• The Spokes Adventure RSS Feed

    by Published on 10-05-11 19:30 PM

    i'll upload other two tomorrow my laptop battery is nearly out and i'll tell you all about my 7.5hr flight with 45 knt winds it wasn't pleasent, Cyprus tomorrow weather permitting.
    Dave
    by Published on 10-05-11 19:28 PM

    Day-12

    7.00am I got picked up to go to the airport and went through the security checks before we could get on to the aircraft its self. And I was met with a group of pilots from island microlight to wish me on my way to Corfu, thanks guys.

    I got myself into aircraft again (I seem to be getting faster at this now it only takes me just over half an hour) and got pushed off the grass on to the apron.

    ‘’G-CDVO request radio check and engine start’’ ‘engine start approved…..

    So now I have a 6 hour flight in front of me to Corfu. I don’t know but I must be the first person to fly

    A flexwing microlight from Malta to Corfu?

    On this departure I was having an escort out with Leon in his Technam and a TV camera man.

    Got clearance to take off on runway 23 then cleared to fly a full around the island over Marsascala bay and past the grand harbour at Valletta before turning on my track to the north and leaving my escort at portomaso tower.

    That’s it six hours now in front at 3000ft, the first 3hrs were fine but then it started getting a bit boring as all I could see was the sea, lovely blue sky and water flat calm.

    After the fifth hour ‘’hurrah’’ land ahoy, not long now.

    Gave Corfu a call ‘’G-CDVO inbound blar, blar, blar’’ ‘G-CDVO you are number 1 to land report finals’

    Excellent was a stiff breeze as I flew in onto the runway that starts right at the edge of the sea, the Controller said ‘Where are you G-CDVO’ ‘’ G-VO over the threshold trying to come down sir, ‘’OK now problem’’

    The heat wouldn’t let me come down, but got down no problem.

    I was then met by a group of around 10 people taking photos and smiling away, hello David we are so pleased to have` you visit us at Corfu international Airport anything you want we can provide for you, what group of nice people, I need an hotel please, no problem (aircrew rates as well)

    Took me to the offices to sort out the nessicary paperwork I needed to fill in and the went back to tie my quik down for the night.

    Only place to tie it down was on the apron itself in between some other private aircraft with wires to the ground it wasn’t due to be too windy but just to make sure all ratchet straps were used.

    Then I was taken to my hotel for the night, thought the night we had heavy rain and thunderstorms, wonder what my quik was going look like in the morning??

    Right I’d better look at the weather and maps for tomorrow now.

    Dave
    by Published on 10-05-11 17:27 PM

    Day-11
    7.00am I got picked up to go to the airport and went through the security checks before we could get on to the aircraft its self. And I was met with a group of pilots from island microlight to wish me on my way to Corfu, thanks guys.
    I got myself into aircraft again (I seem to be getting faster at this now it only takes me just over half an hour) and got pushed off the grass on to the apron.
    ‘’G-CDVO request radio check and engine start’’ ‘engine start approved…..
    So now I have a 6 hour flight in front of me to Corfu. I don’t know but I must be the first person to fly
    A flexwing microlight from Malta to Corfu?
    On this departure I was having an escort out with Leon in his Technam and a TV camera man.
    Got clearance to take off on runway 23 then cleared to fly a full around the island over Marsascala bay and past the grand harbour at Valletta before turning on my track to the north and leaving my escort at portomaso tower.
    That’s it six hours now in front at 3000ft, the first 3hrs were fine but then it started getting a bit boring as all I could see was the sea, lovely blue sky and water flat calm.
    After the fifth hour ‘’hurrah’’ land ahoy, not long now.
    Gave Corfu a call ‘’G-CDVO inbound blar, blar, blar’’ ‘G-CDVO you are number 1 to land report finals’
    Excellent was a stiff breeze as I flew in onto the runway that starts right at the edge of the sea, the Controller said ‘Where are you G-CDVO’ ‘’ G-VO over the threshold trying to come down sir, ‘’OK now problem’’
    The heat wouldn’t let me come down, but got down no problem.
    I was then met by a group of around 10 people taking photos and smiling away, hello David we are so pleased to have` you visit us at Corfu international Airport anything you want we can provide for you, what group of nice people, I need an hotel please, no problem (aircrew rates as well)
    Took me to the offices to sort out the nessicary paperwork I needed to fill in and the went back to tie my quik down for the night.
    Only place to tie it down was on the apron itself in between some other private aircraft with wires to the ground it wasn’t due to be too windy but just to make sure all ratchet straps were used.
    Then I was taken to my hotel for the night but couldn't get in for steps so every time i went my room i had to get the door man help me up them., that night we had heavy rain and thunderstorms, wonder what my quik was going look like in the morning?? and sat tracker going mad in the aircraft
    Right I’d better look at the weather and maps for tomorrow now.
    Dave
    by Published on 09-05-11 19:26 PM

