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  1. 1. I am thinking of doing a world tour along the lines of my ATWC adventures

    • Yes, I would be an avid reader
    • I couldn't give a toss
    • For pitys sake no don't do it.

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We too have several bathrooms.  One was made special for me and my new mate, a bottle of bleach.


@ Loic.  We English have a similar saying about your nation. However, being an Englishman and thus awfully polite, I cannot bring my self to say it lest you are offended.


You must insist that I tell it to you before I even consider setting it down on these pages.   ;)




As my grandfather in Saint Malo used to say : " If God has put the englishmen on an island, there must be a reason ! "   :P


And yes, God did try to corral us on an island as he knew how dangerous we are.  However the boat was invented. And then King Henry VIII put guns on one.  The rest is empire. 

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The Cycle of Life keeps us Pedaling hard to keep up and sometimes just keeping our seat or hanging on can be a challenge, thankfully, the Cycle of Life has Bars for that.   A toast to you si

Chapter 2 – Brooklands: Wings and wheels, the adventure starts.   History   Brooklands has been at the heart of British aviation since its inception. Original a banked motor racing circuit opened

Another charge against the quality of french restaurants !     As my grandfather in Saint Malo used to say : " If God has put the englishmen on an island, there must be a reason ! " 

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( And I never thought in general that building empires, be it english, french or spanish or you name it, by colonizing other countries and people - and killing a good number to teach them "civilization" - was a proof of cleverness )  :(


Agree 100%. 'Murica is really good at those pursuits, no one is accusing us of being Clever lately, in fact, the word "Texan/Texas" is even being used in place of "Moron/Stupid" in some places.


I believe that the appelation "Homo Sapiens" is perhaps assumed to soon for us.

If the Hominid line manages to survive our planetary influence...I suspect history will eventually place us closer to Homo Habilis (Handy Man) than Homo Sapiens (whichever hominid is writing that future history :P ).

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I believe that the appelation "Homo Sapiens" is perhaps assumed to soon for us.

If the Hominid line manages to survive our planetary influence...I suspect history will eventually place us closer to Homo Habilis (Handy Man) than Homo Sapiens (whichever hominid is writing that future history :P ).



Auto-eradication of "homo sapiens" is probably the best chance for this planet, and we're working hard in this direction !   :D  Although it will have a bad end anyway with the future expansion of the sun ...  but that's still a few years down the road.  :)

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 I only happen to have "french"  written on my passport. It's about the same as asking to my friends in Ireland, Wales or Scotland how "english" they feel !  



Do the above and you had better be able to run very fast! 



We've always been the best enemies over the centuries,.....




Very true Loic.  Like two squabbling brothers.


If you are from Brittany then you were born nearer to the place of my maternal grandmother than I was. She was a LeBrun from Jersey.


I have sent you a PM with what my Grand father used to say about the French!

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I know the place well ! One of my first jobs in the 70s was for a Jersey company, "Channel Islands Ferries" operating a ferry named "Fleur des Iles" between Saint Malo and Saint Hélier. A few years later, I also worked for a local transport company where I was in charge of a freight service with the Channel Islands. I used to go over to Jersey and Guernsey at least twice a week, either with the "Solidor" ferry when I had trailers on board or from Dinard with the Islanders of Aurigny Air Service when I needed to go see customers over there. I'm still in touch with a couple of people there I used to work with.


Of course I've also been often to St Peter or St Hélier with the sailboat during holidays, Alderney and Sark are also nice places to spend a few days.

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Chapter 4 – Flight to Vichy


It seems that we were to be the guests of honour in the French air force mess this evening. It turns out that they thought that they thought that we were part of the Red Arrows display team. We decided not to tell them the truth, and go along with the misunderstanding.


We had a fantastic and formal meal in the mess.  We were, however not able to dress for the occasion as we didn’t have any dress uniforms. Actually we didn’t have any uniforms, save for the un-badged RAF pilot’s flying rig that we had on, not surprising as we weren’t part of the Royal Airforce let alone the Red Arrows.


We were excused the formal dress, and had to tell a small fib that we weren’t in our red flying gear as we weren’t doing a display. We had a great time but has to watch our drink as we planned to be gone in the morning. We had a tight schedule, especially now we could be discovered to be Red Arrow interlopers!


The nearest airfield to Vichy is Charmeil Airport just to the north of Vichy and the other side of the river Allier.


We rose early and set about making plans to get to Vichy.  The previous evening, I had had pressure put on me to do a Red Arrows flypast for the lads at the base. They had wanted a full display, but I pointed out that that couldn’t happen there was only one aeroplane and we didn’t have any smoke generating fuel on board.


The weather was good so we planned a VFR flight to Charmeil airport.As it was a fine cloudless day we would see if we could navigate the Hawk the old fashioned way, VFR by landmark.  The plan was simple: After take-off we would fly east along the N13 due east until we pick the L’Eure river.  We had to be careful here as the river Siene ran parallel and further east and we didn’t want to pick this up by mistake


We then follow this river in its generally southward direction until we reached Chartres and then turned eastward to follow the L’Oceane highway (A11). This we would follow east north east until it reached the junction with the L’Aquitaine highway (A10).


