One of the great things about being a ferry pilot is that once in a while you get to have a little fun that you’d never be able to do if you were hauling cargo or passengers, same thing really. We took advantage of it coming into Narsarsuaq Greenland and when we’d told the tower of our intentions to fly around sightseeing another pilot coming in from Goose bay almost immediately announced that he was going to do the same thing. Marcio and I laughed when we heard the pilot announce his intention to copy us but it then became sort of a pain because the tower was continuously calling both of us to report our position relative to the airport. I appreciated the fact that he was trying to keep us from clacking into each other but it was still annoying. Despite being fat on gas on a perfect day we couldn’t screw around forever so we flew out over the ocean then back up the fjord to Narsarsuaq.
I’ve described the airport and landing before but for those of you that are new here’s a brief description. Narsarsuaq airport has been described as one of the worlds top ten most dangerous airports to land at because of being located at the end of a long deep fjord surrounded by tall mountains. The approach plate states that once you’re past the missed approach point go-arounds are not recommended. The airports that are usually listed as the top three most dangerous are there because they are so short but in my opinion they aren’t as dangerous as Narsarsuaq because of it’s location. On the short runways, such as St. Barts which I’ve landed at, if you screw up your set up just add power and try again. And if the weather changes most of them have other airports close by to divert to. With Narsarsuaq not only is the landing very challenging but the weather can change in a heartbeat and with the nearest alternate airport almost three hundred miles away a pilot can find himself out of options very quickly. Thus in my opinion, which is the only one that matters, Narsarsuaq is far more dangerous than almost any other airport in the world. End of speech.
But the weather wasn’t a factor that day and Marcio only bounced the Cirrus once on landing, jet guys, go figure. As we were taxiing to the ramp Marcio turned his phone on to see if he had coverage and to check his emails, not the first thing I do when I land after an ocean crossing but I’m not a young whipper snapper like Marcio he’s only 40years old fer Cripes sake. The prop hadn’t stopped spinning yet when my big Brazilian co-pilot let out a moan and told me the bad news. He’d gotten a message from one of the new owners that stated that someone had forgotten to file some sort of export paperwork on the plane we were flying and if they couldn’t sort it out, which was unlikely, we’d have to bring the Cirrus back to Iceland to be cleared for export. Obviously this little bit of news didn’t sit very well with either of us because we’d just completed the most dangerous leg of the trip and there was NO WAY we were going to do it again. Not without being very well compensated for our trouble and added risk.