General Aviation–Around the World

Several aviation friends have asked questions about differences and issues we may be experiencing on this Around the World Air Journey. Here are a few points regarding General Aviation (GA):

*            GA’s presence is minimal in Europe compared to USA & Canada.

*            The universal language of aviation controllers is English. Once you check in they know to speak English.

*            Squawk codes are changed frequently in flight: Barcelona, Marseille, and Milano each switched our code. Milano controller amusingly: “N850 Tango Delta squawk-a, new-a code-a, 6-a,4-a, 2-a, 2-a”

*            Briefings which Air Journey prepares for pilots is very inclusive with anticipated weather, including winds aloft, weather at destination; the anticipated departure procedures, approach procedures and parking instructions.

*            It seems more common to always have detailed SID (standard instrument departure procedure) and the STAR (standard transition arrival route). This adds many waypoints to the flight plan.

*            Start up procedure is different: one must call to request and receive permission to start-up. You will then receive your clearance.

*            Transition altitude (switching to Standard barometer setting) varies between 6-11,000 at different airports.

*            Barometer is set in HPA (Hectopascals). 1014 = 29.92 inches

*            Flying in a group we monitor a common frequency to ask/inform our colleagues enroute. This is helpful when the leading pilot details what to expect. Our four aircraft usual take off order: Pilatus (2), the TBM (us) then the Citation Mustang. With a 45-knot advantage we (TBM) overtake the Pilatus (both) mid-flight and the Mustang with a 35-knot advantage, overtakes us. This brings the landings in opposite order.

*             Jet fuel is about the same cost as USA–so far. It is anticipated cheaper later in our journey.

*            The handling charges are what might choke you! Paris charged 1,248 Euro for 3 nights parking and handling while Ibiza was a bargain at 365 Euro for 3 nights.

*            Over the North Atlantic, where there is no radar contact, pilots must radio Ground Station scheduled position reports: Your ID; Flight level, time crossing the designated point (longitude & latitude), expected next waypoint in UTC (universal time coordinated) and next waypoint after that one.

*            Europe’s lack of Nexrad is rather shameful.

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