February 7,  2016   
Europa Classic Tri-Gear G-BWON - Ferry Flight
7 december 2008
The reason for me not having published many articles the last couple of months was that I have spent a LOT of time on buying my own aircraft, pushing priority of doing flights somewhat to the background. Today I was able to do the ferry-flight with the very capable help of my brother Hans from Tatenhill (EGBM) to Hoogeveen.

Wednesday and Thursday, December 3-4

Midnight was approaching when I had a look at the weather forecast, and my impression was that an opportunity could develop for this weekend to travel to the UK to receive type-training and do the ferry flight.
Thursday morning Hans and myself had a very thorough look at every forecast we could get our hands on, we both concluded that the opportunity really seemed to be there, time to see if we can have everyone's nose pointing the same way!
Thursday afternoon was spent to arrange what felt like a zillion things to make sure my plan could be executed.
Around 7:30pm Thursday evening I decided to go for it, despite some people felt we were crazy, thinking we were about to make a very expensive mistake.
Hans started his 4 hour drive to arrive at my place around midnight. Until his arrival I collected all information and gear that I would be needing, and booked us airline tickets to get to East Midlands very early on Friday.

Friday, December 5

A very early rise after only 2-3 hours of sleep, having to catch a 5:40 train to Schiphol. Then onwards to East Midlands where LAA-inspector Graham Singleton picked us up, and drove us to Tatenhill Airport where my new baby was waiting for us in good shape. Hans finally got to meet with my new aircraft: a Europa Classic Tri-Gear with a 80BHP Rotax engine and constant speed-variable pitch prop, carrying all the goodies to make it a very pleasant bird to fly in:


That night we had dinner with Bob Hitchcock, one of the two previous owners, Graham Singleton joining in. Guess what we talked about....
Having to catch up some sleep we turned to bed early, knowing I would need a clear head for the instruction that I was about to receive.
Andy Draper will be my instructor, he also performed the pre-purchase inspection for me a couple of weeks ago. Many people in the Europa community consider Andy to be the 'God of Europa', given his background of having been the main technical person for the factory that designed and delivered well over a 1000 of these kitplanes around the globe. Currently Andy is chief engineer at the UK Light Aircraft Association.

Saturday morning, December 6

After enjoying a tasteful British breakfast Hans and myself walked to Tatenhill Airport, half an hour walk in a couple of degrees freezing removed the last 'mud' out of my head. Last night we had some rain, the overnight freezing resulted in having to do some de-icing first.
Once the airplane was clear of ice, Andy gave me a very thorough run-through for doing daily inspections. After all, I need to fully understand was is required (and all reasons behind things) to make sure that all is well before I take my plane up to the skies when Andy won't be there anymore ;-)

Time to do some flying has arrived! Andy and I boarded the G-BWON expecting to be airborne shortly. The battery however decided differently, not providing sufficient power to get the engine running in these cold conditions. Fortunately jumper cables were within reach, and 10 minutes later the engine was spinning in joy. Time to go up there and finally really get to know my baby!

During the next hour or so, all aerial manouevres were demonstrated and practiced. I felt an almost immediate click with my aircraft, or 'connection' if you will. It handles very nicely and direct, providing honest and immediate feedback on the controls. Basic manouevers like 30 degree bank turns, climbing and descending did not present any problem at all. Of course I had to learn how to operate the constant speed controller unit, but soon the basics felt natural.


The manouevers that I was a bit anxious about were the stalls, having read about aggresive wing-drop behavior on quite a few Europas. Naturally, Andy wanted to find out the stall-characteristics first.
He first did a clean stall (with flaps up) resulting in the left wing dropping. The wingdrop started quite gentle, but an increasing roll-rate resulted in the wing dropping faster and faster.
Despite hot having seen wings really drop before, the experience did not mess me up, so I had a go at it myself. No problem in correcting for the wingdrop, but I forgot about the big tailplane being much more effective than Cessna-elevators. I almost generated an accelerated stall by pulling the stick too briskly, a nice opportunity for Andy to demonstrate me one fully develop.
OK, point taken, ease the stick back gently is what is required (actually the rule of thumb is to handle the tailplane with small inputs all the time).

After some steep turns (no additional power like with Cessna's), next on the agenda was the stall in landing configuration. Again Andy first took a go at it to see how the G-BWON behaves. This time my heartbeat did get messed up quite a bit: the right wing dropped very quickly and the view out of the cockpit was very much nose straight down. We lost a LOT of altitude within the blink of an eye.

I did not receive this experience very well at all, mostly because I did not know what to expect and how I would react to it. I was so much impressed that I declined the offer to give that a try myself.
While writing up this article, I do realize that I defintely need to go up there again with someone experienced with these manouevres, to make sure I will learn to recover. I am convinced that next time, knowing what to expect, I won't be as shocked and will cope with it. After this 'lovely' experience it is time to return to the field and have some lunch before starting with pattern training. During lunch Andy briefed me on flying patterns and doing landings.

