My name is Gica Pascariu and I am the Flight Design distributor for Romania. I am also managing sales for Flight Design General Aviation in Eisenach, Germany. My girlfriend and partner Diana has family in Italy. What better way to go for a visit from central Germany to Italy than by our own personal plane? We had decided to make this trip a while ago, but due to being super busy recently, getting my rating finished and helping with the restart of Flight Design, we kept postponing it. Finally, we found the time, the weather was on our side and we were ready for departure.
The CTSL Turbo we own, is registered as German (DULV) ultralight aircraft, 2016 production year equipped with a constant speed Neuform three-blade prop and a 914 turbocharged Rotax engine. As an ATPL licensed pilot who loves all things with wings, I have more than 3000 hours in ultralights of which more than 2500 hours is on different CT models. I have always wanted to see how a CT with a 914-turbo engine will perform on a longer trip, now it was about to happen and I was anxious to get started.
Diana and I started our trip early in the morning, about 08.30 local time. Right after takeoff we started climbing to 9000 feet towards our first stop, Eggenfelden (EDME), a leg of about 180 nautical miles and once at the cruising altitude I started to check the remaining distance, engine parameters and the time to EDME, all was ok, even better than expected, with a 155 knots TAS and a bit of tail wind, we would fly over the remaining distance in about in one hour and twenty minutes.
The trip was planned in three legs, second one from Eggenfelden to Sankt Johann in Tirol, Austria, where we will also refill our fuel and then the plan was direct Padova (Padua, LIPU) near Venice Italy. The first leg was done before we could realize it and after enjoying a short coffee brake we were on the way to St. Johann (LOIJ) enjoying the white clouds mirroring in the blue Chiemsee and at the same time looking at the imposing mountains and thinking how to get over them! Again, in about twenty minutes we were at the end of the second leg. At LOIJ, a very nicely placed 750 m concrete runway in a valley between the Alps. Once cleared for landing, we taxied directly to fuel tank station, filled up and prepared for the challenging journey ahead of us.
Important aspects of mountain flying are the complexity of factors that you have to take into account, starting with the weather, clouds, meteo winds, downdraft currents and ending up with gliders and paragliders that can appear in those mountains even at 10,000 feet, and I know that from my own experience. Thinking about all that we started the last leg. I knew from the beginning we had to gain altitude as quickly as possible and our turbo CTSL, loaded to maximum allowable weight did just that. After departure clearance, on the departure route, we were climbing constantly and watching all the parameters. In exactly 18 minutes, we were at 12,500 feet (which is an average of 700 feet/minute), and an altitude good enough for us to avoid the peaks plus a margin for safety and comfort.
I was really impressed how well the CTSL was performing, all the weight, full fuel, me, Diana all of our baggage. Language and the fuel did not count as I could feel the power of the brand new Rotax 914, the turbine gave me the comfortable amount of power that we needed, and again we reached speeds in excess of 155 KT TAS. Overhead the Grossglockner glacier at 13,000 feet, we could see small parts of Italy already. We headed directly to Cortina d”ampezzo and started our descent.
I’ve always trusted my CTs, but this time we were flying at the highest altitude and reached higher speeds than I’ve ever been with any other CT and even on the top of the Alps, over the Grossglockner glacier, It felt very safe to fly my plane although I knew we were so small but felt so big.
After we landed at the Padua airport (LIPU) in Padova, after having a wonderful flight, we started right away with the first touch of Italy, an original espresso at the airport restaurant.
In doing the math’s of this flight, we did on average, speeds of 135 knots at a fuel consumption of 20 liters per hour over the total distance and a flight time of 03.20 hours which was not bad, not bad at all.
The CTSL Turbo is an ultralight plane manufactured by Flight Design which obtained its German Type Certificate with DAEC at the beginning of 2016.