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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Katamarino, May 6, 2019.
Wow, awesome photos. I look forward to riding along on this trip with you!
Imagine being a 19 year old kid with 350 hours PIC time, flying a B-17 and following an ADF fix up that that fjord while in the clouds.
Heard a B-17 copilot give a talk once, pretty much in that same scenario, but with only 250 hours. I forget if they were at Goose Bay or Narsarsauq but they had gone out drinking because the weather over the ocean was so bad they didn't think they'd be leaving for days... And then at 3 AM someone barged in, woke them up and ordered them to leave, NOW.
En route, they started picking up ice, but they had no idea what to do about that, so they just kept going. Eventually they couldn't hold altitude and down they came... And the thing that saved them from the ice was the salty spray of the ocean as they struggled along in ground (water?) effect.
Then, when they got to the UK, everything was socked in. They shot an NDB approach, missed, shot another one, made it... But they were very lucky. The *majority* of the airplanes that had been with them on the trip didn't make it. Several made it all the way across the ocean, only to crash when they ran out of fuel after repeatedly missing approaches in the clag.
As @flyingcheesehead said, most of them died.
I don't think "most of them died" is accurate. I believe the figure for operational losses for all types of USAAF aircraft crossing the Atlantic via the northern ferry route during WWII was just over 10%.
Is there a live link to watch en-route, or just the map on your website?
There's a live tracker, click on the website menu, "Info", it's under there. Or, the following!
It's glitching slightly but mostly ok.
I can see you plan on visiting my home country, Romania, as well. I will be there for at least 2 months. We can meet if you need someone showing you around, accommodation or help you with customs, fuel or supplies.
Just PM me if you need anything. Good luck on the next leg!
The internet in Kulusuk couldn't cope with uploading pictures, so this next update is a bit late!
The weather in Narsarsuaq in the morning was so-so. Ceilings were reported at 6,500ft, but down the fiord the cloud dropped down to the surface, and going the other direction the ice cap was over 10,000ft. There was quite a bit of clear air around Narsarsuaq, so we decided to take off VFR and investigate.
Old airplane parts in Narsarsuaq
Goodbye to Narsarsuaq
The cloud layers were fairly fractured, and we were able to climb in the clear up to 12,000, and then through a 2,000ft cloud layer to cruise at 14,500ft. Temperatures up there were around -20c and we didn't pick up any ice. Once on top, the weather was perfect, and the cloud fractured and then all but disappeared as we headed east across the ice cap and then north along the coast.
On top at 14,500ft
Land starts to peek out at us through the cloud
Very rugged terrain below
The final wisps of cloud fall away as we head north
Apparently the ice was melting early this year
Looking west, up on to the ice cap
Some bays were still frozen
Interesting features in the sea ice.
Along the coast, nearly to Kulusuk
No polar bears sighted
There were some scattered clouds around Kulusuk, but nothing to concern us as we were cleared straight in to runway 11.
Descending towards Kulusuk
The owner of the hotel collected us from the aircraft, and after settling in we took a walk in to town.
Still plenty of snow left, but apparently 12ft less than usual
View of the hotel
Wow, Ross. Just wonderful, and thank you for sharing. It's a bunch of extra work for you to write, edit, and post all this after the day's flight, but we really enjoy your adventures and appreciate your efforts.
Name change on garmin tracker.
This is the coolest thread on PoA. Keep us posted!
The airplane's "majestic" (to quote Pittsburgh Channel 4 News) name deserves to be known.
The majority of the ones who were *on that particular trip* didn't make it. One day in a very long war.
The sun in Kulusuk barely set, with the northerly latitude. We were up early and had breakfast with our new Austrian friends before sharing a ride to the airport; they planned a scenic flight around the local area as the weather was not looking good for them to cross Greenland and make it back again the following day.
The tower controller was friendly and helpful, and took care of all the paperwork and the flight plan. We had enough fuel already, so all that was left was to pre-flight and head to Iceland!
Take-off from Kulusuk
Climbing out of Kulusuk
The pack ice was starting to break up
Goodbye to Greenland
The weather along the route was great, which was a relief as the majority of the flight was over the very forbidding North Atlantic. Favourable weather meant that the flight was only just over 3 hours long, so it was not long before Iceland came into view and we landed at Keflavik airport on runway 01.
