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Wednesday 8th Aug 2007 & Flying France. I’m off early to White Waltham, well perhaps not as early as I should be, because , as usual getting TE packed and ready took longer than expected. Anyway a quick hop over the Chilterns and park next to G-BSSA. Keith and Dave are nearly ready, so file flight plans etc and repack aircraft with some of SA’s gear in TE as I have spare load capacity. Plan A is to fly to Calais and then into Holland and up to The Fresian islands before making our way down to Schaffen Deist in Belgium. Dave and Keith had been planning to fly this route in G-BSSA for some months and had invited me and TE to tag along. Both aircraft have obtained Holland and Belgium written approvals to fly in their airspace. Neither of us have transponders.
The weather is in our favour. We fly a loose formation, coasting out, at Folkstone. Good views of the Channel and on to Calais which has only tower & fuel services as it is being refurbished under new management. Re-assess weather, and decide the fronts that are threatening Holland for tomorrow and Friday are too much of a risk so a change to Plan B is called for ! We will turn right into central France and then in a few days make our way up E. France to Schaffen Deist.
After Calais we head SW , passing north of Paris over the R. Somme near Abbeville and then the meandering R. Seine, where the boat transports took our soldiers up to Rouen at the beginning of the WW1 in the summer of 1914. The river looks big and ponderous with wide bends. We stop at Argentan for fuel, and are met by some friendly French flying club members. The weather is deteriorating and it starts to rain, and then thunder and lightning. Typical just as I need to hand start !...and yes this takes TE time to start and I get soaked ! Off quickly,and we out pace the storm and fly into calm evening good weather. We land at Saumur in the Loire valley and pitch tents and walk into town for a well deserved few beers and a good meal. Its great to fly in the company of another aircraft.