From here we wound follow this road on its southward course to Orleans.  Here we would part company with L’Aquitaine as it continues south west and instead follow the A71 (E09) motorway south to Vierzon.


We all had a bit of a childish titter at this point in the planning as our rout took us very close to a small village called Ardon. However the French Ardon was very small, so we would probably not see it. Which was probably a good thing.


At Vierzon the motorways split with the A71 heading southeast and the A20 southwest.  We would continue following the A71 some distance until we sight a large and distinctive junction where the A719 splits off eastwards. We follow the A719 until we see the Aerodrome De Vichy-Charmeil ahead.  Job done.




Plan B was the GPS.


Paperwork done and then Jas surprised me.  I was to go this one alone as she had been recalled to London. I headed out to the aircraft and did the walk round. I the cockpit and the checklist were done and taxi clearance given. 




Taxi to the active.


Take-off clearance given, I soon find myself in the air, flaps up wheels up and climbing.




Take off and tidy up.


I banked eastwards and soon spotted the river reading south. An easy spot as the sun was glinting on its service. It really was a beautiful day with few clouds in the sky.





Turning to follow the river l’Eure.


Following the river was easy and the sky and panorama of the landscape was beautiful. I tracked down the river down to Chartres, turned east for a very short hop and then south again following the motorway to Orleans, Vierzon and further south.





At Chartres, turning to follow the motorway south to Orleans and then Vierzon


After Orleans I was instructed to climb to 30,000 ft. as the French Airforce was using the airspace below us for an exercise. So up I went. This was not in the plan. Fortunately I knew the bearing to follow and knew I would be descending as I got closer to our destination.




30,000 ft, a stunning view, but not so good for VFR.


Sure enough I was released from my height restriction and started to descend. I could see Vierzon behind me and as I dropped to 5,000 I soon picked up the A71 again.



Descending to 5,000 ft.


With Montelucon past us I was on the last part of my flight. The ground ahead showed mountains on the horizon, my destination was well and truly before them and so I knew I was nearly done.


The ripple of the horizon is my first sight of the Massive Central


Approaching Charmeil Airport, I passed along the downwind leg and tuned onto the base leg and then began my approach.  




Lined up for landing


The approach was easy with fantastic visibility and with ATC permission, I was soon lined up with the runway.




On finals.

Runway 01 was the active and I made a nice three point landing.



Ok, so it isn’t on the centre line but it is a three pointer.


Down safely and then a short taxi to the stand. This involved doing a 180, taxiing back up the runway, before turning off onto a taxiway for the airport buildings. 




Down safely




Parked up and the aircraft is secure.


I shut down the aircraft and made it save before wandering into the airport buildings. below is an aerial shot of the airport with its buildings near the start of runway 01



Charmeil Airport


Tomorrow was another day and I looked forward to looking at the history of Vichy.


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Chapter 5 – Vichy: Town of Shame?


Vichy is best known as the seat of the French government during the Nazi German occupation. Before we look at what this meant, let’s take some time to look back further than its more recent tarnished history.


Vichy lies on the banks of the Allier River. The source of the Allier is in the nearby Massif Central plateau which lies only a few miles to the south.


The Massif Central is a plateau that was formed by volcanic activity over a period of some 150,000 years. However the last recorded volcanoes eruption war at least 112 years ago. Volcanic activity in the area is responsible for the many thermal springs that exist in and around Vichy.


Roman Era.


In 52 BC the roman army was defeated by the united Gallic forces under the command of Vercingetorix. In its retreat, the Romans crossed what is now the river Allier and established a township at the crossing point.


Roman settlers exploited the many hot springs in the area, making use of the water in a series of thermal baths. Because of the baths, the place became a prosperous town, with many people coming to bathe in the hot spring waters.


At the end of the 3rd century, the Roman Emperor Diocletian commissioned an administrative reorganization and land-survey which included this river crossing point. It is thought that it was this survey was responsible for giving the settlement the name Vippiacus. This name was changed over time to first Vichei and then to Vichy. Very little of the original Roman baths survive today.


Middle Ages


In 1374, Vichy was acquired by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon and in 1410, a Celestinian monastery was founded with twelve monks. Of this monastery, a single building remains and this is located above the Celestinian Spring.


In 1527, the House of Bourbon was incorporated into the French Kingdom, and by the end of the 16th century the thermal baths had obtained a reputation for having miraculous curing powers. Vichy became a favourite destination for the rich and noble of France.



Vichy Baths.


In 1787 the baths were substantially refurbished to provide a more refined experience for those using its facilities and in 1799, Laetitia Bonaparte, mother of Napoleon, came to be cured with her son Louis.


État Français.


After the French surrender to the Germans on the 22nd of June 1940, Vichy was outside the zone occupied by the Germans.



Marshal Phillipe Petain.


The unoccupied zone took the name of the French State (État Français), changed from the pre-war French Republic (République française) and set up its capital in Vichy on July 1st 1940, This was largely because of the town's relative proximity to Paris, some four and a half hours by train.) Vichy also had a modern telephone exchange made communications to and from the town very easy.


