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Text Box: Bob Hitchcock                             David Joyce

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“Europa Tour de France June 2006”

Day 1:

 Amiens - Lunchtime Saturday 3rd June. A gathering of Europa's and the Tour de France begins. David Joyce (organiser/team leader/ wine expert) in a distinctive red nosed mono wheel GXSDJ and 3 other Europas GHOFC, GRIXS, GBWON (later to be joined by 3 more).

Lunchtime arrivals and the use of French RT were to be a recurring theme. Flight plans closed. A tour of the magnificent Amiens cathedral followed. Intricate craftsmanship of the highest order.





Day 2 - The route to Colmar was an introduction to the disciplines of formation flying. With a full range of engines from a basic 912 to the latest slick and quick. Correct choice of an acceptable common cruise airspeed is key. As well as knowing where everyone is.... The dining in Alsace was a delight.


Day 3 - The route Beaune was examined carefully to ensure separation from restricted space and potential fine. En Vente arrière - En Finale - and we arrived at Beune. The good-looking tail-dragger GBXII joined. Wine tasting and culture followed.

Including a.”Basil Faulty'esque" experience at the local restaurant with the moustachioed patron bellowing out his kitchen frustrations.

Day 4 - Le Puy. Cameras were out in the Auvergne to record the extinct volcanoes of another time. Calls were made to Clemont Ferrand as we skirted their zone. The Puy de Dôme has a classic volcano shape covered with a blanket of vivid green trees.


Day 5 - Special advance permission was needed to land at Albertville. After an exchange of faxes, which detailed pilot licence information for each, we obtained the requisite permission from the Chef du Département Surveillance et Régulation. (It is likely that the comparative low noise characteristic was an important factor.)  Turning across the valley en étape de base, then en finale was magical.) We booked into the best value hotel of the trip. Mont Blanc beckoned. A swift climb to 10,000 feet and traverse of a col revealed the giant in all its majesty. A privileged view of hidden glaciers was stunning

Day 6 - Heading west now. A combination of the effects of altitude and heat led to a problem for

the trike GBWON. On landing at Aurillac the distinct smell of hot brakes. The runway was exited left (only direction possible). A bleeding of the brakes eventually cleared the problem. The men in the red fire engine appeared and the good humour and lift was appreciated. On to Bergerac for banana ice cream. At this point we were joined by GKIMM captained by Paddy who undoubtedly takes my unofficial prize for best RT voice.


Day 7 - On to Les Sable - D'Olonne and then Quiberon situate on a south-pointing peninsula. Tim Houlihan resplendent in PFA rally T – Shirt and plane spotted.

By common acclaim we had the best meal of the trip. For me les huitres were perfection.

Day 8 - Time to go home. Décollons piste 11 leaving Cherbourg. Fuel and flight plan. Goodbyes exchanged. Yellow life jackets on. Channel to cross.


Wonderful flying. Special thanks to David Joyce (the other one). Always there checking his chicks.


Compiled by :

Bob Hitchcock GBWON 12.6.06

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