Epic Trip Update

 

OK everyone, as you can guess I’ve been busy. The following post was written in flight while I was supposed to be doing that pilot shit so please excuse the poor everything. I was going to clean it up and add photos but who am I kidding? I’m just lucky to have time to post anything. It’s currently 3:00 am in Iceland and I’m flying in the morning so you get what you get.

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By the end of day one I beginning to get a good sense of how this trip was going to go. After only flying for a little under three hours we got the red carpet treatment at the Pratt and Whitney factory, that’s right I got a hat. Then when I checked into the five star hotel in downtown Montreal I didn’t have to give them a credit card because I was told that everything was covered. Hello minibar! Then it off to a fancy French restaurant for an amazing dinner. This trip is shaping up nicely with short flying days and five star treatment. Now of course no night with Pete Zaccagnino is ever boring so instead of going back to the hotel after dinner to get a good nights sleep Pete “dragged” me out to a bar where a buddy of his was having his bachelor party. I’m not saying that we stayed out too late but the next morning one of the younger pilots on the trip commented on how he couldn’t understand how us old guys could function on such little sleep.
I guess I can fill you all in on a few more details about our trip now. What I’ve
Been hired to do is lend my world traveling expertise in assisting the owners of six amazing airplanes fly them around the world. It’s quite a large crew (27 people!) so half of the challenge is going to herding cats. I can’t tell you what kind of aircraft we are flying but they are all the same kind of plane and they are fast as hell and damn sexy to boot!
We’re heading to Goose Bay and on to Narsarsuaq today so I’ll give you all another report soon.
The gas and go stop at Goose Bay was remarkably fast considering we had six planes or fuel and 27 people to feed. Luckily our wonderful trip organizer Gale had us covered with a box of subway sandwiches waiting for us so it wasn’t a complete cluster. After that it was feet wet over the Davis Strait and the Labrador Sea and east bound to Narsarsuaq Greenland. Now normally this 675 nautical mile leg takes me well over 4 or 5 hours depending on what I’m flying
but we made this ocean crossing in just 2 hours and 12 minutes. Did I mention that I just freaking LOVE this plane!? Well I do. It is just the most fantastic super shit hot incredible flying machine I’ve ever gotten my mitts on. So yeah, I dig it.

But even the best plane can bite you if not careful. As we were approaching Narsarsuaq my co-pilot who was flying this leg requested a descent out of 27,000 feet a little late so of course Sonderstrom radio delayed our request a few minutes putting us in a little bit of a bind because while we were waiting for permission to descend we were still smoking along at 360 knots and chewing up miles at a horrendous rate. I know, I know, I don’t usually refer to a high ground speed as “ horrendous” but when you’re quickly approaching the runway you want to land on and you’re still at 27,000 feet high speed can be somewhat of a problem. When we finally received permission to head down we were almost on top of the airport. So it was time to see just how fast this baby can come down. Turns out, pretty damn fast indeed. If you think descending at 7000 feet per minute is fun you’re right. And it’s also kind of fun to corkscrew down into an iceberg filled fjord. Just kind of. Crises averted we cranked in a steep bank to final and put her down on the up-sloping runway and put another ocean leg in the books.

We didn’t get to stay in a five star hotel in Narsarsuaq (because the only hotel is clean but not fancy) but we did get to take a boat ride after dinner. And what a boat ride! We were taken up the fjord into an area packed with icebergs of all sizes. The ice is calved off the glaciers flowing off the ice cap and is a brilliant blue due to it’s being thousands of years old some other science that I’ve forgotten. We pulled some ice onboard to mix in our drinks and then took a stroll on a large iceberg to toast the sunset. It was pretty nice I must say. After that we went back to the hotel bar and had an impromptu jam session with an Inuit band that was touring Greenland. It was a hell of a day.

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