Saturday afternoon, December 6

Andy did the landing before lunch, explaining procedures to me, while I was following through his every input on the controls to get a feel. After lunch I had to do all landings. Andy talked me through every action while I did my first ever landing on a Europa, and very much to my surprise the landing was spot on straight away. Consider it luck...
Second and third landing Andy let me figure it out by myself without talking too much. At both landings I got cought by a some downdraft on short final. The first time this happened, I got my 'stick for speed-throttle for altitude'  mixed up (apparently my brain got a bit overloaded at that moment). Second time no problem with the downdraft.

We went on, landings 4 through 9 were all very safe, some routine developing as time progressed. The landings were not really on the numbers, but that's not to be expected after having done only a couple on a Europa. Landings 10 and 11 were flapless, and require a differnt approach as compared to the Cessna's I have flown up to now. Because of no flaps selected, you have a high pitch, and therefore a lack of clear view on the runway. The trick is to stay rather high, and upon approaching short final drop the nose a little to obtain a better view, without letting the speed increase (too much). Increased speed implies increased kinetic energy, which is hard to get rid of in a low-drag aircraft like the Europa. Pinning a flapless landing down nicely is much more difficult than doing them with a Cessna! I will require more practice getting them down, but nothing to worry about. After all, Hoogeveen has a 1100 meters runway, so plenty of margin for practice.

Unfortunately by the time we were done doing landings, we ran out of daylight. I did not have the opportunity to do some solo patterns. On the other hand, at this point I felt very comfortable with my new plane, and sufficiently confident to do my first landings tomorrow without the supervision of an instructor.

Saturday evening Hans and I spent finalizing things with Bob and Graham and preparing for tomorrows ferry flight. We are grateful to the owners of the New Inn, who gladly provided us with internet access so we could do a proper preparation. Navigation plans and such were already prepared, waiting to be pulled when the time came.

Sunday, December 7

The big day has come: weather and all permitting we will bring her to her new home!

While walking the half mile from the Duty Officer at Tatenhill Airport to my airplane, I received numerous text messages from friends over in Holland wishing me luck and a safe flight. Martijn gave me call to find out at what time we would arrive at Midden-Zeeland (EHMZ), he and Ton decided to fly to Midden-Zeeland to witness our first landing on Dutch soil, really heartwarming!

By the time we finished our phone call, I arrived at the G-BWON to find she was completely covered in ice! We will not be able make our planned departure time because serious de-icing was required, so I delayed my flightplan with one hour (hoping this would provide sufficient time to get the ice off). Knowing that we would loose another hour over the timezone, we can't really loose much more than one hour for de-icing because that would probably destroy our chance to get home today.

Fortunately we got it done, and went airborne around 11am local time. While climbing out, we noted that the indication on the altimeter could not be right. I decided to stay in the pattern and land to find out what was wrong. We could not figure out what was wrong, since we did have an indication on the ASI and VSI, eliminating the obvious cause of a blocked static port.
After turning final I did keep half an eye on the altimeter, and all of sudden I realized what had happened when I saw the altimeter going negative! I made a mistake before take-off, setting the altimeter to QNH. Instead of setting it to 450ft (field-elevation of EGBM) by rotating the knob clockwise, I had turned it counterclockwise to minus 550! Stupid mistake, must have been caused by the little stress that apparently had been builing up trying to get out in time :(. The second I realized what had happened, I initiated the go-around, corrected the mistake, and of we went on our way to Holland.

First turning point was Cambridge, a mere 45 minute leg that we cruised at 2300 feet altitude with 110kts speed. London Information had some trouble hearing the calls Hans made on the radio. At some point we decided to see if my calls were coming through any better, which they did. We then decided that I would operate the radio from that point on.
After Cambridge we cruise-descended to 1300 feet to Haverhill, then turned south and flew underneath Stansted CTA to Braintree. Having passed Braintree we selected a track direct to VOR DVR (Dover), and contacted Southend Approach to find out the danger zones of the coast were not active. Good, we can continue as planned, gaining altitude as soon as airspace allowed us.


After passing a fair stretch of water, we passed overhead Maypole at just under 5000 feet, and contacted Manston Approach to request flight following until the Belgium FIR boundary. We were cleared for FL055 and were ordered to report passing the coastline.
First time over the Channel was a fantastic experience: clear skies with Cumuli ahead. When closing in on Brussels FIR, Brussels Information passed us on to Oostende Approach who cleared us to continu at FL055. After a couple of minutes Oostende Approach notified us they were not getting a Mode Charlie readout, a minute later they reported not having a Mode Alpha readout either. Recycling the power of the transponder made things return to normal.

