03 June 2021 Mensanello (2)
04 June 2021 Mensanello
05 June 2021 Reggio Calabria (1)
06 June 2021 Palermo (1)
07 June 2021 Palermo
08 June 2021 Comiso (1)
09 June 2021 Comiso/Ragusa
10 June 2021 Scalea (1)
11 June 2021 Fano (2)
12 June 2021 Fano
13 June 2021 Milan (1)
14 June 2021 Locarno (1)
15 June 2021 Kempten (1)
16 June 2021 Paderborn (2)
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Mensanello
For our summer vacation 2021, we had our eye on Sicily early in the year. The expectation was that the strictest COVID-19 restrictions would be sufficiently lifted in early June, in the period when it would not yet be very hot in the deep south of Italy.
On Wednesday evening, June 2, we left for the Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport hotel. Then we could leave early the next morning. The airport hotel happened to be open for the first time that day, after being closed for a time because of the Corona measures.
We would fly to Kempten first, and there Veleda would first do a call for her work. In the meantime, René would refuel the plane so that we could stretch refueling in Italy where the fuel prices are much higher.
René refueling before departure
Departure from Paderborn-Lippstadt
Ottobeuren Benedictine abbey
Veleda doing a call at Kempten airfield
After we landed at Kempten airport Veleda was able to make her call, and meanwhile René refueled the plane to the top of the tanks. As scheduled, we left for the second part of the flight to Mensanello. In the afternoon there would be thunderstorms, but we were right on time and were able to get ahead of it.
We took the route over the Brenner Pass, and then over the Jaufen Pass past Merano and Bolzano. This time we flew over Lake Garda, and then on the usual route past Modena and Florence to Mensanello. We circled San Gimignano near Mensanello once, and then landed on runway 25 of Mensanello airfield. Like last time, we could use the hangar for a small fee.
Marcello was again very kind to drop us off at the hotel on the top of the hill with our luggage. We checked in at the hotel, and then it was time for a good glass of beer. In the evening we had dinner at the hotel.
Riva del Garda
Friday was a day to relax, at least for René. Veleda still had a course to attend in the afternoon. These training sessions were conducted virtually because of the Corona, so it wasn't the worst place to take the training.
When Veleda was ready we took a nice long walk. Upon returning we refreshed ourselves and we went to the Tenuta di Mensanello Agri-Restaurant restaurant for dinner.
From Mensanello to Reggio Calabria
On Saturday morning we headed for Reggio Calabria. We had chosen this place because it is one of the few places in the south of Italy where AVGAS is available. We wanted to keep the tanks at least half-full so the fuel would not become something to worry about. AVGAS is normally available at the airports of Salerno and Foggia, but these airports were closed at the time we made our trip. At the airports of Calabria and Comiso, only Jet fuel was available from the official fuel companies at these airports.
AERODROME CLOSED TO ALL TFC EXCEPT 'ALIDAUNIA' HELICOPTERS (ON LOCAL AGREEMENT BASIS) DUE TO LENGTHENING WORKS OF RWY 15/33
REF AIP AD2 LIBF 1-1
AERODROME CLOSED TO ALL TFC EXC STATE, RESCUE AND EMERGENCY LOCAL HELICOPTER 10MIN PN.
RUNWAY 05/23, TWY A B C D, APRON WEST AND EAST CLSD DUE TO WIP ON MOVEMENT AREA.
PRESENCE OF MEN AND EQUIPMENT IN RADIO CONTACT WITH LOCAL AERODROME FLIGHT INFORMATION UNIT (AFIU).
THE FOLLOWING SERVICES ARE NOT AVAILABLE: AD ADMINISTRATION, HANDLING, RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING EXCEPT H2 HELIPAD CATEGORY.
REF AIP AD 2 LIRI 1-1
There were a few rain splashes when we left Mensanello, but for the rest of the trip it was dry. Our route was first east of Rome, and then to Naples where we would fly just north of Naples along the coast past Naples and the Vesuvius.
Checking the plane before departure
Naples and the Vesuvius
South of Naples and Vesuvius, we made an orbit around Pompeii. Then we continued our way toward Salerno, and then further along the coast to Reggio Calabria.
Pompeii was an ancient city located south of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area was buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Largely preserved under the ash, the excavated city offered a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried.
