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Flying in Istria

I was just on holidays in Croatia with my family on the part called Istria. Istria formed eaerlier a part of Italy and you can clearly see the ‘touch’ of the italian architecture on the buildings, cities and villages.
The nature is very green, the sea blue (as it should be 🙂 ) and there are also some nice small islands not far away from the coast which would be nice to see from the air.
Before we went down I made a small investigation on internet about the flying clubs, possibilities, etc. The information found on internet about flying in istria was equal O, or very poor information in croatian, which doesn’t help a lot. If you are not on internet, you doesn’t exist!
It is also a good experience to fly in a different regio than you are normally used to fly to gain more experience and to see how is the world of aviation in other countries.
Cessna/Reims 172 ready for the next flight

Let’s get some fresh air inside! 🙂

After arrival we spoke to the owner of the place we were staying at, and he gave me some information about a field from where some local company offers touristic flights… There was some hope that I would be able to fly around and log my first flight with a plane with croatian registration and croatian airports into my logbook.
The field is called Medulin Aerodrome (LDPM) and has a grass strip (RWY 12/30)  and a concrete taxiway.
It was very easy to find it, as they have exposed 2 written off planes on the hill, Piper Aztec and Cessna 150. They were from the local flying club which went bancrupcy. So at least somehow they are still serving for aviation purposes as a “decoration”.
Medulin Airport (LDPM)

Medulin Airport (LDPM)

After we spoke to the owner of the company we were able to make a flight on our discrection. As the hour costs 220€ in a Reims 172, I decided to fly only one hour only.
Our flight path

Our flight path

The one hour was sufficient and really worth of it. Could have been flying for longer, but it was simply to expensive. The owner flew with us as a security pilot and he gave us a lot of interesting information about the area and helped with the communications and navigation as well. The weather conditions and visibilty were outstanding with almost no wind.
I know, that if somebody flies for more than 20 years, that he probably (thinks that he) wouldn’t need a checklist, but I am used to read it and make a engine run-up before the departure and outside check as well. Makes me feel more comfortable and safe. This was not the case. And I know know a guy who had a similar problem on a plane because of ignoring the checklist…
The plane was refueled for approximately 01:20 hours and my question was: where is the reserve? He said, we have 3 airports near by and we are going to fly for one hour only, so it should be sufficient. (Checked the 2 tanks, and the right one was almost empty).
This is probably how they are flying the touristic flights as well… Hm, have my doubts about the correct procedures and the safety of the flight. Was not sure whether to abort the flight or not. Finally I decided to fly anyway and to hope that everything goes fine. (I did fine, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing now this post, lol).
The taxiway was from concrete and exactly as bright as the the Cessna’s landing gear, so I had to look good to stay on it and to not to taxi on the grass. Finally I thought we were going to depart from the grass strip, but following the owner’s instructions, after pulling the throttle to maximum, we were able to take of from the resting taxiway on the 160 meters… Wow! Airborne pretty fast!
Following the coastline we made the approach and low pass to the first field (LDPV), which was pretty impressive as it was situated behind a river on a small cliff. Unfortunately I have discovered that my Gopro turned off ( I had the videos from the previous flight during my holidays), so the most interesting part of the flight is missing…
Pula - sorry for the dirt windshield :-)

Pula – sorry for the dirt windshield 🙂

Rovinj from the air

Rovinj from the air

Next we crossed Istria to the west coast, than to the southeast and continued with our 2nd low pass on Pula Airport (LDPL).
Crossing Istria to the East

Crossing Istria to the East

Somewhere near Hrboki

Somewhere near Hrboki

Flying along the Eastern Coast of Istria

Flying along the Eastern Coast of Istria

Low pass at Pula Airport (LDPL)

Low pass at Pula Airport (LDPL)

After the low approach we have returned back to the Medulin aerodrome (LPDM) for landing. Approaching at 65 kts with flap 10′ we have landed on the grass strip (RWY 12). Pretty nice experience to land on a grass strip (I am used to land on a concrete runways between 1.800-3.400 mtrs long).
Final RWY 30 at Medulin Airport (LDPM)

Final RWY 30 at Medulin Airport (LDPM)

I have enjoyed the flight a lot, also the coutryside and the experience. I am sure I would repeat it again and fly over to some othe parts of Croatia. I have to admit that the owner knows very well his plane and the area, and it was a nice flight and experience.
With my brother in law after the flight

With my brother in law after the flight

Here I share with you a short video from my short field take off at Medulin Aerodrome using the remaining 170 mtrs of concrete taxiway 🙂 Enjoy it!
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