days plan was to fly to Heraklion on the Greek Island of Crete and then
on, crossing the Mediterranean
Sea to Luxor in Egypt on the African Continent.
The Route flown aroud Africa over 108 Hours flying time
As we arrived
at the airport in the morning, what a surprise!
should have seen our plane… After a rainy night with strong southerly
blowing brownish sand from the Lybian
desert, our Comanche had a free colour
change since we parked it at the apron the day before.
We obtained our
IFR clearance to Heraklion, and were advised of three Sigmets, warnings
severe turbulance in some parts
of the FIR.
uneventful flight in low visibility at level 110 until we reached a
position right abeam Patras in Greece
started to experience enormous turbulence and all of a sudden we
were in a down draft of 1500ft/m.
Unable to maintain our level, I advised
Athenes Control of the situation. A few minutes later the situation
we climbed back to our level.
unexpected rerouting, we finally approached Heraklion which reported
Moments later, I noted down the ATS and was handed
over from Approach Control to the Tower. The Tower gave me the latest
crab angle to runway.
Wind 180 at 35 to 40 knots. This was the moment, when I noticed
exitement, we managed to get safely on the ground using runway 27.
enquiring, if they had any news from our friends in N8873P, the answer
was : « We are
expecting them later » --came back.
formalities, refuling at 2.10$/litre, and then on and up to the control
the flight plan to Luxor and checking the Meteo, we noticed that most
balked their landings and had to go around a
few times before finally landing,
or then go on to an alternate, as the extremely strong southerly wind
perfect right angle to the runway
now at times in excess of 40 knots.
Go- to continue in
conditions on to Luxor at this point and time !
requested to reposition our plane 1 mile away from the main Apron Area,
abandoned runway for the night.
Solidely securing HB-PON with all available
means was next, so it was not going to blow our aircraft right over, if
should further intensify.
solicitated the advise of one of the controllers in the tower and found
were looking for, a hotel right down
town, overlooking the harbour.
Mike and Paul
arrived a few hours later and by miracle we met them in the same hotel
experienced in severe turbulance over the mediterranean sea and the
strong crosswind conditions on landing, Mike and Paul
decided to call it a day.
My co-pilot Anne and
I enjoyed strolling around in the narrow streets of old Heraklion and
enjoied again a
nice dinner in a nice restaurant
in the old town on a sidewalk.
conditions actually worsened the following day and wind reported was
knots. The airport was packed with tourists,
wanting to return home from their
holidays- a total mess !
crew picked up a rental car and then exploited individually the
mountainous Island for the rest of the day.
following morning, the 5th of may, the front had passed and
conditions were calm.