We arrived in Goose Bay, Canada after quite a grueling 10 hour flight. The next leg was over the Atlantic and neither one of us have had any experience with oceanic flying. I had been talking to some young and some old grizzled and crusty pilots, but when you are about to make go-no go decisions, it is vastly different. We arrived for departure early morning, took a little while to absorb the icing conditions that were being predicted, but then we quickly made a decision to scrub the flight to Iceland for a day. We decided to hang out at the airport and as pilots flew in from different parts of the globe we quizzed them about flight conditions and requested a couple of them to give us PIREPS (pilot reports) on departure and let us know the kind, quantity and severity of icing conditions on climb out and cruise. In about five hours we were able to piece together a good profile of what was going on with the weather.
Yesterday, we got up early and started poring over weather reports and found an exact match with the day before. The icing predictions were the same, therefore, we decided to amend our trans oceanic altitude to one we could live with and filed our flight plan. We departed about 10 minutes after our initially planned departure time. Before departure, looking at the head winds we also decided to add another 15 gallons of fuel to our reserve, just in case.
We also had to don our gumby suits for this flight as the water in the north Atlantic is about 40 degrees F these days and hypothermia followed by death can be quite quick. These suits also prevented much movement for about 10 hours and we had a minor issue with the pilots relief tube usage with this suit on….lesson learned, there can be no kinks in the relief tube while being operated !!!
Our flight was uneventful for the most part and we did not encounter any ice during this flight, but there were some anxious moments when we saw the temperatures dip close to zero Celcius and there was water streaming across the wind shield. Our plane is equipped with a weeping wing de-icing system, but it is not certified for flying in icing conditions, therefore, I was quite anxious…. also, icing and planes do not do well together and must be kept separated…
During the entire flight, we were either in the clouds or above them, so we did not get to see the waters of the Atlantic until we got close to Iceland. I do think they should swap the names of the two countries – Greenland and Iceland…. there is absolutely NOTHING green about greenland….it is one icy chunk of rock with a bunch of ice on it and floating all around it. As we neared Greenland, Saturday was a national holiday and we were advised by the Air Traffic Controllers that if we had to land in Greenland for any reason whatsoever, they would charge us a $1200 seeing-your-face-fee. How much more unwelcome can a place be….first they have nothing but rock and ice and then they charge you an arm and a leg…NOPE, I have no use for that “country”….. PASS…next….
Our arrival in Iceland was very uneventful, and we were advised that today the sun will set close to mid-night and it will be light again in 4 hours. We dropped some heavy curtains on the windows, Haris got to inhale a rather large size burrito – the boy was hungry after a 9.5 hour flight…but I did feed him while we were enroute….even gave him my sandwich, but he devoured everything in sight !
The weather forecast on both ends of today’s flight seems to be much better than what we got in the last three days. We filed our flight plan for London and with favorable winds, we may be able to make it in 6.5 hours – depending on how much we get re-routed…..hopefully it won’t be as bad as it was in Canada where every little town wanted our carbon foot print pushed way out of their air space…..
Originally, we were supposed to stay in London for one day, but then we found out that our arrival airport in Egypt is closed on Wednesdays, therefore, we need to arrive on Thursday….so, no one had to twist our arms to get us to stay an extra day in London…. we also need to get to London before a certain time as the airport closes for all flight operations at night due to noise ordinances in place……