Rendez-vous in Bremgarten
Maurits was allowed to use a glider of the Dutch Junior Gliding Team in Locarno from March until sometime in May. Because of the quarantine measures in Switzerland and the distance to Locarno for going up and down there in a day, we decided that Veleda would take the car with the trailer to somewhere near the border. Maurits would go there by train to take over the car and trailer and then take it further to Locarno. Meanwhile, René would fly to the Rendez-vous point to pick up Veleda to go home again. All this in one day.
Wout, a friend of Maurits, had made a test flight from Terlet glider airfield with the glider on Thursday, and he had packed the plane in the trailer for us to hook up to the car and take with us. At the end of the afternoon we picked up the plane, where Wout and his father were waiting for us.
The initial idea for the Rendez-vous point was Herten-Rheinfelden airfield, near the border between Germany and Switzerland, but that is a short grass strip.
Because of the rain over the past period and the wet ground and the not fantastic weather forecast for Friday it was not the most suitable place to fly to.
Also, someone would have to come specially to
open the airfield (which is mandatory in Germany to land or take-off) while there was a good chance we would have to divert anyway.
René chose Bremgarten with Freiburg and Lahr as alternates.
These places are accessible by train in case Bremgarten could not be reached.
Veleda and René left early in the morning after curfew to Ab and Elma's farm where we had parked the car and the trailer overnight. Veleda went on her way, and René went back home and back to bed before leaving at about 7:15 to Paderborn-Lippstadt airport (always at least another 2.5 hours by car).
At the farm at 5 AM
Veleda on her way to Bremgarten
Meanwhile, Maurits departed by train first to Basel, and then to Bad Krozingen near Bremgarten airport. There Veleda would pick him up when she got there, and then go to the airport together for Veleda to fly back with René to Paderborn-Lippstadt, and Maurits with the car plus sailplane trailer to drive to Locarno.
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Bremgarten
The weather forecast didn't look great in southwestern Germany on Friday morning after Veleda had left.
The General Aviation Forecast (Gafor) for areas 50 and 51 in southwestern Germany – the strip of land through which the Rhine flows west of the Black Forest – went from
Difficult in the morning to
Open during the afternoon, with occasional rain/snow showers in the afternoon and with the surrounding high terrain remaining
The TAF for Baden Baden forecasted marginal weather until noon, and Lahr until one o'clock with possible rain or snow showers in the afternoon. It was not a perfect day for a VFR flight, but it seemed like it was going to be good enough in the afternoon.
BECMG 1906/1908 04005KT
TEMPO 1906/1911 4000 SNRA BKN009
TEMPO 1911/1916 03010KT SHRASN BKN014CB
TEMPO 1909/1912 4000 -RA BR BKN012
BECMG 1910/1912 01010KT
PROB30 TEMPO 1912/1918 01015G25KT SHRAGS SCT020CB
So René had foreseen that there was a chance he would not be able to reach Bremgarten or Freiburg, and might have to pick up Veleda somewhere north, such as in Lahr, Baden Baden or Mannheim. In that case, we would not be able to get home in time before curfew, and would have to spend the night in Germany. We had done a PCR test (Covid-19 test) on Wednesday, and of course received a negative result from the test on Thursday (otherwise we would not have been able to go anyway).
René arrived at the airport at about ten o'clock, and took his time to prepare and refuel the airplane. There was no point in leaving too early anyway, first because of the weather on the route in southern Germany that had yet to improve, and second because Maurits and Veleda would not arrive until after one o'clock. René took off at a quarter past eleven local time, or 10:15 UTC.
The Cessna 182 at the hangar
En-route direction Hanau am Main
The route first went south-east to avoid the higher terrain with low clouds between Paderborn-Lippstadt and Frankfurt, and from there further along the west side of the Fritzlar CTR towards Hanau. René flew around the lowest part of the Frankfurt TMA which starts at the bottom at 1,500 ft, and then south-west to the Rhine Valley. From there it's basically just following the Rhine to the south.
Near Mannheim, Langen Info asked if we were aware of the weather to the south, and mentioned the Metar of Baden Baden with few clouds at 800 ft, broken at 1100 ft and overcast at 1400 ft. René confirmed that he knew the weather was marginal in places, and asked for weather information from further places towards Bremgarten. A few moments later, Langen relayed the Metar of Lahr, and that Freiburg reported cloud cover at 1600 ft. It still seemed to be sufficiently flyable. Further, Langen informed that there was no other traffic on the route.
METAR EDSB 191120Z 02011KT 360V060 7000 -RA FEW011 BKN018 OVC033 04/01 Q1019
METAR EDTL 191150Z 02016KT 9999 BKN024 05/01 Q1018
René was going to pass Baden Baden at about 11:40Z, and Lahr some 10 minutes later.
