(Originally posted 11/26/13)
Depart: Pamplona (LEPP)
Arrive: Zaragoza Air Base (LEZG)
Aircraft: Stampe et Vertongen SV.4C (XPFR)
Flight Plan: LEPP LEZG
Distance: 71.5 nm
The gusting has abated at Pamplona so now's as good a time as any to take to the skies and make our way further south! It'll be a short flight today and we'll be going direct from Pamplona to Zaragoza. That's the plan anyway.
Since we don't have to cover too much distance, I'm trading in all the bells and whistles of the Baron and the Grand Caravan for something a bit more old school. Today's aircraft is the Stampe et Vertongen SV.4C, a Belgian two-seater that served as a military trainer during the 1930s and -40s. A number of SV.4Cs still ply the skies of Europe today. My SV.4C is fitted with only a simple compass for navigation--that and my own two eyeballs.
(Note: I've tweaked the .acf file to the real plane's published specifications; as-is, the aircraft is far too heavy to even get off the ground, let alone cruise with a full tank of gas and two pilots on board.)
My co-pilot didn't want to get up for an early morning flight, so looks like he'll be driving to Zaragoza. I fire up the engine and head to the runway. The north winds are still pretty brisk so keeping that free-castoring tailwheel in check is even more challenging; however, once we line up and give her some gas we're in the air in no time!
I turn due east and climb to about 4,000 ft., hoping to take in the last sights of the Pyrenees while I can. Before long I spot my first landmark below: a small general aviation airfield at Lumbier. This is my indication that it's time to start turning south.
On the ridge a few miles south of Lumbier stands a row of wind turbines. The friendly giants wave as I pass overhead.
Further south I spot another rustic airfield, this one at the small town of Sangüesa.
Such a sleepy village. Seems like they could use a little excitement! Ignoring that niggling, cautionary voice in my head, I decide to buzz the tower.
With that, I pass out of Navarra and into the fields of Aragón. I cruise south-east at the SV.C4's top speed of about 190 km/h (just over 100 kts), enjoying the sunny skies. As I pass over the Gállego, I turn due south; following the river will take me directly to Zaragoza.
Sure enough: there's Zaragoza, situated at the confluence of the Gállego and the mighty Erbo. As I draw nearer I descend and skirt the city's south-eastern perimeter.
Zaragoza Air Base lies due west of the city. I line up for landing on runway 30R and take full advantage of the headwind--the plane practically flies itself onto the runway!
Leg 5 is in the books and the Stampe has proven itself to be a capable little aircraft; I expect I'll be taking it up again soon! Now to wait for my lazy co-pilot to show up by car.
Next leg: Zaragoza Air Base (LEZG) to Madrid Barajas (LEMD)