Traveling abroad always broadens your horizons, especially when you s’hot left and check out the local airfields. It is always interesting to check out the local aviation scene, and usually the passion for aviation will break language, and other barriers. If you are lucky enough, someone will entertain you, and be willing to take you for a flip if you persist with the smiles and desperate looks.
Lucky for me, on a visit to France last year, I checked out my Facebook friends list, and found one that I knew flew aeroplanes – based out of the beautiful Loire valley, near Tours nogal! I was very curious to see what aerie he was going to pull out of the hangar – not his own of course (flying in Euros is even more costly), but the hire-and-fly from the local air school – a Robin DR401. As he told me we would be flying a trainer (no complaints at all), I was expecting the usual Cessna or Piper, but true to French form, they are a patriotic lot, and tend to choose French aircraft as far as possible. Given the French expertise in manufacturing aircraft, this is certainly not unreasonable.
The Robin, for me looks quite ‘boxy’, but it is really quite huge inside, and as a 4-seater it really can take 4 ‘regular’ sized adults comfortably. According to the Robin website it is a robust aircraft with low fuel consumption. It has a Lycoming engine, and was designed to facilitate climb rate, rather than cruise speed, which makes sense considering a lot of European fields have relatively short runways, and the French countryside is so beautiful that you would miss it all with a high cruise speed!
If ever you get the chance to fly in this area, there are some magnificent aerial sights of the famous castles in this area…
If you are familiar with the Robin, or have even flown one please share your comments!