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.
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.
Last weekend my flying club had planned a day trip to the Diepholz Airbase Flyin 2019. Unfortunately the day didn’t start well as we met at our home field Celle-Arloh in pouring rain.
So, somebody brewed coffee and we sad in the clubhouse to wait for a clearing in the weather.
Fortunately, Celle was just to the edge of main band of precipitation. So my copilot Rainer and I departed on the soaked runway but left the rain behind us just 5 minutes after departure. At about 1.500ft we followed the north bank of the river Aller towards Nienburg and then turned slightly south to Diepholz. The flight from there on was uneventful.
Because of the airshow a special arrival procedure was in place. From lake Dümmer we flew northbound and joined a right hand pattern for runway 08. Since we needed to vacted at the last (and only) taxiway and because of the high volume of traffic, I decided to play a little and hold the airplane in ground effect with little power right until the end of the runway. Touchdown, right turn and almost at parking position!
A stroke of luck…
Before we planed to have a burger for lunch, we approached a Dornier Do28 parked on the edge of the apron. As we sneaked around the plane to get some cool photos, a guy with a military looking flight suit stepped out of the plane. As he saw our aircrew badges he offered a ride in this historic bird. This was a really cool experience but next time, I will carry my headset! It was incredibly loud!
Tiger in the Lunenburg Heath
Late afternoon we decided it was time to head back to Celle. As we ventured around we got reminded that the military exercise Green Griffin was in full swing.
I called out “Traffic 12 o’clock, same altitude, no factor, possibly gyrocopter”. The problem was, these gyros (yes, it turned out there were two of them) were at least as fast as our Luscombe. That couldn’t be true. Near Nienburg one of the two suddenly turned around headed towards us. It was a military Tiger Attack Helicopter!
As he saw us, he frantically showed all his lights and even (re)enabled his transponder and then passed about 100ft below us. Then his buddy came from the right. So what was going on? Did they wanted to have fun?
Anyway, we were in notamed airspace, but the NOTAM only warned about military traffic. There was no flight restriction! So in my opinion, it was rather strange to see powered aircraft in class E airspace without exterior lights and without transponder doing reckless maneuvering!
Since the dawn of time, the people of the British Isles have been a little different from Continental Europe. And today, in times of Brexit, it becomes even more clear.
But what does this mean for travel? According to the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, there will be no implications until October 2019 at least. Furthermore there are statements coming from the UK government to allow EU-like travel well into 2020.
Even if that isn’t going to happen, I bet that the UK government has some higher priorities than to change the rules which are in place for flying your own aircraft to or from the UK. So I will pack my personal identification card (german Personalausweis) and travailing passport, file a GAR and land at an uncontrolled airfield. As I do understand the purpose of the GAR, it provides a means for authorities to know when and where I plan to land and for them to possibly meet me there.
Who is the crew?
As usual Florian will fly the plane and Hugo will accompany him.
When do you go?
Departure in Celle-Arloh / Germany is planned for July 6th, 2019. The whole journey will take about two weeks.
Where do you stay?
First and foremost we plan to fly to smaller airfields where we have the possibility to setup our tent. But may we meet some nice people along the way and get invited for a night.
Where do you go?
Departure will be in Celle-Arloh / Germany (EDVC) once again. From there we go straight to the west for our first fuel stop in Middelburg/Zeeland / Netherlands (EHMZ). Our final stop for the first day will be Clacton-on-Seas / UK.
The next day we plan on making it north to the Newcastle area.
More stops are planned in Aberdeen, the Orkney Islands and the Hebrides. Going south again, we will follow Ireland’s west coast to Wales and down through Wessex to The Solent and the Ile of Wight.
Another highlight will be a visit in Alderney, the northernmost of the Channel Islands.
On our way back, we will see the Normandy Landing Beaches and continue south of Paris / France to the German Black Forest region and then back north and home.
A while ago I talked to an old colleague that life sucks and I am not happy how things are. His answer was quite a good one: “Well, if you do not like your life at the moment, change it! Many people complain about how bad their job is or how little money they have. But very few do have the courage to step out of their usual environment and change their lives!”
