Arriving into Spain

Arriving into Spain



Fish on the Rocks

Cabo Verde is not because of its apple green color, after the rain falls, but because of the opposite Cabo Verde cape, where Dakar (Senegal) is actually sitting.

It is interesting to know that it was the first colony established under that ¨concept¨.

Portuguese and other countries settled there, but let us said that the spirit and flavor is purely Portuguese.


Fishing Boats. Note the shore – no sand just black rocks

Those volcanic islands provided the necessary fresh water for the ships exploring South America and also the jail for slaves….

People, there, are very nice, however things are changing and now the area is no longer as safe it was.

It seems that a lot of people in US prisons, were sent into Cabo Verde in a kind of relative freedom, and that is related with the security deteriorating there.

Cabo Verde is independent since 1975, and has undergone difficult moments, but now, tourist industry is becoming stronger and it looks like everything is better.

I cannot judge anything but only tell about what I have seen, and that was mainly related with the airport there at Praia.

Everything was neat, modern, efficient and nice, so I can say that it was a very good place for a stopover.


Ocean Sunset in Cabo Verde


Enjoying the view

Neca, from the Spanish Embassy, was my host. She helped me a lot with the flight permit and anything I could need: big thank you, Neca !!! Also I met the Spanish Ambassador, Caridad and some nice Spaniards. I was approaching my destination….!

At the airport, I got the support of local engineers, that provided me help and knowledge.

The brakes hydraulics system was empty. We recharged it with a special pump and I climbed into the airplane, and then, push hard on the brakes, as the maintenance guys checked for leakage.

Good news, no leaks, problem fixed !

Then, I was able to refuel the airplane from a local pump station. Fuel Service from the airport, helped me a lot. Cesar Augusto from the airport, had an empty drum, and provided me everything I could need. Airport authority cleared that fuel inside the airport. Many thing to be learned by other countries, where security is misunderstood !


Refueling. Hope that barrel is not rusty on the inside too!

I installed a new HF antenna and a new fixation system. The HF test was OK, so finally, I was able to have some rest.

I had a good ¨polvo¨, a very satisfying experience !

Next day, the departing day, everything was nice, helpful and fast at the airport, starting with the correct landing fees.

Now, as I do know my spanish friends, I wish to explain that the ¨polvo¨was cooked in a different way than pulpo a la ¨brasa¨or a la ¨Gallega¨… 🙂

Weather was very good, but again headwinds were present. I decided to have my throttle forward and get better speeds.

And again the HF failed. I think that the trailing antenna is not the better solution for this airplane, even though I had been able to communicate correctly during other flights.


Gran Canaria




But again I have got the telephone numbers of Oceanic controllers (gracias Javier !) and soon I was under Canarias kind controllers.

EC XLL, we do congratulate for your big feat !!!

That sounded wonderful.

Quite soon, the huge Teide volcano was in sight. It was my first sight of Spain since very long. I was feeling happy.

Buuuut, also I tested the brakes in flight. Not a usual procedure, but you know, sometimes something rings the mind, and there is a reason for that.

Noooo ! No backfeed on the left brake ! No brake !

I was in despair !

So I started to study the options and decisions to be taken. Would I ground loop the airplane, where to do so to avoid any airport interruption.

When at Cabo Verde, the right brake was a little bit tight, so the aircraft veered to the right.

If that did happen again, better to land the left side of the runway. But the fast exit taxiways were on the left side of the active runway…, so being to close to the left side of the runway, would require a a tighter turn into the exit, a tighter turn just with the rudder and tailwheel against a may be tight right wheel. Wind, from the would help, however.

So finally the decision was taken: I would land left side of the center line (not left side of the runway), delaying the landing to exit at the very end, with some speed, to have rudder aerodynamic control and tail wheel. Minimum flaps to minimize any wind change.

Everything went as expected, and I was able to exit a a reasonable speed, the 03 runway, at the very end. What was not expected was the Follow-me car, that was waiting for me right there, and stopped.

Fast airplane, with no brakes and a car in the middle of the path, was not good news, so I decided to stop the engine in order to not slice the driver and his car (sure that they would not like the idea).

