Flying to Iceland

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by DwayneSmithUSMC, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. DwayneSmithUSMC

    DwayneSmithUSMC Pre-Flight

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    Has anyone here flown to Iceland? If so, what route did you take? I'm leaving from Virginia.
     
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  2. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    sounds like a great adventure. What aircraft are you doing this in?
     
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  3. ksandrew

    ksandrew Pre-Flight

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    Have flown there many times on Iceland Air and spent time at Reykjavik Domestic airport, the airlines go into Keflavic. I have always been there in December when the days are only 3 hours long.
    spent a lot of time planning for my trip in a Commander but have yet to do it. Greenland seems to be the difficult part.

    Life is a barrel of fun.
    Ken
     
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  4. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I was planning to go (major event in France, then return by way of Iceland) but everything came to a screeching halt.
    Maybe next year (2022) - Iceland Air, of course.
     
  5. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    If you're flying yourself in a light piston, it will probably be up to Labrador (Canada), then across the Labrador Sea to Iceland, then across the Denmark Strait to Iceland. I've only read about it — a demanding route, that requires serious training, research, preparation, and survival equipment.

    However you end up going, you'll find Iceland expensive. Since the 2008 global financial crash, their economic dependency on tourism has been almost desperate. Expect to find a vacuum cleaner in your wallet from the moment you land — restaurants, for example, will cost maybe 3× what you'd expect to pay in the U.S., or 2× what you'd pay in a major European city. It cost us more to rent a car for a day in Reykjavik than for a week in Ireland. The cost of the airport bus from Keflavik into Rekjavik will take your breath away (don't even consider a taxi unless you're Bill Gates). Etc.

    OTOH, there are options. The supermarkets aren't expensive, if you can cook for yourself. And there's no need to reserve weeks in advance and jam into the Blue Lagoon like a sardine, when there are community hotsprings inland where the only charge is towel rental (if you don't have one). I wish I'd known at the time that Iceland recognises US and Canadian pilots' licenses, because I could have rented an Iceland-registered 172 as PIC and done sightseeing from the air instead of driving around ($$$, granted, but worth it for a day). And Reykjavik is a good walking city, and a joy to visit.
     
  6. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Also, while I don't regret going to Iceland, I don't think the landscape will be nearly as exciting for North Americans as it is for Europeans. At least from the air, Labrador looks a lot like Iceland with the rolling, rocky volcanic landscape (though Labrador no longer has active volcanoes). We have lots of glaciers in Alaska and the Canadian north, and even a good share in the Canadian West and CONUS northwest. We have geysers and hot springs and dramatic waterfalls. We don't have tap water that smells like rotten eggs, but I think most people won't mind missing that part.

    So for me, the interesting part was cultural, Reykjavik and the language and people, especially since I'd studied Germanic philology in university, including a year of Old Norse with a prof who (for reasons known only to himself) taught us modern Icelandic pronunciation. I'd happily spend a year there studying the language, dialects, and history, but as a North American, I'd never bother going back for the scenery. It was a big meh, especially for a Canadian (and I'd imagine, as much so for an Alaskan or anyone living near the Rockies or coastal ranges).
     
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  7. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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  8. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Lots of people do, but it's something one needs to take seriously. I saw a YouTube video with a bunch of goofs in a C210 who did so little prep that they didn't check customs hours, didn't know how Canadian airspace worked, didn't realize mag compasses don't work in the Arctic, laughed off multiple mechanical problems, and (I'm almost certain) did an IFR flight without legal reserves. They did have survival suits, but managed to soak one in urine. And that was all before they'd even left North America.

    They survived only because some diety must have had pity on them. Don't be those guys.
     
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  9. MikeNY

    MikeNY Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Yes, from Northeast US via CYQB CYVP BGGH BGKK BIRK (pressurized piston twin/FL230)

    Also consider, this site includes more common used routes: http://xpda.com/flyingtoeurope
    The info is not current, but may be helpful for planning items to consider.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  10. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    Once, many years ago. London, Kef, Gander and then home to St Paul MN.
     
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  11. Katamarino

    Katamarino Pattern Altitude

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  12. DwayneSmithUSMC

    DwayneSmithUSMC Pre-Flight

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    Cherokee 235
     
  13. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Rent a 172 in Iceland.

    No you can’t. I contacted 2-3 “schools” when I expected to be there. Nope. Nada. Go ‘way. There are tourist flights but no rentals. The schools are equivalent to the US pilot mills. This was in late 2018, I was planning on being there June 2019.

    Things may have changed since then if the economy is as bad as indicated.
     
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  14. DwayneSmithUSMC

    DwayneSmithUSMC Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for all of the info everyone. There's really great stuff here and on the websites you've shared. I'm now more than positive that I can make this in my 235 with adequate preparation.
     
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  15. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Ah, that's a shame. I read a piece just a couple of years ago by an American pilot who had rented one.

    I guess that makes sense, though. A few years ago, the Rockcliffe Flying Club (the airport operator and flight school at my home airport, CYRO) was begging people to come in and take an intro flight; these days, they have more than a year-long waiting list to start lessons, even after doubling the size of their flight line.

    On the bright side, that means I probably didn't miss out when I was there in September 2018 by not renting a plane, since there was probably none available by then anyway.
     
