Bern To Ciampino 377nm
13th August 1998. After spending our rest day walking around the beautiful old city of Bern and swimming in the river Aare in heatwave conditions, we noted a high overcast had set in. The cloud was on the top of the Alps so after receiving an improving terminal area forecast for Florence & Cavok for Ciampino, we decided to fly visually (VFR) through the Alps in to Italy. I was amazed at the location of many Swiss Airforce runways, in one way valleys, some with hangars dug out of the mountains! From Bern we tracked over Thun, Interlaken and the Aare river valley & crossed the Alps over the Grimsel Pass. We took some photos of glaciers as we flew between mountains over 15,000 feet high. As we passed in to Italy, the weather improved and we reverted to our IFR flight plan and climbed to FL130 for the short distance in hazy conditions.
I thought of Bert Hinkler as we passed close to Pratomagno near Florence where he died in 1933. A great and humble aviation pioneer!
We caught glimpses of the Vatican and the Colosseum as we made our approach in to Ciampino.
We were met by our host Dr Flavio Saccomanno who was building a Lancair IV. He and his friends Valentino & Emilio had flown in a Rallye to meet us. After clearing customs we departed for L'Aquila where we planned another oil change and top up the oxygen. On arrival at L'Aquila, we were met by the Mayor and the President of the Aero Club and many other local officials. We were presented with engraved plaques and gifts and we were over whelmed by the hospitality. We put the back seat in and took many of the officials for a fly. Over the next two days, we serviced the Lancair and eventually
had the oxygen bottle filled by Alitalia.
16th Aug 1998
On the weekend we went with our friend to a small gliding field north of Rome called Alfina. Both Alex & I were given an aerobatic flight in a Cap10B. I had flown competition Aerobatics in S1 Pitts & Super Decathlon aircraft and this aircraft performed half way between the two. We were so well looked after in Italy that we were sad to leave.