Saturday, 28 April 2012

Flying the Piper Cadet

Yesterday weather conditions for flying were good. A cloudy but sunny day with a visibility of more than 20 miles. The day started with force 6 winds from the south west but the prediction for the rest of the day was that the winds would diminish to force 3-4.
I have the good fortune to have a son-in-law with a pilot license for small aircraft. So yesterday we set off for the airport of Lelystad, Hollands' largest airport for general aviation. There we embarked in a Piper Cadet which would fly us to the island of Texel, some 90 miles north west of Lelystad airport. I never flew in a Piper before so I can add this aircraft type to my 'our aircraft' series.
Piper Cadet PH-VFB in the hangar at Lelystad Airport.
Upon take off our captain obtained permission to fly through the Schiphol CTR (control area) and to pass the Schiphol traffic tower at an altitude of less than 1000 ft. Having worked at Schiphol for more than 20 years, it is nice to have a look at it from a different angle.
Schiphol Airport with the WTC (the white building to the right), the tower
in the middle and the cargo handling area top left.
Our next goal was to have a look at our apartment building in Castricum. So from Schiphol we flew in the direction of Zandvoort and then along the coast towards IJmuiden. As also Castricum is situated in the Schiphol CTR, there are limitations as to the maximum altitude. But for our purpose, flying at around 800 ft was exactly what was needed.
From Castricum to the village of Heiloo, where members of the family live, is just a very short hop. 
Heiloo, with the Laan Eindeloos (Ypestein) running from left to right.
Flying over Holland in this time of the year makes clear that the bulbs are flowering. Colored rectangles are visible everywhere.
Bulb fields in the province of North Holland north of Alkmaar.
 After a flight of a little over an hour we touched down at De Kooy, de airport of Texel. Here was another first for me, it was my first landing on a grass strip.
The PH-VFB with captain H. (r) and my fellow passenger at De Kooy. 
After a decent lunch we flew back tot Lelystad. Our route went via Lemmer and Zwolle. As we paid a visit to the latter city recently, we circled the city center to see how it looks from above. I added a  picture of the Grote Markt to the blog post 'Zwolle & Assen'. Around 17.00 hours we safely returned at Lelystad Airport. During this flight we covered 190 miles bringing my total mileage flown at 474,082. 
Earlier that day we learned that the Aviodrome will reopen its doors to the public today (April 28). And that is good news! Final closure of this aviation history museum has been looming around the corner for some time. The PH-PBA, a Dakota in old KLM-livery keeps history alive (and roaring) there.
Scenic flights are made from Lelystad Airport.
Update May 1, 2012 Below the air map with our outbound route. It is not very clear but we followed the purple line via the yellow stars. The yellow star a little below the center of the map, is Lelystad Airport (EHLE). Then west via Schiphol (EHAM) and to the north, to De Kooy (EHTX) via a.o. IJmuiden en Castricum.


  1. Hi Peter,
    lucky you to have a son who flies you around; this way you'll sure make your half million miles full.

    As to the Dakota PH-Prins-Bernhard-Alfa here some facts that I found and which may interest other readers too:

    The PH-PBA is the most important piece of Dutch Aviation History stil airworthy and was delivered as a C-47A Dakota to the USAAF on January 11, 1944 with serial: 42-100971. She joined the 8th Air Force, "the Mighty Eight" on February 20, 1944 to be stationed at RAF Cottesmore with the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing as part of 44th Troop Carrier Squadron. The first time she was connected with the Netherlands was in September 1944 when she participated in Operation Market Garden.

    Just after the War, in February 1946 she was struck of charge of the USAAF and got stored in Germany until HRH Prince Bernard acquired her, first flying her with the original US serial and later she was registered as PH-PBA (Prince Bernhard Alpha). On February 25, 1947 she was owned by the Rijksluchtvaartdienst (RLD) and so she became the first Government plane for the Netherlands. The Prince passed his type certification in November 1947 and flew the "PBA" many times by himself while on official State Visits.
    Unqte C: Touchdown-Aviation

  2. Thanks Hans! Although I was aware of a number of these details, I was not aware of the fact that this C-47A saw the light of day exactly two weeks before I did. I just wonder who looks better. (Don't bother to react.)
    Anyway, thanks for your lecture in aviation history!


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