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To Moorsele, Tournai and Koksijde
10 April 2022
EHHV; Hilversum EBMO; Moorsele EBTY; Tournai EBFN; Koksijde

To Moorsele, Tournai and Koksijde

A few weeks before we wanted to make a trip to south-west Belgium, but it could not take place because two of the fields we wanted to visit were still too wet. On Sunday, April 10, 2022, the weather was excellent. It had rained overnight, and the visibility seemed infinite.

In the morning we called the airports for the necessary permissions. Hilversum only allowed traffic from home-based aircraft, such as the Cessna we had booked, so that was okay. We had planned to fly to Koksijde first, then to Moorsele, and finally to visit Tournai. For Tournai we already knew that we had to call after 11.00LT, so we would do that from Koksijde. Only we could not reach Koksijde while still at home until 9.30LT. We submitted the flight plan anyway, hoping that when we arrived at Hilversum, someone would have arrived at Koksijde in the meantime to provide the permission.

After arriving at Hilversum, we first walked to the reporting office. There was a notice on the door that we needed to call in, so we went directly to the plane.

After refueling we tried to call Koksijde again, and Moorsele. Moorsele indicated that we were welcome. At Koksijde a pilot answered, saying that the commander had not arrived, but that there would be someone after 14:00LT according to the duty roster. We then decided to fly to Moorsele and Tournai first, and then back passing Moorsele again to Koksijde. We called the ARO at Schiphol to change the flight plan.

From Hilversum to Moorsele

When we finally got on our way and started the plane, it turned out that the microphone button on the side of the pilot didn't work. René plugged his headphones into the co-pilot's sockets, and operated the radio transmissions from the microphone button on the steering wheel on the right.

After departing from runway 25 and we had left the traffic circuit we set a direct course for Moorsele. East of Rotterdam we passed Kinderdijk.

Kinderdijk is situated in the Alblasserwaard polder at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

South of Kinderdijk lies Alblasserdam with custom yacht builder Oceanco. Last week it was announced that the customs authorities placed fourteen yachts of Russian owners under enhanced supervision at Dutch yacht builders. It concerned twelve yachts under construction, including super yachts of more than 35 meters, and two yachts under maintenance.

Inspecting the plane before departure
Inspecting the plane before departure
Superyachts builder Oceanco
Superyachts builder Oceanco

At Terneuzen we saw the former sea lock which, after 113 years and many rebuilds and renovations, had been partially blown up with explosives the previous month to make way for a new lock. It is being built so that larger ocean-going vessels will soon be able to sail through the Canal from Ghent to Terneuzen. The blowing up of the lock was more explosive than expected. The second part of the lock was to be blown up in April, but there will be an evaluation first.

South of Terneuzen we left the Netherlands and flew into the Belgian FIR. As we approached Moorsele, we asked Moorsele Radio which runway was in use. We received no response, and then called nearby Kortrijk to ask what runway was in use there. At Kortwijk, runway 24 was in use. René assumed that at Moorsele runway 22 would be in use. We transmitted our intention, but then the parachuting plane responded that they were about to drop, and that runway 04 was in use. We responded that we would stay clear and asked to report when the drop was finished.

After a minute or so the parachuting aircraft indicated that the drop was ready and was flying on base runway 04. We joined the traffic circuit and landed on runway 04 shortly thereafter. After parking, we walked to the Skydivers' clubhouse for coffee.

Locks at Terneuzen
Locks at Terneuzen
Parachuting airfield Moorsele
Parachuting airfield Moorsele

From Moorsele to Tournai

After we finished our coffee René called Koksijde again to ask if we could go there. The duty officer was not there yet, but someone from the flying club indicated that we could come after 14:00LT. First we would fly to Tournai, and then we would fly to Koksijde and arrive there after 14:00LT.

After departure, we made contact with Kortrijk Information to cross the Traffic Zone. Our route was west of the airport, where we had been a long time ago on our way back from Disneyland Paris. After crossing the Traffic Zone, we left Kortrijk Information and then flew on to Tournai to first make an orbit over the city.

Veleda at Moorsele
Veleda at Moorsele
Passing Kortrijk airport
Passing Kortrijk airport

Tournai is located 10 km from the French border, on the two banks of the Scheldt river. The origins of Tournai are traced back to the Roman military camp of Tornacum founded in the mid-1st century AD. The Grand Place is the central square of Tournai and is dominated by Beffroi, the 12th century civic tower. A short distance from the Grand-Place is the Romanesque-style Notre-Dame Cathedral. In 1653 the tomb of the 5th century Merovingian leader Childeric was discovered near the Saint-Brice church of Tournai.