Crossing the Atlantic
About to make landfall in Iceland
Final approach to Keflavik
"Make your own waffles" at the Northern Lights Inn
The geothermal plant
With only one night to spend here, we'd elected for a relaxing afternoon at the Blue Lagoon; this is a large, man-made geothermal pool fed by the output of a geothermal power plant. We met a great couple from Brisbane, who invited me to visit and stay with them once I get down that way!
The Blue Lagoon
A well-earned relax after a few hard days of flying!
Fantastic! Looking forward to the next installment!!!
Ross good on you. You truly enjoy life and are having fun with your adventures. Best of luck and safe travels...
The Faeroe Islands are renowned for bad weather, but today they were making an exception, just for us. Conditions along the route were ideal for flying. After yet another hotel breakfast, our taxi driver from the previous day turned up right on time and delivered us straight back to the airplane. Our top-notch handler was there again, and after very trustingly signing on the yet-to-be-finalised blank invoice, I taxied the aircraft over to meet him at the fuel pumps. There wasn’t a ladder, so to fill the tip tanks we used an over-turned picnic table. It seemed to be rush hour, as not moments after we’d shut down to fuel, 3 flying school Diamond aircraft turned up and queued behind us. It took a while as we were loading 76 gallons (at $10.60 a gallon, I miss US fuel prices terribly!)
Saying goodbye to our handler.
Departure from Keflavik
Geothermal plant and Blue Lagoon
Fueling complete, and chats with the flying school members finished, we started up and taxied for departure. We took off to the west, with a left turn over the geothermal power plant before continuing along the southern coast of Iceland. To our left, the dramatic mountains and glacier of Vatnajökull National Park rose above us. To the right, along the shore, steam rose from large expanses of black sand. The volcanic heritage of the area was impossible to miss. The Icelandic shores slowly drew away to the north as we set track directly to the Faeroe Islands.
Views over Iceland:
The next couple of hours passed quickly, the winds veering around to push us along at ground speeds of over 150kts, and no cloud to affect us. We stayed in touch with Reykjavik ATC until nearing the Faeroes, when they handed us off to Vagar Information. An Airbus A320 from the Faeroes national airline was landing ahead of us, as we set up to fly the famous waterfall arrival to runway 30. Mike had been watching multiple videos online of this routing, and used the experience he’d gleaned to smoothly direct me around for landing. The tower directed us to parking where we were welcomed by customs (who just seemed to want to say hello), and the lady from the handling agents who also helpfully turned out to run the car rental company. She led us smoothly through the airport, rented us the most expensive one-day car rental I’ve even seen, and we set off for a bit of exploring.
First views of the Faeroes:
The waterfall arrival:
The scenery continued the theme of the last few days, in that it was once again stunning. We first drove out along a scenic route west of the airport, stopping every now and then to take in the views, before turning back and taking a long tunnel and then a winding mountain road to the capital city where we’d booked a night in the Hotel Hafnia. A surly lady gave us the key to our room which turned out to look out onto the somewhat noisy and aromatic extraction fan from the kitchen, to Mike’s displeasure. He returned to do battle with the receptionist and, having won her over, we were relocated to an all-round much nicer room. The only downside was that I wouldn’t be able to visit the restaurant and ask to have “whatever I smelled from the extraction fan 10 minutes ago”, which I had been rather looking forward to.
We had dinner at a nearby hotel (nothing is very far away in the city center of Torshavn), and then drinks and dessert down by the harbour before heading back to the room. I worked on the write-ups and flight planning while Mike went out for a walk, ending up drinking with a group of locals who taught him some of the local language and then drove him home!
Out around Thorshavn:
Spectacular! Thanks for sharing.
I saw that the C-47s participating in the D-Day commemoration are on your tail - That's All, Brother landed at Narsarsauq today!
Ok, I'll bite. How much?
Those photos are stunningly beautiful.
Absolutely AMAZING! I so appreciate you writing this up when it would be so easy to make a reason not to. What an incredible journey!
$200 for the smallest model.
This is an old update. I've been following your flights in the UK. #fakenews
Amazing views and great write ups to go with them.
Breakfast in the hotel, in Nordic style again, featured a lot of cheese and cured meats. A mountain of Parma-style ham is a great way to start the day! After leading me round almost ever level of the hotel trying to find the door to the car park (“It’s OK, it’s definitely on this floor”) Mike drove us back to the airport, taking the low road this time for a change of scenery. The views were, yet again, stunning.
On the way to the airport.
