Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Last Sunday was a flying day to remember... As a way to celebrate my 30th anniversary since my first solo flight in 1987, I planned a special flight for early September; "The Grassroot Flying Tour of Belgium".

The Tour which took just under 11hrs (stops included) and six hours flying time, took me all the way around the borders of Belgium, only landing at the smaller grass field airports; very much how it all started for me 30 years ago and vastly different from the A380 I fly for a living! A perfect opportunity to say thank you to some of my instructors and reflect back on some of my most interesting flying adventures.

Given the cost involved, I initially had planned the tour to be flown by a single aircraft, only using our own 1954 vintage Piper Super Cub. Soon after publishing my plans, several friends however stepped in and wanted to participate with their own aircraft; something that I of course happily accepted as it was meant to be a celebration of "flight and this would just make the event so much more visible! 

The full Tour consisted of 6 enroute stops (all on grass strips) and took around 350miles (650km).

As I set off on my first leg on Sunday morning, three other aircraft got airborne from other airports in Belgium and joined up at the first stop; Hoevenen, North of Antwerp. Two more flew in to the next stop at Hasselt, making it a great team of 6 fellow minded Aviators with their enthusiastic passengers! Thank you guys, you know who you are!

The image below is of the three (mine being the front one) participating Piper Cubs in the morning sun at Hoevenen. Although the windmills and nuclear power plant in the background give it away, this scene could almost be shot in the late 1950's on a small grass airfield. To me it shows the beauty of flight and the joy aviation has brought me, over all those years.


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with XF18-55 lens
  • ISO 250, 1/500s, f11, 24mm (36mm full frame equivalent)
  • RAW file development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
When I first started the idea of flying a Grassroot Flying Tour of Belgium, I had three main objectives in mind; 
  1. motivate people to (re)start taking flying lessons 
  2. motivate young airline pilots during their training and job-hunting
  3. motivate present airline pilots that lost the passion of flying, to go back into General Aviation 
As long as I can influence one person in every category, I'm a happy camper (read pilot!). 

I turned out a very busy day, but boy were my batteries charged after I got back! Finally a warm thank you to all who participated in the flight and to the ones that specifically came to greet us at one of the enroute stops!

Remember: "The bad news is Time flies, the good news is, your are the Pilot" - Michael Althsuler


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