    Day-10
    Had a sleep in today, got picked up at 10am by Leon again (what a top man he is ) this time we went for a tour around the Air Museum that holds a spitfire a DC3 Dakota and a Hurricane that was brought out of the see and rebuilt by the museum among other old aircraft and items from the past.
    2pm came and we had clearance to go back into Lucca airport so we could get my quik loaded up with fuel for my departure the next day.
    It only took 100litres to fill, not bad really considering it olds 145lts.
    5pm came and we had finished, so we went to Leon’s dads house for a few minutes before we went to an amazing Barbeque.
    We went into the woods which was also a campsite and there was Edgar Buttigieg and his family and a few others of their friends.
    A 40 gallon barrel was buried in the ground, filled with wood and set fire to, this was the barby..
    After a while they put a net mesh over and filled it with what looked like most of a lamb wrapped in foil in this drum and covered it over with soil and sand?????????...
    Apparently it works like a pressure cooker and cooks the meat through quik.
    I hadn’t seen this before.
    It only seemed to take an hour before everything was cooked.
    Had a really good night and went home early for the departure the next day.
    Dave
    by Published on 08-05-11 23:07 PM

    if my tracker is moving it is getting stolen as i have left it in my quik due to knobs rushing me throught the customs
    by Published on 07-05-11 07:06 AM

    Day- 9
    just went out seeing the sights of Malta and had a press conferance at the Airport with TV and Radio.
    Dave


    Day -9

    Day off today so I got picked up at 8.30am by Leon and we went on the ferry over to Gozo for the day, also along came Graziella Leon’s wife and Becky Cilia and Charles Cilia.

    Looked around the stunning island sampling the fine beers they have to offer, but not too many as I had to return to Lucca Airport to have a press conference at 5pm.

    Arrived at Lucca to be met by some of the island microlight pilots and a TV crew. (Felt like a TV star!)

    Soon after I was feeling very tired as it is quite hard work the York to Sydney thing.

    Later that evening we met with few of the www.islelandmicrolightclub.com pilots and went to a local restaurant in St, Julian’s Bay for a meal.

    It was good to meet back up with some VERY good friends again on Malta rather than back at York.

    And after the meal we had a few beers around Bars before back to base at about 3am?

    Dave
    by Published on 07-05-11 07:05 AM

    Day 8
    Got up this morning about 6.30am after watching heavy rain storms out of the window, got my gear together and waited for the taxi to arrive, taxi turned up off to the airfield watching the towering cumulous all around scalea.
    After paying my charges and checking the weather and a few phone calls I decided that it was time to go even though there were big black low clouds down to the ground in the hills around scalea
    After take-off I had to go straight out to see to go around a huge rain cloud that was down to the ground and headed south to scissile, after while there was a big storm out to see on my right and the cloud was getting thicker and lower AGAIN!
    So as I got near Lamezia I started hugging the coast again at 300ft just in the edge of cloud and hay ho it started raining again.
    By the time I was about 10 miles off spicily the sky turned blue ‘’thank you’’
    So I headed towards the messini straight between Italy and sciccly.
    As I got there there was huge cumulus tower hills now so I had to go through the Messina straight but it does get quite windy through there.
    500ft and getting thrown all over as the wind tunnelled through the straight until passed mount Etna then it started calming a bit for a while.
    I then went in to a small airfield called ‘’marina DeModica’’ where I did my flight plan for Malta, 55 miles of water to go.
    Arrived at Lucca International and parked on the apron next to a citation jet and the handling agents from Air Malta came and took me to passport control and immigration to get cleared.
    After that I had to then get clearance to taxi across the main runway to a spot to tie my quik down as I am stopping there tor two days.
    Leon took me to Andrews dads B&B for the two days.
    And we went out for a few beers.
    Dave
    by Published on 06-05-11 07:04 AM

