Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Around The World

Air Journey escorts pilots on worldwide flying adventures for a high-end, hassle-free experience

Fueling the Howards' Twin Commander on the ramp at Kangerlussuaq.
Over the ocean at FL 390, we're above another solid cloud layer, and the deep-blue sky turns sapphire against the stark white horizon. The moving map on the Garmin G1000 is the only indication that we're over water, and for fun, we check the Nearest Airports page—there are none.

The weather at Kangerlussuaq is VFR, and we plan on a straight-in for runway 09. Thierry goes on frequency with the rest of the group to relay an updated weather report and pirep on cloud bases. The moment the ground comes into sight, we're awestruck. Sondrestrom Fjord is a blend of glaciers, icebergs, mountains and intricate patterns of glacial silt. There are no roads in sight, because no roads exist between towns. Transportation within Greenland is primarily by air.

On final, we have a clear view of the town, population 550. To the north is the hotel—the only hotel. To the south, several colorful buildings stand out against the austere terrain. Beyond the airport, we can see the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 80% of the country's surface.

Betty and David Schlacter.

Jimmy Hayes and Laura Azara.

Landing is uneventful, and immediately, Thierry starts coordinating a hotel shuttle, fuel and tour of the tower. The controller, a young woman from Denmark, welcomes us in the cab and keenly answers our questions about what it's like to work on such a remote airfield. Parked at the base of the tower are several Lockheed LC-130s. These USAF aircraft are equipped with skis and flown by the New York Air National Guard to transport supplies and scientists to research stations on the ice cap.

Thierry has arranged for dinner at Roklubben, a (frozen) lakeside restaurant that has musk ox and reindeer on the menu, and JATO canisters as décor. Having completed the first day of circumnavigating the globe, the mood is festive under the midnight sun of the Arctic Circle.


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