Turbo-Beaver Ferry Flight
Labrador: Our Seventh Destination Fuel Stop
morning we get the satellite weather from the Narsarsuaq station only to
discover that severe icing associated with the worst of a Baffin Bay cold
front is threatening to cut us off. If we leave now we can beat it.
Yesterday we flew north around a warm front, and today we will attempt to
fly south around the worst of a cold front's band of freezing rain.
Remember, no boots on a Beaver.
satellite imagery and from the predicted speed of the front we work out a
rough heading of 238 degrees. That will take us out the inlet nicely, but
we will have to go VFR. The air traffic controller tries to talk us out of
it. The map says that 4000feet should be the minimum VFR altitude to get
out of the long mountain lined inlet. With a good VFR map, however, I am
convinced we will find our way out safely in the light fog and drizzle.
After all, I did not fly three years on the West Coast for nothing. With
the ferry flight fuel on board, however, we cannot safely land for over 6
hours, making getting out of inlet a necessity.
We have 12
hours of fuel at a planned cruising true airspeed of 112 knots. For the
first hour and a half we fly at 200 feet above the sea to avoid the
freezing rain that starts at 1200 feet. At sea level we are in the
relatively warm influence of the sea water, but we narrowly miss the
taller icebergs as we grope our way through the fog. The high pressure
system is channeling the cold front coming down from the north along the
eastern length of the Davis Strait to hug the western Greenland coast . On
the other side of the front is clear blue skies. Canada is already in the
clear cold air.
almost 200 nautical miles of 360lbs per hour fuel burn we climb up to 5000
feet where we get a better burn rate of 320lbs per hour. The temperature
drops from +5C to -12C, but we are in the clear. Leaving our last
destination, we really have the choice of at least four major airports in
Canada in which to make our home
Klaus makes a comment about how we have
gone from jungle to desert to transoceanic to arctic in a few short days.
We even had the survival kits for all four environments.
Therefore, after heading south west
for 1:35 hours in the fog,
we climb up and take a more northerly heading. Klaus whips out the whiz wheel and
I start banging in numbers into the GPS. Although I really wanted to
fly into St. John's Newfoundland I decided it was just a tad too
far for our fuel. The destination we decided on will be Goose Bay,
Labrador. The GPS confirms that we are now further from our destination
than when we started. At 112 knots we still have another 5:00 hours to go.
We are listening out on 123.45 and make a blind call out into the ocean
sky. "Speedbird" answers us and we relay a position report.
weather on the other side of the cold front is severe clear. Brilliant
white icebergs, ringed by icy green, abound in the deep blue waters. The
air is smooth and the rest of the trip in uneventful. We celebrate with a
feast of the last of our Nigeria mango juice and crackers as we cross the
coastline into Canada.
We are home or at least close enough. The rest of
the story will have to wait until another day. Thanks for
Story and Images by John S Goulet
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Last modified on April 21st, 2013.
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