Wick, Scotland to Reykjavik, Iceland
We prepared the plane yesterday, so when we got to the airport we were ready to go. Andrew from Far North had taken the plane out of the hangar and it was waiting for us. This hangar (top pix) has some history. This is where the spitfires were kept during the London Blitz and the first German plane (ME109) that was shot down by a British plane, was downed by a Spitfire based in Wick.
Our intention was to stop at Vagar in the Faroe Islands which is about half way between Scotland and Iceland. When we checked the weather this morning, the ceiling in Vagar was about 300 feet. Vagar has an interesting approach up a fjord. The weather in Reykjavik was forecast to be pretty good.
Ceiling and visibility are important but on a trip like this, the winds are of utmost importance. Unlike flying around the U.S., or Europe for that matter, your alternative airports are usually very close. Across the North Atlantic, you don't have that luxury. The winds were forecast to be light and variable at 10,000 feet. That would be just great but you have to find out for yourself. We filed for Reykjavik, Iceland and took off, with our last look at Europe (2nd pix). We climbed to 12,000 feet and the winds were pretty much as forecast. After leveling off we calculated the reserve fuel (the amount of flying time remaining after landing at Reykjavik) at a little over three hours. Climbing to 12,000 feet we burn less fuel, and go a little slower but INCREASE our range in time and miles. In other words we gain more in time and distance, than we lose in airspeed. Again we got cheated out of a look at the icebergs. We were on solid instruments from a few miles west of Wick for about an hour and a half. After that we were either in or on top of the clouds.
The winds stayed pretty much the same and we landed with about the same reserve. The trip took 4 hours 20 minutes. (3rd pix- turning final at Reykjavik.) This is the ideal type of place to stop when flying privately. We parked (as we had on the way across) right in front of the combination General Aviation Office and Customs. From there we could walk to the hotel (4th pix). We even stopped back at the plane later to pick up some things. The hotel is quite comfortable and has a good breakfast. Tonight we will go into Reykjavik for dinner at one of the restaurants we ate at last month (the one where I had the raw whale-- although I don't know if it's necessary to have it twice).
Tomorrow we plan on taking off about 11:00 AM for Greenland. We gained an hour from Scotland to Iceland, and we gain another two between here and Greenland. We plan on flying to Kulusuk, on the east coast of Greenland to refuel. It should take about 2 hours 45 minutes. Then another 2 hours and 15 minutes to Sondre Stromfjord on the west coast of Greenland. This is the same flight we planned on the way over, but we had to skip Kulusuk because it was fogged in. Again the wind will be all important in our planning.