Basically, my flying club is trying to arrange a christmas fly out to a German Market. The place they have chosen is called AAchen and the local airfield I believe is called Merzbruck, however I am having some difficulty finding anything out about the airfield (other than on their website, which of course is in German!). Therefore, firstly has anyone ever in fact visited this place? Secondly, does anyone know of an AIP for Germany available on the Internet? And finally, can anyone think of any special regulations when flying in Germany in comparison to the UK? I heard a rumor Mode S transponders were compulsory.
I went to Maastrich - an excellent airport with really good all weather facilities and pretty cheap as well. Of course there is miles of tarmac. I hired a car in Maastrich and drove to Aarchen have decided the runway there was a little short for my purpose. It is a very easy and pleasant drive.
Not wish to poor damp water on a good trip dont have too high an expectation of Aachen - I though the place was a dump, with mostly tired shops and not much of interest (to me anyway).
It is a pleasant enough trip over the scenery of the low countries however and very straight forward.
You could also visit Valkenburg which is far more interesting, very close and has some good hotels.
Seeing as how people are offering some alternative locations, how about Cologne (Koln). Just a little further east with a very nice airfield at Leverkusen (EDKL) which is approx 15km from Cologne.
The city offers some interesting sights and also boasts seven separate christmas markets with the most spectacular set around the main cathederal. The 'alter markt' is very olde worlde and is worth a visit also.
I heard a rumor Mode S transponders were compulsory.
AFAIK they aren't compulsory in Germany* if you are below 5000'. If you're routing through Holland, then you'll have to be below 1200' if you don't have Mode S. Also worth bearingh in mind that the Dutch now require you to have an ELT (not a PLB) if you are crossing their arispace.
*That was the situation when we went to Berlin last year.
I fly into Aachen a lot, it's a really short runway and requires a careful and stable approach and landing. It's uncontrolled and has no navigation aids. Maastricht is by far a better choice but then again, I'm prejudiced since I'm local. Long runway, ILS on both sides, VOR and NDB's, ATC, hangars, food, the lots. Maastricht City is the oldest town in the country, built by the Romans together with Aachen. Valkenburg is only a 10 minute drive and has a great Christmas market and other places of interest, caves, castles, casino. There's something there for everybody. Terrific selection of hotels too.
Mode-S and 406-ELT is required in Holland but I may be able to get you a waiver for the aircraft that are not equipped according to Dutch law. Drop me a PM if your club decides for Maastricht and wants a waiver..
You could also consider Bonn-Hangelar (EDKB) which is a bit further east than Aachen. The Koln christmas market is preferable to the Aachen version. However, as PH-SCP says, the Maastricht area has bucket loads to offer. If you do hit town (EHBK, that is) let us know. We'd be only too happy to sink a beer or three with you
I will buy the first round If you guys should decide to stay in Maastricht city just le me know, I have a friend in the hotel business in Maastricht and I'm most willing to do my best and negotiate a decent price at one of the downtown hotels..
We have now decided to visit Maastricht airfield and then drive to the nearest christmas market. We will be flying out on Friday the 4th of December and returning the next day, so fingers crossed for good weather!
Finally, just to pick he brains of locals and those who have visited Maastricht before, are there any pit-falls or local procedures that we should be aware of to try and make the trip as stress-free as possible??
Oh and as for the offers of drinking companions, we may take you up on those at a later date! =-)
There are no pitfalls as such that spring to mind. Are you using the Jepp Airfield plates? There are a number of defined VFR arrival / departure routes which are used almost without exception. I seem to recall a notice earlier in the year that handling was mandatory for visiting aircraft. Best bet is to give the guys at Air Service Limburg (ASL) a call for the current gen. Telephone number is +31 43 3646949. Otherwise, the field is pretty straight forward.
Enjoy the trip. I just hope the wx improves from what it's at at the moment.
If there's anything else you think I can help out with, just ask.
Handling is indeed compulsory these days but EHBK is one of the few airports where, IMO, the overall value proposition has got better since handling (by Air Service Limburg, email address 'info' at the obvious domain) was introduced. The handling fee was about EUR 15, landing fee about EUR 30, parking about EUR 10 per day for a 1700 kg twin. ASL is on the opposite side of the airport from the main terminal, and by arrangement, Europcar brought our hire car to us at ASL while we drank coffee in their comfortable lounge.