After all the shennanigans in the terminal it was nice to get back to the dusty, cricket covered patch of land the called the General Aviation apron. Just behind us was a Thomson 757 being prepared for departure back to Gatwick, while we prepared to depart to Siena.
The Mooney has flown just over 11 hours since Martin left Cranfield and headed south, and is holding up well. The brakes which were spongy as anything are improving, the only concern is high oil consumption. While not noticeably losing any we’ve used 3 litres in that 11 hours, higher than normal. We’ve only got one bottle left so may need to find some more soon.
We watched the 757 depart and got a wave from the first officer then jumped into the aircraft to head around the North Corsican coast to Marina di Campo on the island of Elba. Here we’d swap seats and Linda would fly on to Siena.
Calvi looked stunning to our left as we climbed over the bay, while the mountains to our right looked impressive but forbidding. There is still snow on some of the inland mountains. There was some low cloud near Bastia but none to trouble us at 5,000ft.
The island of Elba soon appeared ahead of us, with a big lump of rock between us and Marina making radio comms difficult until about 10 miles out as we were descending over the sea.
Marina di Campo is a 900m runway with hills on 3 sides. My approach was from the bay towards the hills so was easy. We had a follow-me van to park us on the grass. Then an official looking bloke in a green jumpsuit turned up. Fearing the first taste of Italian bureaucracy he asked us to bring the aircraft documents to the terminal…
…where they glanced at the registration document and waved us on. Five minutes and €49 later we’d filed a flight plan (they charged €5 for that – we used our own paper, all he did was fax it!) and headed off for a drink before launching on the next sector.
Linda was then flying to Siena for our next stop. Departing towards a massive hill of about 2500′ you turn right and fly up a valley, then left up another valley until you reach the sea. Good views, not advisable in dodgy weather!
Said dodgy weather was waiting on the mainland. To get to Siena we had a ridge of hills 3500′ high to get over, but near the coast the cloud was 500′ below that. Fortunately it lifted and we made it, then having to descend to land at Siena. One perfect landing later from Linda and we were in Tuscany.
Not much at Siena Airport. Lots of greenery, one NetJets and that’s it. The fire crew put the chocks in, we then waled through their crewroom where they were enjoying lunch and a nice bottle of red. I believe they are going to charge us about €70 for this!
Parked up, tech log written, bags out, cover on. We were done in 15mins and then into a taxi driven by a female Felpe Massa into Siena. €32 for the taxi, one thing this holiday isn’t is cheap!
Photos from this leg are on my MobileMe gallery here!!!