Germany in a Mooney
12th November 2000
Anyway, the REAL fun stuff was in Germany last weekend. Saturday I went hiking with a couple of new friends - we climbed one of the smaller of the Alps on the German side, a 3800 foot "hill" called Jochberg (we actually only climbed 2200 feet, but this was more than enough for me, in borrowed hiking boots). Great view up there, and we watched three paragliders jump from the top and glide down the valley.
The Munich area sectional chart. The Alps begin off the bottom (south) end, and Munich is to the lower right.
Next day I was back in the same general area, this time in a Mooney 231! The planned Cessna was down for repairs, so the German CFI substituted the Mooney, a 200 HP low-wing retractable with variable prop, cruising at 150 knots or more.
This was by far the highest performance airplane I have flown, and I can see how you can get to like this sort of thing.
Mr. Karl handled the comms for us, although it was mainly in English anyway. I figured with a new (and complex) airplane, new airport, and new air space and terrain that I had enough to worry about. I handled the whole flight (except for a few minutes taking pictures), and at first it was hard to hold altitude because it was so fast, and the electric trim control took a bit of practice. But after 20 minutes or so I was fine and did well on some steep turns and slow flight.
We flew over the lakes I had seen from the mountain the day before, looked at some pretty little Bavarian towns, flew over a Luftwaffe base (Tornados all in hardened shelters, none visible), then headed back.
I tried out the autopilot for a couple of minutes, and then Mr. Karl said we would do a practice instrument approach into Augsburg. He gave me headings to fly (he was pulling these from the GPS -- not much navigation for me on this flight), and I intercepted the ILS localizer about 3 miles out, centered the needles (with some guidance), then looked up to the runway straight ahead on short final. The flare was a bit weird, very fast and shallow, but OK (and oh yeah, we remembered gear, ran the actual GUMP check for this one). He logged this as 0.3 hours of simulated instrument, which is cool (he holds US as well as German ratings for CFII and ATP, over 6000 hours fixed wing including some jets, and 600 in helicopters).
Mr. Karl spends several weeks a year in the USA, training and checking out German and US pilots in Oklahoma and Texas, where the flying weather is a bit better than in Germany. I may arrange to spend a week out there early in 2001 to finish up my last 20 hours or so with him and take my check ride. I'll also see if I can fly some more in Augsburg on future trips to Germany (usually there twice a year, but not always with a weekend available). I suppose if we fly in the USA that I'll be able to call him Fritz (short for Friedrich) instead of Mr. Karl! He probably doesn't care anyway.