A collection of updates from Derick Gunning:
We finally managed to get a 'Le Touquet for Lunch' in the bag on April 24th, the sun shone, John Turner got his cake and ate it (see photo) Paul Hannaford wore his Christmas present tie and Gordon Craig developed a Scotto/Franco accent.
Gordon contributed to our annual rental by going around at both ends of the trip(!), Jacqui held Mike Drew's hand all the way home and I 'undertook' Andy Wright who was combing his hair (as usual) as we passed Lambourne VOR.
Le Touquet has been 'revamped' and the ops staff are friendly and helpful-the town itself has also had a makeover and my only comment would be it inevitably seemed expensive compared to previous visits c’est la vie. Because of a strong southerly it took 1:30 hrs to get there and 1:05 to come home – lunch worked out around £30pp, a taxi into town is 10euros each way and the landing fees were 17.50 Euros per aircraft.
The Heathrow FBU is now closed and all flight plans are handled by Swanwick. If you are feeling brave you can try the new Assisted Flight Plan Exchange (AFPEx) system at www.flightplanningonline.co.uk. This system might be very powerful but it is unfortunately very tedious to use and so we are still faxing plans (now to 01489 612793).
When filling in the flight plan, please remember that a PA28 is a P28A under ‘Type of Aircraft’ and include a contact number as a remark in box 18 (e.g. RMK/+447723321654) and finally, all our aircraft have PLB's so do not cross out the ELT box, this is mandatory for France now.
See below for an example of a flight plan for a trip to Le Touquet. If you have any doubts, please do ask.
Please avoid turning off the electric trim/auto-pilot in GJACS. GKEMI requires two presses of 'CRSR' button on transponder to activate it. Please remember to close storm window and leave check-list behind as you vacate aircraft!
We are already planning a 'Midden Zeeland for Lunch' - please register you interest. We were oversubscribed for the recent Le Touquet trip and would be happy to do it again if enough of you are interested. In either case, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now - yes right now! Please check your Medical, Class Rating (FCL150) and Licence for validity – we have had two in March and one so far in April well overdue for at least one of the above!
Do use Farnborough Radar (132.8 in Northern Area) - they can now provide a 'Basic Service' and 'Traffic Service' in our vicinity and are very helpful and useful. Alternatively, do Squawk 0013 and listen out on Essex Radar (120.625) or Luton Radar (129.55) if you are transiting near their boundaries.
Example Flightplan for a trip to Le Touquet