Narsarsuaq (Greenland) to Reykjavik (Iceland)


02/08/2008


Had a good night’s sleep in the peace and quiet of Narsarsuaq. The hotel is surprisingly large for such a remote place, but most of the guests appear to be hikers/backpackers, and this is spectacular country for this kind of activity. There are few roads in Greenland, because of the mountainous terrain, and travel between communities is usually by plane, helicopter, or boat, or perhaps by ski if the distance is not too great. It would certainly be an interesting place to spend more time but I do not have that time at the moment.

I had walked from the airport to the hotel with my bags yesterday afternoon, as it was only a few hundred yards, but took advantage this morning of the hotel’s free bus shuttle, as some of the hikers were catching a flight out.

I had the plane refuelled first, mindful of the 120 US dollars that I had saved by not having it fuelled yesterday, and then went to file the flight plan and pay the landing charges, etc. It was with some foreboding that I ascended the stairs to the control tower, but I was determined to argue my case. A young man took my flight plan to check it and file it and said he would prepare the paperwork for the landing charges. I told him what time I had arrived yesterday and what I had been told about the 1,000 US dollars charge for “after –hours” landing. I also informed him that all the information I had been able to get indicated that I had arrived before the published closing time. The information I had been given in Goose Bay, the information in the Jeppesen publications (aeronautical info), and even the information in the official Danish website giving details for Narsarsuaq airport all indicated that I had arrived before the closing time. He went to check and returned to say that there would be no 1,000 dollar charge. What a relief! It would have spoilt my memories of such a beautiful approach into this spectacular and remote place.

The flight to Reykjavik would be around 6 hours for approximately 800 nautical miles. There were no worries about fuel, as I had enough for more than 10 hours flying. The wind was going to be generally against me, so I thought I would use a little more power in order to shorten the journey.

Took off on runway 25 and flew down the fjord, climbing as I went in order to gain height to cut across the mountains and shorten the distance. The views were wonderful, but the skies were not the blue of yesterday. It was more of a cold majestic scene with lots of icebergs in the fjords, glaciers coming down from the mountains, and some snowfields. I wanted to take more photographs but had to concentrate on the flying first. At 9,000 feet I was between two layers of cloud before I reached the southeast coast and started out on the long sea crossing.

The forecast had indicated that there would be significant cloud and this turned out to be the case. At least this was all over sea and I wasn’t missing out on any scenery. I lost contact occasionally with Greenland and ended up speaking sometimes to Gander (Canada) and also to Iceland. Was in or above cloud for much of the way and as I neared Iceland the actual weather had deteriorated at Reykjavik and it was an instrument approach to Reykjavik’s runway 19. Landed at 18.00 Z and was glad to get out of my survival suit after almost 6 hours. I felt drenched in perspiration, and the moisture steamed out as I unzipped the suit.

Flight Data: 802 nautical miles in 5 hours 55 minutes.