PHOTO ARCHIVES                         Trans-Atlantic Aircraft Delivery (France-Iceland-Canada)

Route Map

Lorient, France

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

London, Ontario Canada

This trip took place in December 2006.  In general, the weather was fair and the greatest concern was the strength and direction of the Polar jetstream.  Refuelling took place at Reykjavik, Iceland and Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada.  Iqaluit is located at the Arctic Circle and is formerly known as Frobisher Bay, Northwest Terriotories, Canada.  Frobisher Bay was named for the English navigator Martin Frobisher.  Frobisher was the first European to visit this land during his search for the Northwest Passage in 1576.  The land is barren and unfriendly to the uninitiated-brave men.


Super King Air 200

This C-FSKN shown here at Centralia (Huron Park) aerodrome, north of London, Ontario, Canada (CYCE).

This 1983 aircraft is in mint condition.  It is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turbo-props engines. 

This aircraft is certified for up to nine passengers with a range of about 1,500 nm.  Used as a corporate aircraft, it provides excellent dedicated and charter service to its operator and passengers.

Lorient, France

Lorient is located on the northwest coast of France in the Brittany region, a most beautiful area of the country and possesses a fascinating history.

L'Orient (French for orient) was used by the French East India Company (founded in 1664) and was chartered b y King Louis XIV.  It developed as a spice trading centre, major fishing port and a shipbuilding enterprise.

During World War II, Lorient was reduced to ruins by Allied bombing.  The Germans built U-Boat pens in the harbour like they did in Brest to the north on the coast.  As the German wolfpacks preyed on Allied convoys, Allied Command focused raids on cities like Lorient to eliminate the support infrastructure of the German Navy U-Boat arm.

The U-Boat pens were so fortified with concrete and steel that high explosive bombs would not penetrate the structure.  In the next thumbnail, I talk about the U-Boat pen located in the Lorient Harbour.

German Navy

 U-Boat Pen Keroman

 Lorient, France

Lorient was home for a German submarine base during World War II; although the city was heavily damaged by Allied bombing raids, the base survived through to the end of the war. As they could not destroy the base itself, the Allies decided to bomb the city, in order to cut supply lines to the U-boats. Without fuel, provisions or water, it became impossible for these submarines to return to the Atlantic. Between the 14 Jan 1943 and17 February 1943, as many as 500 explosive bombs and more than 60,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on the city. Lorient was almost completely destroyed, with nearly 90% of the city flattened.

Today the former submarine base of Keroman is open to the public and can be visited year-round. During the tour the submarine pens of block K3 can be seen. The roof area (3.40m to 7m thick) can be accessed, as well as a former anti aircraft defence tower high on top of the base. The tower affords an excellent view of the harbour and of the former headquarters of the German Commander Karl Dönitz across the bay at Larmor-Plage.


Jetstream Effects

Scotland to Iceland

Halfway through the first leg, we  'rounded the corner' at Stornaway, Hebrides Islands, Scotland.  The altitude was 28,000 feet (FL280) and this was the 'jump-off' point to Iceland about 3 hours flight time away.

As you can see from the jetstream map where I have plotted our track line, rounding the corner at Stornaway also meant a change in our track in and an increasing headwind.  The wind at FL280 was 74 knots and 'on the nose'.  The groundspeed took a real hit.  The aircraft was moving across the water at only 195 knots and it was cold at altitude (-44°C).

As I looked down to the brutally cold North Atlantic Ocean seeing white caps on the rollers from 28,000 feet, I thought of the potential of surviving a ditching-but only for a fleeting moment.  Press on regardless.

Having had this brilliant opportunity to fly this aircraft across the North Atlantic route, I could not help but feel that  it was one of those moments in your lifetime that you will never forget.  Moreover, I made think of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Navy who sailed these waters during World War II on behalf of our country's freedom.  They had a bloody tough job indeed.  Well done! 

Ocean Current Effects in the North Atlantic Ocean

Convective cloud activity dotted the surface weather below 15,000 feet.  In such cold weather, it made me think of where the necessary heat was coming from to generate the lift in these clouds.

This picture was taken from the co-pilot's side looking to the northeast towards the Norweigan Sea.  I looked at an Ocean Currents map to determine the heat source and found that the Gulf Stream flows up into the Norweigan Sea.  This answered my question.  The Gulf Stream acts as a huge heat transfer mechanism in the atmosphere.

North Atlantic Ocean Currents Map

This ocean currents map shows how the Gulf Stream transports heat in to the North Atlantic Ocean and Norweigan Sea.

South Coast of  Iceland

This is my first sighting of Iceland as we approached the land mass at 28,000 feet.

It is really a spectacular island and I was fortunate to have had the  opportunity to see it especially given the time of year we were transiting the North Atlantic Ocean.

Geo-Thermal Steam Vents Iceland

The circled areas are are geothermal steam vents.  Ground water seeps into the lower volcanic rock structures where it is heated to above 100°C, creating steam.  It rises to the surface where is vents to the atmosphere.

This picture was taken southwest of Reykjavik near the popular "Blue Lagoon", a volcanically heated mineral pool popular with Icelanders and tourists.


Approaching Reykjavik in the descent from 28,000 ft.

The land mass forms demonstrate the volcanic forms on the horizon.

Approaching Reykjavik

The circle shows the airport complex.

Reykjavik, Iceland FBO

We refuelled the B200 King Air and provisioned some food for the next leg to Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada.  Iqualuit is the Innu name for the community formerly known as Frobisher Bay.  Frobisher Bay was named after Martin Frobisher, a British explorer.

The next flight leg was completed in the darkness of night to Iqaluit.  Goose Bay was considered however the winds were forecasted to be 'on the nose' which would have resulted in a slow groundspeed and extended fuel burn.   Going to Goose Bay would have meant swimming.  Iqaluit seemed like the warmer option.

Early Departure

Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

After a whirlwind flight to Paris and then Brittany and then to Iceland and Iqaluit, the next morning was starting to show.

It was 'wheels up' at 07:30 out of Iqaluit en route to London, Ontario, Canada.  By the way, that is not a mortar board I am wearing, it is a sun visor.

Iqaluit (CYFB) Airport to Centralia (CYCE)

London, Ontario, Canada

As you can see from this jetstream map, we encountered headwinds up to 153 knots.

Our groundspeed went from 265 knots down to 187 knots groundspeed.

Centralia Airport (CYCE)

London, Ontario, Canada

This picture was taken on 17 Dec 2006.  Two weeks before this there as two feet of snow.  The temperature this day was about 15° Celsius-very peculiar weather indeed.

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Updated:  Mon 18 Jun 2007