Mike's Log

99-08-05

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

Could see Greenland from 200 km away

Woke at 2 am. The sun was just up and it was very bright in the tent. I pulled my woollen hat over my eyes and the lights went out. Woke at 4:40 am when Olivier went outside for a P. He reported that it was misty and we decided that we could wait until 7 am for take-off. Slept some more.

Got up at 5:30. Olivier said that it was misty and that we could go later. The mornings aggghhhhh! I wandered around for an hour waiting for Olivier. I wanted to get going. The mist started to clear at 7 am. Took off at just after 8 am. Just before we took off Olivier went with Woody, the friendly helicopter maintenance man, to check the weather and confirm our flight plan. He came back with a huge smile and a good weather report. Tailwind most of the way with a headwind at the end and little cloud.

Once we were in the air I checked our timing and it looked like the flight would take 7 hours if we went via Cape Dyer as per our flight plan. I suggested to Olivier that we go straight across the Davis Strait to make sure we arrive at Sondre Stromfjord before they close for the day at 5 pm. Greenland time was 2 hours difference earlier. If we had no headwind we would have over an hour to spare by going straight. If we landed after 5 pm they would charge us up to 400 US dollars extra to stay open for us.

I called Arctic Radio over the radio and advised them of our new route. The weather was great. A slight tailwind and no turbulence. The engines purred. I had a little carb icing a few times which nearly made my heart stop. We flew at 3500 ft most of the time. Lots of ice floes and some huge icebergs. Also I could see lots of birds flying around some of the icebergs at least 200 km from shore. I was happy to get such good radio range with my radio I could talk to Arctic Radio from more than 200 km away.

We were over the sea for a total of four and a half hours. I felt comfortable and warm. I ate a piece of sausage in the air and nearly choked. I must be more careful .

Could see Greenland from 200 km away. Climbed to 8500 ft as we got to the coast to clear the snow-capped mountains and the turbulence. At one stage the headwind slowed us and it looked like we might not land before 5 pm, but soon the speed went up again. Landed at 4:25 pm.

Warm, clear skies, little wind. The gods are with us (touch wood!). Tied the babies up, and checked into the hotel. Food, beer and sleep in a 21 bed dormitory. Exhausted!

A really great days flying. Tomorrow the ice cap!

 


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