Mike's Log

99-09-14

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

On the northern border of Portugal, we descended...

It was still cloudy when I put my head out of the tent. At 7:30am local time the sun was not yet up. Towards the west the weather looked good. At least the strong winds of the day before were gone, the windsock hardly moved.

Olivier was already up making coffee soon Greg and Reynald joined us.

We packed slowly and by 9:30 we were ready to leave. Juan arrived with some cakes and bread, which we put into Greg's rucksack.

The takeoff roll was long and the climbout slow. We headed to the coast and towards the clear sky about 50 km ahead. The mountains inland towered above us. I had programmed in (into the GPS's) three possible spots for us to land and refuel. The first two were on the coast and the third was inland. The airfields on the coast were not near a petrol station (you can see this easily from above), so we decided to press on before refuelling. We climbed up to 5,000 ft to get above cloud base and out of the turbulence. It was cold, but calm and we had a good tailwind. After about three hours of flying we landed at Razos, a wonderful old airfield, which is now hardly used. There was a Cessna doing circuits when we approached . we didn't have the radio frequency, so we had to watch carefully for traffic.

Greg went for fuel. We had a lunch of the special duck, which Gracious had given us in Montestrucq, bread, wine, cakes, coffee and chocolate. A feast! We sat on the tarmac next to the trikes enjoying the peace, the food and the warm sun.

At about 3pm we took off for another three hour flight. On the northern border of Portugal, we descended down to 1,000 ft and headed along the beautiful beaches past Porto. The wind was strong, at times our ground speed went up to 75knots. We passed a military airfield without talking to them on the radio and looked for the small microlight airfield where we intended staying the night. It was very turbulent inland and we couldn't see the airfield anywhere. Maybe I had put the wrong co-ordinates in on our GPS's. We headed back to the coast and started to look for a good spot to land near the beach, a petrol station and a shop. Tall order! Well, Olivier selected a nice wide sand road near to the beach and a little bar, and landed. We parked the trikes and headed to the bar for a beer.

Later in the afternoon, just before the sun set, we moved the trikes closer to the bar. Olivier, Reynald and Greg put the tents up while I went with the bar owner to get fuel. We had dinner in the bar and headed to bed by 10pm. A good days flying - about 660 km in 6 and a half-hours.

 


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