Un amico bavarese ci ha fatto visita


Juergen di Monaco, un ex pilota militare tedesco, nel mese di maggio del 2005 ha fatto tappa nel nostro campo dopo aver attraversato le alpi con il suo motoaliante SINUS. Il volo compiuto positivamente da Juergen fu: Monaco di Baviera - Slovenia e ritorno. Un pò d'invidia è rimasta in tutti noi!

My visit to Aquile Randagie with my friend’s SINUS

After flying many hours in high performance aircraft in many countries of Europe in Low Level as High Level, I decided to explore Europe with an Ultralight.My friend Henry, a busy manager, was willing to lend me his SINUS for the first flights.

So the question arose: Where shall I go? Where do I have a nice landscape? Where do I find nice fellow aviators who will assist me?

Italy, with its many Ultralight airfields, caught my attention. After downloading the description of many UL-airfields from the net (see http://www.avioportolano.it), I started writing e-mails to many of them to get further information. Soon I realized that some of the shown addresses were wrong and that some received my mail, but didn’t answer. You must expect this, but anyway some answers & were very friendly and asked me to come. "You are welcome." "We will provide fuel for you from the next gas-station." "You can sleep in our clubhouse." They were encouraging me to start detailed flight planning.

First, I decided which field I want to take. It wasn’t difficult at all: Aquile Randagie (Avioportolano: VR01-3,5 or Ultraleggeri Online:IVRNOG) was my first choice (see http://www.aquilerandagie.nelweb.it).

The home page is laid out well, giving all necessary information and Gianfranco Caleffi had answered in precise terms in excellent English so there shouldn’t be a problem in communication, as I don’t speak more than some polite words in Italian.

For flights abroad, I use 2 excellent flight-planning programs for the route planning. "Airplan" see (http://www.razorsedgesoft.com) for sending the route to my Garmin GPS. It is an American program very fast and excellent, covering the whole world. Next I use "PocketFMS" (see http://www.pocketfms.com) for sending the route to the PDA GPS version of the program. Each one has its advantages, but the map made available in PocketFMS is the best you can find and most of the Italian Ultralight airfields are shown also.

Another one from France is used additionally for the precise check of the vertical and lateral dimensions of the various airspaces, which are put always there, where we pilots want to go (Freeware!, see the homepage or download it http://francois.fouchet.free.fr/Navigation/Telechargement.html).

The routing took shape fast. The printout of the flight log in Navigation completed the first part of the adventure.

My itinerary was sent to Aquile announcing my arrival. After a wonderful flight across the French Alps in early April 2005, I crossed from west to east north of Verona, turned then southwesterly for the run in to my target: Aquile Randagie. The fine weather with the good visibility (much better than I had experienced in former flights in the Po area) and the excellent description in the home page about the arrival to the field helped me so much to find the field. Despite others in Italy, it is well marked, the clubhouse has a special red/white color on its western wall and the green hangars and the parked airplanes caught my eyes. One low over flight along Runway 06 to check the situation, especially for power and telephone lines in the approach sector were made and in the downwind I heard some information and a welcome in English.

I concentrated to do a nice landing just at the beginning of the runway, playing with the air brakes of the SINUS quite a bit. They are very effective and I succeded to come to a stop beside the parked airplanes at the most western hangar. The surface of the field was definitely smooth as described in one of the e-mails. I can see from this picture why.


THe green monster

All members of the club being at the field gave me a real hearty welcome. Gianfranco and his brother Giancarlo were the interpreters for the many Italian questions put forward to me and for my answers. I got a place to park the plane very close to the western side of the clubhouse, guarding the SINUS against the wind. Somebody brought 4 heavy and long tie down nails and after some minutes the Sinus was secured.


Sinus parked

A glass of wine as a welcome drink was next and then Gianfranco, who built & webmastered this web page and who had patiently answered my e-mails, showed me all the planes in the hangars. Some members were working on their planes, as they had built them themselves. Soon I realised that the club is a vivid community.