Approaching Villa San Giovanni
The Pylons of Messina are two free-standing steel towers, the Sicilian one in Torre Faro and the Calabrian one in Villa San Giovanni. They were used from 1955 to 1994 to carry power lines across the Strait of Messina. The electrical crossing was decommissioned in 1993 and the power lines were removed a year later. After the removal of the power lines, the pylons remain with protected status as historical monuments.
Arriving at Reggio Calabria, we were instructed to fly a left downwind to runway 33. After landing we first taxied to the gas station to refuel.
We booked a bed and breakfast near the airport to fly on to Palermo the next day. In the evening we went for a walk, and we were surprised how badly the garbage service was arranged in Reggio Callabria. There was garbage everywhere. Not a place to go as a tourist. Fortunately, the bed and breakfast was more than excellent.
To land on runway 33 Reggio Calabria
Lots of waste everywhere in Reggio Calabria
From Reggio Calabria to Palermo
The next morning, on Sunday, we headed for Palermo. The handling agent at Reggio Calabria expressed boredom that she had to come for such a small plane. It is what it is. We are not fond of handling agents either. For us it is just unnecessary, and sometimes overly expensive, overhead.
Veleda at Reggio Calabria airport
Along the north coast of Sicily there was some rain, but we soon passed that. We followed the coast further to Palermo. There we went south and west of the prohibited area which is above Palermo to Bocca di Falco airport, located directly west of Palermo. After landing we were asked if we wanted to refuel. To keep sufficient reserves we did. We could now easily fly back to the north of Italy if necessary.
Along the north coast of Sicily
Arrived at Palermo, Bocca di Falco airport
We asked if there was room in the hangar. Actually there wasn't, but in the part of the hangar that belonged to the neighbors we could put the plane down. They weren't there anyway. We paid the Aeroclub for the fuel, services, landing and parking, and they called a cab to town.
After we checked into the hotel in the old city we went for a walk in the city. We started with the Palermo Cathedral, a prime example of Sicily's unique Arab-Norman architectural style. Then we walked to the Porta Nuova and the nearby Norman Palace and the Cappella Palatina. We also visited the Church of San Cataldo, located at Piazza Bellini. We had a late luch at a restaurant in a narrow street near the San Domenico church. In the evening, the Via Roma street was pleasantly busy. We walked there, we took something to eat, and then went back to the hotel
The next day we also took walks around the city to visit places of interest. When we walked to the Castello della Zisa we past the nearby Holy Trinity Chapel, and we were asked if we wanted to look in there, which we did. Next we walked past the Castello della Zisa, and then back toward the old city. On the way we passed the courthouse. Veleda asked if she could look inside, but the policemen at the door would not allow it.
In the afternoon we continued our exploration of the city. Suddenly we heard a series of loud bangs, but we could not pinpoint where the sound was coming from. A few minutes later we were walking down a street where a large number of people were watching something. It was some kind of memorial service for someone who had been shot, and the use of firecrackers was part of it.
Nearby a wedding was just underway. We watched that for a while, and then walked around by the harbor for a while, and again in the evening near Via Roma. We had gained a nice impression of Palermo.
Sights of Palermo
Corleone is an Italian town in the Metropolitan City of Palermo. Several Mafia bosses have come from Corleone. The local mafia clan, the Corleonesi, led the Mafia in the 1980s and 1990s, and were the most violent and ruthless group ever to take control of the organization. It is also the birthplace of several fictional characters in Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather, including Vito Corleone, originally portrayed by Marlon Brando in the 1972 film The Godfather.
From Palermo to Comiso
On Tuesday morning, we took a cab we had called by telephone to the airport. As expected, we were ripped off by the cab driver, but we pushed that aside. We took the plane out of the hangar. After we did the pre-flight inspection we took off from runway 35.
Taxi Drivers – I consider these scumbags to be the worst people in all of Palermo.
They are overly expensive, rude, and dishonest.
They will always try to take advantage of foreigners.
You are better off avoiding them altogether.
We first flew about 20 NM along the north coast to the east past the mountains, and then continued overland near the Autostrada A19 to the south-east towards Comiso. At the end of the short flight we landed on runway 05 of Comiso airport. There was no other traffic. On the GA platform, only a Piper Archer with a UK registration was parked.
Someone from the airport staff drove us to the gate. There were a few people there including a police officer. There our papers were checked and our temperature (for Covid-19). Apparently the policeman had come from the city to the airport especially for us. After we booked the hotel, we saw the police officer once again, who was preparing to leave from the airport. René asked if we could ride with him to the city, and he agreed to take us with him in his own car. The airport was otherwise deserted.
