Well gals & guys, where shall I start?
A long dream of mine has become reality, albeit already history by the time I write this…
Flying a single engine eirplane across the North Atlantic, from the Old Continent aka Europe, to North America, and back… “VFR”… that was the dream
The idea, later project, germinated many years ago, first as a daydreaming kid and reading about Charles Lindbergh, Howard Hughes, Mermoz, Walter Mittelholzer, and other aviation legends.
My professional career then had me cross the North Atlantic, aka The Pond, many times as an engineer or pilot… riding in the comfort of the higher flight levels, blithefully surfing the jetstream on the organized track system, all whilst sipping coffee and trying to decide on which food from the menu. A hard life really, good thing I’m retired now
Made this outta clay when still a child:
This thread will be a day to day account of the 46 days of the tour. I will, according to time and mood, try to relate some of the most important aspects that affected the flight in itself. Please be patient, as the 46 days of the tour will be unveiled one by one, as the comments are written and the pictures (around 3’700 of them…) sorted…
Warning, anyone fancying photos of food, wings, dogs & cats, autopilot, etc, will be disappointed
The aim of this thread is to share some of my adventure with fellow EuroGA users pilots. It is not intended as a motivational thread, nor as a reference to plan this kind of trip. The tour was flown on my impulse, planning, idea, and experience only. Hindsight proved the rightfulness of the decisions taken at the time. The most important one was to do the tour on my own, solo. We all have different limits, and not having to worry about someone else gave me the necessary freedom
Flying in Canada and the US is easy peasy. Crossing the North Atlantic ain’t difficult per se, but you gotta know your, and the aircraft’s, limitations. And respect them…
Lest you forget, diligence is mother of good luck… though some luck, as money, never hurts…
The route flown on the globe:
Timeframe: June 20 until August 4, 2022
Hours as flown: 132:23
Landings: 63 (as many as take-offs )
Distance flown: 19’449nm (36’020 km)
Average speed: 143.9kts (267 kmh)
Total fuel used: 3733 liters (986 USG)
Average fuel consumption: 28.2l/h (7.45 G/h)
Lowest landing: Furnace Creek, Death Valley CA @ -210ft
Highest landing: Leadville-Lake, CO @ 9934ft
Longest overwater crossing: Wick (Scotland) – Akureyri (Iceland) in 5:07, of which only ca 3:30 over water
The route “flattened” out:
I’d now like to start this thread by extending my sincere thanks to the people that either made this possible, or helped along the way. My sincere apologies to anyone not directly mentionned here, maybe plainly forgotten…
I shall start with the 2 most important people:
Tina, my Wife.
I guess she must have been suspecting something, since the German “Nordatlantik Guide” version 2013 throned on our coffee table for a quite a few years now… she watched me plan, getting organized, order necessary equipment, redo my panel, etc, etc. Since I couln’t hear no firm opposition to the project, I was ok to go. A few restrictions were finalized between us, but those will of course remain classified
Mickey, my “Watchdog”, also present here on EuroGA. First off, Mickey is a fantastic friend, and rightly proud of the awesome RV-8 he built. He fulfilled his role to perfection, many thanks! It was nice to have somebody with my InReach address able to follow the challenging legs almost 24/7.
Also highly appreciated was the shared room in the dorms during AirVenture at Oshkosh! And his work as a volunteer there
More thanks now, in a chronological order:
Wiwi @ the Kangerlussuaq Greenland FBO, for not not exploding at my impatient mood whilst desperate to get a hotel room…
Jonathan of Transport Canada for guiding me thru the administrative hoops for the Canadian SFA (Special Flight Authorisation)
Ibrahim, at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, for the “leftovers” fuel and excellent service
Stella, Mikey & Joe from Buffalo Airways, for the personal tour of their facilities at Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
David, the owner of an RV-4 at the same location, offering to meet and help. Unfortunately only spotted his message whilst undoing my tie-downs
The US CBP who firmly denied clearing me from Canada into the US at Northway AK, though I was on US soil already, and on time as agreed… Instead they gave me the opportunity to fly on and fit in between heavy airline traffic at the international Anchorage Ted Stevens AK airport
David and Richard, of Sheldon Air Service at Talkeetna AK, for accomodating me and HB-YLL for a 50h inspection
Ken & Susan, & Malcolm, for the reception at Anacortes 74S. And probably the only healthy meal on the whole tour
Sterling from Van’s Aircraft Inc. He patiently answered all my questions, but for those pertaining to the -15 (…) which at the time was still being kept inside Van’s Fort Knox facility…
Jim & Deborah, caretakers of Johnson Creek ID and builder/owner of an RV-8. Feeling like home on a campground, that was a novel experience. Gorgious landscape, all comfort, friendly guests some of whom I met again @ AirVenture, and more.
David the RV-3 builder, to whom I paid a quick visit. Good progress on his project, perseverance will pay off for sure
Vlad, the inspirational RV traveller, with whom I spent a few wonderful days. Top notch was not only the adventurous flying, but also the hiking, the swimming, eating delicious mushrooms (Vlad is also a cook!), etc… hospitality at it’s best. Sorry for sandblasting your -9 on that take-off Vlad
To the not to be named FAA officer who patiently listened to my explanations and read my report as to why I had busted Monument protection rules at Mt Rushmore
George @ the Jonesboro Muni AR FBO. The place is pristine and offers 1st class services. To top that, when time came to pay for the fuel, the line boy told me that it had been taken care of by the manager, an RV-8 owner. Whooa!
