Day One: 01/03/2013
San Jose (Brazil) to Belem (Brazil). 1450nm 3:15
Belem (Brazil) to St Maarten. 1530nm 4:00
We were up early for a 0430 pickup to San Jose Airport. Our Embraer team were there to meet us to ensure our early and timely departure.
Final preparations went smoothly and the weather enroute presented no issues apart from strong headwinds between Belem and St Martin.
So far so good.
'San Jose tower, G-JAGA request start'.
We accelerated down the runway for an uneventful take off and continuous climb to FL450.
1 hour into the flight we enjoyed a civilised breakfast in the sunshine.
3:15 hours and 1450NM later we landed in Belem, northern Brazil. Refuelling and formalities went smoothly and inside an hour we were airborne again, enroute to St Maarten.
The flight to St Maarten was straight forward (4hrs and 1530NM). The route took us past Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St Kitts and followed with the approach into St Maarten which was stunning.
We wasted no time in prepping for day two, putting the plane to bed, and getting to the beach!
Day Two: 02/03/2013
St Maarten to Fort Lauderdale. 1135nm 3:00
Fort Lauderdale to Bangor. 1370nm 2:55
Bangor to Goose Bay. 700NM 1:40
It was of course a gorgeous morning in the Caribbean. It would have been nice to stay longer!
We were the only ones at the airport at 0700 for day 2. It seems the whole island was still sleeping. Formalities were completed quickly, and we were airborne just after 0800 for the 1135nm, three hour flight to Fort Lauderdale.
The route took us past Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas.
In Fort Lauderdale immigration and refuelling went smoothly, and it was not long before we were airborne again for the second leg. It took us right up the Eastern seaboard of the USA. Unfortunately it was overcast, so we had to imagine the views of New York etc.
Strong tailwind meant we flew the 1370nm leg in less than 3 hours.
The Caribbean was now a distant memory. Bangor welcomed us instead with freezing conditions and an approach with all anti ice systems on, all the way to landing. This was just a taster for our next sector to Goose bay, Canada.
Bangor is well set up for refuelling aircraft, doing immigration and getting aircraft on their way again quickly, did just that.
Due to the colder temperature, the take-off and climb performance from Bangor was impressive compared with all the others. This, our final leg for the day was only 700nm and 1hr40, and the first one to be flown in the dark. We prepared for strong winds gusting up to 30kts with snow blowing across the contaminated runway. The aircraft handled it well.
Once on the ground it was a slow progress to the ramp as we were taxiing on ice. Everything was white and there were no discernible taxi ways. Our handling lady said it was really warm. The wind chill factor was only -15! Everything is relative.
The aircraft was put in a warm hangar for the night, and we headed for the infamous Hotel North.
Day Three: 04/03/2013
Goose Bay to Keflavik (Iceland). 1370 nm 3:15
Keflavik to Luton. 1100nm 2:40
We departed snowy Goose on schedule and had an uneventful Atlantic crossing to Keflavik. Unfortunately the clouds denied us a view of Greenland. The arrival into Keflavik was however stunning: the sun was shining through the clouds and the scenery was dramatic.
The handlers were very friendly and efficient and 35 minutes later we were accelerating down the runway again on the final leg home.
We landed at Luton just after dark at 1820. Total trip: 8655nm and 20hrs45 airborne.
By Captain Ian Austin and Captain Stefan Pedersen