The island Madeira is located some 700 km / 400 miles west of the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean.
Throughout the year you can hike here - the climate is moderate and mild.
With "Levadas" plantations and gardens are watered.
The 4 km / 2.5 miles toboggan ride from Monte to Funchal is a popular tourist attraction.
On the coasts, there are quiet coves,
and at the island of Porto Santo a 9 km / 5 miles sandy beach.
Madeira Airport lies like an aircraft carrier on the coast.
The almost 3,000 m / 10,000 ft runway has been built on an elaborate support structure.
The pillars are 3 m / 10 ft thick and up to 120 m / 400 ft high, half of it above the ground.
In Madeira Boeing 747 can land,
but mostly the airlines use single-aisle aircraft.
Condor flies to Madeira throughout the year.
Now for our flight to Madeira.
The Airbus A321 has been flying with another crew ...
... from Stuttgart to Palma de Mallorca and back today.
The new crew - 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew - arrive at the aircraft.
Catering, cleaning and refill with fresh water have already begun.
The baggage of 187 passengers is loaded.
The refuelling has begun, too.
For the route a fuel demand of 11,495 kg has been calculated.
Per passenger roughly calculated 75 liters / 20 gallons.
Captain on this flight is Bernd Krohme.
The 46-year-old has left the cockpit to perform the outside-check.
He checks mainly gear, tail and engines carefully.
Are there any visible damages?
Condor 3 Lima Kilo - Confirm ready for quick departure.
Confirm, Condor 3 Lima Kilo.
The Airbus will be taking-off towards east, on runway 07.
First officer is Daniel Hägele.
He will perform the take-off as "pilot flying".
When taxiing onto the runway the pilots go through the last part of the take-off checklist.
BELOW THE LINE Take-off runway - 07 Packs - Off Before take-off checklist completed.
Today - as so often - it is busy at Stuttgart airport.
The pilots have been asked by the air traffic controller to perform a "quick departure".
Captain Krohme sets some power early to avoid wasting time.
Condor 3 Lima Kilo - traffic inbound 3 miles out ...
... wind 060 degrees / 6 knots, runway 07 cleared for take-off. Bye.
Condor 3 Lima Kilo - Cleared for take-off 07. Rolling.
You have control. I have control. Take-off.
With 30,000 horsepower the Airbus A321 accelerates to the take-off speed,
that has been calculated with 290 km/h / 157 knots according to the present conditions.
The pilots follow a prescribed route after take-off.
The aircraft takes a 180-degree right turn, then passes by at Stuttgart Airport again.
The further flight path to Madeira is almost straight.
The route totals about 3,000 km / 1,600 NMI,
the calculated flight time almost exactly 4 hours.
At cruising level the altimeter shows 35,000 ft, approximately 10,700 m.
In the navigation display the waypoint ABUSU is already set,
that is located only about 10 NMI before Madeira.
Blue wave symbols mark the Atlantic,
and on the left of the green track line a radio beacon of Lisbon airport can be seen.
The view from the cockpit window confirms the navigation display.
Lisbon lies at the mouth of Tagus river at the Atlantic Ocean - everything is clearly visible.
Navigation is relatively easy here ...
... the more challenging the landing in Madeira will be.
What makes the approach to Funchal so special are the rotating winds.
The runway is located on the coast and built into the sea,
and close to the final approach there are two valleys, and these have strong effects on the winds.
This means there can be rotating winds in the final.
The threshold is also relatively close to the runway beginning, because the runway is built on stilts into the sea.
Authorities require a special license for the approach to Funchal,
a simulator training before the first flight to Madeira,
and you also have to proof to fly regularly to Funchal Airport.
This chart shows the route for the final approach to runway 05,
ie in landing direction 50 degrees.
After the radio beacon "Funchal" the aircraft have to fly 211 degrees past the airport.
The recommended altitude is 1140 ft / 350 m - fairly low,
to get under the cloud layer that is often existing here ...
... and so to be able to perform the final approach visually.
6 NMI after the radio beacon the right turn should be initiated.
The waypoints GELO and ROSARIO should be overflown in 850 and 460 ft.
This approach is a "visual approach", because no instrument landing system is available.
One of the reasons why pilots like Funchal Airport.
I really love to fly to Madeira because you have to fly manually a lot,
because it is a visual approach,
and you can enjoy the great view,
when flying over the bay and then turning towards the airport.
It is always a small challenge because of the winds,
and therefore always very exciting for us.
In fact, today there is a low, thin cloud layer before Madeira.
In just over 1,000 meters / 3,500 ft altitude, the aircraft dives into the white veil.
Under the clouds the visibility is good again.
In low altitude the aircraft passes Funchal Airport.
Everything is going according to plan, and the wind is in the limits, too.
Everything looks very stable, right?
Very good. Even now the wind.
It really matches exactly to the ground wind.
The pilots are focused on the landing,
have run it through a few minutes ago in a briefing.
Now the most interesting part of the approach begins:
Without instrument landing system and in visual flight mode ...
... the captain flies the aircraft manually to the runway.
In stronger winds, the approach can be somewhat shaky.
Today the situation is proving more challenging than expected.
With active control inputs captain Bernd Krohme must compensate the gusts.
Just before touchdown the wind gets a little stronger,
so that the aircraft touches down a little later.
But no problem to leave the runway by the next taxiway directly, no need to turn around ...
... at the end of the runway.
Condor 3 Lima Kilo - To the apron, stand 7!
6 Condor aircraft from various German cities come to Madeira today.
Many passengers probably do not even know ...
... that here they can experience one of the most interesting airports ...
... civil aviation has to offer these days.
Sorry - Flight in the cockpit films only available in German language so far.