Unexpectedly getting some Cub time in France 2007

...or how I ended up flying with a Puffin from Lyon to Daventry.

We enjoy a trip to the south of France...with an interesting series of coincidences....

Our annual fly-out this year involved two Taylorcraft and a Cessna 150 intending to fly to Scandinavia and Estonia. The lovely European weather decided otherwise, with horrendous weather forecast for our departure say in lower Scandinavia.

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( Above: Arrow shows low pressure in Denmark & Sweden)

So we ended up aiming for Corona, Spain.

We crossed the English Channel from the Needles to Cherbourg (80 miles or so) in typical goldfish bowl conditions, so we used the airways-equipped 150 (yes, you read correctly) as the artificial horizon for the two lesser-equipped taildraggers. At times, we elected to fly low-level (250 feet) to maintain a horizon below low cloud.

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We cleared customs at Cherbourg, enjoying the lunchtime hospitality of Luc & Edith.

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( Above: Cherbourg)

The trip along Utah & Omaha beaches was sobering.

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( Above: Passing the Mulberry Harbour near Caen)

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( Above: D-Day landing beaches)

Heading inland & south, with refuelling stops at Alencon & Le Mans, we spent a night at Bergerac.

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( Above: Formation departure at Bergerac)

Our Spanish plans turned into a ball of chalk in Bergerac, again due to the weather, so we headed east in France to Carcassonne, where we had a very pleasant few days.

Lots of little villages here from medieval days were constructed on top of hills for protection.

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( Above: Bergerac region)

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( Above: Final at Carcassonne over the Citadel)

What a wonderful place, if a bit over-touristified. Getting fed up with the crowds at the Citadel, we spent a lazy few hours watching the goings-on at the Canal du Midi, including the rather clever wireless-operated locks.

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( Above: Original 1933 lockgates modified to wireless remote control)

Heading further eastbound, we were again failed by the weather in attempting to reach the Millau bridge by a mere 8 miles, so we carried on to the Rhone valley, where warmer & sunnier climes were to be found.

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( Above: A lot of the Rhone is a canal to form hydroelectric head)

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( Above: Me & buddy John enjoy the sunshine, for once.)

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( Above: Everywhere in the Rhone valley is geared up for grape production)

Landing at a small strip just south of Lyon, I call a friend who lives there to see if he is available to come out for a beer. He asks if we happen to have a spare pilot among us to ferry a Supercub back to England, one which got stuck there a few weeks beforehand due to weather.

I reluctantly agree (!) and after a few hours, we are all final for Villefranche to collect said Cub.

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( Above: Villefranche)

Of course, Adrian is on hand to provide breakfast coffee & croissants (thanks, Adrian!) and in short order, a three-ship becomes a four-ship. I get a rare opportunity to see both my Taylorcraft in the air at once.

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( Above: Early formation flying experience)

After some 7 hours flying in one day (to beat the weather), we arrive home at Leicester...

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( Above: Home!)

...and I later deliver the Cub to a temporary home at a nearby strip at Daventry from where the owner can collect it at his leisure.

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( Above: Tucked up safe and sound with a Maule (which is hidden behind))



And the Puffin?

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He was sitting on the coaming the whole trip, just making sure I did everything just right.

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