In order to stay clear of the clouds ahead, I was cleared for FL035. Few minutes later more lower clouds ahead, so a clearance for 2000 feet was obtained. At that altitude we had to make shallow turns to stay clear of clouds, but north of VOR COA cloudbase rose again. At that point Oostende Approach approved frequency change for Dutch Mil.

With Midden-Zeeland closing in, Hans and I talked about how much time we will have available at Midden-Zeeland without destroying our chances of reaching our final destination of this fantastic adventure. We had lost some time on our first leg due to something I have never experienced before: throughout the well over 2 hours of flying we did not experience any significant tail- or headwinds, not even at FL055 over the Channel. Maximum head- or tailwind noted was around 3 knots, quite remarkable! We decided that we would just get 25 liters of fuel, and press on for Hoogeveen as quickly as possible.

After landing at Midden-Zeeland we heard Martijn make the taxi-out call. With the delays we had, they could not stay any longer but at least we were able to exchange visual greetings and talk briefly over the radio. Guys, Hans and myself are really impressed by you making the effort to welcome us, and are very sorry we did not have the chance to shake hands and talk some more. We salute you!

We took of again in under 40 minutes and cruised at 1200 feet with 120+ knots indicated to make sure we would arrive at Hoogeveen well before end of daylight. Quite impressive to see landscapes slide by at this speed and altitude! Our route was via Gorinchem, Soesterberg CTR, Elburg, Zwolle and then to the new home of the G-BWON: Hoogeveen Airport.
After passing Meppel I changed frequency to Hoogeveen Radio to find out a welcome committee had assembled. At 16:22LT this wonderful journey ended when I put us down safely at Hoogeveen:

I received best wishes from all that were there, again a very heartwarming experience! My flying friend Guus had a very original idea to welcome us: he intended to circle around with his own aircraft, but had to give up due to our delays (and him running out of fuel ;-) ). That would have been some welcome!


Epilog of this wonderful adventure

These last few days have been an extraordinary experience, one that I have been working upto as of the end of August. During these months of preparation I received tons of information and a lot of valuable advise from many people while going through a steep learning-curve.

I do not dare trying to list all the names of people that have helped me during the process, knowing that I would most certainly forget quite a few. Still, there are a few people that I would like to mention, without selling anyone short:

David Joyce and Bob Hitchcock, previous owners of the G-BWON, for always providing complete and honest information on the airplane and having made all the talks and meetings a real pleasure.

Graham Singleton, the LAA-inspector supervising the G-BWON, for giving valuable information and knowledge, and for keeping my head out of the clouds when talking about potential improvements or ideas.

Andy Draper, a true Europa-guru, for performing the purchase inspection on my behalf, and for providing me excellent type training and many sorts of contributions with a keen eye on flight safety.

Finally, a very, very special Thank-You to my brother Hans, for all the time he willingly spent to advise me on many subjects, for sharing his impressive technical knowlegde on airplaines and aerodynamics, for making me very well aware on the various aspects of owning and safely operating an experimental aircraft, and of course for joining and supporting me the last couple of days. Thanks bro'!

Hartstikke gaaf, Frank heeft namens alle FlyBloggers een leuke felicitatie in elkaar gedraaid:




Murdock  - GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAF!!   |80.56.218.xxx |08-12-2008 20:33
Ik heb het nog niet allemaal gelezen maar wil de eerste reactie hebben!

Veel geluk met je nieuwe liefde (2e plek naast je JET)!

Groetjes van een jaloerse Murdock ;-)!
Rob  - Indeed Gaaf!   |82.171.63.xxx |08-12-2008 21:09
Je hebt een mooi stukje vliegtuig gekocht

Ben niet een beetje jalours...

Zag trouwens dat je me zondag morgen nog had terug gebeld, lag alleen nog half te pitten met de tel op stil.

Happy landings


Hans   |91.63.47.xxx |08-12-2008 21:10
Hi Marcel,

cool that you made this write-up so quickly... 

Your report pretty much describes how I remember this adventure. It was a wonderful - albeit very cold - weekend which I hope we will experience a few more of.

I wish you the very best of luck with your new baby!

- brothers in flight - 


______________________ ___
martijn  - We salute you back!   |84.87.217.xxx |08-12-2008 21:19
Good luck with the bird! And untill next time, when we can do a proper oooh-and-ahhh on your airfcraft.

See you soon.
David Joyce  - previous owner G-BWON   |217.43.195.xxx |08-12-2008 22:28
Marcel geniet van uw nieuwe baai, wens ik u vele gelukkige uurvliegen! rgds David
I hope the translation worked?
Marcel  - Translation   |80.126.240.xxx |09-12-2008 10:59
Hi David, nice of you to leave your best wishes at my website.
The translation worked just fine!
Edwin van Dijk  - Gefeliciteerd   |81.69.25.xxx |08-12-2008 22:47
He Marcel,
Wat een geweldig avontuur heb je beleefd met je broer samen. Dit is geen dagelijkse kost en dat is maar goed ook. Je eigen vliegtuig ophalen en dan ook het kanaal oversteken. Petje af hoor. Van harte gefeliciteerd met je nieuwe aanwinst. Ik hoop dat je er vele uren met plezier van kunt genieten. Jou kennende gaat dat zeker lukken.

