The “Discovering Eagle” project has been invented by Florian Meissner as means of documenting and sharing his love for aviation and traveling. He likes to share what he experiences and hurdles he has to take to fly his airplane to far of destinations and meet new people.
While traveling all over Europe the main goal of “Discovering Eagle” is to brand a journey one will do only once in a lifetime. In the footsteps of well-known aviators like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Elli Beinhorn and Michael Grzimek he plans on not just fly to Africa, but even surround it!
On this website we like to document the planning process for such a feat and what Florian does in the meantime to prepare himself.
Since a project of the magnitude surely requires lots of money, please feel free to check out hour you can support us.
After a good night’s sleep with Alun and Joyce’s B&B it was time to leave Welshpool and had south to the coastline again. Alun was kind enough to take us back to the airport and we fueled up 90B.
After everything was prepared, we just took the advantage to have a look at one of the Helimed Choppers based in Welshpool, which was quite fascinating. You do a really good job guys!
Finally in the air, our first heading took us towards the mouth of the Bristol Channel and then further south towards Southampton. There we encountered a similar situation like in Manchester and advised London Information that we would like to stay low and fly the VFR corridor between Southampton and Bournemouth. Therefore we were handed of to Solent Radar but these guys refused to talk to us. I have no idea why…
Just after the VFR corridor, our last task was to hop over the solent and fly around the Isle of Wight to land in Sandown. This was the first airfield we found in Britain, were there was something like a systematic approach to parking aircraft. After setting up our tent and working on our dinner, we figured our why.
Surprise at dusk
The sun was setting already and the airfield became quiet when an old Landrover approached us. The guy behind the wheel was really happy to have us stay on the airfield and it turned out he was half German! And that probably explains the order in which the operation is conducted there. We really liked it.
Another goody: Sandown is completely prepared. You can rent an e-bike to go to town and they even have multiple showers for campers. Also the hole place is completely dog friendly. We will be back some day.
With our project, we definitely take all help we can get. And sometimes it comes from a quite unexpected direction, too.
As I wrote before, my father used to work for the german military as a meteorologist. And I do remember that one of his colleagues, Helmut Blank, used to act as Santa Claus on Christmas for my brother and me. He even went as far as doing part of the funeral oration when my father was killed.
Unfortunately after that we lost contact. But now about 15 years later I got hold on his phone number and called him. This was about two weeks before the British Isles Tour 2019 and Helmut immediately offered his help with weather reports.
Now that I am back home, the only thing left to say is, that without Helmut’s help the tour would have been much more difficult. Even at his own vacation he didn’t bother to send me some charts on Whatsapp for my planning. Thank you so much, Helmut!
After flying to Scotland’s west coast yesterday, we thought, we would have escaped the bad weather all around. Well, we were proven wrong! After a great sunset, we woke up and it was raining again. So after breakfast I gave Hugo a good walk on the beach and we assessed our options.
Kirkwall was of the list already. Sollas Beach had IMC. So the only option was to go to Oban, get some fuel and go south. After checking the endurance and the tailwind, we defined Welshpool as our final destination for the day.
Off we go
The flight to Oban was rather uneventful but even more beautiful. We soared long the sound in between the islands at about 1000ft with the clouds obscuring the island mountain tops. About half an hour later the landing on Oban’s big concrete runway occurred and we got serviced with fuel almost immediately.
Just about half an hour later we back in the air and for the first time on this trip really heading south.
Welcome to Wales
First we hoped from island to island and finally jumped over to the mainland south of Prestwick from where we crossed the Southern Upland with quite low clouds. From Carlisle on the weather improved greatly and there was even some sun shining threw the cloud gaps.
Next was the Manchester area. So we asked Manchester Radar to get a clearance threw their airspace but where kindly offered to fly the low level VFR corridor between Manchester and Liverpool at 1000ft right across the cities. With all the thermals it was quite hard to maintain altitude and not accidentally climb into the controlled airspace.
