Up and away and back again…

Isaiah: Yesterday, landing in the small town of Stephenville I had noticed the enormous airfield – a runway which was 1000 feet long and a ramp space similar to the large international St Johns airport. In my research I discovered that Stephenville was one of the main fuelling points for the American Air Force in World War II. This is where they would fuel before flying over to Europe. So hence, this was one of the few aprons and ramp spaces built to park multiple 737s. At that time, Newfoundland was still a Dominion of Britain so it was the British that signed the 99 year lease of the base.

A picture taken April 15, 1946 of the airport in Stephenville

After fuelling and getting the plane ready for the next days flight we went to town where we were able to walk around the quaint town and enjoyed a bit of Newfoundland’s primary export- cod. We spent the rest of our evening flight planning for the big adventure of crossing the Atlantic Ocean – which is a feat in itself, as we were expecting headwinds for the entire flight, bringing it to a 12 hour leg

Today we woke up at the crack of dawn with the hope to start the long day ahead of doing my personal longest day of flying ever! The forecast from the night before had not changed a bit – which meant we had a long day ahead. We had the fuel to make the flight with no issues – by pulling the power back and flying high we could be potentially be in the air for over 17 hours. So fuel was actually not the concern for us – but – daylight was. Because we are flying with ferry tanks on board and the extra weight – we want to avoid taking off in the dark before sunrise. But on the other side of the flight – we are also fighting against the clock because the airport closes at midnight. With our flight planning we were expected to be landing in the Azores at 1030 (losing 2 1/2 hours to the time change).

However, once we levelled off at 11,000 feet and flew for numerous hours- the ETA slowly climbed- till it showed us landing in the Azores at 12:30 – 30 minutes after the time the airport closed. The forecasted headwinds were less than the actual winds – so reluctantly – we turned the headwinds into tailwinds and flew back to Newfoundland. The fog finally lifted at St. John’s just as we flew over the town.

Back to Newfoundland

One thought on “Up and away and back again…

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