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Legs 6 & 7 - Keflavik to Wick, Scotland then to Glasgow on 24th April

KEFLAVIK to WICK

Again we’ve been blessed with a great forecast and we are expecting blue skies … that is, after we clear the low overcast black clouds covering Keflavik.

Flight time to Wick is just 3 hours and 42 minutes to cover the 760 miles – another fantastic tailwind. The forecast for Wick is good but the airfield does not open until 1530 so we’ve got to arrange our departure accordingly.

After departure, sure enough, we burst out of cloud at 3,000 feet on our climb to 13,000 feet – and after 30 minutes of flight we clear the Icelandic coast and the cloud dissipates – below us a very calm Atlantic Ocean. A pilot’s dream - blue skies and tailwinds !!!

When we reach airway position RATSU (N61 W10) we are cleared by Icelandic Radio to contact Scottish Air Traffic Control – although we have some 320 miles to run to Wick we feel as though we’re almost home.

As we passed 80 miles to the North North East of the Outer Hebrides we saw the island of Rhona – more isolated than St. Kilda, it is the most remote island in the British Isles to have been inhabited on a long-term basis. Not to be found on many maps.

Landing at Wick was very uneventful. The temperature was about 10C but it was freezing thanks to the 30 mph wind from the North West – it seems the further we get from the Arctic the colder it gets

After we dropped off our survival equipment and cleared customs we were on our way again.

WICK TO GLASGOW

Just one hour to Glasgow at 10,000 feet.

Familiar voices as we called Glasgow Air Traffic Control on the approach frequency of 119.1 - as we were vectored for landing on runway 23 we caught a glimpse of Loch Lomond the seaplane’s new home.

So the GAMA AVIATION team at Glasgow Airport have the aircraft and will make the changes that make the US registered airplane N697ZZ a UK aeroplane registered G-LAUD.

An amazing 4 days – we flew for 24.9 hours and covered 4.918 miles – quite an adventure !!

Nearly there !

N697ZZ on the ramp at Wick Airport, Scotland - we've made it across "The Pond"

wick Airport - not the end of the World but you can see it from there !

N697ZZ's New Home - Loch Lomond

Leg 5 - Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland to Keflavik, Iceland on 23rd April

This is the 5th leg of the trip and the one we’re most excited about – we’re flying over the Greenland Ice Sheet !!

The forecast promised clear skies for our 825 mile flight and a strong tailwind meant a flight time of 4 hours 7 minute trip.

As we departed Sondre Stromfjord and climbed up over the mountains we began to see what appeared to be an ocean with a long coast line – as we got closer we were speechless – the images I’ve uploaded just doesn’t do it justice. 

The images with the sea ice and ice bergs were taken near Kulusuk on the East Coast of Greenland.

The ice sheet extends about 656,000 square miles, some 1,500 miles long (north/south) and 685 miles wide in the North.

After 450 miles and nearly two hours of jaw dropping iews we left the ice cap behind and crossed the Denmark Strait toward Keflavik. The pack ice extended out from Greenland 50 miles or more and, of course, there were a few giant icebergs around.

We reached Iceland just as darkness fell and landed at Keflavik airport – as we left the aircraft the temperature was 8C but in the raw wind and drizzle it felt 50 times colder than Frobisher Bay at minus 21C.

We arrived at the hotel at 11pm and planned to get up at 5am for our last day. Tomorrow the plan is to fly initially to Wick Airport in Northern Scotland to clear customs and drop off all of our survival equipment (raft and immersion suits) and then on to our home base of Glasgow.

Hope you enjoy the images below:

Climbing out of Sondre Stromfjord - the West side of the Ice Sheet

The Ice Cap

East Coast of Greenalnd Near Kulusuk

East Coast of Greenland

Hundreds of large Icebergs

Leg 4 - Frobisher Bay to Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland on 23rd April

The temperature was minus 22C at Frobisher Bay when we taxied out for our 560 miles, 2 hours and 57 minute flight to Greenland. Ice was once again a worry - mainly for the descent into Sondre Stromfjord Airport.

The flight across the Davis Strait from Canada was clear as expected but we were pleasantly surprised when we found that the descent into Sondre Stromfjord was also clear.

The airport which is surrounded by mountains lies many miles inland from the coast at the end of a long fjord.

Hope you enjoy the images below.

In the descent to Sondre Stromfjord Airport

Sondre Stromfjord Airport

Leg 3 - Goose Bay to Frobisher Bay on 22nd April

Our aircraft has no de-icing equipment and that makes it pretty tricky to get over the North Atlantic via the Arctic Circle in Winter and today's flight to Frobisher Bay also know as Iqaluit presented a few problems.

The temperature at Goose Bay was 4 degrees celsius and the cloud base was almost on the ground with freezing rain forecast, the pilot's biggest concern weather wise.