The last bit to Welshpool was really easy compared but the weather began to close in again. We landed on Welshpool’s runway 04 after good three hours of flying.
That place to stay
Unfortunately it was not allowed to camp on the airfield. But the office people quickly found us Alun and Joyce’s B&B just five minutes driving from the airport. We even got picked up! If you want to stay in Welshpool, stay with them!
Day 6? Isn’t something missing there? Yes, indeed! We had a lot of rain up here in Scotland and we had to stay in Fife for a day before heading for Easter. And on that flight I just had no time to get some photos in. I apologize!
Anyway, after waiting for almost the entire day to clear up we finally made the call at 18:30 local time to sneak threw the Glen to the west coast into the better weather. But after flying over Inverness, the entrance to the Glen was blocked with a big thunderstorm. So we turned around and followed the railway line to Plockton and continued on the coastline south to the Isle of Mull and Glenforsa.
Glenforsa actually is a little grass strip belonging to a hotel right on the “apron”. They are really friendly people over there and even though they were book out this night, they allowed my to camp next to the plane and even had a shower ready for me in the morning. All in all it’s worth a stay!
After a really quiet night on the hilltop gliderfield in Currock Hill, Hugo and I waited for our friend Nick to come by. Nick is a flightsimulator pilot and strives to get his realworld license one day.
Together we headed to town and found a little coffee shop and had kind of a late breakfast. Then it was time to fly further north.
Another first: Getting an airspace entry clearance on the ground
Hugo and I climbed back on board of 90B and taxied up the hillside towards runway 06. On the hold short it was time to call Newcastle Radar to get a clearance for their CTA. We got our VFR release a minute later and it was time to go.
After flying over the first impressions of the highlands for an hour we made it to Fife Glenrothes. But that is another story…
The weather forecast wasn’t great as there was a cold front expected to move into norther Germany during the day. So lets pack up and get in the air!
Hugo and I departed Celle at 10:00lcl heading west. In the north we could clearly see the front but to the south the weather was quite good. The only problem: between 20 and 30 kt headwind! The first half our was a really calm flight and even got a tendency to get boring. But that changed shortly after passing Nienburg were turbulence picked up. This lasted up the Dutch border where the cloud layer broke up and a lot of thermals developed.
After almost 4 hours we made our approach to Middleburg Zeeland for a fuelstop and lunch. Just about one and a half ours later we were back in the air and heading for Britain. The Channel crossing took another one and a half hours we we finally made our target for the first day.
The day is almost there! Just three days left until Hugo and I will climb on board of 90B and head for Great Britain and Ireland. But before, the is a lot of work to do! During the last two days 90B got her finishing touches as we changed the oil and cleaned the spark plugs.
The late evening test flight was very successful and with clean plugs she produced an almost unrecalled power!
Stay tuned as we try to post some words every evening throughout our trip.
Ah, by the way, did I mention we will try to meet some interesting people on the way? In Ireland we will try to catch up with Lady Bush Pilot as she is cruising around the grass strips over there.
In a coincidence, I discovered that Lady Bush Pilot aka Valerie Dereymæker from Belgium has already flown her Piper PA18-150 around Africa. To an E-Mail asking for advice, she answered in less than half an hour!
Thank you for supporting and mentoring me along the way!
Pilots tend to think, that mechanics can’t fly. Last week, my brother and helping hand Nico proved the opposite. In his Ventus cxM D-KNGS he fly over a thousand (yes, 1.000) kilometers from Celle to the Mecklenburg Lake District and on to Poland. After a little more than 10 hours of continuous soaring, he returned to Celle.
With that Flight, Nico beat our father who only achieved a single sailplane flight over 1.000 km in his life. Almost 20 years ago he flew an LS6 D-1049 and took off in the French Alps in Serres La Batie Monsáleon.
Nicos 2. 1000er
Here you see an article from our local newspaper Cellesche Zeitung.