Should I stay or should I go
Planning a one week VFR trip in north-west Europe in the autumn is often loaded with uncertainty about the weather. On Sunday, the weather indications for the next day appeared good enough to fly VFR from Paderborn to Rennes. On Tuesday there would be strong winds, but for the remainder of the week the weather charts indicated that there would be sufficient good conditions available to fly back.
On Sunday, 19 October 2014, Veleda and René drove to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport for a trip to the Brittany region in the north-west of France to visit Kléber. We had planned a five day trip with the Cessna Turbo Skylane D-ELIC.
Cessna Turbo Skylane D-ELIC
The day before Theo from the aero club had contacted René to ask if he and Helga could drive with René and Veleda to Paderborn, as they were in Amsterdam and the trains in Germany were not running because of a strike. Of course, they were welcome to come along. Early in the afternoon on Sunday Theo and Helga came to Amersfoort from Amsterdam by train, where we picked them up for the ride to Paderborn.
In Paderborn we had dinner at the aero club on the airport before we went to our hotel in nearby Nordborchen. We watched some TV before we went to sleep.
Weather forecast Monday morning
There was a cold front passing during the night. The plan was to fly behind the cold front to Rennes the next morning. For Tuesday strong winds were forecasted, and René had taken into account there would be no flying conditions on Tuesday. For the remainder of the week it appeared that there would be enough possibilities with sufficient weather conditions to fly back.
Satellite images, 20 October 2014
On Monday morning, after breakfast, René checked the NOTAMs and the weather. Although the cold front had passed, there were still low clouds and minor rain in the Paderborn area and to the west. It was also rather windy.
The TAFs for Paderborn, Dortmund and Düsseldorg indicated broken clouds in the morning at 1300 ft, and winds from the west at 15 knots gusting to 25 knots until the evening. The Rennes TAF indicated IMC for the whole period. Looking at the satellite images, there were clouds over Brittany near the warm front moving slowly to the east.
EDLW 200500Z 2006/2106 24013KT 9999 SCT040 TEMPO 2006/2008 BKN014 TEMPO 2006/2018 25015G25KT BECMG 2020/2023 20008KT
EDDL 200500Z 2006/2112 23010KT 9999 SCT040 TEMPO 2006/2008 BKN013 TEMPO 2008/2018 25015G25KT BECMG 2020/2023 17010KT TEMPO 2110/2112 20015G30KT
EDDK 200500Z 2006/2112 25008KT 9999 SCT040 TEMPO 2008/2016 26015KT BECMG 2017/2020 18007KT TEMPO 2110/2112 20015G25KT
EBLG 200530Z 2006/2112 24010KT CAVOK PROB30 TEMPO 2006/2011 BKN011 PROB40 TEMPO 2107/2112 22016G28KT PROB30 TEMPO 2110/2112 4500 RA SHRA BKN011
EBCI 200530Z 2006/2112 24010KT 9999 FEW020 PROB30 TEMPO 2006/2013 4500 RA SHRA BKN009 PROB40 TEMPO 2105/2109 BKN010 PROB40 TEMPO 2109/2112 22016G27KT 3800 RA SHRA BKN008
LFAQ 200500Z 2006/2015 23010KT CAVOK
LFOP 200500Z 2006/2106 25008KT CAVOK TEMPO 2006/2010 BKN012 BECMG 2100/2103 19018KT BKN012 TEMPO 2103/2106 19025G40KT 5000 RA BKN008
LFRN 200612Z 2006/2106 VRB03KT 0300 FG VV- TEMPO 2006/2010 RA BECMG 2008/2010 BKN015 BECMG 2010/2012 21005KT BKN025 BECMG 2021/2024 3000 BR TEMPO 2100/2106 BKN008 BECMG 2100/2103 21013KT
On the route over Belgium there was the possibility to encounter rain showers with low clouds and winds gusting to 28 knots. The room to maneuver in the east of Belgium could be too limited, with all the possible active airspace restrictions and control zones. René considered a more northern route via the south west of the Netherlands, but then the flight time would increase and a stop should be inserted to keep it comfortable, and sunset is already early at that time of the year. With Tuesday already taken into account as not flyable, René decided not to fly to Rennes, and we decided to drive.
We left Paderborn at about 10am, and arrived at the town south of Rennes where Kléber lives at 8:45pm.
Sight-seeing flight to Mont Saint Michel
On Tuesday René asked at a flight school at Rennes airport if it was possible to rent a plane for a sightseeing flight. It was possible, but first a check flight had to be taken. As it was too windy on Tuesday afternoon, we decided to do the check flight prior the sight-seeing flight on Wednesday. On Wednesday a short check flight was taken, and then we picked-up Kléber at his home to take him to the airport. We departed from runway 32, and then first flew south to overfly his house. Then we flew to Mont Saint Michel, and made a big circle around the island staying clear of the prohibited zone.
Kléber, Veleda and René
Kléber in the Cessna Skyhawk
Take-off runway 32 Rennes airport
Over Kléber's house
Passing Rennes on the way to Mt St Michel
Mont Saint Michel
Final runway 32 Rennes airport
Kléber and Veleda with the Cessna
Post flight toast
After the flight we drove back to the house, where we first toasted on the nice flight. Monique had prepared an excellent dinner, which we enjoyed very much. The next morning we drove back to Holland, this time via Paris. It took us 8 hours.
With the knowledge afterwards, we could have flown to Rennes VFR on Monday afternoon and back on Thursday, but beforehand there was too much uncertainty about the weather, and we needed to be back ultimately on Friday.
Although we had not flown to Rennes, and only made a trip with a local plane from Rennes, it was nonetheless a very nice trip.