Dunstable to Ostheim .. 13th June

First day of our Euro 2007 trip and a window of opportunity to fly from Dunstable to the Binder Factory in Ostheim, Germany. A straight line distance of 775km, but with the sea and masses of airspace in the way a route of nearly 950km lay before us.

Almost ready for the planned 0830 take-off.

 

Take-off into a blue sky though a veil of cirrus was fast approaching from the West and would cut off Dunstable within an hour or so.

 

The route to Dover took us North then East of Stansted so that we could make climbs to 5500', here on our second glide passing the River Blackwater just West of Clacton.

 

Crossing the Thames Estuary looking West (note the cirrus), actually a longer overwater leg of 28 miles than the Channel. We are heading for Herne Bay and have 1000' over glide for Manston.

 

The third climb, this time to 6200, which we planned to achieve just before our declared start point over the Dover Cliffs. We make it and are in "glider mode" 1.4km before the line.

 

The English Channel looking West! The whole Channel is full of sea fog. A chat with Calais established that they had a workable cloudbase of 1000' should we need it.. so off we go.

 

The sea fog breaks just before the French coast and beyond we can see the fog turning into a low stratus as it moves over land. We have enough height to glide into St. Omer, a small airfield 45km inland. By then we hope it will be soarable.

 

St. Omer and it looks vaguely soarable.

 

St. Omer airfield. Unfortunately the cloud tops are around 1800' and the base 1400' or 1000' agl, we tried hard but it was impossible to soar. We started the engine for the fourth time and climbed to 7000' which would allow us to glide to Cambrai where cloudbase was reported at 3000' and soarable?

 

About 40km East of Cambrai we find soarable conditions with 2kts to around 3000'.

 

Cloudbase gradually rose and the thermals improved with a nice 4kt climb just West of Thionville, nr Metz.

 

Near Saarbrucken we finally reach Germany, cancel our flightplan and edge into slightly better skies.

 

Heidelberg, on the River Neckar just before it joins the Rhine South of Mannheim. Cloudbase now reaches 5000'.

 

Finally we reach Ostheim after a long dead glide only to find a smooth 3kts in the circuit! Here you can see the Binder Factory and Ostheim airfield on the other side of the valley where they do their test flying.

 

Ostheim. Our flight took 9hrs 50mins and the glide was 612km from Cambrai. Roger arrived the next morning having driven most of the night.

Photos by Ed and Roger