I knew the moment I woke up at 5:30 this morning that the Iqaluit weather would be problematical for our departure. Ward had already been on the aviation weather website and while the weather looked great in Greenland, Iqaluit was another story!
We decided to talk about it over coffee and talk we did. The pictures tell the story. Visibility was less than 1 mile due to drizzle and fog. If we had had any kind of in flight problem after take off, landing back at CYFB would have been dicey. We talked about the pros and cons. The weather forecast for the remainder of the week at Iqaluit was about the same or worse! Once airborne we would climb to 7,000’ and in all likelihood be clear of clouds in a few minutes.
So Go We Did, although I have to admit I had a knot in my stomach until we stabilized at altitude (clear of cloud). Ward then casually mentioned that he couldn’t remember ever taking off in such adverse conditions.
What a RELIEF to be sky high and out of that weather!
I flew 48Fox most of the trip above the clouds at 7,000’ climbing to 11,000 ASL (FL11 in Greenland) to gain a few extra knots of airspeed and get improved fuel consumption (132 kts and about 12 gallons per hour). 48 Fox behaved like a champ!
We crossed Baffin Island with only occasional glimpses of this beautifully rugged terrain before we left it behind us and headed out over the Davis Strait to Greenland (in our lobster suits). Seeing the coast of Greenland rising above the clouds about 3 hours later was amazing! What followed was mile after mile of stunning landscape – the pictures will hopefully give you a good sense of what we witnessed. You could literally see for about 100 miles and the Greenland ice cap was visible in the distance
Landing at Sondre Stromfjord (BGSF) (elevation 165’ ASL) on a sloping 9000’ runway with a 8 kt tailwind was a treat for me. About a 7 out of 10 performance I figure (first landing from the right seat position with 48 Fox fully loaded).
Tomorrow the forecast for Greenland is pretty much the same as today –bright and beautiful and we have about 6 hrs of flying. We refuel at Kulusuk (BGKK) and then cross to Reykjavik, Iceland (BIRK) to overnight there before continuing on to Wick, Scotland.
Got to get the Nflight video camera running over the Greenland ice cap! Happy trails!!
P>S> I had a few minutes this morning in the dining room of the Iqaluit motel to chat with Glen. He is a high school teacher heading back to Cape Dorset (SW corner of Baffin Island) from his home in North Bay Ontario for another year of teaching (7 years in all teaching everything except Innu). I was curious to learn about the kids he teaches. I listen and mentally compare his kids to our kids in the slum; opportunity/motivation/ challenges/culture etc. Glen says “motivating” these kids is probably his biggest challenge. Of 170 students enrolled at the school, only 100 to 130 show up on any given day. Only a handful get post secondary education. Most just get married and stay in the community. Many are unemployed or underemployed. In the past 2 years the school has set up a computer lab with 26 brand new computers and that is changing some hearts and minds. Education and motivation. WE TELL OUR KIDS AT HHFL –YOU CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT IT.
Pondering a Go or No Go from Iqaluit
Low IFR at Iqaluit
Leaving Baffin Island over Cumberland Sound
Smooth ride at 11000 ASL (FL11) over the Davis Strait
Adding fuel to rt main from rt aux tank
Greenland coast at 11000′ASL above the clouds
Approaching coast of Greenland at FL11 over Davis Strait
Sondre Stromfjord straight ahead
Lining up for Rwy 27 BGSF at the end of Sondre Stromfjord