Despite the promised clear skies, the weather was drizzly with low overcast skies. The forecast claimed it would clear up right around departure time. From the airport, it was plain to see that the low cloud was hanging purely over the land, and very slowly moving inland; even if we took off right now, by the time we hit the coast just seconds into the flight we’d be in great conditions.
Saying goodbye to Vagar
The day's planned flights
We breezed through security very quickly, and fueled up the aircraft. Immigration stopped by to check our passports (the first, and only, time on the Atlantic crossing that they were actually checked), taking them back to their office for about 30 minutes while they did who-knows-what. As we waited, we debated which of us was going to be detained, but in the end he just handed them back to us and wished us a pleasant flight. Departure this morning was off of runway 12, back out over the waterfall.
Departing from Vagar
Back over the waterfall
Sun over the Faeroes
Over the Atlantic
We set course direct for Wick. Vagar handed us off to Reykjavik ATC, still controlling the oceanic area this far west, and we cruised for an hour or so before getting into range of Scottish Information. The clear, sensible airspace design that we’d flown through all the way from the USA gave way to the typical jumbled mess of the UK.
Lookout, here comes UK airspace design...!
First views of the UK
Coasting in over Northern Scotland
On the apron at Wick
At Wick we were welcomed by a Flyer Forum member, Bill, and chatted with the very friendly FBO staff before heading south to Fife, Mike’s home base. After a quick lunch at the Tipsy Nipper we went for a couple of quick circuits in Mike’s Czech Sportcruiser. Much lighter on the controls than my C182!
Departing over Wick
Crossing the Highlands
With our two rides, at Fife
The final flight of the day was up to Aberdeen, prior to a couple of days of R&R. Aberdeen had 3 IFR inbounds, so left me holding outside their airspace. Places like JFK, Newark, and the like have always managed to slot me in without delay – but the UK do always do things rather “differently”…! The controller was friendly and helpful, nonetheless, and soon I was parked up at Signature Flight Support ready for a couple of days rest and relaxation in Aberdeen before setting off southwards across the UK.
RAF Leuchars, on the way to Aberdeen
The lake, which I orbited for quite some time
Arriving at Aberdeen
I am not going to post here about the two ground-based days touring around the Aberdeen area, but they are on the write-up on my website, at https://katamarino.co.uk/index.php/2019/05/22/round-the-world-atlantic-day-8/ (bottom half of the page). Highlight was my being viciously shat upon by what has to have been the Godzilla of seagulls.
My father joined me in Aberdeen and together we set off to fly along the length of the UK to the family home in Kent. Signature Aberdeen kindly waived many of their fees, and before we left we even had the pleasure of meeting another Flyer Forumite who had dropped in. Shockingly I have forgotten his username; please, identify yourself!
With my father in Aberdeen, before departure
With the to-be-named forumite!
Our meandering route first took us west to Oban, where we took a pleasant walk to a nearby hotel for lunch, and then onwards to a beach landing at Barra. Barra ATC was cash only and didn't have change, so we were forced to visit the cafe and have a drink before we could pay for the landing!
The countryside west of Aberdeen
The top of Loch Ness (I think...other lochs are available)
Fish farms near Oban
Approach to Oban
Passing the isle of Mull
Parked up in Barra
The tide was coming in, so we didn't want to hang around. We made a stop in Tiree for flight planning before heading onward. It took a while to book out at Barra because I was mispronouncing Tiree badly enough that the lady in the tower couldn't work out where I wanted to go. Apparently, weather reports from the observation squadron here had been instrumental in delaying D-Day by 24 hours.
Heading from Bara to Tiree
On the way to Carlisle
Inbound to Carlisle
We finished our day in Carlisle, where I was happy to see the second Vulcan of the trip!
Absolutely amazing - what an adventure!!!
No pictures of the Godzilla seagull's, uh, contribution?
Other than that, this is thrilling to read and must be a zillion times better to experience!
All those Scotland photos bring back good memories for me. I loved my two weeks there. BTW - I peed in Loch Ness.
That's ok - so does Nessie.
I do the same when visiting abroad.
Thanks for the reports of your amazing trip.
Irvine in foreground. Irvine, Troon, Prestwick (latter approx) marked.
A fine afternoon view of the Firth of Clyde
In the foreground is Hunterston Sands. The now disused dock, coal yard and conveyor delivered coal into the railway system for use in power generation. There is talk of converting it to a Cruise Ship terminal in support of the presently booming Scottish tourist business. I guess the coal yard will need a bit of a sweep up.
