Sunday, January 15, 2012

Up to the sky!

At the end of last yerar finally I arranged a flight to regain proficiency after a few months without flying. Flight plan filed aircraft filled up and inspected and there I was lined up again on runway 35 of Cascais Airfield, LPCS. Seconds later I was in the air again, what a feeling and how I missed all this. Leveled at 1000 ft and headed to Cabo da Roca the westernmost place in Europe. Our destination was Santa Cruz airfield for some touch and go and another training maneuvers.Santa Cruz is a small village in the west coast of Portugal that became very popular in the 70's and 80's due to the proximity to Lisbon and high quality beaches some of them are used in surf kite-surf and windsurf competitions. Santa Cruz aerodrome is very small and it is between some houses and trees in one threshold and some greenhouses one the other and all this obstacles are very close to the runway witch gives a certain level of difficulty during landings. The runway has a landing distance of 534 meters witch are enough to stop a Cessna 152 but with all the obstacles that I've mentioned the approach must be very cautious.

Tourist pilots are very welcome and this is really a good place for a weekend or vacations, the airfield is very close to the beach and to several facilities like hotels, camping parks and rooms for rent.

We've departed from Cascais, LPCS, and headed to the westernmost point of Europe witch is Cabo da Roca the view of this area is breathtaking because of the contrast land/sea with Peninha Palace at the top of the mountain the beach on one side rocks on the other and the lighthouse for ship guidance.
After passing this we have followed the shoreline to Santa Cruz, LPSC,  passing through Ericeira a small village from where the Portuguese Royal Family embarked heading Brasil in 1910 right after we became a Democratic Republic.
Passing Ericeira and our destination was already at sight due to the amazing flying day. We reported position to Lisbon Information and requested to contact local frequency. After the first contact to confirm possible traffic in the vicinity of the aerodrome we headed west to about 1 mile of shore to perform some checks and train my proficiency lost during the days back in Somalia.
A few minutes later another voice was heard in the frequency looking for traffic in the surroundings of the aerodrome. It was a Pitts S2 from Aerobática that was at that time practicing some aerobatics at Santa Cruz. After the first contact we went in a formation flight for a few moments and at the end we performed a low pass in formation to Santa Cruz Runway. What more can I say than AMAZING!!!

After this brief moment the Pitts headed out to Cascais and I started to perform some touch a go maneuvers as requested to practice various situation and get used to this singular runway because of it's size and because of the obstacles in the thresholds.

At the end of this flight My personal evaluation is very positive because after a few months without flying I was not so bad as I thought but there was space for improvements. The flight instructor that flew with me was very helpful and told me some details that can be and should be improved, also made some suggestions of things that I can do in my future flights.

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