Sunday, 3 January 2010

Krakow, Riga, Warsaw, Svidnik and Dubrovnik

The Oracle Univesity organized a two day seminar in Riga, Latvija at the end of August 2009. This was a nice opportunity to make a stop in Krakow in Poland. As we had quite short vacations in July we used also this opportunity to spent additional five days on Island of Mljet near Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Interactive GPS track - click here to enlarge the map

The plan was to make a refueling stop in Vyškov near Brno in Czech Republic and then proceed to Krakow. Later on I found that on Pobiednik Wielki airfield there is a gas station just outside the airfield fence only about 30 meters away from the main apron.
The planned and actually flown route was:
LJDI - TREBNJE (VFR reporting point) - RADLY - STO - MIKOV - LKVY

We started on August 24th in the morning and the flight to Vyškov was a routine VFR flight in excellent weather conditions. I have visited Vyškov already once this year when we were flying back from Finland. I phoned them a day before and and we were immediately warmly welcomed for refueling.

The next leg was from Vyškov (LKVY) to Pobiednik Wielki (EPKP) near Krakow in Poland. The planned and actually flown route was:

The weather was still excellent but we got broken clouds near Krakow so we had to postpone the descend a little bit in order to find a suitable hole in the clouds.

After securing the aircraft at EPKP we called taxi and drove to the center of Krakow where we had a reservation in a just refurbished hotel which was re-opened just two days before.
After a quick lunch with original Polish dishes we headed to the main square in Krakow and had short sightseeing of surrounding churches. Next morning we took a guided 4 hours visit of Krakow castle and Krakow Ghetto.

Photo album of visiting Krakow City

In the afternoon we took taxi to Pobiednik Wielki and headed towards Adaži near Riga in Latvia.
The planned route was: EPKP - JED - LIN - SIE - BOKSU - GUNTA - VISTA - EVAD.
I checked the Polish Airspace Use Plan (AUP) for the current day before filing the flight plan by phone. The weather was excellent all way to the north and we landed at Adaži (EVAD) short before the sunset. EVAD is a former agriculture airfield now privately owned and mostly used for training for ULA and GA airplanes. It is located about 40 minutes drive north east of Riga. They provided me MOGAS which they buy at the nearby gas station.

Riga is for sue one of the most beautiful towns we ever visited and we enjoyed our stay there really very much.

Visiting Riga Town

On Friday, August 28th in the afternoon, immediately after I have finished my class, we took a taxi back to Adaži and headed to Warsaw - Babice (EPBC) where I planned a night landing. The planned route was:
EVAD - VISTA - GUNTA - BOKSU - SUW - ULPAR - JULLIET (VFR point for Babice) - LIMA (VFR point for Babice) - EPBC.
As I was never before at Babice it was a little bit of challenge to make first landing there at night. Babice is located in the middle of Warsaw city and it was hard to spot the airfield as we were vlying very low due to the airspace above us.
Next morning we planned to continue our trip to Svidnik in Slovak Republic. The Babice airfield opens at 6:00 AM local time and we came there at about that time. Shortly after arrival we were already airborn and were heading towards LZSK.
The planned route was:

A cold front was coming from the west and we had to be on time in Svidnik for refueling and continuation to Dubrovnik in order to escape before the bad weather.
On Saturday, August 29th they had annual gathering at Svidnik(LZSK) airfield and it was quite a lot of people already there. It was nice to meet Tomáš and Emil Sluk again. This time we also met Koka, a good friend of late Robert Tupta, for the first time and we became good friends. After refueling and a short chat with these nice people we had to leave. Again this time we really enjoyed a short stay at Svidnik.

See photo album of visiting Svidnik

The cold front was rapidly traveling to the east and therefore headed to Košice (LZKZ) where we landed just to exit the Schengen area. The route was LZSK - RUSKOV (VFR entyr pint to Košice CTR)- LZKZ. The border control was very efficient and they came to the GA office to check our documents, so we could continue our journey to Dubrovnik (LDDU) pretty soon. The route was:

While we were flying across Hungary we could see the on our right side the cold front. As we were on time we actually had no problems with the weather and were flying in clear sky. After entering Bosnia and Herzegovina at SIVLA point we found some tower cumulus buildups so we climbed to FL120 and remained at this level almost all the way across Bosnia and Herzegovina. We crossed the Croatian border at FL100 at MADOS point which is almost at the Dubrovnik airport. Although VFR we were vectored for ILS approach for RWY 12 which of course I have accepted with great pleasure.

We stayed for few days at Restaurant Ogigija and enjoyed their hospitality again.