Really looking forward to following this! It’s also a dream of mine one day to take such a trip.
In the early 2000s, a guy from Germany, Ingo Brigmann, flew to all these places up north ( Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Inuvik, Barrow, etc.) in a highly modified Super Club (although not to all these places in one go, plus his aircraft was based in Fairbanks). I still have all his DVDs.
Even at the time, he reported that Avgas up there (or even any kind of “gas”) was difficult. I guess the situation has rather become worse since then (even though a lot of piston aircraft remain in commercial service up there).
Legs BIAR Akureyri – BGKK Kulusuk – BGBW Narsarsua
Iceland is expensive. Once all the bills are settled, the take-off is performed in scattered to broken clouds. And alas no one in sight to fix them
Slightly sad at leaving this early and having to miss one of the POIs, Grimsey Island, and it’s puffins…
Now heading West, I have to repeatedly request higher climb clearance due to rising cloud layers. At 14’000ft, the outside T is -18°C. Oh come on, at this low T no icing for sure. Wrong. Entering some clouds, ice accretion on the windscreen and wing leading edges (and probably some other parts of the airplane which I don’t see nor care for right now) is immediate. T rise is very limited with an IAS of 120kts… I pull out and don my O2 system, requests and get FL160. In the blue skies again, sublimation does its work, thanks
Cruising at FL160
+1 for being interested in following the trip as it’s something I also want to achieve, at some time or other.
I note you have the PuF printed guide about crossing the Atlantic – which I also purchased in order to see what is required. What gets me is that it makes claims that you can’t file / fly VFR from Narsarsuaq <→ Goose Bay yet both Zara and Mack Rutherford did it in the Shark, which is not IFR capable. Wonder if there are other “rules” which are “ignored”?
The occasional looking down at my survival gear during these overwater crossings is a must…
A reread of the ditching checklist as well. I’m wearing my survival suit (a reinforced dry suit), life vest, and diving boots. My InReach and a PLB are carried in my pockets. The small suitcase that supposedly contains the single man raft lies on the floor, with an escape saw/knife, and a scuba emergency bottle. The canopy quick release pins are in place. Below my knees, a survival axe.
RVs have a propensity to flip on their back when ditched. Getting out of a sinking aircraft in freezing waters is an experience I can happily do without… and the reason I performed a very thorough maintenance inspection on YLL’s engine prior to departure, and prior to the return crossings as well
Threatening white horses over the dark chilly waters
Been flying for a while (> 2 hours) when I spot a cruiseliner. All white. It is straight ahead, and 10 minutes later hasn’t moved a bit, but grows in my sights. I finally realize… man, this is my first iceberg. Whooah, what a sight
Now approaching the eastern Greenland coast, I get a wake-up call with the BGKK Kulusuk destination METAR: Fog, broken at 100’. Say what? Well, this was half expected.
All, but BGSF Kangerlussuaq, airports in Greenland are located on the coast, therefore subject to rapid sea fog. And I realise once more that having an endurance of 8:20h isn’t too much. Having to either proceed to one of the alternates on the South or West part of Greenland, hoping for stable weather there, or returning to Iceland, after maybe some holding or a couple of approaches could quickly stretch those fuel reserves…
The weather report being 1 hour old, I decide not to worry too much. I can now make out the east coast of Greeland in a white glary line, beautiful weather ahead…
The view on the horizon is stunning (I’m quickly gonna run out of superlative adjectives here), the sea all white with pack and drift ice, dark blue waters looming in the cracks between.
Over some of it, ribbons of floating low fog. And the massive ice cap in the backgroung. The sights are incredible, and the fact of me being here, enjoying freedom in my little airplane, are emotionally moving. The elation I feel is probably also a sign of relief, since *land” is now in my grasp, should the engine decide to quit…
The closer I get to the coast, the more astonishing the scenery gets!
The newest METAR brings good news: Scattered clouds and light winds Soon after I get into contact with Kulusuk’s AFISO, who confirms the weather. Approaching the gravel strip, one realises quickly the reason for the high IFR minimums. Though the field is almost at sea level, it is surrounded by little mountains sitting on their hosting island. The one just South-East of the runway being 2’166ft tall…
The field is now just behind the hill on the left
The gravel runway is in good condition. Refueling is performed quickly, and following some chatting with the very capable and friendly AFISO, I decide to continue and follow the coast southbound to BGBW Narsarsuaq for the nite.
The weather shows the entire West coast of Greenland fogged in, so the alternates are few and far in between: Kangerlussuaq, or back to Kulusuk.
On the ramp
Some weather for you
Once airborne, the weather is perfect
The flight along the coast is sublime. I won’t engage in a futile attempt to describe the beauty and serenity of what I’m seeing and experiencing. May the pictures do some of the talk…