Daily Diary » June 11, 2008 - June 22, 2008

Budapest, Hungary / Debrecen, Hungary / Bucharest, Romania

Since Budapest airport does not have AVGAS, we had to fly to Debrecen on the way to Bucharest for fuel. We filed IFR direct (45min) to Debrecen, which used to be an old Russian Air Force Base. The ground handling crew was very nice and accommodating. After taking some pictures with them, we took off to Bucharest. The flight plan took us to 11,000 ft due to the high terrain of the Carpati mountains. Again we had to deviate a few times from our route due to some CB's on the way. We landed in Bucharest, and with terrific help from the local ground handling crew, Romanian Airport Services, we got to our hotel, the Ramada Nord. At night we went to dinner at a typical Romanian restaurant, called Varna, with Mookie's nephew Dori Keren, who happened to be in Bucharest on a business trip at the same time.

We rented a car and drove to the Carpati Mountains, stopping in Azugo for a cable ride to the top of the mountain which was still covered with some patches of snow. Azugo is a ski resort in the winter. At the coffee shop on top of the mountain we met Julia from Hamburg, Germany, who is traveling alone in Europe. We gave her a lift to the next town over - Brazu. Brazu has a beautiful old section where we had lunch in one of the local restaurants. We said la revedere to Julia and drove back to Bucharest.

06/13/2008 - 06/14/2008
Bucharest, Romania / Istanbul, Turkey

While filing a flight plan from Bucharest to Istanbul, we conveniently learned that we didn't have permission to enter the country and land. We started scrambling to get the permission, and lo and behold, enter Captain Eran (an Israeli private jet pilot). He showed up at FBO (fixed base operator) and provided us with an agent in Turkey that arranged the permit for us. So after 3 hrs of waiting, we finally got the OK and we were on our way to Istanbul. The initial approach into Istanbul was very busy on the radio, lots of jets arriving at the airport. We were told to increase speed, HA!, to be in line for landing. Even with the commotion, the landing still went well.

The next day was dedicated to touring Istanbul. We took a tram, both inexpensive and convenient, into the old part of town, and from there we walked to two very famous Mosques and the spice market. After mucho walking, we took a boat trip on the Bosferous with a great view of the city and the harbor. In the evening we took a cab into Taxim (the Soho of Istanbul) and oooh la la, WOW. The main street was crowded with people cavorting about and enjoying themselves. A good time was had.

Istanbul, Turkey / Dalaman, Turkey

We arrived at Istanbul airport and filed a flight plan to Dalaman. While starting the right engine, the window was open and our low altitude chart between Turkey and Israel made like a bird and flew right out the window. We shut off the right engine and Mookie went out to look for it but came back empty handed. Since our laptop has JeppView, containing all the charts, we decided to continue with the flight to Dalaman. Istanbul is a very busy airport and we were surprised to see that they assigned us to taxi in between the big airliners. We had to keep quite a distance from the Pakistani airplane in front of us to make sure that we didn't fly away like the chart. Upon arriving in Dalaman, we rented a car and drove to Marmaris for dinner. Marmaris is a resort town with a big port and numerous restaurants. The most exciting part of the evening was the celebration that took place when the Turks beat the Czech Republic in football, landing them in the quarter final.

06/16/2008 - 06/18/2008
Dalaman, Turkey / Tel Aviv, Israel

Shortly after arriving at the Dalaman airport for our flight to Ben Gurion-Israel, we found out we couldn’t leave Turkey because they didn't have any record of us entering Istanbul. It was the responsibility of the handler in Istanbul to supply us with the record. We started scrambling for the records because there is a restriction for private planes to land at Ben Gurion airport between 2pm and 6pm local time. Finally we received a fax after a three hour delay, enabling us to land at Ben Gurion at 1:45 pm, flying over Rodus Greece and then towards the homeland. As we got closer and saw the city of Tel Aviv, we were really getting excited to return to Israel with our own aircraft. Of course, the first four hours in Tel Aviv were spent at the airport because we had to have a problem with the A.I fixed. We stayed in Tel Aviv for three nights. We toured the city and checked on old neighborhoods, many of which have been renovated with new buildings and galleries. We also visited the old city of Yafo. We would like to thank the following relatives and friends for their help and hospitality: Meira, Izzy, Tova & Noa, Yosi Shmueli, Rony Levy, Chezy Harpaz and Ela and Schmulik. It was good to see old friends and family, and it's always a real pleasure to see the land of our youth again.

06/19/2008 - 06/20/2008
Tel Aviv, Israel / Eilat, Israel / Petra, Jordan

The flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat took us over the ancient city of Jerusalem, Masada, and the Dead Sea. After landing in Eilat, with help from Guy Gilrons, we went shopping for a manual hand fuel pump that we might need in the future. The next day we took a guided tour to Petra, crossing the border to Jordan. The tour took us through the city of Aqaba and after that, Petra. We know some of you will recognize a few of the pictures from Petra. Believe it or not, it's not a movie set, but a real place crafted out of rocks. One of the most famous and elaborate ruins is Al Khazneh, or "The Treasury", and it is really a sight to see. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a new wonder of the world. It was a little cooler tempature wise than Eilat, since Petra is located 3000 feet above sea level, BUT IT WAS STILL HOT!

Eilat, Israel / Luxor, Egypt

The MEA airway between Eilat and Luxor is 12000 Feet. Since we were heavy with fuel and the temperature was over 100F/38C, we filed for a special request for 7000 feet, but this was rejected by the Egyptians. We decided to take off anyway and climb northbound. After 45 Minutes in a steep climb, we reached 10000 feet. We turned back toward Egypt and continued to climb, but the most we could reach was 11500 feet. We contacted the Egyptian radar controller and he gave us permission to fly at this altitude under VFR. Our route took us over the Red Sea via Nuweibaa, Sharm El Sheikh, over the Nile River and towards Luxor. We landed in Luxor after 2:30 hrs instead of 1:45 hrs. It was 110F/43C. Oofah!

Luxor, Egypt