20 Sep 2019 - Thursday 19th September
We are back in Iceland, what an incredible journey it has been.
We took off from Ilulissat this morning, having had breakfast watching icebergs floating past the hotel window.
We flew to Kangerlussuaq to refuel. We had a full NDB approach joining the procedure at about 7,000 ft over the valleys. There was an Airbus coming in so we had to extend our outbound leg by some 20 miles. Kangerlussuaq is an ex-USAF airbase with a massive runway.
We then took off for Iceland. We had planned to go into Kulusuk on the East coast but the winds were gusting at 40 knots and it is down a valley with a lot of windshear. So we climbed to19,000 feet, using oxygen and de-icing for the first time.
Coasted out over the Arctic icecap, a beautiful landscape of several hundred miles of pure ice. MSA is some 15 ½ thousand ft with the icecap rising to 10-13 thousand ft. It was a 5 hour flight all the way up Eastern Greenland; we went through an occluded front but luckily the wind component was the main aspect.
We descended for anight landing into Reykjavik. We entered a front there and had a lot of heavy icing. Broke cloud at 800 ft and seeing the lights of the ILS on approach was beautiful. We had a full IR IFR on an ILS.
This evening we have enjoyed a wonderful meal at an Icelandic restaurant, one of the oldest in Reykjavik.
Tomorrow the plan is to fly to the Faroe islands; there is a strong vortex wind warning on the approach.
19 Sep 2019 - Wednesday 18th September
Another amazing day. We flew out over the glacier this morning at 800 ft and up the valley over a sea of broken ice. It was an incredible experience to be able to fly so close to the huge white glacier.
After landing again and re-fuelling we set off for Upernavik which is 2 hours north. It is 420 ft above the sea and sits on an outcrop of rocks. There is a short runway. No avgas.
En route Nuuk declared an emergency search and rescue for 3 hunters lost in a boat in a remote loch. We diverted there to help and searched for 40 minutes being given the latitude & longitude waypoints for their last reported positions. We scoured the coast and fjords looking for the lost white boat.
Unfortunately we could not find them and had to carry on up north to Upernavik. This evening the search and rescue is continuing.
We returned low level with breath-taking views of the icebergs and mountains. A small mountain here is 9.000 ft.
We circled back to Ilulissat and past the calving glacier just as the sun was setting, a spectacular sight.
We have a second night here and then plan tomorrow to go over the Arctic icecap to Kulusuk and head to Iceland.
18 Sep 2019 - Dr Orton’s Atlantic crossing - Tuesday 17th September
Tuesday 17th September
Another great day. We flew from Iqaluit in Baffin Island, Northern Canada, to Ilulissat in W Greenland. The weather was fantastic.
We flew out across the Greenland Sea, a flight of 3 hours, to Ilulissat which is a UNESCO site. It is a massive glacier, with hundreds of icebergs floating out from it. We flew low level at 700 ft over the icebergs. There is short tarmac runway next to the sea.
Tonight, we are staying in hotel on a fjord with amazing views of icebergs and the glacier. The iceberg which sank the Titanic came from this glacier which is hundreds of feet tall.
Tomorrow we plan to fly low level below the glacier’s calving edge.
17 Sep 2019 - Dr Orton’s Atlantic crossing - Monday 16th September
Well, what an amazing day; 9 hours of flying and we are now in Iqaluit in Baffin Island, Northern Canada, one of the most remote places in the world.
We set off from Akureyri and flew for 3 hours to Kulusuk in Eastern Greenland. We went low level, off airways and flew at 1.000 ft all around icebergs. The sea is beginning to freeze over.
Kulusuk is a gravel strip, pretty tricky and many a/c have been lost here. We had to navigate between 2 mountain peaks. Landing on a gravel strip requires a special technique of watching your airspeed otherwise you get a vortex and get sandblasted.
We refuelled and then set off across the Arctic icecap. 2 ½ hours over a wilderness of ice and snow. The Arctic icecap is up to 10.000 ft. We landed at Nuuk, down a large ravine of icebergs and mountains. The issue here is that you have no radio contact until very close. As a result, position reports are mandatory and must be very precise in that you must be at your waypoint within 3 minutes of expected time.
Nuuk closes at 5pm and it was a mad rush to clear immigration control. We took off with 10 seconds to spare. If you are late you get a 1 thousand,400 dollar bill.
We headed out for nearly 4 hours to Baffin Island. On reaching landfall there was 70 miles of wilderness of glaciers, ice and flat mountains.