The ATC guys @ KOSH, giving me the opportunity to demonstrate my crosswind landing skills, despite having requested R27 iso 36L twice…
All the AirVenture volunteers. You gals & guys are running the show, fantastic!
Tinti and Guille, the Argentinians flyers, and their RV-7 aka Correcaminos aka LV-X610 (www.flyingpatagonia.com). Though our paths must have crossed over Alaska, we only met at Oshkosh, and befriended quickly. Safe future flights guys!
Terry & Betty for the hangar use during my 100h/pre-return inspection, and their hospitality. Good luck for your next projects Terry
Xxxx, at Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Canada, for the “leftovers” fuel and excellent service
Xxxx, at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, on the return flight this time, for the “leftovers” fuel and excellent service
All the people that I got tips from, either verbally or written, including several RTW pilots I’ve been in contact with, ferry pilots I knew, Andy, Hermann, and others
Wow. Did you plan the whole trip, or leave some holes for finer planning along the way?
Legs LSZF Birrfeld – LFAC Calais – EGPC Wick
The big day! I fill up all my tanks with
cheap MOGAS. Wing tanks hold 140l, aux tank sitting on the PAX seat, another 90l. The first surprise, just before rotation: YLL is a little bit too eager to fly, and I realise not having flown at MTOM on the rear CG for a while… the take-off trim position will be set accordingly for the rest of the trip
Straight line to Calais, as usual, thanks to the excellent French AIS. The weather ain’t perfect, some 20 minutes of reduced vis flying, headwinds up to 20kts, followed by some nice crosswind for the landing. No fuel needed, so this is once more a quick turnaround. Defuel, landing fee, and go.
The flight up the East coast of the UK is performed in good weather, and the Far North Aviation service is excellent. YLL is put to sleep in the huge WW2 hangar.
Wick is a nice little city, and the B&B is charming
LSZF, loaded for the 1st take-off…
Did you plan the whole trip, or leave some holes for finer planning along the way?
No. And yes
I planned the whole trip for a while. The precise routing for the crossings was easy: shortest overwater legs. The rhythm was given by the weather.
The rest was flown according a list of POIs (Point of Interest) that I made up whilst reading books or articles…
Leg EGPC Wick – BIAR Akureyri
Haven’t slept too well. For probably more than a week now… Last minute arrangements such as additional insurance, preventive maintenance, preparing and loading YLL with all the tools, camping gear, emergency gear, etc, and weather watching took their toll. Tired, excited and nervous, not the best of combination…
In typical UK security awareness fashion, I’m issued an apron permit to be able to rejoin my aircraft, oh my. GAR, flight-plan, refuelled to the brim, bill settled, weather check, all good to go. Weather? Well, right now it is very marginal VFR… the tower is very cooperative, and once all formalities are dealt with, we lift off… and enter very low visibility conditions for the next 25 minutes or so. Luckily the freezing levels are higher, and once on top, the sunshine, a few layers of clouds and blue skies help to relax. Unusually the Faroes are kinda clear, and the winds light. Landable Though catalogued as POI, I decide to continue and not land there. Old NAT saying: if the weather’s good don’t delay. Another time, hopefully, maybe…
A few hours later all radar and VHF contact are lost. A couple of position report are placed via willing airliners. The crossing being VFR, and class A starting who knows why at FL55, is performed at FL55. Well done ladies and gents bureaucrats, another contribution to safe flying, but don’t you worry, your job is safe!
Finally Iceland’s southeasterly coast comes into view. Spectacular as ever. Though I had planned BIEG Egilsstaðir as destination, being the shortest overwater crossing, the good weather of the day made me change my destination to Akureyri.
Fjords after fjords, cliffs, green pastures, glaciers, signs of sights to come. Still, Iceland, as always, is spectacular (awesome?).
After landing 3 custom agents surround me, the lady of them, in a friendly tone: are you going around the world or what?
The remainder of the day is spent strolling the city, and enquiring about my wife, on another kind of vacation, some 50km away (!), and having just caught the virus… hope it’s not gonna jeopardise my tour
and the Faroes:
Hey, this is eastern Iceland!
Tied down and ready for the strong forecast winds…
What terrific photos….
The route across northern Canada is interesting. No obvious reason to go that far north had ever occurred to me. I guess the reason is to get from Europe to Alaska, and then continue down the west coast until you’ve seen enough of it.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story, when it’s available!
the reason is to get from Europe to Alaska, and then continue down the west coast until you’ve seen enough of it.
Correct Silvaire. Some of the route was dictated by POIs, or general interest. Passing North of the Hudson Bay was one. Following the Pacific coast and revisiting Alaska another one.
Seeing a lot of nothing was on the list. Nothing, as in as much untouched by man as possible. Had fuel been available, a route even further North would have been chosen.