The Piper Stories

As the Mooney I was training on is under repair, the owner flew over his Piper Archer PA28-180 N3987X for further IFR flying. Although not as fast and heavy as the Mooney, this N-registered Archer allows me to maintain IFR currency. Towards a full IFR navigation flight, I took the following steps.

Check-out

The Piper N3987X

The first flight was a check-out flight with the owner and Belflyer. Under US regulations, this is a normal airplane that can be flown with a regular Private Pilot License. As it does not have a retractable gear or constant speed prop, you do not need a complex endorsement (which I don’t have as of yet). We did three tours around the circuit in Kortrijk to get a feel for the aircraft. It’s a very honest craft. Feels sturdy at cruise speeds. Controls get mushy quickly as speed decreases, causing me to initially make fast approaches when I mistook mushiness for low speed…

The Piper's cockpit

The GPS of this craft has been upgraded and it’s been fitted with a Mode S transponder in the meanwhile.

VFR familiarisation

Lefthand circuit rwy 06 at Kortrijk EBKT

After the check-out flight, Belflyer & self had another VFR familiarisation flight: a couple of touch-n-goes again at Kortrijk. This time I took my son along. When only 10 minutes in the air … he fell asleep: talk about confidence in his dad !

Toby asleep !

A short movieclip (thank you Belflyer!):

IFR familiarisation

Next to some VFR familiarisation, I also did a solo IFR flight from Kortrijk (EBKT) to Calais (LFAC) in France. Routing: EBKT KOK MK LFAC, FL080. When in the air, I received, but refused a shortcut avoiding KOK.

Arrived IFR in Calais LFAC

After one touch and go, I was told tp hold at MK before doing another ILS approach.

Towering clouds at Calais LFAC

While in the air and in approach phases, I encountered some IMC (flying in actual cloud), which was good practise to maintain my IFR currency.

IFR trip to Luxemburg

After having been thoroughly introduced to this docile aircraft, we set out for a somewhat larger adventure: Kortrijk – Luxemburg IFR. Not that this is an extra-ordinary flight, but yet, it is venturing already somewhat further.

Crew towards Luxemburg

Routing was MAK – LNO – DIK and then via the SID into ELLX. We constantly spoke to Brussels, and the flight went about very uneventful.

We passed overhead the military airbase of Beauvechain (EBBE) with its two parallel runways.

Beauvechain military airport from FL90

After having landed on runway 06, a taxi brought us downtown from the newly refurbished General Aviation Terminal at Luxemburg International. We walked around, sipped the atmosphere, had a coffee and returned for the flight back.

Relaxing in Luxemburg city

We paid both to Luxair for the handling and to the airport.

Back to our Piper

Holding short rwy 06 at Luxemburg ELLX

The return flight was with the wind and we received a shortcut from DIK direct to CIV, south of Brussels. There were more clouds, but that didn’t bother us 😉

Cruising westbound above the clouddeck

We approached Kortrijk and did a circle to land on runway 06. Home sweet home, and another nice IFR flight !

Final rwy 06 at Kortrijk EBKT

Home sweet home in EBKT

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