FLYING IN PORTUGAL
Portugal is rectangular in shape 450 miles N – S and 140 miles E- W. The North is mountainous, up to 8000 ft where one can snow ski in winter. Winters are cold, a little wet and the summers are hot. The South, the Tagus River being the dividing line, has mild Winters, with crystal clear visibility (100 + miles) and virtually non stop sunshine. On average it rains 2 or 3 times a month for short periods, enough to keep the country side green but not enough to stop you enjoying flying. The runway has never been waterlogged or is likely to be due to the cambered design and type of soil. Apart from July and August when one can expect temperatures in the high 30’s, the rest of the year is extremely pleasant to live and fly. Air quality is excellent, and the area, of low-density population is virtually pollution ion free.
There are many very good G.A. airfields in Portugal with long hard runways, virtually all landings are absolutely free some with good, very inexpensive restaurants nearby. A new guide published recently lists over one hundred private landing strips, many for Micro-Lights, which are very popular and growing fast in numbers, some 350 at this time.
As said before Monte do Lago is next to a beautiful lake by the name of BARRAGEM DE MONTARGIL. We have direct access to the lake and can enjoy its shores in total seclusion and swimming, sailing, water skiing, power ascending and canoeing can all be enjoyed. Fishing is also excellent, as there are plenty of fish and many varieties in the lake. For those who like hunting the area is also very rich from partridge and other birds to rabbit, hare and wild boar we have trouble keeping them out. Other available activities will be mountain biking, off road driving, horse riding, and astronomy with no light and other types of pollution, the sky at night in Lago is absolutely magnificent. Monte do Lago is however a bird and animal sanctuary. One can often see herons, storks, eagles and other wonderful bird formations ride the thermals, displaying some spectacular flying, not to mention ducks, geese and swans that live on site A large flat grass paddock by the small lake inside the village will feature special events such as hot air ballooning, international rallies of historic and modern aircraft, model boat and aircraft flying etc. The Iberian air rally has selected the Village for their annual stop over in Portugal every year we have over bo aircraft and 120 visitors stayed over-night. A golf course within 15 minutes walk and near the village is also being planned with beautiful cork trees and spectacular views over the lake. There are other golf courses within easy reach by air or car. For those who would like to continue or expand their business careers, Portugal is a place that can offer many opportunities, industrial land and labour costs are both available and inexpensive and there are huge pools of European Union finance available. We can help you if this could be of interest.
The area has been populated for the last 40,000 years and while flying over the countryside, one often sees ancient monuments. If you fly low, and you really can in Portugal with a very easy going CAA, you will often see pre historic monuments dating back 5,000 years or more. The Romans were here from 200 AD to 500 AD and there are many bridges, roads and monuments still standing and in daily use. The most famous being the Temple of Diana in Evora which is a great tourist attraction. The Vandals arrived at the end of the Roman period in 500 AD and destroyed most of the Roman culture and were dominated by the Arabs who conquered the southern area of Iberia in 710 AD and stayed until 1350 approx.. They marked Portugal extensively and their influence is still visible, particularly in the South where they stayed longest and where the Christians coming from the North allowed many to stay and the mixing of races is more pronounced.
FLYING AT MONTE DO LAGO
The meaning of the name is literally ” Hill of the lake ” but ” Monte” in Alentejo (province name meaning ” beyond Tagus “) means a farm with houses, normally set on a hill so that the owner may survey the estate. The Alentejanos are famous in Portugal for being very calm, relaxed and not enjoying hard work! In fact, they are a peaceful, friendly and hospitable people and the villagers near us could not be nicer and are very supportive of our flying activities.
The prevailing wind is from the NW so runway 32 normally is exactly into wind speeds varying between 5 and 10 knots The runway is 550m long and 20m wide with flat cleared grass areas to either side. The runway elevation is 400ft above sea level and 120ft above the lake. Both approaches are clear, the surface is grass over a loamy/sandy soil with very good drainage and lightly cambered. No flight plan is required for VFR flights inside Portugal outside controlled airspace. If you are transponder equipped and you would like the extra safety of the Portuguese Air Force’s excellent SSR flight services, you call Lisbon information on 127.9, make an abbreviated flight plan and will then be transferred to 123.75 in our area for co-ordination with Lisbon Mil. The skies are almost empty (805 on the register in 1999, some 300 GA, some 250 are Micro-Lights and the rest belong to the Airline and Transport companies) but occasionally one sees the F16’s and Corsair’s flying around which is good fun.
The military are very helpful and friendly, speak perfect English with slight American accent, will advise you if destination weather is unsuitable (after a while one assumes there are perfect conditions 100% of the time!) and generally make you feel welcome and safe. VFR at night is not allowed in Portugal, however as the time zone is the same as the UK and Portugal being the most westerly part of Europe, one can fly until quite late. Gliding and motor gliding is also excellent with strong thermals and mountains not very far away for ridge flying. For those who like the sea, the West Coast is well equipped with airfields all within 30 minutes flying. The Algarve to the south has also several airfields within 1 hour flying. In winter you can fly in 1 hour to the mountains for snow skiing, para gliding, trout fishing and enjoy the spectacular scenery. There are many airfields here too; in fact the whole of the country is well served with airfields which are well under used. After take off from runway 32 one has a spectacular view of the blue water of the lake which extends 3 miles to port and 12 miles to starboard some 1.5 miles wide. The beaches would provide emergency landing areas in case of engine failure. Wind is normally light on average 5 – 10 knots and when really light one would land on runway 14 approaching from the lake, which is really great fun as the airfield and runway give the impression of a giant aircraft carrier. From a safety point of view, there are many flat fields around suitable for emergencies and the whole area is generally flat with some undulating ground to make it interesting.
The village has a clubhouse with facilities for flight planning and a place where all can meet, have a drink and talk aircraft. There are plans for some aircraft building, and we already have all the machines required to manufacture light aircraft if it is decided to do so. Flight training is also contemplated and the fleet includes nose wheel, tail wheel and STOL GA and Micro-light aircraft.
We have received Outline Planning Permission but still need Detailed P.P. before building can take place. We are fully operational as a PPR private airfield and before starting any flight to us we would ask you to contact Leonardo Sayago on 00 351 917505520 for landing authorization and information.
A cottage is now available for renting. The ideal tenant would be a retired couple, keen on flying, with a maintenance background. If you would like to know more please call on the number above and we would be pleased to discuss all aspects of our operation.