René preparing for departure
Take-off runway 35 Palermo Bocca di Falco
Fichera viaduct on the Autostrada A19
To land on runway 05 Comiso airport
In Comiso and Ragusa
The hotel was in a central square in Comiso, but there seemed to be no other guests. We checked in, and took a short walk. It was still mid-day, and it was warm, although it was only early June. In the evening we had dinner in a good pizza restaurant.
Sights of Comiso
Thunderstorms were expected for Wednesday north of Sicily and the southwest side of the mainland with poor visibility. We decided to stay an extra night in Comiso.
090309Z 0903/0924 0906 4000 TSRA VRB05KT 9999 SCT030
BECMG 0906/0908 27012KT
TEMPO 0909/0915 4000 TSRA
BECMG 0918/0920 VRB05KT
Satellite picture 7.30LT
Forecasted visibility 10.00LT
According to a travel guide on the Internet, Ragusa, which is not far away, would be a nice place to visit. There were a few buses a day to Ragusa, but it turned out that the timetable was not very reliable, and we had to wait more than an hour. That didn't spoil the fun. Once on the bus, we were in Ragusa in half an hour or so. We only saw Ragusa Superiore – the modern uphill city – when we should have gone to Ragusa Ibla – the old city – further down from the modern city. This is where the poor preparation for this particular day avenged us. We were only in Ragusa for two-and-a-half hours, and then we had seen it.
Sights of Ragusa
From Comiso to Scalea
On Thursday we left Comiso for Scalea on the southwest coast of Italy. Later that day there would be thunderstorms over land, and it was interesting to make a stop in Scalea anyway. It was a nice flight along the eastern side of Sicily with good visibility. Only between Reggio Calabria and Lamezia there was an area with low clouds, but that did not further bother us.
When we arrived at Scalea airport we were asked to land on the second half of runway 27 because there was work going on on the first half of the runway. After landing, we arranged a hotel in Scalea, and we were picked up from the airport by someone from the hotel.
Veleda before departure from Comiso
Catania, Mount Etna
Castello della Valle
Arriving at Scalea aerodrome
René at Scalea aerodrome
In the evening, we watched a live stream of Charlotte and Dominggus' final exam performance. Due to the Coronavirus, spectators were not allowed at the exam. Otherwise, we would have definitely been there. The exam was completed with a good result and they both passed the exam.
Final Exam Charlotte and Dominggus at the conservatory
From Scalea to Fano
The next morning we left for the Adriatic side of Italy. We would first fly to Pescara to refuel, and then to Fano, between Ancona and Rimini. Near the TMA of Naples we failed to make contact with air traffic control of Naples. We then informed Rome Information that we would stay outside the TMA of Naples and shift the route to the east. Later we had no problem making contact with Amendola to cross their airspace.
After landing on runway 04, we could not proceed directly to the fuel station, but had to park on the apron first. The follow-me car took us across the apron to the offices, where we had to wait for the handling agent to come and make the invoices. In the meantime, we took two chairs and put them outside. We were in no hurry. The handling agent came after an hour, and after paying, we walked back to the plane.
Departure from Scalea
Along the west-coast to the north-north-west
East of the mountains to Pescara
Final runway 04 Pescara
We first taxied to the fuel station near the beginning of runway 04. After refueling, we took-off to continue north along the coast to Fano. Along the way, we enjoyed the scenery and a few picturesque towns. After an hour we arrived at Fano. We first tied down the plane. The restaurant at the airport was open, and we had lunch there before going to the hotel in Fano. We had dinner at the hotel in the evening, and then took a walk on the beach.
Veleda at Pescara airport
Monte Conero, Sirolo
Final runway 05 Fano airfield
In the morning at breakfast we were told that we could use bicycles from the hotel. After breakfast, we took a bicycle tour of Fano. For the rest of that day we just relaxed. We discussed where we would go the next day, and we came up with the idea of going to Milan. We notified the aero club at Bresso aerodrome so we could go there the next day. At the same time, we also notified the authorities via the aero club of our intention to fly to Locarno the day thereafter.
Sights of Fano
Over the past 32 years, we experienced three mid-air close calls; two with gliders, and one with a small aircraft. Unfortunately, regulations, various (proprietary) technologies and commercial considerations do not make it possible to implement an adequate system against mid-air collisions for small aviation. Tragically, this day a glider and plane collided mid-air over the Swiss Alps.
