Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The long return of HW-001, Part 3, PADK - UHMA

Today we start to the third part of the journey, over the Beringsea to Russia, Anadyr (UHMA). So far the shortest part, only 800 nm.

It is shortly to sunrise, we have bright twilight, the lights are glowing, a beautiful mood.

Taxiing to the runway 19, there is the mountain from yesterday in the way, but I turn off to the West.

Behind us we have the sunrise, and I climb as fast as possible to FL240, because 6 or 7 degrees westerly of Adak Island we have winds, which are blowing to the north. They will us assist at our journey to UHMA.

There we are on track, winds from 202 degrees with 65 knots. We have 225 kts TAS, and a groundspeed of 281 kts. This is pretty fast.

Weather is ok, the sun is some degrees higher....

There we are again flying into a cloudless area...

Again we have endless water, though the Beringsea is relatively small compared to the pacific ocean.
The wind has turned, it comes from north, thank god,  only with 12 kts. Thats not so bad, but it costs groundspeed.

But look, far away land arises!

Russia! We arrived at our easterly neighbour continent!

Straight ahead, at the other side of the bay, there should be the airport. Suddenly appearing clouds let me fear, that I must creep some feet above sealevel to find the runway.

But the clouds are honest and remain at higher altitudes, so I can see the runway.

We have southerly winds, so I have to leave the runway behind me and then make a turn to get into the final.

base leg .....

and landing...
there is definitely winter !

This was the last part of the flight...

Here we are! In Russia, in the most easterly parts of Siberia. The great water-crossings are over, the next legs are in the vicinity of the coast or over land.

Now a look at the previous route:

Very much water ......
The HW-001 is very brave airplane, she made it without problems.
The next flight goes to Pevek (UHMP) over 350 nm, its only a stone's throw :-)

to be continued


The long return of HW-001, Part 2, PMDY - PADK

So, now we start over the big water. From the Midway-Islands to Adak-Island, an isle in the Aleutian Archipelago.
1400 nm only water. No radionavigation, no other airports, only GPS and a magnetic compass. Yesterday I made some testflights, to test some different configurations. I found out, that climbing to the cruise flight level with full throttle and maximum climbing speed, needs less fuel than climbing with 1800ft/min forced from autopilot.
And I could reduce the fuel consumption to 400 lbs/h.
Weather is good today, so hurry up to the runway.

Before the takeoff, I realised that I made no flightplan today, but never mind, there is only water between the departure and arrival airports. So I programmed Adak Island as direct destination into the GPS. Flightlevel 050 is programmed and the autopilot is armed.
So full throttle and take off....

Right after takeoff retracting the landing gear and activating the autopilot.

This results in a sharp curve to north, climbing to 5000 ft. Landing- and Taxilight off.

Than with humming up to FL250.....

In the background below the clouds you can see the Midways.

And now we have five hours over open water.
The weather is beautiful, the wind is kindly assisting at flying and I am glad that there is an autopilot in the HW-001.

So I could let the autopilot fly and meanwhile take the dinner and chat with my passengers (my wife and our cat ), but from time to time I kept an eye at the instruments.

After five and a half hour the first signs of land appeared.

So again down and below the clouds.

The land in front of the airplane is Adak Island, but no sign from the airport, it must be behind the mountains.

Now lets see, first we are jumping over the first mountain.

I can see the airport!
But, Stop!
What makes the mountain in front of my runway ?!
I see, this will be a sightseeing tour around the mountain.

Slowly I come nearer and I will make a slight turn to the left and then into the final.

The final !

Ups! A few meters to the left, but: yes we can!

Landed at Adak Island ! We made the ride over the big water!
Thank you for flying with FLOCK-AIR.

The next flight goes over the beringsea to russia.

to be continued


Monday, March 19, 2012

The long return of HW-001, Part 1, PHNL - PMDY

So, jumping into an Airplane to get as passenger to Honolulu. There waits HW-001 to start the great Adventure, a trip over 8000 nm, towards Vienna LOWW.

The weather in Honolulu is not so good.

One can see, its raining cats and dogs.
Here I am on the taxiway taxiing to the runway 06. From there I will start to the first part of my big journey to Vienna. The first part is going from Honolulu PHNL to the Midway-Islands (PMDY). That are 1138 nm, which should make no problems concerning the fuel.

Takeoff at 09:32 UTC

Retract the landing gear, climb to 5000ft, there switch off the landing lights and the taxi lights. Then couple the autopilot with the GPS and with a sharp turn it goes in direction west. Then climbing to FL180.

There I came from the rainy clouds up into the sun.
After 30 minutes I flew over Kaua'i, the last land for the next four hours.

After overflying the island, I climb to FL280 and then I am flying above pretty cumulus clouds.

at eleven o'clock the weather wents pretty good

The action is now not really exciting, because minute after minute I have always the same views. Meanwhile I know that I have no fuel problems, so I can fly relatively relaxed.

The moon goes with me, on the sea one can see drowned atolls, the bright coloured patches. Some 150 nm before the Midways, there is again a convective cloud layer, this makes the approach not so easy.

Here we have only 104 nm, that means HW-001 has mastered more than 1000 nm without problems.
Slowly I begin to descend, the islands are not to see.
At 8000 ft I am in the clouds....

Now again  I can switch on the lights, because I am under 10000 ft, and later in the hecticness of the landing it can occur, that I forget the lights.
Again down, nothing in sight ?!
But, there ! At 2600 ft I can see below the clouds......

So, now it will be exciting! There are two islands and on both islands are runways, but only one runway is long enough that I can start to the next flight. So I have to fly a curve in order to inspect the runways on both islands.

Ah, there is the right runway, the 06/24. The AWOS (automatic weather observing system) says wind from 170 degrees with 20 knots, so the 24 is my runway. The runways at the other isle are rather short, I could there land, but with the heavy refueled airplane I need a long runway for takeoff.
Now I fly a nice round and into the final.....

Okay, the nice round was a pear, but never mind! I have 24% fuel in the tanks, so I made a little sight seeing tour. To see was there nothing .... ;-)
At the final I have a surprise:  trees in the glide slope!
So I have to make the approach something higher and after the tree tumble down  and set a very smooth touch down.

A very very smooth touch down (the smoothest I have ever made).
Interesting is, that the taxiway in the picture in fact a runway is, but there is not much traffic, as one can see.

Here we are, the HW-001 and I. At the Midways. In the middle of the pacific ocean.
And all bars closed... And nobody here....
The next flight goes over 1400 nm to Adak Island PADK. An isle in the Aleutian Archipel, relatively high in the north.

to be continued...