Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Aerobatics in the Czech Republic

Weather cleared up to the south east so quickly planned for Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. I initially had a problem with my KX165 navcomm whose display didn't work. It started working after 10 minutes on the ground. I think that it may have got damp due to the a/c being out in the rain the day before. A low cloudbase and rain around the hills on the way in to Karlovy Vary called for some hedge-hopping but I landed safely after holding for a couple of minutes on base whilst a jet landed. On the ground I was the only light aircraft there. Flying in Czech is no problem. Prag info. speak good English and are helpful. There are many military areas but since Czech now have only 3 airworthy MiG's (previously 300) you can just rock right through most of them if you ask information first. Landing fee was 20€ but this included customs. It would have been 30€ but I saved 10€ because I wrote RMK / LIC on the flight plan. Czech airports offer lower fees for training flights, so always put that on the flight plan if travelling there.
Once in Karlovy Vary I checked the weather in the east at their met office. There was a cloudbase of 3000ft msl which is fine because Czech is mostly flat. I called my friend Stanno at the Czech aerobatics centre in Moravska Trebova (LKMK) in eastern Czech, who confirmed it was ok for me to join them overnight and maybe do some aerobatics there. It was about a 1 hour flight with the MCR routing from Karlovy Vary south of Prag to Moravska Trebova at 160kts groundspeed, with a strong tailwind. Moravska has a grass runway which is quite hard to see. In Czech small grass airfields are marked by two white markers at each end of the runway, so that's what you have to look out for if you go to one. Moravska Trebova is the home of the Czech aerobatics team and they do aerobatics over the field. When I arrived I got no answer on the radio. I also could not see a windsock anywhere (although there is one). Additionally there was a Zlin 50 doing negative G aerobatics over the eastern end of the runway. What to do ? To confirm which way to land I flew parrallel to the downwind leg west to east. 130 Kts groundspeed. Flyingthe other way I was only doing 98 KTs groundspeed. Since I prefer not to land with a 32kt tailwind I selected runway 26 in preference to 08, called downwind and landed on the grass - no problem for the MCR or me.
The aerobatic centre has really nice rooms with satellite TV, shower and cooking facilities at the airfield for 30€. I took one of course. FPZAM was put in the clubs' hangar (no charge). It was 3:00pm so there was time to read over the Zlin142M flight manual in preparation for flying it later at 5:00pm. At 5:00pm it was parachutes on and jump into the Zlin for aerobaticstraining with Stanno. The Zlin is a solid, heavy beast and it takes strength (and two hands sometimes) to recover from spins. We ran through basic loop, stall turn, Immelman etc. I was rusty but enjoyed it and was please that I was still able to fly the Zlin after 1 year. Aerobatics in the Zlin142M were about 140€ / hour at the time.
That evening was fine weather with a bbq at the airfield. Superb day with great flying and good people. Loved it.

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