I haven’t posted on my blog recently and yet I took a lot of pictures. Fall is here and is progressively giving its place to winter (but don’t worry winter in the French Riviera is easy to support).
Two pictures were taken during a flight around Cannes in a brand new APM30 (nice light aircraft by the way).
Two others pictures were taken from the Lérins Islands. Those are small islands near Cannes, you have to get there by boat. It is a little expensive but totaly worth it. However if you want to get there I would recommend to not do it during summer.
Finally the two last photos were taken at the Mt Vinaigre (the highest moutain in the Esterel, but only 614m high, nothing compared with the Alps).
If you like my pictures you can find all of them in High Quality on my Flickr account
In order to fight fires in France, the Sécurité Civile has a big (but old) fleet of 26 airplanes. Among them the most known is the CL415 (popularly called “Canadair” which is in fact the manufacturer). Their callsign is Pelican followed by the number on the tail of the aircraft. During their mission there are usually 2 to 4 of them.
3 pelicans low pass during and exercice near Cannes
But this article is about the Firecat Trackers who are less known but still effective against wild fires. Initially these aircraft were used on USA aircraft careers so they are very easy to manœuvre which is perfect to fight fires (especially in areas with mountains).
Unlike CL415 they cannot scoop on the water. They have to be refilled on the ground in places called Pelicandrome.
There is one in Cannes that can be seen on this chart :
It is placed near the threshold of the runway 17 (used more than 90% of the time) so they can take off very quickly.
Holding points A1 and A2 are used by “normal” aircraft and a Tracker at the Pelicandrome
Their callsign is Tracker followed by the number of their tail. There are 9 of them in the French fleet. They are now based in Nîmes Garons (South of France, roughly between Montpellier and Marseille). In order to gain time (every minute is precious with wild fires), 2 of them will be based in Cannes during this forthcoming summer.
They usually fly by two, in a relatively close formation. They have priority over other aircraft (which makes the situation complicated during heavy load of traffic in Cannes). Each one can carry 3000L of water (usually fire retardants).
Trackers 01 and 24 vacating the runway
2 trackers landing
They are getting old will be retired in 2020 (initially it was supposed to be 2008). We don’t know yet which one will replace them. But for the moment it is a pleasure to see the professional pilots using their skills in order to save lives !
More about this :
It finally happened, my first solo flight. After a bit more than 4 hours and this machine it went solo for the first time (I had 15 hours of flight before in a course but I wasn’t allowed to go solo for insurance reasons).
Here is a little video summing up my flights up to the big moment :
Music : Krewella – Surrender the throne
I’m starting to really like my new camera and understand how to use it properly. Here are some shots that I took at Cannes with it during last 3 months.
Most of the pictures were taken using the 55-250 mm STM, except this one :
La pointe de l’aiguille under lightning
It was at night during a great thunderstorm in the sea that caused a lot of troubles in the air traffic from Nice to Toulon.
Cannes is also a place where there are a lot of interesting machines like this old Fouga (former plane used in the Patrouille de France before they switched to the Alpha Jet).
There are also a lot helicopters (it represents almost half of the traffic during summer period with a top of 45% during august).
Dragon 06 on departure
AS55 bypassing A5 taxiway
G-DLBR departing from runway 17
The biggest one is the first H175 used for VIP purposes as you can see on this article. The yellow and red EC145 is called Dragon as it is a rescue helicopter based in Cannes.
To the west of Cannes, there are red/orange mountains called L’Esterel. I love hiking there and I decided to paint the sight, here it is :
This was inspired from several pictures I took, here is one :
In every French aiport, radio-equipements used by aircraft for instrumental approaches needs to be checked every year (and even more often in some cases).
One of the steps in the process is called in-flight calibration and is done by an ATR42 which is full of sensors (the kind of airplane where you should not use your phone ! 😛 ).
Here are some pictures in Cannes Mandelieu LFMD :
ATR42 taking off
More information :
Localizer on Wikipedia
Flight Inspection Wikipedia (should be completed)