A glider and plane collided mid-air over Swiss Alps
A glider and a light aircraft collided mid-air in high mountains in south-eastern Switzerland on Saturday June 12, resulting in five deaths.
The glider took off on Saturday from Amlikon in canton Thurgau with a single pilot on board. The Robin DR400 light aircraft meanwhile left Colombier, canton Neuchâtel, on Saturday with a pilot and three passengers – a man, woman and child.
The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB), which has been probing the fatal accidents, said that the glider and plane had collided at an altitude of 10,500 ft above Bivio in canton Graubünden.
The planes hit the ground below the point of impact and were found about one kilometre apart.
We had bought a Skyecho 2 device at the end of last year, which in principle could be used to detect other aircraft, only to find that it did no longer support providing alerts for bearingless targets (received mode C/S transponder signals) and did not pick-up FLARM signals either without additional software plus an annual license for decoding FLARM signals. At the same time the Skyecho ADS-B out function is not permitted to be turned on in Europe outside the UK. Not a single glider or small motorplane we saw between Paderborn and Mensanello generated an alert. We didn't use Skyecho 2 again for the rest of the vacation.
From Fano to Milan
The next morning after breakfast we were taken to the airport by someone from the hotel. After paying the fees at the airport we departed for Milan. Our route went south of the CTRs of Rimini and Bologna over the foot of the Apennines. The last part of the route near Milan was below 2000 ft because the airspace above that is not open to VFR traffic.
We flew north around the Linate CTR, and then straight-in to runway 18 of Bresso airport where there was no other traffic in the circuit at that time. After landing, we parked in the grass opposite the reporting office. We told them that we would leave for Locarno the next day. Then we walked to the hotel next to the airport.
René preparing for departure
Departure from Fano runway 23
Palazzo Ducale di Modena
Final runway 18 Milano, Bresso
After checking into the hotel we first freshened up, and then took the bus to the metro station, and from there to the center of Milan. We walked a bit and ate and drank, but it was very hot in Milan that day. We visited the Leonardo3 exhibit at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, but had little puff for a long walk through the city. At the end of the afternoon we went back to Bresso, and in the evening we had a drink on the terrace of the aero club and we ate there.
Sights of Milan
From Milan to Locarno
The next day we were going to visit Maurits in Locarno. Since Maurits would still be flying until 2 p.m., and it's only a short flight from Milan to Locarno, we took our time in the morning to have breakfast at the hotel, to sit on the terrace of the flying club and to wash the plane. We took off at about 1:30 p.m. to fly to Locarno. When we asked Milan Information to activate the flight plan they initially could not find the flight plan, but after some time it was found. After a short flight we landed on runway 26R of Locarno. At the parking Maurits came to meet us, and we had a beer at the airport.
René doing the pre-flight inspection
Cernobbio, Lago di Como
Final runway 26R Locarno airport
Veleda and Maurits
Veleda, Maurits and René
From Locarno to Kempten
The next afternoon we flew from Locarno to Kempten via the Lukmanier Pass.
After departure and when we signed-off from the Locarno Tower frequency, we heard a
goede vlucht (Dutch for
good flight) on the radio from one of the aircraft, undoubtedly from one of the Dutch instructors of the flying school at Locarno :-)
When we arrived at Kempten we measured the fuel level. We had about 30 US Gallons left in the tanks, and we filled up 13 US Gallons more so that we had enough to fly to Paderborn the next day.
Maurits saying good-bye
Via Lukmanierpass to east-Bodensee
Approaching Kempten airfield
We took the bus to Kempten and took a walk through the town. In the evening, we watched the Germany v. France game on a terrace.
Sights of Kempten
From Kempten to Paderborn-Lippstadt
Wednesday was the last day of our vacation. We took the bus back to the airport. After we paid, we flew first to Niederstatten. At Niederstatten, there was an aircraft practicing an IFR approach to runway 25, and we made an orbit south of the field to give way. Then we landed on runway 07 and taxied to the GA platform.
Right downwind runway 07 Niederstatten
Veleda at Niederstetten airbase
We had a chat with the flugleiter and we got coffee from him. Then we departed for the final leg of the journey to Paderborn-Lippstadt. After landing, we washed the plane, filled out the paperwork, and headed home by car. It had been another fun vacation.
Departure from Niederstetten
Veleda and René, end of trip