It was a late breakfast and take off today. We flew eastward along the coastline at low level passing Brighton and the white cliffs of Dover. Then northwards following the coast all the way up to Newcastle. Most of they way at only 800 feet then climbing to 2500’ as we went westwards towards Prestwick. The weather had been fine. Enroute from Newcastle the weather started to deteriorate and the broken cloud down to 3000’. As we came within reach of Prestwick, we were scud running between the cloud and the rising hills and the rain as we joined the circuit. We joined left hand down wind for runway 13 and as usual Chalkie was in and down on the ground. ZS-JCO and ZS-DXI had to do a go round because a 737-200 was lined up for blast off. On the ground safe and sound and a hearty welcome from Simon Marsden ATC and Robert Greer of Greer Aviation. Aircraft tied down for the night and off to the hotel. Tomorrow our 50 hour maintenance check, oil change and try to find someone to fix my transponder. My wife Jenny had forwarded our immersions suites for the Atlantic crossing and they had arrived.
Watching the weather over the Atlantic now for a departure on Tuesday for Reykjavik.
We worked all day on our aircraft. My alternator belt had become loose, so that was tighten. All the plugs were pulled and the carbon removed. Oil changed and a general inspection of the aircraft. Francesco’s Cessna had sheered an exhausted stud on the number one cylinder. This repair took the best part of the day. We pulled out my transponder but couldn’t see anything obviously wrong. So I had to buy another new one for 1081 pounds. OUCH!! Off to an Irish pub in Scotland, go figure, with some new found friends. We kept it an early night. Tomorrow Reykjavik Iceland.
The cloud base was quite low, about 1000’, and we were routed via Stornoway in the Outer Hebradies. Then left to Iceland over the North Alantic. The flight was uneventful. At flight level 100 we were above the clouds. Six hours later we were on the decent into Reykjavik, dodging a bit of low level scud. The landscape is quite barren, with the black volcanic sand. We approached from the south east and it was over the coastal hills and onto runway 31 for a straight in approach.
The field was fogged in and we were delayed until about 10am local. It started to lift and were blasted off down runway 31 with all our tanks filled to the brim. The plan was to fly direct to Goose Bay over the Greenland ice cap and Narsarsaq. I was very nervous as the cloud was low and the icing level was of great concern. We disappeared into the cloud at about 1500’. Cleared to 7000’ I soon started to pick ice on the wings and the HF aerial. Chalkie and Cessna also picked up ice. Chalkie cancelled his IF flight plan and descended down to 4000’. Francesco and Fred also descended down to 5000’ and Monty and I soon followed. The weather improved slightly, but it was short lived and the icing became worse. So a further decent was called for to get down below the icing level. At about 300 nm we popped out of the occluded front and the weather was fantastic. We climbed to flight level 120, the minimum level to cross the Greenland ice cap, and the Greenland coastal line loomed out of the haze. It was absolutely fantastic. We could see the coastal mountains from 150 nm miles out!!! Photos to follow. The scenery is breath taking as we crossed out the ice cap. Overhead Narsarsaraq we turn south west to Goose bay. Crossing over the Canadian coast it was into Goose Bay in glorious weather for a most welcome touch down on runway 26. Flight time 12 hours!!! We had crossed the North Atlantic in single engined piston aircraft fighting icing and fatigue. We were treated by Robert and Sharon Langdon, Hank and George, aviation enthusiasts, who just by chance happen to stumble across our adventure, to dinner. We dined on Cod fish and Caribou steaks, most tasty. As usual the topic of conversation is……. Flying, of course.
From Goose Bay the plan was to reach Ottawa, some 650 nm away. The weather was good when we took off. We reached Sep-Tiles on the Lawrence River and had lunch. It as off again to Ottawa, after having to beat off FBO’s want to refuel our aircraft. The weather slowly deteriorated, and soon we were dodging the scud and rain. We diverted to a small French speaking town called Baie Comeau landing in the rain. It was quite evident that we were going to spend the night.
We left very late as the weather only started to lift around lunch time. Impatient to get going we filed IF and flew down the Lawrence River passed Montréal, Ottawa and into Detroit City landing around 22:00. At first we couldn’t find the runway as there was so much light pollution around the airport. On the second attempt we found the runway ahead of us. A quick refuel and clear customs and it was off again to Port Huron only 36nm away. By he time we had landed and tied down the aircraft it was after midnight. The next problem was to find a hotel for the night which proved to be mission on its own. We found one and we were in bed by 02:00.
This was a day off and we relaxed and socialized with the folk at St Clair County Airport.