By the 10th June a French Parliament made up of appointed members and Senators voted for the end of the Third Republic. The republican system was abolished, and the French State, with Philippe Pétain at its helm as Head of State, replaced it.





Starting from this date, Vichy would be, for more than four years, the de facto capital of the French State although the Nazi occupied Paris was still the official capital.


Petain and Hitler


Vichy France covered south central France down to the Mediterranean coast from Spain to Marsielle. Further east than Marsielle was in the hands of the Italians.  This situation lasted until November 1942 when the Germans and to a much lesser extent the Italians took control of all of France. 



Map of France post German Occupation


After the liberation of France in 1944 Pétain fled to Germany with other members of his government. However in April 1945 he returned to France via the Swiss border.  Pétain was tried and sentenced to death by the de Gaule Government, but in view of his age (89 years), he was incarcerated for the rest of his life, dying in Fort de Pierre-Levee prison at the age of 95.



Petain’s trial



After world war two, Vichy, after a brief period of a popular spa town, went into decline along with Frances economy at that time. However recently a major effort has been made to revive the town’s fortunes. Its centre has been modernised and pedestrianised, the thermal baths restored, and many other improvements have been made.


Today, the name Vichy is carried by a cosmetics range and a brand of mineral water. Both use Vichy water for their products.


Next up, still in France we head west to La Rochelle, to look at something associated with what could be construed as the reverse of flight.


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  • 4 weeks later...

For those of you following my adventures here, Unfortunately my tour has had to go on the back burner for a while.


I have had to fly home to pick up a flight to Dubai, and have just returned from that trip.  Next weekend I am due to be in Brussels, depending on the security situation there.  At the moment it is looking likely that I will be going.


So watch this space for more adventures when I return... 

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I am back in the UK after an uneventful trip to Belgium. We chose not to go to Brussels in the end but did a tour of some small breweries in southern Belgium.


I say uneventful but we did observe something of interest. When we crossed into Belgium from France we were diverted around the outside of the old customs apron.  Where the main road was we observed the construction of new boarder control buildings.  It slowed us down in getting to Belgium but not by mush.  I guess that the French don't care much who is leaving France.


On the way back we had to do the same diversion, but to the other side of the apron.  This time there was a delay as every car was being photographically examined by the French Police, who were backed up by many fully armed French soldiers.  


I would seem that France is preparing to come out of the Shengen agreement. If this is so with other french boarders then others will follow suit.  For example in the case of the Spanish boarder, Spain will be largely isolated and so may as well come out. My guess is that Shengen will wither and die.


This is just an observation that I pass on.  I will delete any off topic or inappropriate posts.  So behave! :)


Offenders will be put on the virtual naughty mat.

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I always found it really weird when I was based in Berlin.. I could drive all the way home unchecked except by the Russians at East German border and at the docks in Dover...think there may be some big changes ahead...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pre-Christmas globe trotting completed and the festivities over the tour looked set to continue. However the Red Arrows were taking some time during this out of season period for some major overhaul work on their Hawk T1s.* This meant that there is no available aircraft to fly at the moment so it seems I must wait for a while longer before I can continue my tour.


Sorry guys but it will be a week or two before the tour continues/


* New FS PC for Christmas so there will be a delay while I do a complete FS rebuild!!!


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  • 2 months later...

Spring is here and a new season for the Red Arrows.


All the aircraft have been given a full overhaul during the winter months, and so I am lent XX308 again so that I can continue my around Europe trip especially as now ATWC 2016 is over and I can relax and enjoying hassle free flying.


So watch this space for more adventures into Europe's history of conflict. :)  



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The Milviz F100 is a great product.  The more I use Milviz addons the more I like what they produce.


The F4 Phantoms are the best of the bunch as far as I can see.  My review marks it down on documentation, otherwise it would get full marks. A great addon that not only supplies a fantastic flying experience but there is something about the sound package that comes with it that give it an incredible atmosphere.  The more I use it the more I like it.   

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The Milviz F100 is a great product.  The more I use Milviz addons the more I like what they produce.


The F4 Phantoms are the best of the bunch as far as I can see.  My review marks it down on documentation, otherwise it would get full marks. A great addon that not only supplies a fantastic flying experience but there is something about the sound package that comes with it that give it an incredible atmosphere.  The more I use it the more I like it.   





With you 100% John. The Milviz/Nemith artwork, design and systems work is terrific. Very engaging aircraft, and very immersive. The new F100 is a hoot. I feel like I am getting the landings down after 6 NonCrash landings...It is pretty rare for a new plane to be such a handful for so long...initially...2 crashes and 3 shitty landings till I managed what I considered a "soft" landing. Awesome challenge.

Also awesome is their Management systems...their 407 chopper for example allows you to individually configure Every livery in the set outside the sim with various Model Changes...antenna, wire cutters, steps on landing rails, electronics/gps systems on board...etc, etc. The F100 allows me to set things like ladders, pitot covers from the "Addon" menu in game...it has it's own Addon menu with lots of options to change.

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There will be a further delay to the recommencement of my adventures in this thread as my FS PC has gone belly up on me.  I will start again when it is back from the hospital and fully functioning again.  :(

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