Luckily we managed to bump into a recently arrived crew and found out that the cloud tops were also low which was good news - even better news was that a significant inversion existed above the Goose Bay area - that is, instead of the temperature dropping with altitude it actually increased - we decided to depart.

The decision to depart was correct and we had an excellent run up to Frobisher Bay - 810 miles in 4 hours and 13 minutes.

After a couple of hours we were flying over the pack ice of Hudson's Bay - on the approach into Frobisher the views of the mountains were incredible.

On landing the temperature was -18C - we fuelled the aircraft and topped up the Oxygen for the morning departure - we knew Frobisher was expensive but paying £250 for oxygen (air) left us laughing heartily. A lovely bunch of friendly folk in Frobisher meant we had a great evening.

Tomorrow we depart for Greenland and Iceland.

Hope you enjoy the images below.

The pack ice in Hudson's Bay

Mountains to the East of the approach into Frobisher Bay

Topping up the fuel and oxygen at minus 18C

 

 

Leg 2 - Ottawa to Goose Bay on 21st April 2016

After a short stop at Ottawa airport where we topped up our fuel and oxygen we were on our way to Goose Bay, Labrador - almost exactly the same distance as the first leg at 892 miles but this time with a much longer flight time of 6 hours and 25 minutes - no tailwind !

The routing took us through Quebec along the north bank of the St Lawrence Seaway in to Labrador.

The weather was once again magnificent and we landed in the dark at Goose Bay just after sunset.

Night stop here and planning to fly to Frobisher Bay in the Canadian Arctic tomorrow.

Ice and Tundra on the way to Goose Bay !

Leg 1 - Minneapolis to Ottawa on 21st April 2016

Our flight plan took us up over the Great Lakes and down towards Ottawa just to the North of Toronto with a flight time of 4 hours and 56 minutes to complete the 890 miles.

The great folks at Wipaire who manufactured and fitted the new 8750 floats saw us off in style in the early morning.

After departure from South St. Paul Municipal Airport we very quickly passed over the Mississippi River before climbing out over Minnesota.

Great weather and no problems were the highlights on this sector - just the way we like it.

Our approach towards Ottawa airport took us over the City and also over the St Lawrence - from one great waterway to another !!!

Hope you enjoy the images below.

NEXT - onwards to Goose Bay, Labrador

Departing Wipaire - South St. Paul Municipal Airport, Minneapolis

Departing Minneapolis over the Mississippi River

Approaching Ottawa Airport over the city and the St Lawrence River

Wipaire - the maker of floats !!!!!

If Aladdin was a seaplane pilot this would be his cave .... and it would be Christmas !

Wipaire at South St. Paul, Minneapolis make incredible floats for land aeroplanes - our Cessna 208 Caravan came off the production line in Cessna's Kansas factory during the first week of March and was flown North to Minneapolis.

Based at Fleming Field, otherwise know as South St. Paul Municipal Airport, Wipaire have been making floats since just after the Second World War and it's newest design, the 8750, has just been fitted to our aircraft ...... these floats really are an upgrade to the old 8000 model and we're looking forward to checking them out.

Wipaire make several different types of floats - the smallest fit the little two seat Piper Cub aircraft and the largest design is fitted to the 19 seat Twin Otter - these are seriously big floats.

Today, Wednesday, is the last day of preparation and planning for our Transatlantic flight - on Thursday we depart for a fuel stop and customs clearance in Ottawa and then onwards to Goose Bay in Newfoundland. A total flight time of some ten hours over 1500 miles.

A fascinating website : www.wipaire.com

 

Flying our new aircraft home !

Well we've started our journey .... taking the easy way across the North Atlantic ... in the back of an Air Transat A310 from Glasgow to Toronto.

Funnily enough the flight routing was the reverse of our plan - watching the map screen it was a bit like a dry run - so instead of our planned 30 hours of flight in our seaplane at 20,000 feet, it was 6 hours 40 minutes at 38,000 feet on the jet - a lot less fun and excitement than stopping in the Canadian Artic, Greenland and Iceland.

The Air Transat jet crossed the coast of Canada over Goose Bay - we plan  to depart Goose Bay in the opposite direction on Friday 22nd - we'll keep you posted.

Next step is Toronto to Minneapolis, once again as passengers, in the back of a little Air Canada Challenger jet.

We're picking up our new seaplane at the little general aviation airport of South St. Paul Municipal (airport code KSGS) on the west side of the city of Minneapolis. The schedule calls for a departure at 5am CDT (6 hours behind the UK) on Thursday the 21st - next stop Ottawa in Canada.

Our schedule is totally dictated by the opening times of the airfields in Greenland - they close on Sundays and this week our flight is further complicated by the airfields being closed on Friday due to a public holiday.

Best wishes - David