To the South of France

In the end of July 2004, we made a trip to the South of France with the PH-SVG, a Piper Warrior of the 'Vliegclub Rotterdam'.

Our route:
  • Rotterdam - Koblenz - Haguenau
  • Haguenau - Chambery Aix les Bains - Fayence
  • Fayence - Valence Chabeuil - Macon
  • Macon - Reims Champagne - Reims Prunay - Rotterdam
Our goal was twofold: join our flying club's traditional clubweek at Haguenau and visit some friends at the Côte d'Azur.
Our route (schematic)
Mike fills out a flight plan at Koblenz
DIY-lunch at Haguenau: baguette, smelly cheese
and foie gras de canard
Lunch was served at the Greek restaurant on Koblenz Winningen Airport. We arrived in Haguenau in the late afternoon. We checked in in hotel Champ' Alsace, which is within walking distance from the field. In the evening, we had dinner together with about 70 people, club members and their families.

On Sunday, we made a day trip with about 6 planes to Switzerland and the Mont Blanc. To recover, Mike and I had a day off on Monday.
Alternative lawn mower at Haguenau airport
Where am I?
PH-SVG at Chambery
Lonely SVG at Chambéry
On Tuesday, we departed for the South of France. Via LUL and CBY VOR's we flew to Chambéry. The approach from the north over Lake Bourget was absolutely stunning.

We were the only plane. After lunch, refueling and meteo briefing, we departed for Fayence. The cloudbase over the Massif Central was sufficient to give us 2000 feet clearance over ground enroute.
Impressions of the Massif Central

Originally, we planned to fly to Nice or Cannes. But landing and parking fees there are outrageous. We decided to fly to Fayence, a mountain field near Cannes. It features three parallel runways and, as we learned, zero fees.

Mike's friends collected us at the airfield and took us to their home in Ste. Maxime, a village east of St. Tropez. We had dinner on a terrace on the seaside. As a token of our gratitude for their hospitality, we offered them a flight over the Côte d'Azur and their home the next day.

Parked in front of the restaurant at Fayence

After the local flight over the beach of St. Tropez and Ste. Maxime, we had a quick bite in the airfield's restaurant, which was quite busy. We learned that the airfield exists since the early days of flying.

St. Tropez
Take-off run at dry and dusty Fayence
We crossed the Massif Central once again to Macon, North of Lyon. We ordered a taxi, which took us to a hotel in downtown Macon. After a stroll, we enjoyed a dinner at one of the many terrace restaurants.

We had breakfast at a small café close to the hotel. Croissants, café au lait, the works...
To avoid restricted airspaces back to the North, we decided to file IFR. Flying IFR with perfect weather (no clouds, visibility about 30 km) proved to be very relaxing. Mike took us from Macon to Reims Champagne and Reims Prunay.

After refueling, I flew the last leg from Reims Prunay back to our home base, Rotterdam, at FL100. Just after passing the Belgian/Dutch border, we already started the descent for an uneventful VOR-DME approach at runway 06 of Rotterdam. All good things come to an end...
Preflight planning in Macon

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