So, just under 2000 nautical miles and 20 hours flying. These are GPS flying times, ie. lift off to touch down, excluding warm up and taxy out/in.
A wise and well-worn pilots’ saying, this time in French, spotted at Abbeville just before we set off on the final leg and the weather turned . . .
With memories of the first eighteen flying hours of the trip rather than the last couple, we wish we were still up there!
Calais LFAC: Better choice if crossing Channel and going east; quieter than Le Touquet, efficient
Saarlouis EDRJ: Excellent location just over border from France; great welcome and great facilities; http://www.edrj.de/
Kempten-Durach EDMK: A real gem; unbeatable location; well maintained; two grass runways E/W and N/S (but remember, elevation is 2340′ AMSL!); excellent restaurant; good value hotel within 500m; Mogas or Avgas available; http://www.edmk.de/
Padova LIPU: Very run down, unwelcoming, expensive; the city itself is worth a visit
Venice Lido (Aeroporto Venezia S.Nicolo Nicelli) LIPV: Brilliant location; fabulous approaches; fascinating history; easy transfer into Venice by water bus or airport water taxi; good facilities; reasonable value; runway a little bumpy; local hotels cheaper than Venice itself; http://www.aeroportonicelli.it/en
Marina di Campo (Elba) LIRJ: Brilliant location; great approaches; mega expensive fuel; gives AOPA discount; informative website; http://www.elbaisland-airport.it/en/
Calvi LFKC: typically huge but very quiet; don’t like microlights; good for fuel; reasonable value otherwise, good choice for north of the island (try Figari if going south)
Carpentras LFNH: Typically well maintained French airfield; UL91 at reasonable cost; no café; great for fuel stop-over
Mâcon LFLM: As above really; good stop-over; Mâcon town worth a visit
Troyes LFQB: Bigger, more airport style, but quiet; AFIS not easy to understand (possibly our problem though); great coffee!
Abbeville LFOI: Good welcome; good facilities, hotel on the airfield convenient but not that cheap and much in need of make-over
Headcorn EGKH: Always a good welcome if diverting (no fees, very helpful re flightplans, weather etc.); Good cafe
Airfields on the list but not visited:
Il Ranch (airstrip near Padova): This place looked great. The owner promised a good welcome with fuel and a lift to B&B accommodation. We decided on Padova due to the ease of flight plan closure at a licensed airfield. Wrong decision. (http://www.scuolavolo.it/Aviosuperficie.htm)
Roma Urbe LIRU: Brilliant location. Complex airspace but very well set out with clear procedures. This will remain on our list for a future visit. (http://www.aeroclubroma.it/aec/index.php)
Propriano LFKO: This was one of our most eagerly anticipated stops but we found very little up to date information about the airfield. Just before departure we tried to ring and got a fairly terse reply that there was no fuel available so we decided against visiting this time. A real shame. We did consider Figari as an alternate having heard some good things about it but in the end it was easier to go to Calvi.
Cannes-Mandelieu LFMD: Again, we were looking forward to visiting Cannes and mixing with the (literally?) jet set. It looked a good bet for incoming aircraft from Corsica and didn’t sound too pricey. In the end we chose the wrong day. There was a big air show taking place and visitors were unwelcome. (http://en.cannes.aeroport.fr/)
Accommodation: We used http://www.booking.com to find rooms each evening for the following night. This worked very well.