    Day -7
    Got up this morning at 5.30am so I could be off for 7am.
    Got to my quik at six and started to pack up 7am came and I’m off.
    What a lovely couple off hours I had dead smooth no turbulence at all, Then the clouds started building and started to shake me about for a short while.
    Before long they were towering above and all around getting thicker so I had to change course, I was intending to drop into a small airfield to say hello to an Italian trike pilot from Facebook at Valamonmone but as you probably would have seen on my tracker page that I didn’t.
    Spiralling down through the towering clouds that were starting fill right down to the ground and raining I opted for coast, 500ft and less then tracking down the coast past Mount Etna and the Island of Capri was quite something.
    looking at the black clouds and rain now in front I was taking short cuts straight across the bays until it started raining on me.
    Down at 500ft and less then the cloud came down to 300ft and rain so if you see on the tracker I was hugging the coast it was because I was in rain and the cloud was getting lower.
    Scalia came into view and there was the most amazing looking anville topped cloud just south of it.
    Best get in quik before that kicks off then!!!...
    Landed in the wet and a guy came to meet me and asked if I was stopping? YES I think I am.
    Managed to get it in their hanger for the night and I am now in the hotel ‘’Felix’’ for the night Malta tomorrow hopefully.
    Dave
    by Published on 05-05-11 22:45 PM

    Day 6
    Got up this morning at about 6am and rang a taxi ‘’sorry mesure ,no taxi until 10am’’
    So I text a couple of German glider pilots i met at Fayence aerodrome and they said they would pick me up at 8.45am??
    So they picked me up and took me to the airfield, when I got there I found my aircraft surrounded with goats what an amazing sight that was so took a couple of pics before the sheep dogs herded them away.
    I loaded myself and the chair up (which takes an hour to do) and set off to Italy.
    First reporting point at the edge of Cannes done then out 30 miles before turning towards Corsica.
    175miles of water in front of me, what a weird feeling that is?
    It does make you think of all sorts I have to say.( what the the f~~k am i doing, i must me insane on a Rotax)
    The one thing about long water crossings that I have found out so far is that once the land
    Disappears and its a bit cloudy or hazy,
    You have to really concentrate as there is no horizon as such so you look down at the water rather
    Than what’s in front of you or you go a bit dizzy!
    Crossing today with a slight tail wind which wasn’t too bad but still 2.5hrs over water.
    Got over land and an instant 20mph cross wind I was faced with, landed and there was the
    Italian army doing parachuting exercises.
    I got out tied my aircraft down and spoke to a few of the army guys before going looking for hotel
    and fuel for the night.
    I would have carried on but there was the biggest storm brewing on my intended route.
    So I’ m here. For the night illGabiano.
    Thanks to Giuseppe and his brother I managed to get a lovely room at their farm ‘’La ronca’’
    And 100litres of fuel brought for me.
    Giuseppe took my into town to a local restaurant had pizza and a couple of beers  well I am in
    Italy.
    Dave
    by Published on 05-05-11 22:18 PM

    Hello everybody
    this is the first chance i've had to give you all an update as there was no internet anywhere over the last two days'
    The blog updates are ready to put up so i will do them shortly.
    But just a big thanks to everybody for you following me on the tracker and support with my flight.
    I am stopping in Malta until saturday now, i have a press conference at 5pm tomorrow with TV and news papers.
    And you were all wondering why i came out of my way to Malta!
    well the reason is simple i have come to see my good friends at www.islandmicrolightclub.com
    then i am off to Greece.
    i will send more tomorrow now as this is my first day off.