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    My office manager was an exploration geologist in a former life. She's still fascinated with rocks and talked about making a trip to Iceland for years. Over her protests I kept telling her it's a colourless landscape of barren rock, lava and ash. She finally took that rockhound vacation trip. We called it her 50 shades of grey tour.
     
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  17. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I do get a specialist being interested. If you're a total nerd for geology, geothermal power, or even germanic language history (like me), somewhere isolated like Iceland has a lot to offer. But those aren't things that would attract the general public -- grey rock is grey rock for most of us, and Icelandic tourism is mostly a case study for effective tourism marketing, rather than obviously-compelling tourist attractions (like the Grand Canyon or Mont Blanc or Machu Picchu or Victoria Falls etc etc). They do a good job with story telling — e.g. these aren't just a bunch of grey rocks and a small waterfall; they're the bunch of grey rocks and small waterfall where Europe's first parliament met (etc etc).
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  18. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I’ve stop there twice for fuel in the Challenger. The flight over Greenland is Spectacular. B6BF5B97-5692-4FAB-834B-FA8454CBFFBF.jpeg 8D150EE4-A487-47F3-9FFE-92FF668FAB76.jpeg A7D5F12A-7B90-46D3-AC4A-B85F5CBDA2FE.jpeg A738CF77-B248-4C7D-AEA3-E80296C06D6E.jpeg 15F314EB-41F9-4BD6-8B88-7D6847EBDFCE.jpeg 730D8F7B-4333-4A88-9792-5AA8F8515BD1.jpeg 10C76180-D6CB-4C79-AA83-19ADEC6957EE.jpeg E207D8BD-B6A6-4EA7-B6F5-6079D1C65066.jpeg
     
  19. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    He has listed all the common routes on his website: http://220kts.com/ferry-flights/atlantic-ferry-routes.html

    This is one of my big dreams, our Mooney's fuel capacity is however a bit too small for my liking. The longest leg on the northern route is just over 500 nm but airports are few and far between, it is therefore important to be able to make it to an alternate, which can be several hours away.
    I understand that the availability of 100LL can also be an issue and might have to be organized in advance, but haven't looked further into this yet.

    The other thing is, that insurance might be difficult to get. When I called our broker, they simply said 'no'. I'm sure that there are some specialized providers, but this is one of the things that will probably take some time to arrange as well.
     
  20. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew right seat in a Merlin IV 20 some years ago. Richmond (VA), Bangor, Goose Bay, Reykjavik. Incredible views flying over Greenland.
     
  21. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    People I know who've flown north in Canada have arranged with band councils to buy 100LL by the barrel. Obviously, you need the right equipment to do that. You might also want to remove the back seat and have a ferry tank plumbed in.
     
  22. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Iceland was almost always cloudy when I went over. But several times we were routed right over and it was CAVU. I thought I had some pictures, but can't find them. I never diverted there. Like the Azores, I always wanted to, but not at that moment. It's on the bucket list. I know of a Motorcycle tour company that I have used in Portugal that does motorcycle tours there. I would like to do that. Or sit in the hot springs and watch the northern lights.
     
  23. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Guido's single engine flights are nearly all in Caravans. A PT6 is a completely different animal from something with IO- in front of it. He often routes in a way that doesn't even require ferry tanks (northern route), though I've seen ones where he takes Southern routes with an extra tank.

    He did once ferry a Mooney Ovation from Europe to the US without a ferry tank, though that plane is about as efficient from a fuel/speed perspective as it gets.
     
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  24. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    The OP asked about routes. Guido's experience will certainly answer those questions.

    This trip is done routinely in PA46's both ways...I would love to do it one day...

     
  25. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    It depends on your plane—if you're not flying the same equipment as Guido, your routes might have to be different.

    For example, if you burn 100LL (as most of us do), you can get that more easily at Goose Bay, Labrador (CYYT), but then you're facing a 860 nm crossing to Greenland. If you fly further north to Iqaluit, Nunavut (CYFB), you have to buy your 100LL by the drum (and arrange for it in advance), and your overall trip time will be much longer, but you'll be facing only a 540 nm crossing to Greenland. Assume that ditching in the Labrador Sea will probably be non-survivable (even with a raft, survival suits, etc), and plan accordingly.

    I also read about a Toronto-area pilot who flew right up to Alert (CYLT) in a C182 with a ferry tank plumbed in, then crossed from there directly to northern Norway, which is closer in the high Arctic. Alert is a military base, so you need to arrange permission to land there (I hear a bottle of good Scotch for the base commander helps) and figure out something about fuel.

    Also remember that once you're in the high Arctic (e.g. Iqaluit or Alert), your mag compass is useless, runway headings are in degrees true (e.g. Runway 27T), and you fly with your altimeter set to 29.92 as if you were in the flight levels.
     
  26. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Line Up and Wait

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    Just for fun I had a look at Alert - Tromso.

    1240 Nautical Miles - no idea how GE calculates it.

    Rescue will be pretty poor even on a more southerly route but I doubt there is anyone that far north other than near the two coasts.

    upload_2021-1-13_20-34-48.png
     
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  27. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    In theory, it's cool to be able to fly a piston single from North America to Europe non-stop.

    In practice, no thanks.