We then continued to Tournai airfield. As we approached the airport we were asked to land on the south side of the runway because there were winch cables on the north side of the runway. After landing on runway 11 and had parked, someone came to point us to the airport logbook to be filled out. There was no further landing fee, but it would be appreciated if we spent some at the clubhouse. Once again we took a coffee.

Saint-Brice church of Tournai
Saint-Brice church of Tournai
Tournai airfield
Tournai airfield
Childeric I

Childeric I was a 5th century Salian Frankish king and a member of the Merovingian dynasty, and father of Clovis I, who acquired effective control over all or most Frankish kingdoms. Childeric's tomb was discovered in 1653 not far from the 12th-century church of Saint-Brice in Tournai. Numerous precious objects were found, including jewels of gold and garnet cloisonné, gold coins, a gold bull's head, and a ring with the king's name inscribed. Some 300 golden bees were also found which had been placed on the king's cloak.

The treasure of Childeric ended up in the royal library of Louis XIV in Paris. In 1831, the treasure of Childeric was among 80 kg of treasure stolen from the Library and melted down for the gold. A few pieces were retrieved from where they had been hidden in the Seine, including two of the bees. The record of the treasure, however, now exists only in the fine engravings made at the time of its discovery and in some reproductions made for the Habsburgs.

Golden bee or fly jewelry
Golden bee or fly jewelry
Detail of golden bees with garnet insets
Detail of golden bees with garnet insets

From Tournai to Koksijde

While we were still in Tournai we called the Brussels FIO to submit the flightplan from Koksijde to Hilversum. The small country of the Netherlands still requires old fashioned flightplans for little general aviation cross-border weekend pleasure flights from neighbouring countries like Germany or Belgium. Belgium and Germany dropped that requirement already years ago.

After leaving Tournai we set course to Koksijde. Near the airfield, we passed a lock on the Nimy-Blaton-PĂ©ronnes canal. The canal was once built to provide a good outlet for coal mines further east by connecting to the Scheldt.

We again passed the city of Tournai, and followed the border with France in between Roubaix and Mouscron to south of Kortrijk. After crossing the Traffic Zone of Kortrijk we switched the radio already to Koksijde.

Lock in the Nimy-Blaton-Peronnes canal nar Maubray
Lock in the Nimy-Blaton-Péronnes canal
Soccer stadium in Mouscron
Soccer stadium in Mouscron

Soon thereafter we contacted Koksijde to request landing information. Runway 29 was in use, and we flew the wide circuit around Veurne. After landing we taxied to the end of the runway to the clubhouse of the local aeroclub. We handled the formalities, and we also happened to speak to the person we had been talking to on the phone in the morning. And of course we had another coffee.

Left base runway 29 Koksijde
Left base runway 29 Koksijde
Veleda at Koksijde airport
Veleda at Koksijde airport

From Koksijde to Hilversum

About 20 minutes after the ETD we had indicated in the flight plan, we took off from Koksijde. This was also somewhat due to the long taxi time from the clubhous to the beginning of the runway. After takeoff, we flew to the coast, avoiding the built-up area.

When we reached the coast we contacted Ostend Tower with the requests to cross the CTR along the coast and to activate our flight plan. None of that was a problem, and along the way we were able to enjoy the beautiful view. After leaving the CTR, we were transferred to Ostend Approach until the Dutch FIR, where we contacted Dutch Mill Info.

We crossed the province of Zeeland, passing Middelburg, south-west of Midden-Zeeland airfield. After crossing Goeree-Overflakkee, the southernmost delta island of the province of South Holland, we switched to Rotterdam Tower to cross the CTR.

Nieuwpoort
Nieuwpoort
Middelburg
Middelburg

We asked to cross the CTR from Spijkenisse via the city (center) to Gouda. We received permission to cross at 1500ft, and heard that there was a helicopter over the city at 1000ft. The annual Rotterdam Marathon was happening that day, and we saw the crowd cheering for probably the last amateurs still crossing the finish line at The Coolsingel after the professional runners had already finished hours before.

As we flew between the city and the boundary of the CTR we were instructed to descend to 1000ft. After leaving the CTR we made contact with Amsterdam Information for the last part of the flight to Hilversum. In Hilversum runway 25 was still in use where we had also started in the morning. After landing we cleaned the aircraft and filled in the journal. It had been a nice flying day.

Rotterdam Marathon finish line
Rotterdam Marathon finish line
Veleda and Rene back in Hilversum
Veleda and René back in Hilversum

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