Groeten Duck
Pascal  - Gaaf!   |62.58.232.xxx |09-12-2008 08:02
Wat een gaaf avontuur zeg!

Natuurlijk ook van mij heel veel happy landings toegewenst! Ik heb je verhaal met veel plezier gelezen.

curtiss®  - PH-MZW   |86.95.220.xxx |09-12-2008 14:12
Cool man, die grijns raak je eerstes niet meer kwijt dacht ik zo ;-)
Marcel   |145.50.39.xxx |10-12-2008 09:16
Wat een gaaf verhaal zeg, very impressive!
Heel veel plezier met je nieuwe aanwinst en ik wens je veel happy landings toe.
Leon  - Gefeliciteerd.   |82.92.132.xxx |10-12-2008 22:48
Van harte gefeliciteerd met je kist !
Een eigen vliegtuig is de droom van iedere vlieger, maar weinigen kunnen deze droom waarmaken, petje af !
Ik wil je echter een ding op het hart drukken (welgemeend en niet lullig bedoeld):
Zo te lezen is ze niet zo lief in de stal, da's op zich niet erg, maar je moet het wel kunnen handelen. Het feit dat "de Guru" je laat vertrekken zonder dat je zelf durft te stallen vind ik maar zo-zo, voor een guru.
Maar nogmaals, in de eerste plaats van harte !
Happy landings, keep the blue side up !

Anoniem  - re: Gefeliciteerd.   |80.126.240.xxx |11-12-2008 15:27
Leon schreef:
Ik schreef al dat ik dat zou doen, maar altijd goed om er nog eens nadrukkelijk op gewezen te worden
Leon schreef:
je laat vertrekken zonder dat je zelf durft te stallen vind ik maar zo-zo

Zuiver en alleen op basis van het geschrevene zou ik er net zo over denken.
[quote=Leon]in de eerste plaats van harte !
Happy landings, keep the blue side up !

Frank  - ...   |80.56.218.xxx |11-12-2008 18:56
He tukker !

Wat leuk dat je mijn filmpje hebt geplaatst. Doe ik het toch niet voor niks haha!

Hans   |91.63.36.xxx |12-12-2008 09:56
Tukker? Oei....
Hans   |91.63.36.xxx |12-12-2008 10:00
maar inderdaad Murdoch, echt GAAF !
Wouter   |82.74.118.xxx |17-12-2008 18:23
Ha die Marcel!
Je maakt grote sprongen sinds onze eerste lessen in oktober 2004!

Die doe ik je nu nog niet na, maar ooit....!

Anyway, heel veel plezier met je nieuwe aanwinst! Misschien kom ik je nog wel eens tegen in de good ol' PH-VSN..

Wou ter.
Marcel  - re:   |80.126.240.xxx |18-12-2008 10:57
Wouter schreef:
...heel veel plezier met je nieuwe aanwinst! ...

HĂ© Wouter, dank je.
Lang niet gezien of gesproken, wordt weer hoog tijd, misschien moeten we maar een afspreken tussen Kerst en Oud/Nieuw?
JJ   |61.7.178.xxx |19-12-2008 01:57
Vandaag liep ik even surfend op internet in Pattaya (Thailand) tegen je verslag aan. Geweldig, eigen vliegtuig!!
Van harte, in februari hoop ik het toestel met eigen ogen te zien.
Uitstekend verslag ook, trouwens,
VAndendriessche Alain  - Europa tri-gear   |82.93.98.xxx |12-08-2009 11:37
IK denk er serieus over na om ook een Europa tri-gear te kopen.
Hoe zit het met keuring e.d.
Is die van u in Belgie ingeschreven, of waarom niet.
Wat is de kostprijs per minuut van het toestel?
Waar moet ik op letten als ik mocht kopen.
Waar staat die van U en kan ik eens komen zien .
Ik vlieg in EBFN ( op cessna, TB10, Robin,Diamond,)
Bedankt op voorhand.
Marcel  - Je bent welkom!   |82.93.98.xxx |12-08-2009 11:35
Hallo Alain,

Ik zit niet echt bij je in de buurt: mijn homebase is EHHO, plm. 175NM vanaf Koksijde. Leuke afstand om eens een tripje te maken, dus je bent welkom! Laat maar even weten als je komt, dan kunnen we over Europas babbelen en kan ik jouw vragen beantwoorden.

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