    1,985miles so far and average speed of 74mph.
    Dave
    by Published on 02-05-11 17:54 PM

    Day-5
    Hello, guys and galls, i have just got in to the hotel ''Aurberg de lle pins in Torrettes south of France after my 5.5 hour flight through the mountains at 8,000ft.
    early it was lovely and smooth as you would expect at 8.30am then it started to get a bit bumpy as i was getting higher.
    8,000ft dodging around and over fair weather clouds that were building and there was some lovely views of the hills (Alps)
    i was trying to get to Italy today but as i got nearer to Fayence i was faced with a 35mph headwind, thats enough for one day having to get my plane tied down and find a hotel and all that.
    i landed at Fayence after doing a go round with a 35mph wind rolling over the mountains at me, taxyed in to a nice sheltered place behind the hangers and maneged to get a bollocking for parking where gliders park ''Not Powered machines'' as he mumbled it in French waving his arms around frantickly at me.
    i have now tied my aircraft up and maneged to get a lift to my hotel from a couple of German glider pilots, then i'm off to find a bar and restuerant for some refreshment.
    the wind is looking a lot lighter for tomorrow now and my plan is to file flight plan and leave the coast just north of Nice and go straight across the water following a VFR route past Corsica to a place called I'llGabianno south of Pisa.
    And i would just say a big thanks to Dave and Mandy at wanafly for there fantastic hospitality and help over last day or so.
    Cheers

    Dave.
    by Published on 02-05-11 10:35 AM

    Day 4
    After the messing around at Headcorn with a new battery, I have spent alll day with Dave Lord sorting out a problem that has occurred and had to fit a new radio interface and headset. It's so too late today (don't forget I'm an hour in front now) to get anywhere to tie the aircraft down and find a hotel, so off early morning now.

    I would like to just explain what the problem was; after leaving Headcorn on my second attempt over the channel I heard a weird bussing in my headset that I had not heard before and thought nothing of it, but when I was callied Dave Lord it was very quiet. So yesterday Allen, Daves mate, got his SWR meter out and we started checking my aerial to start with and found one rough strand of coax screening shorting to the main pin of it, fixed that then checked out the Icom A22 which worked fine. It was all still not working right so today we tried a Microavionics powered interface!! with my Lynx headset, still the same. (bugger?) - let's try another headset as well while were here then?? Just the same.

    Dave went flying in the sky ranger and I gave him a call "123.550 radio check G-CDVO'". Dave came back saying lots of background interference, "just a minute Dave" I said and changed the aerial configuration. "DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE, DONT TOUCH IT, THATS PERFECT" Dave Lord said.

    So thats it now sorted and i'm up at 7am for my next leg.

    Dave

    Day-2 

    by Published on 01-05-11 19:32 PM

    Day 2,
    Had a wonderfull night last thanks to Colin Watley and his wife.
    This morning woke up to fog covering Headcorn until late morning when it turned into mist.
    Colin took me into the airfield where we put some fuel in after yesterdays attempt to cross the channel.
    And had a look at my aircraft battery. I bought a new high powered YTZ14-BS battery for the2 weeks ago for the trip and it was knackered.
    So I had to find a new battery on all days the Royal Wedding??
    Asked around the airfield and came across a guy in the TIGER Club (Tiger Moth club)
    That had a brand new unopened YTX9-BS that he could sell me, how lucky..
    Fitted that and then sat around checking Metars and ringing the ATIS at Le’Touqet it kept telling me ‘’400ft cloudbase IFR flying 1500metrs visibility mist.
    Until it got to about 12.30 when it said ‘’1300ft cloudbase 3000metres visabilty’’
    I went in to see if it possible to file a flight plan and his reply was’’ do you want have a go at it again then Dave’’.
    Yes please, filled flight plan for 2pm UK time.
    Took off on 03 runway into a very stiff breeze could only reach about 2000ft before the ground started going hazy so stopped at that until the channel where the Horizon disappeared.
    I dropped down to 1,000ft where I could see the sea left and right below me but in front the vis looked about 10ft!! but wasn’t.
    I knew that at LeToquet the vis was 3000metres and carried on.
    About 5 miles away from the coast it came into view, but the wind then picked up to about 20-25kns and ruf as hell.
    Approached Abbeville overhead and another cross wind!..
    Had to round the first time before getting it down.
    I Decided to stop there for the night as there was lots of thunder storms forcast.
    Within the hour two major storms blew through so glad I got the flyer in the ULM hanger with Ludair (thanks guys)
    Spent the night in the Hotel watching storms and drinking beer.)

