Dylan and myself are preparing for another aircraft delivery for MAF. Ferry flying means to the transport aircraft. As a couple Dylan and myself are so fortunate to be involved in ferrying planes together.
Story and photos by Val Neufeld
There are 3 ways to cross the Atlantic by small plane:
- The southern route from St Johns to the Azores to Europe or Africa.
- The middle – from Goose Bay, Newfoundland, to Narsarsuaq, the southern tip of Greenland to Iceland to Europe.
- The northern route – from Iqaluit or further south in Labrador – through Kangerlussuaq, Greenland – to Iceland then to Europe.
We will be flying the third - which is also the shortest crossing over the Atlantic Ocean.
The route was established in the early days of aviation – to transport WWII Aircraft built in North America to Europe where they were desperately needed for the war effort.
Prior to this there were many failed attempts over the Atlantic Ocean and fewer than 100 successful crossings.
Planes at that time were just not built to fly such distances – not to mention young inexperienced pilots, inadequate navigation tools, no weather forecasts and unpredictable weather.
The Lockheed Hudson (nicknamed the flying gas tank with all the additional fuel aboard) was the first aircraft to fly over. Seven aircraft flew in formation, each carrying a pilot, a co-pilot and radio operator. Because there was only one navigator in the group they needed to keep in sight of each other (they did lose each other because of bad weather – however they all landed safely in Ireland) Once this system was established – the pilots promptly flew back their 15 hour flight to Canada.
Needless to say, since its origins, many stories exist and are told over this flying route. It is an intriguing part of the world – harsh and so beautiful.
Many times landing and waiting we have met other pilots doing similar ventures – and all have their stories.
I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able see and experience it.
'It is an intriguing part of the world – harsh and so beautiful. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able see and experience it.' Val Neufeld