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First DA42-VI Makes the Crossing Part III

GlassPilotNews, Pilot Reports

Flight 3: Reykjavik, Iceland (BIRK) to Narsarsuaq, Greenland (BGBW)

The first flight of Day 2: 679 nm and 3 hours 56 minutes from Iceland to Greenland was definitely the most spectacular, thrilling, and just plain amazing. It’s what made the whole trip so memorable.

We had “severe clear” good visibility weather for our flight out of Reykjavik, with departure after takeoff passing right over the city:

After we turned southwest towards our destination in Greenland, we flew at 14,000 feet above a broken cloud layer with little to see. But it was fun to look at the G1000 MFD display (be sure to click on the photo for an expanded view):

Our first course waypoint and reporting position was EMBLA, but beyond that we had to input user-defined waypoints into the G1000 including “N6330″ for 63 degrees North, 30 degrees West longitude, and similarly “N6240″ for 62 degrees North, 40 degrees West longitude.

But look at the elevation for the Greenland icecap — we were cruising at 14,000 feet and all the red squares (for the terrain warning system) on the icecap were above that!! The “MAX ELEV (FT)” shown on the right side elevation legend was 17,181 feet! Fortunately as you can see our course would take us over a smaller, lower portion of the icecap with an elevation below 7000 feet.

After we got about half-way to Greenland the clouds disappeared, and we could literally see for hundreds of miles over a perfectly calm blue sea. And when we were still more than 100 nm away, we began to see the first appearance of Greenland on the horizon.

Here’s what the east coast of Greenland looked like from about 60 nautical miles away:

Here you can also hear Fritz give a position report to Greenland approach “Thuderstorm” at N6240 (at this point we were within VHF radio range):

And the view only got better as we got closer to the coastline — note the big swirl of ice directly ahead of us:

(No audio is heard on this video, since at this point Fritz and I were speechless.)

Here’s an iPhone video shot as we crossed the coastline:

Flight 3: Reykjavik, Iceland (BIRK) to Narsarsuaq, Greenland (BGBW) Continued…

Here’s what crossing the Greenland Icecap (the very southern portion which “only” rose to about 7000 feet) looked like:

And here we’ve just crossed the icecap getting ready to begin our descent to Narsarsuaq airport (hard to believe there’s an airport ANYWHERE around here!):

As this video begins, the aircraft is descending through 12,000 feet (from 14,000 feet earlier while crossing the southern icecap) in preparation for landing. The airport is not yet visible, but as Fritz explains by pointing at the MFD map, it requires “hanging a left at the 2nd glacier” for the visual approach to Narsarsuaq:

Below is the SPECTACULAR approach down the glacier to a landing at sea level. As this video begins, the aircraft is descending through 8,000 feet to begin the approach for landing. The airport is not yet visible until the aircraft turns left for the visual approach into Narsarsuaq.

Fritz pulled the landing gear circuit breaker to stop the annoying “gear up” beeping while the plane was diving with the engine throttles fully retarded — and stuck a piece of paper between the throttles as a reminder. During the trip down the glacier, the aircraft is steeply descending at nearly 3000 fpm at airspeeds approaching 180 knots IAS (which is why the MAX SPEED warning is visible). Narsarsuaq Airport is visible at the end of glacier valley:

After we landed and the aircraft is being refueled I took the following panorama 360 degree video while standing out on the mostly-deserted ramp — we were the only aircraft at the airport. Because Narsarsuaq is located near the southern tip of Greenland with a runway long enough for many jets, it can be used for airliners that have to divert for mechanical or other problems. The white objects seen floating in the water are indeed icebergs. Check out the final frame of the video to see one of the ramp workers taking cellphone pictures of the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit of the DA42.

Can you pronounce the name of the fuel company supplying Jet-A to our DA42?

Here’s a gratuitous shot of the plane being re-fueled (again see floating icebergs in the background):

Here I am standing in front of the terminal building to prove that I was actually there:

Here are the front doors just inside the terminal building covered with stickers from all the pilots who have passed through Narsarsuaq:

And finally, here’s our lonely aircraft located out on the ramp as seen from the terminal control tower:

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