Saturday, December 1, 2007
The Odyssey Of Glacier Girl
The world's most famous warbird takes on the North Atlantic
There was another two-day delay in Goose for parts for the Mustang, and bad weather in Northern Labrador and Nunavit made the original Bolero route inadvisable, so we were relegated to the southern route.
Now, we’re finally on our way across the Atlantic on the first overwater leg—Goose Bay to Narsarsuaq. The atmospherics are near-perfect, with clear skies, nearly 24 hours of daylight in late June and even slight tailwinds.
We depart Goose Bay at 0900 local and begin tracking out over the water toward Greenland. The icebergs begin to appear 100 miles offshore, right on schedule, and this has all the makings of a near-perfect crossing.
Maybe not. A hundred miles past Loach intersection, I’m watching Hinton in loose formation when suddenly his P-38 banks sharply away from us. Not good, I speculate.
Sure enough, he has a problem with the right engine. Pumps, tanks and mixtures don’t help, and within about one minute, we collectively decide to abort. Our flight of three makes a sweeping right turn, and we begin tracking back toward Goose Bay.
Fortunately, Hinton manages to keep things running and lands normally on two engines in Goose Bay. Hinton, Cardin and our support team swing into action, and within an hour, they discover a cracked cylinder on the right Allison V1710. Lewis elects to change out both engines, and that’s the end of the trip for the P-38. (After a double-engine change, Hinton will later return to Goose and fly the P-38 to Oshkosh AirVenture.)
Within a few hours, we’re mounted up again with Hinton riding with us in the Pilatus and Ed Shipley formed on our right wing. The crossing to Narsarsuaq, Greenland, goes without a hitch in 3 + 10, we refuel both airplanes and continue on to Reykjavik, Iceland, in another 3 + 20, arriving at 0200 local.
As it turns out, most of the British Isles are suffering from a hellacious rain event, and the trip on down to Stornoway and Duxford, U.K., is delayed again. As much as I love Iceland (the best-kept secret on the North Atlantic), there’s no logical reason for me to hang out in Reykjavik. I jump on Iceland Air to New York, then Delta back to California. It’s my 153rd crossing of the North Atlantic.
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