HOME | FLIGHT INFO | SINGLE ENGINES | TWIN ENGINES | OTHER AIRCRAFT | SOLO FLIGHTS | RALLIES | AWARDS | WEBSITES
MESSAGES | BOOKS & VIDEOS | RECORDS | CHRONOLOGY | DATA BASE | INDEX OF NAMES | ARCHIVE | SITE MAP
MEMORIAL | NON-QUALIFYING FLIGHTS | INDEX OF AIRCRAFTS | STATISTICS | MEETINGS AND HOSTS
North Atlantic Crossing
Time of Year
Diabetes World Flight (DWF) took five months to complete in a Beech Baron B58, departing Omaha, Nebraska (USA) on 24th September 2002. The route was eastbound and passed through 22 countries.
The objective was to be the first earth-rounder by a pilot with Type 1 Diabetes, while raising awareness of diabetes and funds for diabetes research. Each stop was invariably busy, arranging meetings with diabetes associations and media. As such, I tried to keep the flying admin workload to a minimum. Some notes on planning, clearances, handling, North Atlantic crossing, fuel costs, and maintenance are outlined below.
Jeppesen Flitestar was ideal for flight planning and Jeppesen IFR Trip Kits were used en-route. However, it was difficult to arrange timely deliveries for the first two Trip Kit updates (delivered to Iceland and Crete). VFR was flown in the UK, Australia, New Caledonia, Hawaii plus Thailand briefly. Australian VFR maps and VFR procedures were ordered ahead by telephone and delivered to an air charter firm at Port Hedland for our arrival from Bali. The rest of the VFR maps were arranged on arrival in each country.
Paul Portini did an excellent job at Overflight Ltd., UK. Nine arrival/departure country clearances were arranged, and five for
Overflight (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Malaysia).
I carried out self-handling at most airports. On average it took a good two hours from entering a major international airport's
doors, complete formalities and take off. Agents were used in Reykjavik, Malta, Cyprus, India, Thailand, Indonesia and exiting
Australia from Brisbane International.
North Atlantic Crossing/Time of Year
Originally the North Atlantic crossing was set for July 2002 latest for better weather. However, delays resulted in an early October crossing, not the best time. I contacted Ed Carlson near Boston who runs a "North Atlantic Ground School". His notes and telephone discussions were good, particularly about specific weather systems to watch for and wait out. I hired much of the required survival kit from Ed, dropping it off at Prestwick Airport in Scotland for return to the USA.
While October was not the optimal time of year for the North Atlantic, the Indian monsoon had finished and Middle East temperatures and conditions were also ideal in October/November. Some poor tropical conditions were encountered in Indonesia, also between Fiji and Samoa and arriving at Christmas Island (unexpectedly). On average the eastward route saw headwinds. I waited in Hawaii for tailwinds between Hilo and California (45 knots at one stage) - no complaints about this as the wait was on Maui.
The cost of fuel varied widely. The most expensive was at Iraklion, Crete, where a $2.80 surcharge for a private flight was charged resulting in a total of $8.40 per gallon. It was surprising to find such a "basic" (i.e. third-world) rule within the European Union. Apparently the surcharge can be waived if you can prove you are a commercial flight (with an official letter) or if the Greek Ministry of Transport approves this beforehand. Even as a charitable flight (raising funds for diabetes research) and much attempted persuasion, officials refused to waive the surcharge. If I'd known this beforehand I would have missed Iraklion out. The other more expensive stops were Narsarsuaq at $6.50 per gallon (cheaper than expected though), with the UK not far behind. It is worth noting that as at October 2002, Value Added Tax on fuel could be claimed back for aircraft departing the UK. The cheapest fuel was in Indonesia at $1.85 per gallon in Bali.
Oil changes were carried out in the UK, Thailand, Australia and Hawaii. The UK stop was at White Waltham to the west of London (with a bumpy grass runway but great atmosphere). In Thailand, Siam GA Ltd. also carried out a 100-hour engine check. The Australian change was at Archerfield, Brisbane, arranged by Bill Finlen who flew his Bonanza around in 2002. An FBO at Honolulu International did an oil change plus a 100-hour engine check.
Thanks to Douglas Cairns
The information found on these pages is published as supplied by pilots and has not been verified. It does not replace official documents produced by foreign governments or Airways Manuals published by specialised firms and should be taken at face value and used only for planning purposes. Governments change their aviation regulations without notice. Neither Earthrounders.com nor the pilots supplying the information are liable for inaccuracies or subsequent changes in that information.
Last update: December 13, 2006