Up to that point I definitely was part of the first, big group of people. But after our talk an idea started to grow:
Project Discovering Eagle
I always wanted to travel. So should I break out and do a Round-The-World trip? What about exploring America? Should I go backpacking or driving a camper? What should I do with Hugo in the meantime?
Wait a second! My passion is aviation! What can I do with N1990B? But still where to go in a small single engine airplane which was designed between the two world wars? It can’t go far, it can’t fly high. It can’t even go fast. So perhaps, it is the wrong plane…
Wrong! Let’s fly to Africa! Almost no open water passages from or to Europe, beautiful and divers landscape and perhaps many friendly people. Also, speaking english and a little french, I will have a good chance to communicate.
It will be a journey one will do only once in a life time.
But still, what about Hugo? He will join me!
How long will it take?
Well, that question is hard to answer! First, let’s take it from a mathematical standpoint. The whole route will be about 15.000 nautical miles long, N1990B flies 85 knots. That makes in total almost 180 hours in the air. So that makes at least 25 days.
But the truth does lie somewhere else! Fist of all the will be problems with visas and their validity. And after all, we want to explore country and people!
So, how long will it take? I still can’t answer that. But I will take at least a year of from work to do this! If we like it somewhere, we’ll stay there a bit longer. If we don’t, we head on.
Where do we go?
The starting point of this epic journey will be our home airport in Celle/Germany (EDVC). From there on we will fly all the way through France and along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
The last stop on the European continent and stepping stone on the way to Africa will be Gibraltar. Why? Well, it is a very unique airport which is build right across the only access road to and from Spain and due to its rock it is really challenging for pilots. In my opinion it is just one of these airports you simply have to have in your logbook!
Once arrived in the Land of Upright Man we plan to track towards Casablanca and Marrakesh.
If you look at the map close enough, you’ll see, it is not as far to the Canary Islands as commonly believed. So I decided to fly a little detour and to discover the beauty of Fuerteventura. Who can claim to have been there in a single engine airplane?
Thereafter the plan is not quite finished, yet. But what is for sure is that we want to track the coast further south. The only problem: German authorities are warning currently the there is a chance to get kidnapped in Mauritania. So I am looking for a way that I don’t need to land and refuel over there.
If we would eventually make it down to Dakar, the next problem lies just around the corner. Going further and further south, we will approach the inter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) around the equator. So we have to find a way to sneak through in between the thunderstorms.
Bear in mind, we will still fly under visual flight rules (VFR)!
One stop I definitely wanna make is the Kruger National Park in northern Namibia. Hopefully we will see a lot of animals there.
Another similar stop will be the Okavango Delta in Botswana, just north of Maun. There are plenty of little landing strips all over the delta. So it should be possible to get a close look.
So far south? What’s next? Well, you don’t fly 7000 nautical miles to the south without visiting the most southern point of Africa: Cape of Good Hope
On our way back home, we will make a detour to Madagascar and the Victoria Falls. After visiting Kenya we will follow the River Nil to the Mediterranean Sea.
During the last part of this journey we will hop over to Greece and follow the Adriatic Coastline before crossing the Alps back into Germany.
How do we finance such a journey?
Saving, selling old stuff and again saving!
The vast majority will come from saving enough money. But on the other hand, we are still looking for sponsors or supporters. If you like to donate a little bit, feel free to do so. If you own a company, get in touch with us to discuss, what we can offer as return for sponsoring.
It’s been a while since the last activity in the blog. But as I figured out how to use my GOPRO’s I took chance of the latest snow fall here in northern Germany to take 90B up for a flight over that winter wonder land.
Because it will be my fist flight on a snow covered runway watch how I try to figure out, how the airplane reacts. As I can say, my biggest fear was to sink in so deep that the planes would nose over.
During the bad weather season of last winter I got myself a new copilot. Hugo a 6 year old dog I adopted from the animal shelter joined me for his first flight in an airplane ever. After getting used to the noise he seemed to enjoy the ride. As a first trip we did a a 20 minute flight around our home town Celle.
Let keep looking forward to our next adventure while the weather is improving…
On April 19th 2015 I flew 90B to Uetersen/Heist (EDHE) near the mouth of the river Elbe to meet Juergen Pfeifer, one of only two other Luscombe owners in Germany. My copilot this day was my Mom and co-owner.