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  • Bill Hall -- Dakonaut

Rolling back the Blog Clock--Narsarsuaq

Updated: May 30, 2019

More about our May 27 stop in Narsarsuaq, Greenland (BGBW)

(with apologies to our readers for another post-scripted non-chronological post)


Arrival at BGBW

We had a spectacular approach and arrival in Narsarsuaq thanks to the Norse wx god and our intrepid cockpit crew. A textbook approach and landing on runway 24, touching down at 12:40 Local/1440Z (UTC) 05-27-2019 . Bladder tanks installed for the crossing from Goose Bay were no longer needed for the next planned leg to Reykjavik, so were removed. We refueled and made other preparations and then headed for lunch at the Narsarsuaq Hotel. The options for lunch proved to be quite limited and not too appealing in appearance. Open face pumpernickel fish and onion sandwiches or the alternative lunchmeat of some kind with more onions and a bit of cheese or long thin "hot dogs" of some kind. We needed to make some mental and cultural adjustments. However, at least to the taste of this writer, the sandwiches were all right.


The weather was absolutely spectacular in Narsarsuaq. Brilliant, sunny, calm; hardly a cloud. Shirtsleeve wx for sure. Quite a pleasant surprise.


More about Narsarsuaq: The airfield was one of several built by Americans and allies to handle WWII aircraft movement on the Great Circle Route to Great Britain and Europe. There are very few buildings at Narsarsuaq--the airfield tower and Air Greenland airline passenger facility, another much older building housing a museum which was formerly headquarters for the USAAF unit stationed there and the Narsarsuaq Hotel and a few houses and residential apartment buildings. All well-designed for the elements. The hotel is particularly large for what appears to be quite sparse population. However, we became aware that the airport serves more than the itinerant transient DC3 or C47 on the way to Normandy these days. It is a transportation hub for the regional population who travel by boat (and we suppose snowmachine) to Narsarsuaq from the residences scattered about the surrounding fjordlands. There are flights in and out from other communities in Greenland as well as Copenhagen. Summer tourism is growing. It can't be emphasized enough that the weather during our visit was SPECTACULAR! While this may not be the norm it's easy to see the appeal the place would have for hardy souls looking for a touristic adventure.


And not just tourist visitors. While in Narsarsuaq we encountered three geophysicists under contract to Airbus and Air France to locate a turbine hub in the ice cap about 100 kilometers distant. We learned that two years prior an Air France Airbus 380 had experienced a catastrophic engine failure. One engine had quite literally self-destructed while the A380 was flying above Greenland and had fallen to earth on the Greenland Ice Cap. Airbus and Air France have been eager to recover the hub to conduct an analysis to understand the cause of failure. Our new-found geophysicist friends were giddy when we encountered them at dinner. They had just found the missing turbine hub after a two year search! Location? That is to be kept a secret.


Oh, yes, dinner---several choices. Declared by our hardworking engine troubleshooting crew to be quite satisfactory. We were ready for a few beers and some grub.


Notwithstanding the "midnight sun" at Narsarsuaq we all slept well the night of May 27. Perhaps the best sleep of the trip thusfar.


We gathered the morning of May 28 at 08:30, prepped the plane, loaded bags and prepared for the engine test and final check of the oil system on the right engine. All looks good.


We said goodbye to Narsarsuaq and our Danish geophysicist friends. Started engines at 10:17 Local Greenland time and lifted off of runway 24 at 10:24 Local/1224 Z and made for Reykjavik with a beautiful departure via the fjord.


Arrived Reykjavik, Iceland at 17:09 Local Reykjavik time / 1709 Z (UTC) May 28, 2019.

We are now on Greenwich Mean Time. No more conversions for a day or so. More fabulous weather in the northern latitudes!! Everybody and aircraft in great shape!



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