The approach into Iqaluit is quite tricky. We came in on 24 on an RNAV. Instrument approaches seem to be the norm here. We could not see the runway until we turned base and then at 5,000 ft faced a steep ascent to the runway. We landed just before sunset.
Fuel is loaded in barrels here and you don’t order much more than a barrel because it will disappear. Finding beds for the night proved difficult but eventually we struck lucky with a cancellation.
Tomorrow we are up early, heading across to the northern reaches of Western Greenland.
16 Sep 2019 - Wx today
16 Sep 2019 - Vertical weather for today. Fly at 10,000 ft
15 Sep 2019 - Dr Orton’s Atlantic crossing - Day 3 Sunday 15th September
Sunday 15th September
Yesterday we were weathered out with a hurricane going through the N. Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland.
We took off early today with a 55 knot headwind. T/O was gusting 40k. Flapless T/O as otherwise you can get a high-speed stall if there is a gust on takeoff.
Climbed to FL 100. On that heading and with the headwinds we were not going to make Iceland, but we predicted 100-200 miles out the wind would reduce.
After an hours’ flight the winds had reduced though were still 20kn stronger than anticipated. A 5-hour flight brought us to Egilsstadir on the East coast of Iceland.
We descended past stunning snow-capped mountains and amazing cliffs plunging thousands of feet into the sea. We did an RNAV approach staying at 5 ½ thousand feet, round the mountains and into the valley. A truly spectacular flight.
After refuelling at Egilsstadir, BIEG, we took off towards the North coast to Akureyri, BIAR,in the North. This was a 1 ½ hour flight with stunning views of the mountains and rocks sticking out of the sea. We overflew BIVO & BITN and descended on RNAV to runway 19.
Coming down the valley the clouds started closing in with rain and low cloud. We descended on visual, took up the procedure and lined upon runway 19, with a large cruise ship in sight.
Tomorrow, we hope to go straight to E. Greenland, to Kulusuk, and then straight over the Arctic icecap to Iquluit in Canada. This is because the winds are looking favourable for westerly travel.
14 Sep 2019 - Dr Orton’s Atlantic Crossing - Day 2 Saturday 14th September
Windy and rainy. The plan is to head off to Sumburgh, and then Vagar in the Faroe Islands. Vagar is a group of rocks 3 miles out in the North Atlantic. The approach there will be quite difficult, with a vortex warning. Sadly, there are the remains of a Danish biz jet in the cliffs. The approach is from a beacon on another island, Mykines. The runway is curved, and on a hill. We will refuel there.
Then we will set off for Eastern Iceland to Egilsstadir to clear customs. The plan is then to go to Akureyri in the North, where the cruise ships are. This is another difficult approach, windy and down a long valley under instrument conditions.
Update: No flying today since hurricane going through to North.
13 Sep 2019 - Dr Orton’s Atlantic Crossing - Day 1 Friday 13th September
We set off from North Weald to fly the Atlantic. The route is to Wick in Scotland, across to Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands, the Faroe Islands, all around Iceland – we plan to do all 4 Airfields there – across to Eastern Greenland and Kulusuk, around the South and West, across to Canada – 2 places - Iqaluit and Baffin island.
The flight from North Weald to Wick took 3 hours at Flt level 100 to conserve oxygen. One of the problems in this North Arctic area is that things are very expensive, non-existent or difficult to get such as TKAS de-icing fluid; oxygen refill is almost impossible and fuel very expensive.
It was a beautiful flight, CAV OK, past E. Midlands, Yorkshire Moors, Newcastle and across the sea at Aberdeen with a lovely sunset over the estuary. We saw the Farne Islands out to the East and came into Wick as it was getting dark. A nice approach using VNAV for a visual approach to runway 31.
14 Jun 2016 - Free taxi service to Aviation Medica
The Shuttle Bus from the Terminal to Aviation Medica is no longer operating – please see FAQs for details of replacement free taxi service.
12 Aug 2015 - Peter Orton awarded Doctorate of Medicine (MD)
Peter Orton was awarded an MD (Doctorate of Medicine) in Research and Education by the University of London on 16 July 2015. This is one of the highest postgraduate degrees obtainable and was completed after 18 years of research. His research was on burnout in doctors and communication skills.
15 May 2014 - Dr Peter Orton is approved by Virgin Galactic
Dr Peter Orton is approved by Virgin Galactic, LLC, to perform spaceflight participant screening exams.