(Continuing post on Atlantic flight…) The departure from Narsarsuaq exemplified the power reserve of the King Air C90. We climbed out in the clear smooth air and continued out over the North Atlantic. The scenery departing Greenland (on the eastern shore) was particularly beautiful.
Most of the flight to Iceland was uneventful. The winds forecast at Iceland were strong from the north, and we hoped they would calm as we approached. The North Atlantic was full of white crests. It was hard to get a proper grasp of the size of the waves that were below us, but we knew we were flying over the roughest seas for the trip.
As we drew closer to Iceland, the weather reports continued to relay the fact that the winds were super-strong from the north…37 knots gusting to 55 knots from about 20 degrees off the runway centerline. We flew the ILS to the north runway at Keflavik and broke out at about 1000′ MSL just slightly after sunset. I flew an approach with a faster speed and deployed only one notch of flaps for landing. On the last 500′ of the approach, the airplane rocked in moderate turbulence all the way to the ground. My touchdown was one of my better of the whole journey.
Leaving the runway, the strength of the winds became evident as the controls buffeted in my hands. Margrit commented on the need for accurate aileron and elevator position in the taxi. Still, the King Air is solid and we did not feel the winds full strength until we opened the cabin door. Not only was it strong, is was really cold! I am not sure what the wind chill factor is with a temperature of 30F and a 50knot wind, but I can tell you that we hustled to get our bags, tie down the airplane, and dive into the awaiting FBO van. By the way, the FBO is South Air and they did a super job of helping us out…very nice and well run FBO on Keflavik.
We stayed at the Northern Lights Hotel and it was one of the best hotels of our trip. The cost was very reasonable and the dining room was really nice. Both dinner and breakfast were excellent. Patrick (the French pilot) bought the crew dinner and we all enjoyed more of Margrit’s aviation stories.
The next morning we got into the van to rive back to the airport and then got to see Iceland with some daylight. I was really surprised to see how rough and jagged the ground could be. I’d read some about this fantastic geography, and the first sight was one to behold. I shall definitely return one day to visit and hopefully take some cool landscape pictures.
At the airport, the wind had died down to only 20 knots, but the temperature was about 25F, which made for a fast preflight and engine start to get the heater pumping. My time in Iceland was far too short. If there was one place on the trip that I’d have enjoyed visiting longer, it would definitely be Iceland.