Nic Rodgers continues his account of Freedom’s adventurous trip to Romania. Join us at 6pm every day this week to relive the trials and tribulations.
We awoke and hailed some taxis to take us back to Ineu, where we hoped to begin the daily ritual of refuelling the aircraft. However, some logistical issues delayed our refuelling so we had a couple of relaxing hours to rest and admire the beautiful scenery.
Once refuelled and ready, we crewed up and got airborne. Our first stop was Cluj Aeroclub. Cluj is home to a fairly large international airport, but we would be flying to Cluj Aeroclub, just a couple of miles to the south of the main airport.
After a quick crew change, we were back airborne and heading to Tgmures Aeroclub, via Andrei’s house. The first leg took us to the North West of Romania for some sightseeing of the stunning mountains and valleys Romania has to offer. We even had a chance to fly-past Andrei’s family home. Andrei (Freedom member, legendary chef and currently studying for his ATPLs) was the reason we decided on Romania for the 2015 expedition. His local knowledge was invaluable during the planning stages, so the opportunity to fly past the family home was too good to miss.
After flying over some stunning mountains – up to about 8,000ft – and through delightful valleys, we were in the area of his family home. However, despite flying around in circles several times, we couldn’t find his house (it looks very different from the air, says Andrei!) so we headed South East to Cluj.
Disappointing, but we did get to see some impressive castles and even a monastery! (who remember’s Bitburg? – Ben)
From Cluj, we flew to Ghimbav which worryingly is only shown as a heliport on Skydemon. Turns out they also have a nice long runway! We had a couple of communication issues reaching them on the radio, but just as we were about to fly on to the next airfield, they cleared us to land on runway 21.
Due to the delays with fuel at the start of the day, we were now getting short of sunlight hours. After paying the landing fee we went straight back to the aircraft and quickly got into the air. The final leg of the day to Tuzla would take 1 hour 20 minutes, and was a straight line over very flat and feature-less terrain. To make it more interesting, we practiced some more formation flying as well as a spot of low level flying. We got some great views of the vast cattle fields and rivers below.
We reached Tuzla airfield just as the sun was setting, making for a wonderful approach with the Black Sea glimmering in the twilight.
After landing, we grabbed our gear and headed to another taxi. First problem of the trip: turns out the Hotel Tuzla we had booked was actually in Bosnia and Herzegovina, over 1000 km away! After a couple of frantic phone calls, disaster was averted and we were heading to our newly-booked hotel for the evening.
Tuzla is a popular Romanian seaside resort, with lots of entertainment and activities going on. After dinner, we enjoyed some live music and dancing, as well as a performance from a fortune-telling budgie!