I refuelled the SINUS and here again one can see the practical side of the members. Look at that nice homemade refueling station. 


Refueling station

The fuel is a special SHELL V-POWER with 100 Octane (the same that power Ferrari Formula 1), really boosting the Sinus in the air faster than the Brauniger’s AlphaMFD can show the speed, as I would experience the next day!

An hour later the President of the club, Gianni Moratti, landed in his Storm S-280. The plane is beautiful, well equipped, fast and in an immaculate condition. If he is not flying his own Storm, you can find him in one of the 3 planes of the school, the TUCANO or the TOP-FUN or the new STORM. He is the instructor. "Maximise flying safety" is his credo so each student has to go through 3 phases, which means 3 different airplanes until cleared for the fastest one, the Storm.

The clubhouse have a bar and a lounge and also a flight planning room, a mechanical area with devices & tooling for repair & maintenance of the airplanes.

The hours flew on Saturday while talking to everyone. Gianfranco and Giancarlo had to do a great job, continuously translating.

Sergio Dal Canton had made arrangement in a hotel in Verona for me and I shared a ride with him. The next morning he picked me up at the hotel in time and brought me back to the field. The Sinus was covered by ice and we turned him into the sunshine to have the ice melted away.

Meanwhile, I collected information on where to fly. Franco Muraro, an owner of a new built Savage assisted me and he phoned to Airdelta UL-airfield to arrange for landing, refueling and something to eat. While flying to Airdelta, I checked other UL fields. Some I could hardly detect, though the GPS showed me I was overhead. No markings, no planes in the open, no wind sack and each grass area looked the same.

Doing a low over flight at Airdelta for the check I saw some persons at the field waiting for me. After landing I was introduced to the President and some members. They showed me their hangar and the airplanes, half of which were trikes.


Air Delta Field

The president is the farmer that own the estate as well as the hangar and the runway.

The meal was gorgeous. First black mussels, then white ones with spaghetti, then 4 different types of fish with Polenta, afterwards a cake, coffee and Grappa. As a pilot I had to deny the Grappa but did some nips at the red and white wine for testing.

If you fly there you can rent a room in the farmhouse or take a bed in a caravan. At that moment I understood the expression "AGRITURISMO ", which I had read very often in the description of the airfields.

After the meal we refuelled the plane and I took off (slower, as no 100 Octane!). I flew to the east and did one landing at another field Valle Gaffaro but the people there do not speaking English and complained with gestures about my landing with the wind, though nobody was on the runway or taxiing out and no housing area was overflown by me. I thought it is up to the pilot to decide where he lands! As there are so many other friendly fields I immediately took off.

Aquile had some traffic when I arrived. After one low over flight, I landed and soon met other members of the club. Luciano Bellini, owner of an Eurofox, and his son Ettore, took care of me in refuel and tie down the SINUS.

Again the time flew by and Massimo Zanetti brought me to the hotel in Nogara, the town close to the field. The next morning he pick me up for the airfield but as there was ice again on the SINUS, we had to get the help of the sun. I was a bit delayed by that on my schedule & took off with that Aquile yellow can boost fuel around 10 a.m. and set course to Padua to show my passport for a cross border flight to Slovenia along the coast south of Venice.

After landing in Slovenia I was told very politely that I have to have a permit for a flight in the controlled airspace, which I had not requested. Each airfield of entry has a controlled airspace (so no way without that permission!).They handed out a paper of the Ministry of Transport (http://www.caa-rs.ci or urscl@caa-rs.si), which describes the requirements. In my opinion they are far too high. But one has no choice!

Gianfranco called me at that Friday which was set for the return trip to Aquile and asked for my arrival time. I was very sorry to tell him, that some events which were not according to my plans, kept me off.

But there is no doubt the next time I will land at Aquile Randagie again. If you are a UL pilot and you have not been there, hurry! Enjoy their hospitality and make new friends and experience that yellow can (poor man’s afterburner) take off