    Day2 

    by Published on 01-05-11 19:31 PM

    New ArticleDay 2,
    Had a wonderfull night last thanks to Colin Watley and his wife.
    This morning woke up to fog covering Headcorn until late morning when it turned into mist.
    Colin took me into the airfield where we put some fuel in after yesterdays attempt to cross the channel.
    And had a look at my aircraft battery. I bought a new high powered YTZ14-BS battery for the2 weeks ago for the trip and it was knackered.
    So I had to find a new battery on all days the Royal Wedding??
    Asked around the airfield and came across a guy in the TIGER Club (Tiger Moth club)
    That had a brand new unopened YTX9-BS that he could sell me, how lucky..
    Fitted that and then sat around checking Metars and ringing the ATIS at Le’Touqet it kept telling me ‘’400ft cloudbase IFR flying 1500metrs visibility mist.
    Until it got to about 12.30 when it said ‘’1300ft cloudbase 3000metres visabilty’’
    I went in to see if it possible to file a flight plan and his reply was’’ do you want have a go at it again then Dave’’.
    Yes please, filled flight plan for 2pm UK time.
    Took off on 03 runway into a very stiff breeze could only reach about 2000ft before the ground started going hazy so stopped at that until the channel where the Horizon disappeared.
    I dropped down to 1,000ft where I could see the sea left and right below me but in front the vis looked about 10ft!! but wasn’t.
    I knew that at LeToquet the vis was 3000metres and carried on.
    About 5 miles away from the coast it came into view, but the wind then picked up to about 20-25kns and ruf as hell.
    Approached Abbeville overhead and another cross wind!..
    Had to round the first time before getting it down.
    I Decided to stop there for the night as there was lots of thunder storms forcast.
    Within the hour two major storms blew through so glad I got the flyer in the ULM hanger with Ludair (thanks guys)
    Spent the night in the Hotel watching storms and drinking beer.)
    by Published on 01-05-11 10:34 AM

    Day 3

    Got up this morning after a few beers in the Hotel bar in Abbeville to lovely blue skies, hurray!!

    Set off to Dave Lords at Wanafly just north of Limoges, first hour was fine with a tail wind and scattered cloud at 1800ft until the Rouen river the cloud base started dropping until about 5 miles away from an airfield called Bernay where cloud base suddenly got lower and started filling in to complete blanket cover.

    As the cloud was getting thicker I dropped down to see what it was like below I was met with a 100ft cloud base - "FAR TOO LOW" - instantly climbed back up and went back in to Bernay still with a 100ft mist but being able to see.

    While on the ground at Bernay I spoke to a couple of pilots that spoke very good English and they said it will clear shortly. After about 30 mins or so I took off again destination Wanafly.

    Cloud base was now about 1500ft so for the 20 mins it was lovely, then cloud appeared again and dropped me down to 500ft for the next 30 mins.

    After that beautiful blue sky all the way down to Dave's, but it was very thermic I have to say.

    Stopping here tonight.

    Destination Fayence tomorrow if the weather will allow me.

