Shannon To Bern 724nm
11th August 1998. After a week of touring Ireland, we woke to the sound of light rain. We were staying at a Bed & Breakfast home close to Shannon with the owners being aviation enthusiasts. We learnt quite a lot about the Flying Boat history at Shannon prior to the runway being built. Their daughter worked for DHL and when we mentioned we were bound for Bern she became quite excited. A major instrument required for an operation on a patient in Bern was left behind in Shannon that night. Could we assist? We were light, not requiring bladder fuel for the 2.6 hour sector so we agreed to carry the medical package. We tried to fax our flight plan in to Euro Control but they rejected our 250 knots cruise speed at FL110 as being to fast for a single engine piston. After a phone call we mentioned that it was only the freezing level that stopped us cruising higher and faster and in fact we would attempt faster due to the urgency of the equipment being needed in Bern. The plan was accepted and our slot time brought forward. Parking fees for the week were close to USD$150 for the week. On climb we were able to get between layers at a higher level of FL130 as we flew over the Irish Sea. The weather improved and we tracked a little south of London and shortly after, took a photo of the white cliffs of Dover passing behind. We made sure our ground speed was well above 250 knots! Haze was widespread and Bern was a warm 33 degrees for our arrival. As soon as we shut the engine down, we were met by an ambulance and quickly were relieved of our important cargo. Alex's family originate in Switzerland and we were extremely well looked after by his relatives and friends. We decided that these shorter lower level sectors would unnecessarily increase our work load if we tried setting more speed records so we didn't bother for the Bern or Rome sectors.