Greenland! Crazy countryside, glorious views

Monday, August 19, 2013
Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Again we learn by doing... On our last flight we didn't burn any oil at all (!) but now with the overhauled engine of course things are different. Needless to say we didn't have the right oil outs. Embarrassing rookie mistake ;-) Going to fetch it at a different airport in Reykjavik put a nice dent in the pocketbook ensuring we don't make that mistake again :-)

Once leaving Keflavik the flight over the Atlantic was amazingly smooth . We had clear skies at our 18,000' altitude with only clouds below us. Flying at that altitude we also didn't have to wear the oxygen masks and only the canulas, which made speaking and eating much more comfortable

The coast of Greenland was a welcome sight. What a crazy landscape! We had such amazingly rare blue skies and unlimited views. From glaciers to icebergs to half-frozen fjords, it was all there 18,000' below. Too cool. The interior is largely a plateau devoid of any variation, also an amazing sight for it's uniformity. Amazingly, in the middle of this seemingly endless void. Saw a make-shift camp with carved smooth runway in the ice. We were glad that didn't prove to be a needed alternate.

Nearing the west coast the landscape changed again to fjords and small lakes. We chose Kangerlussuaq as our Greenland airport because they have radar and a localizer approach, which means if the weather was dicey we'd have more guidance and a more accurate route to the runway . Needless to say on this day that was superfluous. It was an extremely pretty approach and fun landing at what seemed to be a tiny town completely revolving around servicing the airport.

Refueling and "handling" was, suffice it to say, expensive. We were out towards North America Rita after filing a new flight plan and calling Canadian immigration. That was tops on our list because after forgetting to do so on our first trans-Atlantic flight we were blacklisted. We got by the first time with only a slap on the wrist, but are guaranteed to pay CA$2000 for the next violation!

Insanely, we had VFR conditions almost the entire way to Iqaluit. More icebergs, more blue skies, and not a soul anywhere. There was some descending through clouds near Iqaluit that led to a bit of icing, but nothing serious. Landing with great conditions ion Iqaluit was a far very from our first landing there where the icy overcast was far more involving .

Iqaluit is surely one of the more depressing places I've ever visited, particularly for a developed country. The Inuit have it amazingly difficult and the poverty, hopelessness, and drug abuse is blatant. Seeing a young man with few teeth trying to sell us a couple puppies, and another high as a kite trying to sell a tapestry, was particularly telling of the conditions there. Now that the dock had defrosted, you could tell the town was also hard at work to bring in as many supplies as they could by boat to get them through the long winters.

Also indicative of the conditions there was the hours-long blackout in the whole town as we arrived. A shower by flashlight followed by beers with a couple other German pilots made it fun though. Amazingly, one of the Germans was flying over the Atlantic to Alaska in a plane similar to a Piper Cub. The other was a 16 year old pilot flying with his dad in their turboprop float plane. Only a few days earlier they had to put down in the water due to low fuel and a couple missed approaches in the fog at a nearby airport on the other side of the Hudson Bay. Crazy. For us, fortunately all great weather.

As is becoming typical on this tripped, I'm beat and fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Our routing for Keflavik (BIKF) to Kangerlussuaq (BGSF) was GIMLI N65W030 VAXAN DA MASIK PEVAR at FL180
Our routing for the leg from Kangerlussuaq (BGSF) to Iqaluit (CYFB) was for 14,000' at 160 knots:
DCT 6554N05855W 65N063W DCT YFB
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