    Dave

    Day-2 

    by Published on 30-04-11 10:46 AM

    Day 2,
    Had a wonderfull night last thanks to Colin Watley and his wife.
    This morning woke up to fog covering Headcorn until late morning when it turned into mist.
    Colin took me into the airfield where we put some fuel in after yesterdays attempt to cross the channel.
    And had a look at my aircraft battery. I bought a new high powered YTZ14-BS battery for the2 weeks ago for the trip and it was knackered.
    So I had to find a new battery on all days the Royal Wedding??
    Asked around the airfield and came across a guy in the TIGER Club (Tiger Moth club)
    That had a brand new unopened YTX9-BS that he could sell me, how lucky..
    Fitted that and then sat around checking Metars and ringing the ATIS at Le’Touqet it kept telling me ‘’400ft cloudbase IFR flying 1500metrs visibility mist.
    Until it got to about 12.30 when it said ‘’1300ft cloudbase 3000metres visabilty’’
    I went in to see if it possible to file a flight plan and his reply was’’ do you want have a go at it again then Dave’’.
    Yes please, filled flight plan for 2pm UK time.
    Took off on 03 runway into a very stiff breeze could only reach about 2000ft before the ground started going hazy so stopped at that until the channel where the Horizon disappeared.
    I dropped down to 1,000ft where I could see the sea left and right below me but in front the vis looked about 10ft!! but wasn’t.
    I knew that at LeToquet the vis was 3000metres and carried on.
    About 5 miles away from the coast it came into view, but the wind then picked up to about 20-25kns and ruf as hell.
    Approached Abbeville overhead and another cross wind!..
    Had to round the first time before getting it down.
    I Decided to stop there for the night as there was lots of thunder storms forcast.
    Within the hour two major storms blew through so glad I got the flyer in the ULM hanger with Ludair (thanks guys)
    Spent the night in the Hotel watching storms and drinking beer.)
    by Published on 28-04-11 22:24 PM

    Hello, Today was a very immotional set off from Rufforth with so many people coming to wish me well and see me on my way.

    The first half of my flight to Headcorn was quite nice a bit bumpy in places with a ground speed of around 100mph until i got to the wash near Sutton Meadows where i got wet with a 1000ft cloud base and light rain.

    rain Again across the Thames and then landed at Headcorn in Kent with a 16knt cross wind.

    After landing Colin Watney and Rodney Sollamon came and gave me hand with fuel ,wihich Colin very kindly provided for me.

    Filed flight plan for the Channel crossing to Abbeville, and set off.

    As i flew out from the coast just south off Lydd and the danger area the visibilty was pretty bad, but i could see blue sky so i thought i would carry on.

    just about half way across the channel the visablity really deteriated and the cloud started to close in so i climbed to 3,500ft where i could see further ahead, then that closed in as i got closer to the French coast, so dropped down to 500 ft and the same, cloud down to the sea so climbed back up to 2000ft

    All of a sudden it was white out, no ground, no front vis and white above me, so i turned back and tried to head north but the visability just got worse further north.

    Thats it i'm off back to headcorn, so that is where i am now.

    I am stopping at Colin watneys house (Thank you very much Colin) for the night before going back to Headcorn in the morning
    by Published on 28-04-11 12:05 PM

    At 11:30 BST Dave (AKA Spokes) Sykes set off on the epic journey to Australia. You can follow his progress live here

    I was surprised to see Lesley his wife there because mine certainly wouldn't be if it was me doing the trip. His mum was there too.

    He's got a number of electronic gadgets with him for the journey as you can imagine and a flat battery greeted him at just the "wrong" moment. A quick jump start and we had him on his way.

    God speed Dave, I look forward to flying with you again when you get back.



    by Published on 25-04-11 15:13 PM

    Only 4 days left to go, fuelled up today, just 80litres in my big tank and got another 65litres standard.
    That will give me a flight of about 11.5 hrs at 12litres an hour with 5lt unuseable , one seriously long flight and a numb bum...
    by Published on 18-04-11 16:17 PM

    Hello, people
    i just thought i would let every body know that i am setting off to Sydney Australia on the 28th of April from Rufforth YORK at 11am departure to Doncaster Robin Hood,then down south to Popham.
    i will be at Popham on friday and Saturday night then departing Popham on the sunday for my first leg of my York to Sydney Trip
    it would be really nice if all the flyers between her Oz on this Forum could could come and meet me and have pics taken possibly help me out On'route to Oz.
    Kind Regards
    Dave Sykes
    www.soloflightglobal.com

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