere called Lille we continued little the wiser. Nobody really knows what French air traffic controllers are saying, but they say it in such a relaxed manner. Up loomed a likely looking airfield so we decided a landing would be convenient as it was getting towards lunchtime. So after receiving some more indistinguishable instructions, one of which may well have been ‘cleared to land..’ we landed and taxied to a vast parking area covered with more British registered aircraft than I have seen anywhere. This can seem a little disconcerting to the uninitiated who may get the impression that they have just landed at Cranfield on rally day, butof course Le Touquet is a popular destination for Brit aviators.
Some time later we were joined by the two crew members of G-GI who had clearly taken the scenic route. Now, one has to come to expect long and tiresome delays when dealing with foreign bureaucracy – especially when it involves immigration and customs formalities. Having completed these formalities in one minute twenty three seconds we elected to take a stroll down the road to the ‘Centreville,’ where we were confident that we would find a suitable venue for some heavily garlicked cuisine. We were not disappointed.That done we had a 30 minute stroll round town and realised it was already time to head back to the airport. More flight plans and calculations completed we were soon back in the aeroplanes heading homeward.The return trip was very pleasant – the crew of G-GI electing this time not to go via the Daventry VOR thus they actually beat us back to Old Sarum.
Watch this space for news of the next fly-out – if you would like to participate then all welcome. Speak to any one in ops at GoFly. First come first served. See you there!