Following on from part two of our aviation adventure around Europe, its time to wrap up the story with the final leg from Lelystad, Amsterdam to Bournemouth in the Extra 400.
After a little under 24 hours in Amsterdam, a large pizza, some souvenir shopping, and a beer the night before, it was time to fly back to the United Kingdom. Now, you may remember from the first part of the adventure that I met my dad at Southend. Well, as I spent some time with his family after, we proceeded directly to his home airport rather than dropping myself back in Southend. This saw us fly from Lelystad to Bournemouth.
Time to refuel
Refuelling an aircraft is much like refuelling a car. The only exception is that it attracts an awful lot more faff and some ladders. We powered on the aircraft in order to taxi to the fuel pump, however, when we arrived it was occupied by a helicopter. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the helicopter powered up and finally moved on, giving us the opportunity to manoeuvre into position.
The next step in the refuelling process was to align the ladder with the first wing. This allows access to the refilling port on the top of the aircraft’s wing, about 2m above the ground. It is essential to connect the aircraft up to the ground by means of a ground cable. This is usually attached to the aircraft’s exhaust with care taken to avoid touching it, as it is hot after the engine has run.
Refuelling was particularly cumbersome at Lelystad. The fuel pump was set to only dispense so much fuel at a time. This was something like 64.42 litres. Each time this threshold was met, it was necessary to replace the fuel pump and re-authorise the card. As such, we had to repeat this process four or five times.
Time to fly!
Following our fuel pump antics, it was time to get back into the air. We got airborne at around 11:50CET, and took off in a northerly direction from Lelystad. It was necessary to do a u-turn to get back on track to heading toward London and climbed to FL180. We reached this height just after crossing the Dutch coastline.
Despite having a filed flight plan, no sooner had we been given a handoff to London control than we started to be vectored around. This started with being asked to fly a heading of 250, which we were already flying in order to correct for wind. Once made aware of this fact, the instruction was revised to 230.
We were routed right across the south of London, and at one point spotted a huge British Airways aircraft flying right below our path. Looking on FlightRadar24.com after the flight showed this was a British Airways Boeing 787 inbound to Heathrow Airport just 2,000ft below us!
Landing at Bournemouth
Following the flight, it was time to touch down at Bournemouth. The glideslope was inoperative. This meant that we needed to descend at a fixed rate until the runway was in sight. After this, we monitored the lights alongside the runway and compensated accordingly.
When we were on short finals, we heard a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 request takeoff clearance. It was told to wait for us to land, and then line-up and wait. We left the runway and watched the Ryanair flight depart. The aircraft landed at 12:38 BST, giving a flight time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. We then taxied to park up alongside a couple of Airbus A340 aircraft.
Overall, the flight was a great refresher to General Aviation after not flying for almost two years. It was also a great chance to catch up with my father.
What do you make of the Extra 400 Adventure? Would you give it a go? Let us know in the comments below!