Turbo-Beaver Ferry Flight
Travel Dialogue Continued

Goose Bay Labrador: Our Seventh Destination Fuel Stop

In the 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.
From the 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.
After 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 coming.
        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.
The 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 following along.

BlueBerry Pancakes

Story and Images by John S Goulet

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Last modified on April 21st, 2013.
Virtual Horizons, 1996.