The guy started its forward motion and also I veered right of him using the right brake to slowdown the airplane, so everything was right. Then, the follow-me car realized that the airplane had the prop stopped, so he stopped !. I re-started the engine, and the confused guy started again to drive me into the General Aviation ramp. He stopped there, descended its car to guide me into my position.

Again he found myself shutting down the engine at its side, not in front of him, so ….he returned to his car and left before myself explaining him what has happened.

Some 10 minutes later he returned and I was able to explain him what did actually happen. We had a lot of fun !.

Lanzarote spotters were waiting for me. They shot really nice pictures !!!


The Security guard called his friend Luis, a private pilot who was having his airplane close to me.

That was like a miracle: Luis had all the tools I could need to check again the brakes and repair them if it was an installation problem (loose fitting, broken something).

We met early the next day (of course, not a rest day). We cleaned the left brake.

Local engineers, Alberto and Gabriel, provided us help and hydraulic fluid ( the right one 🙂 ).


From left to right, Luis, Gabriel and Alberto

Soon, the big reason for massive leak was found: the brake piston O-ring.

So I removed the brake from the airplane, and turned that o-ring upside down.

But the leak kept there, so Gabriel suggested to have the rectangular section o-ring inside out.

And that worked !

No more leaks and full operative brakes !!!

Not as easy it could seem. Meanwhile, my friend Jose del Peso has removed his brake form his RV8 and was about to drive into the Madrid airport to have the brake taken by an Air Europa pilot who was flying that same afternoon into Lanzarote (of course, still we had to find out which one was assigned for the flight and if he was ok to help us !)

Late in the afternoon, I was able to have just a little bit of rest, and prepare the flight for the incoming rest.

I was going to fly into mainland Spain and across Morocco.

Morocco requires 24 hrs notice by flight plan, but the flight plan could not being sent before that… so another problem could arise.

I filed a Z flight plan: first VFR and then IFR. That way I was able to fly the impressive cliffs of Mirador del Rio north Lanzarote area. Then, if Morocco denies my entry because of that late flight plan, I was ready to fly a direct overwater route into south mainland Spain.

Again everything was fast at the airport and more than 30 minutes in advance, I was fully ready to depart. Then, a car approached the airplane. It was the airport manager that came to congratulate me for the flight !

What a nice visit !

He and his staff were helpful and I do appreciate it (thank you Mirella !)

Again supportive controllers and up in the air, for a short flight, some 5,5 hours !

Mirador del Rio was beautiful from the air, but severe downdrafts were present in my downwind position. Soon, I was free of those unfriendly winds and climbed to FL 080 into the Koral point, the entry point into Casablanca FIR.



African Shores


Industry and black carbon


Casablanca and its beautiful Mosque

From there, I was cleared direct to the exit point Galtos, the other side of the country, at the Gibraltar straight.

I was my first time also, since long, I was able to see mainland Spain, with its massive icon, like a light house from far in the air.


Gibraltar in the distance – Almost to Spain!

Sevilla, EC XLL, I do cancel my IFR flight plan and proceed VFR to my alternate airport, La Axarquia.

Cleared to do so, I flew direct to LEAX and was transferred to Malaga approach, that cleared me a continuous descent to destination.

And there they were, two airplanes waiting for me, to escort my arrival. Miguel Mendez with his beautiful Sonex, and Ignacio Gil with its Piper.


My dear friend, Miguel

Soon I was in the ground, very happy to have reached a place where friends and everything was going to be easy and nice. A lot of people were waiting for me and he had a good good time.


Real Aeroclub de Malaga


Now, the airplane has been cleaned, and everything is prepared for the tomorrow´s flight, the official arrival.

The dream is about to be completed.

A lot of energy has gone in that beautiful project. The scientific data is promising, and best of all, I have discovered a beautiful world, a special people, that have fulfilled every cell in my body.

Tomorrow weather is not the best one, but light will enhance it.

Thank you all !!!


One Comment

Juan M. Gonzalez Arenal / Dec 14, 2016 9:26 pm / Reply

Estaremos ahí Michel; no va a ser el polo pero hará frió y a lo mejor nubes/lluvia. Pero ya se sabe, el que quiera un PEZ GORDO como tu eres, que se moje…. lo que haga falta. Ojala todos pensemos igual!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.