Passing Hanau and the river Mainz
Near Karlsruhe, while flying over the Rhine, the weather was momentarily marginal with low clouds. A little to the east the weather was better. René requested Baden Tower to cross the CTR from north to south. Baden asked if we had the autobahn in sight. After confirmation Baden Tower instructed to cross the CTR and to report leaving at the Bravo reporting point in the south. On starboard, near Baden Baden airport and the Rhine was a rain shower.
After leaving the Baden Baden CTR to the south, René briefly switched back to Langen Info, and then to Lahr Tower to cross the Lahr CTR. After crossing the Lahr CTR, it was about another 10 minutes to Bremgarten. During the landing at Bremgarten on runway 05 there was some light precipitation.
After landing Bremgarten Info asked how long we would be staying. To the answer that it was for a short duration to pick up the wife when she would arrive, the plane could stay on taxiway Golf. There was no other traffic while we were at Bremgarten airport, and it was probably not expected either because of the weather.
The Cessna 182 on Taxiway Golf
René in the tower of Lahr
Three quarters of an hour later Veleda arrived in Bad Krozingen to pick up Maurits. Maurits had also arrived there by train at about a quarter past one, and was waiting there at the local McDonald's.
René sent a whatsapp message to Veleda with the address of the airport so she could include that in the route planner, but that message did not arrive. (in the evening we heard that there was a major outage with Facebook and Whatsapp that day). When Maurits called from the car, René gave the address by phone. Not long after, they arrived at the airport.
Veleda and Maurits arrive at Bremgarten
Maurits and Veleda
From Bremgarten to Paderborn-Lippstadt
It was very nice to see each other again. Unfortunately, we had little time. Maurits still had to drive back to Locarno with the trailer, and Veleda and Rene first had to fly back to Paderborn-Lippstadt, and then drive back to the Netherlands to get home in time for the curfew. We would also have headwinds now.
We first waited in the plane until some showers north of us had cleared up. Maurits waited with us until we could leave. When the shower had passed we said goodbye and went on our way. Maurits went back to Locarno.
René and Veleda with the C182
Maurits also getting in the plane while waiting
We made a picture of Maurits when we left
and Maurits took a picture of us
Veleda took a good number of photos, for which when flying alone you have very little time. North of Bremgarten we went clockwise around the Kaiserstuhl range of hills.
The low-lying volcanic hills of the Kaiserstuhl in the Upper Rhine Valley lie between the Black Forest and the French Vosges. Wines from the Kaiserstuhl have achieved an excellent reputation. The grapes owe their quality to a unique microclimate, hailed as Germany's sunniest, and fertile loess soil (clay and loam) that retains heat at night.
During the first part of the flight there were still many low clouds around us, but gradually the weather improved as we flew further north. We passed Karlsruhe in better weather than on the outward trip.
Kaiserstuhl hills, vineyards
Weather improving to the north
North of Karlsruhe we passed the
Campus Nord of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, founded in 1956 as the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Centre.
The Campus houses the first nuclear research reactor built by Germany.
In the early 1990s, activities increasingly focused on environmental technology, energy research, and in particular on physical fundamental research.
Not much later we passed the beautiful city of Speyer which was barely damaged during World War II. The city is crowned by a beautiful Romanesque cathedral. 600 meters south of the cathedral is the Technik Museum Speyer. Highlights of the museum are a Boeing 747-200, a 1960s U-boat, a Soviet/Russian Buran spacecraft and an Antonov An-22.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Technik Museum Speyer, Speyer Cathedral
On the route to Paderborn-Lippstadt we flew past a number of showers, including a big one over Frankfurt that we could see from afar. Although there were many low clouds, visibility was very good. We again flew east of Frankfurt, not far past the antenna park of the Mainflingen transmitter and the Staudinger power plant.
From Hanau am Main we flew directly to Paderborn-Lippstadt. We passed Amöneburg that lies on a mountain and is built around the castle of the same name, Burg Amöneburg.
Weather above Frankfurt seen from afar
As we approached Paderborn-Lippstadt we saw rain showers, and the ATIS also reported rain showers in the vicinity. We asked the Tower for the weather at the field, and it was clear when we further approached the field. We were instructed to arrive via reporting point W2, and from there directly right base runway 06.
After we landed and taxied to the hangar it just started to snow a little. We quickly put the plane in the hangar, and quickly went back home because of the curfew.
Right base runway 06 Paderborn-Lippstadt
Rotating the carousel in the hangar
Once in the car Maurits called us later. He was driving through the Gotthard Road Tunnel at the time still on his way to Locarno. When Maurits arrived in Locarno in the evening and there were still people on the field, he took the opportunity to immediately start assembling the plane.
It was a fun and interesting day.
Maurits en-route to Locarno
Assembling the plane upon arrival
Glider flying from Locarno
The very next day Maurits took the glider for a flight of almost six and a half hours over the Alps into Italy along the Valtellina (Adda Valley) and the Val di Sole (Sole Valley). We are glad he's having so much fun with it.
Preparing for a glider flight
Lago di Como
Soaring over the Alps
Soaring over the Alps