Pilot wrote:Hi Michael,
Good luck on your flight.
Can't say I see much issue with your routing. Going via Kilkeel adds about 8 miles to your trip, but takes nearly 13 off your cross water part, although it may add a lot of time across Dundalk Bay if you add this directly. This compromise is a personal compromise that only you can decide on
Dublin ATC will probably ask you for an estimate of the FIR boundary since you're going across the border, so have it ready, and it will save you some brain power
I understand that you intend to do this at 7000ft. A couple of things I'd say here. Firstly I agree, go as high as you can get. In my experience Dublin ATC can be reluctant to let small aircraft climb into controlled airspace, but it helps if you let them know early that you want to climb, and your route doesn't affect the departures/arrivials that their commerical traffic is using that day. I suspect you'll be fine on that score. It also helps if you sound competent, so don't ask for 7000ft, but rather Flight Level 70 Also remember your flight plan gets filed as "F070".
A caution here too. Obviously the cloud base may not let you climb that high (looks good tomorrow) but you face one other issue here. We are in a high pressure situation at the moment, and it's been pretty stable. It's likely that Viz won't be great. 10Km viz is ok, if altogether easy, when flying over land, but it's damn hard work when flying over the sea. With 10km viz over the water, the sky and the sea can merge into one, and to all intends and purposes you might as well be in cloud...all you can see is straight down. If you're not comfortable with the conditions turn back, and wait for a day with better viz. Viz can be a very significant problem over water, on a day when it's not an issue over land. It can help to fly lower, as you don't have as much air to look through to see the surface, which can help significantly.
Also, don't let your altitude convince you that you don't need life jackets and a life raft. There are lots of reasons why you might end up ditching, and you'll have no chance of surviving without both at this time of year.
I don't know if you're used to flying into larger airports or now, but if you aren't then I should say that you'll need a taxi diagram, as this is how ATC will tell you where to go. You can get it by going to http://www.ais.org.uk here and registering (it's free-register as UK & Foreign States).
Once you've logged on select, Publications from the top menu, then UK AIP, then "Go to the UK AIP", then UK AIP, then UK AIP, Aerodrome & Heliport index specific, and then Isle of Mann. The chart that you are looking for is Aerodrome Chart-ICAO. It shows all the taxiway designators. From memory the flying club (who will handle you) are somewhere close to D1.
Also have a read of the textual data
Officially the IOM is a special branch and customs designated airport, but the flying club seems to want you to fax your GAR in advance for some reason.
I also heard that they have a club car available for hire for ?10, but have never availed of it myself. Might be nice to get it and drive into town
Not much else I can add it that really. If you aren't used to flyin at FL70 then don't forget that you need to plan your desent! There's not much point arriving over the VOR with 7000ft to lose in 5 miles! I'd say you'll probably need a 500fpm desent starting about 15-20 miles out from the VOR to arrive over it at 3000ft....that will depend on your speed obviously!
Have a great trip, and mind the viz! If you're not happy turn back!
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