Peter: “Houston, we have a big and very unpleasant problem” – Chronicles

“Would you like to show me a picture of the map of Poland, the zone west of Poznan towards Berlin? Please also send an approach map and a map of the airport in Poznan.”

Our columnist loves to fly, but the first trip in his Glasair was exciting.

This is a chronicle. This means that the content is the writer’s own opinion.


I love to fly. It’s the best I know. Nothing beats the feeling of getting between two airports for your own machine. I have had a CAC for almost twenty years and did the education in parallel with my studies at the University of Kalmar.

It has always been a big dream to own your own aircraft. The opportunity came during the summer of 2014. I found a small Glasair plane that I hit on. No major cost, about 350,000 kronor, I think the price landed on. Used aircraft stand and litter in every hangar in the world. You can get a used Cessna for SEK 150,000 without any problems.

Now came the big day. I would pick up the plane and fly it home to Poland. First it was Ryanair from Poznan to Skavsta. Then a taxi to Linköping, where the plane was parked. The purchase price and contract were already ready. As it should. According to old tradition, aircraft are always paid for before leaving the airport with their new owner. A short while later I was already in the air. The idea was to be back in Poznan already that evening.

An hour later I landed at Sturup Airport. A small leg stretcher, pee break and full tank. Now it was time for the next part of the trip, the one that would take me across the Baltic to Poland.

After the start from Sturup, I steered the cow towards Bornholm and then straight south. Good pressure in the cart, I reached altitude fast, and the cruising speed was almost 150 knots. Something completely different than a tired old Cessna, I thought. 11,500 feet below me, the Baltic Sea was almost mirror-bright. A lot of boats, most cargo ships. I opened a bottle of Loka lemon and ate a biscuit chocolate I bought at Sturup.

Shortly after Bornholm, I was handed over to Polish traffic management. Hi then Sweden and dobry wieczor Poland over the radio. No weirdness. Than.

Navigation was done using the SkyDeamon program on my iPad. It worked great. I had programmed the route the night before and it was shown on the screen, along with a map. Very smooth. The iPad had its own holder on the instrument panel.

A quarter of an hour later I was finally across the Polish mainland. That’s when it happened. That which absolutely must not happen.

Houston. We have a huge and very unpleasant problem.

My iPad overheated and suddenly turned itself off. Every pilot’s nightmare was now my reality. This was definitely not good. What made things much worse was that I, stupid as I was, did not have any paper maps of Poland with me as a backup. I had Swedish maps. But not for Poland. I had not had time to get them yet.

The situation was worrying. What was I supposed to do? Contact the traffic management and explain my location. Perhaps. Or? There was only a 25 minute journey left. Should I take a chance?

I decided to fly on. Set the course at 165 degrees. The plan was now to find the huge highway between Berlin and Poznan and then simply follow it towards the city.

A few minutes later, however, I got a much better idea. I turned on my cell phone to see if I had coverage. I had it! Welcome to T-Mobile Polska. There was also good coverage, almost full plops.

I sent a text message to my good friend Roland, helicopter pilot in Poznan.

“Hi Roland! Are you possibly in the hangar? Would need help with a thing. Quite urgent, please respond quickly.”

I got an answer within half a minute.

“Hi Peter! Yes, I’m in the office. What’s up?”

“Do not have time to explain, but would you like to send me a picture of the map of Poland, the zone west of Poznan towards Berlin and Szczecin? Please also send a boarding pass and a map of the airport in Poznan.”

It took four long minutes. Then came the rescue. Roland messed up pictures of the maps I needed. The most important was the approach card to the airport in Poznan with all radio frequencies. There was a lot of zooming on the small phone screen, but it actually worked quite well anyway.

Twenty minutes later I landed in Poznan. An absolutely perfect landing that is only possible late in the evening on a summer day. A wonderful feeling. I parked the plane on the plate and walked through the terminal for private flights.

Once home, I did not even go up to the apartment. Instead, it became a small bar located on the ground floor, where I was a regular. I sat down at the bar and ordered a cold Polish beer.

“The situation?”, Asked the bartender Janusz.

“You will not believe what happened to me tonight “, I replied.

This text was first published in auto motor & sport no. 2/2021.


Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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