In May 2019 it seems that the UK just had the first week of coal-free electricity generation since about 1880. There is a large mix of generation but we seem to get >10% from wind now.
The aircraft is very close to being directly above the two nuclear power stations at Hunterston.
The Holy Loch hosted for many decades a US ballistic missile Submarine base which was done away with after the end of the Cold War. It's still though ground zero 'cos the UK sub base is just around the corner.
More cheerfully, Largs is known for the Battle of Largs (2 October 1263) where the Scots repelled the Viking invaders. No I am not joking.
Loch Ness, yes. Top, not so much, depending on what way is your up.
Town of Fort Augustus at the south end of Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal of which Loch Ness is a part disappearing off to the south east into the Great Glen at the right hand side.
Our taxi driver that morning turned out to have a son who was keenly interested in aviation, so we swapped airplane stories on the ride back to the airport. The days plan was fairly leisurely, so we spent a while wandering around the outside exhibits at the air museum on the field, including a Vulcan; my second of the trip after Goose Bay! The museum itself did not open until late morning, so we headed back to the aircraft, and got under way.
The Vulcan at Carlisle
Something ugly, at Carlisle
The Carlisle tower
The first flight of the day was down to Netherthorpe airfield, south of Sheffield. First, however, we’d be flying due south over the Lake District, one of England’s most beautiful landscapes. The high pressure system sitting over the country would be offering great weather again for the majority of the day, so conditions were perfect for a little sight seeing. We set course initially for Scafell Pike; having flown around Scotland’s highest mountain the day before, it seemed fitting to visit England’s highest peak today! It was relatively early in the day, but already we could see quite a collection of people strung out along the walking path to the summit.
The Lake District, of course, is well known for its lakes, and we enjoyed beautiful views of Derwent Water, Ullswater and Windermere, among others, as we crossed what is by air a fairly small area of the country. The rugged peaks (I hesitate to call them mountains) of the Lake District quickly gave way again to the rolling arable hills of northern England as we made our way south between Manchester and Leeds and, taking care to avoid the newly added controlled airspace around Doncaster, drew near to Netherthorpe.
Transmission towers near Doncaster
Netherthorpe is a fairly small, grass airfield, that does require a little concentration to operate safely into. The stop here was for two reasons. Firstly, to meet my colleague Alan who was also on his weeks off and lives nearby. Secondly, Netherthorpe was to have been the setting-off point for a round the world flight (also in a C182) that I became involved with almost a decade before. We got quite far into the planning before things were cancelled. All this time later, having managed to acquire my own C182 and make the plans a reality, I thought it would be good to include Netherthorpe as a stop.
With Sheila at Netherthorpe
Alan arrived moments after we did; he had been racing to get there while watching the tracker and hoping to see us landing but didn’t quite make it! We relaxed over an outside lunch at the aeroclub restaurant, watching training airplanes come and go. As we ate, an old friend Sheila turned up; she and her aircraft had been the other key pieces of the abortive flight around the world. It was good to catch up after so long and hear that she was still regularly flying. Meal completed, we fueled up and set out south for Laddingford airfield, a private grass strip close to my family home in Kent.
There was a band of poor weather hanging between us and Laddingford, and with the UK's IFR system so messed up for light GA, an IFR flight under ATC control was not an option (total distance would have been more than double the straight line distance - this is what happens when ATC is made "for profit" and no longer has interest in the unprofitable traffic!) As it was, we struck out VFR; one interesting feature of the UK is that you can declare yourself IFR when outside controlled airspace and just crack on through the clouds. With no collisions in the clouds since WW2, this clearly works OK!
Solar farm on departure from Netherthorpe
An old RAF base
English country village
Poor weather north of the Thames
Canal boat parking
The Dartford crossing
We flew across East Anglia, my old flying grounds while at University, and it was great to see RAF Wyton (which I used to fly out of), and my old sailing grounds at Grafham Water. As we neared the Thames, east of London, the cloud base lowered and we descended with it, flying at about 1,000ft and passing in and out of the cloud bottoms. Approaching the south downs, we reached the back end of the poor weather and had beautiful sunshine for the arrival at Laddingford, after an initial fly-by to check for dog-walkers on the runway!
The south downs
My mother was present to pick us up, as was the owner of the strip, and also Flyer Forum member Charles who’d flown his Rans tail-dragger in from his strip a little further south to say hello. It’s been a real pleasure to meet so many people from the flying community who’ve been supportive of the trip!
Meeting Charles at Laddingford