My last flight was VFR (local EHLE), but today I went IFR in the air again. The original plan was to go last week to EHRD, but turns out that EHRD taxi tracks are having maintenance and hence I could not get handling from Vliegclub Rotterdam as they had to move their operations. So I changed the plan to go to Neiderrhein/Weeze (EDLV). But tthe weather and turned out to be not good enough. The freezing level was around 5000 ft with low level clouds while my planned route was on FL070. The DA-40 is not certified into known icing, hence a no go. Next to that, the wind was a bit too gusty for my taste and perpendicular to the runway.
So I replanned to today and asked permission again for the IFR departure and arrival (Lelystad these days is PPR for IFR departures and arrivals). I filed a flightplan to FL070 with a ARNEM 2M departure to ARNEM then airway T192 to TEBRO then airway P62 to PISAP then airway Z850 to SOBTU then STAR SOBTU 1W. The flightplan back is to 5000ft via the SID ERKUM 1S to ERKUM then L179 to MEVEL then Z843 to RELBI then DCT to RKN then T603 to BADEX (IAF). The flightplan was at 5000 ft because of the DCT as this is not allowed at FL060 or above. I have to go direct because the airway between RKN and RELBI (L602) apparently not usable between 0 and FL075 (although my jeppesen chart say minimum is FL065..).
After the walkaround and a last minute update of the the navigation database I got in the aircraft and asked for a startup to taxi to the fuelstation. I wanted to go with full tanks such that I have enough fuel to get to EDLV and fly back to EHLE, have 45 mins holding fuel, fuel to go to the alternate (EDLV) and have some contingency fuel. Better to have a little bit too much than too little! Here is the aircraft parked near the fuel station, the grounding cable is attached:
After I finished tanking I asked for a startup (just in time before my flightplan would expire). I got a clearance for the ARNEM 2M (as filed), to FL060 via the step-up. In the departure I got into IMC at around 1500ft up till 3000ft when I broke out of the clouds and the sun was smiling down at me. Further to the east the were no more clouds. Here you can see the last of the clouds below me:
Picture of the inside of the aircraft:
Once I got closed to the german border I got passed to Langen radar, who told me to expect vectors for the ILS 27. Once on the localizer the auto pilot did not track the glide slope, not sure why, I guess I still had it in NAV mode, but I just decided not to mess around and fly it manual. On the ground I was told to backtrack 27, exit at charlie, then go over to the follow me car. I got parked close the aircraft bunkers (see the photograph below). This is the route I flew:
After exiting the aircraft I got driven to the solid air lounge with the follow me car. Pretty good place to drink a cup of coffee or two:
From the lounge you have a good view of the airport. Some aircraft parked on the taxi track (this was mentioned in the NOTAMs):
After about an hour I asked to be taken back to my aircraft. Shot a quick picture of it. You can see a bunker in the background (probably for a fighter plane):
I did a quick visual check of the fuel tanks and ther rest of the aircraft including oil level then got in and asked for a startup. He almost immediately gave me my IFR clearance, I wasnt quite prepared to write it down, but I did manage to get it correct. Normally they ask if you are ready to copy. Departure was indeed the ERKUM1S to 5000ft. Once I input the route into the FMS I was a bit surprised by the initial GPS track as this was at an angle with the runway, so the course deviation indicator did not line up as expected. This made me check the route again, but all was input correctly into the FMS. Once I was a around LV202 waypoint I got a “direct destination” assigned. So I made it direct BADEX in the FMS. I asked for a climb up to FL070, initially he said that I should asked again when I get transferred to dutch mil, but he changed his mind and allowed me to go to FL060. Few mins later I could go up to FL070 and was transferred to dutch mil 132.355MHz. In the distance I can see the cloud layer coming up again:
I got transferred to Lelystad arrival who cleared me for a RNP23 after passing BADEX. Little bit closer to the clouds you can see some interesting waves visible:
At FL060 approaching BADEX (IAF):
As I was getting lower I was approaching the cloud layer:
The FMS showed that I had a pretty strong headwind on the approach (27kt, a bit from the right).
On final I decended below the clouds and got a visual on the runway:
Zoomed in you can see it:
Close to the ground the wind changed and came a bit from the left (wind direction usually rotates are you go further up).
I guess I will try to go to EHRD next time. Going abroad is a bit difficult with all the changing corona rules…