Last week Lachlan Smart was out of the country, but not for a premature departure for his trip, rather he made his way to France to make the most of an opportunity experience ferry flying first hand as he embarks on a trip from Toulouse to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on a bona fide international ferry flight.
Over the course of the trip Lachlan will be joining Mitchell and a team of pilots in the capacity of a cadet, with his aim to attain a better understanding of the international environment, specifically pre-flight routines and customs requirements at various locations as well as time spent learning HF radio communications and differing international communications protocol.
Over the course of his time away, Lachie recorded his experiences though a number of blogs of his trip where possible, so stay tuned as we find out what he got up to over the next few days!
Blog Entry: April 12, 2016 – Toulouse – Iraklion, Crete
Barcelona, what a time to be alive!
If I had to describe the location in one word it would be incrediblybeautifulwithamazinglyintricatearchitecture. Being a bit of a history nut myself I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this amazing city with well-known buildings and monuments from the era of the infamous Spanish fleet. Among great historical experiences were paellas, tapas, mojitos and Spanish beer, among all our explorations.
The banter between our group never ceases so we will generally always have a joke at the ready, and the car rides to and from Barcelona were no exception! The whole trip was constantly putting smiles on our faces and isn’t a time I’ll soon forget. Our driver, Christoph joined in too and really became a friend in our relatively short time together!
Our first day back in Toulouse was quite a relaxing day with a sleep-in in order after getting back to the hotel well after midnight and a quiet day ensued.
Upon my arrival back I found myself in a different hotel, in a new part of town and I rediscovered what a lovely place Toulouse is. The city has friendly people and is a beautiful city to get lost in, which I (of course) took the opportunity to do. However with my excellent navigating and translating skills I managed to find my way back to the hotel with no problems.
Having not had a really traditional experience of French cuisine yet, other than my excessive baguette binging, Garry and I decided to go out for dinner for some traditional French food. La Bibent was recommended to us by Christoph and was only a short walk from our hotel in Wilson Square so off we hopped, stomachs empty and with a hunger for some good food.
The restaurant didn’t meet our expectations… It blew them out of the water!
We had a very traditional meal for the Toulouse region called a Cassoulet, which comprised of traditional sausage, duck, white beans in a fashion similar to a casserole. The building was incredible and the service was great, overall a phenomenal night.
After a few days of sightseeing, the next morning was spent planning the ferry flight, from marking out the routes on our charts to confirming clearances and permits to trying to get all the necessary paperwork involved in the sale of an aeroplane together.
We ran into a plethora of roadblocks (or should it be air blocks?) along the way including the banks being shut in Dubai for an unknown reason on this particular day, therefore the funds could not be transferred on the correct date for the aircraft.
This had the potential to the delay the flight another day, and I began to wonder whether I would even make the ferry flight at all or if I would just have to fly home on a commercial flight from Toulouse?
Although things were starting to look a little grim, I refused to let it get me down because there is a positive in everything, you’ve just had to look hard enough. My positives out of this trip if I didn’t make the ferry at all would have been the fact that I had familiarised myself with the French culture for when I return here in three months time, although the next time around I will be coordinating a service of my own aircraft before my round the world flight continues.
I have also learnt a whole lot about ferry planning and flying from the crew; and I discovered that if I get bored while the aircraft maintenance is being done, Barcelona is the place to go!
Spoiler alert! They’re not the only positives I have gained out of this trip as we did manage to get the ferry flight underway!
I’ll have details of the first leg in my next blog!