Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Icebergs Ahoy, Skipper!

In "Fate is the hunter", Ernst K. Gann sometimes had to fly low, very low, in order to be between the very low cloud deck and the very high seas just to be able to find the one correct fjord entrance from the many inlets that were looming at high speed towards them, only to then find that visibility was limited to a quarter of a mile in freezing drizzle.

Sometimes the fjord's entrance was heralded by a NDB, but in the 1940's electronic reliability was not at all consistent, especially around those wild waters and weather beaten islets.

Once in the narrow fjord, turning around or climbing out was an impossibility, even with both Wright's running at full chat. At the very end of the 50nm fjord lay a food and bedding Nirvana in the form of Bluie West One, a one-way-in and no-go-around airfield set in a bowl with a sloped runway starting in icy water and ending in a cliff. 

And then there was the issue of not knowing the local barometric pressure, so descending into the murk without knowing whether you altimeter was reading too low, too high, or just right was a nerve wrenching hit or miss process.  

In order to find their approximate height above water (unless, by virtue of not knowing the enroute winds, they'd flown too far in which case they'd possibly be descending into granite), they'd ask their radio operator to lower his "fish", a weighted wire antenna, to its known droop of about 50 feet, and if then the radio operator called "fish lost!", they'd know that they had then reached around about 50 feet ASL. Time then to set the Kollsman. 

Imagine then all of these scenarios, the unknown winds, the unknown pressure setting, the unknown cloud deck, the lack of visibility, the single yet unreliable beacon, the multiple fjord entrances, and the unknown pay check, because to top it all there was one more obstacle to clear, this in the form of icebergs. 

Imagine, if you will, sitting on the edge of your seat, without fuel enough to turn around and head home, looking ahead through drizzle in low visibility whilst trying to maintain 50 feet ASL with no more fish to lose, and then all of a sudden seeing a wall of white ice ahead of you!

"Full power, climb, climb!"

And then what? Climbing into the murk, losing your position, consuming more fuel, yielding to that stubborn exhaustion, and losing all hope of grabbing breakfast, or lunch, or was it dinner?

What has been missing from our aerial adventures to date is not airborne or land locked, but seaborne. 

Aerosoft are working on one of their soon to be available freeware goodies, this in the form of icebergs, placed precisely where you'd expect them to be. 

Somewhere North where it's cold.

If you've not read "Fate is the hunter", then I urge you to do so. You'll not regret it, and I can assure that it will enlighten you to the extent where you will begin to relish the tricky instead of the mundane. It is available as a paperback and in electronic Kindle format too. 

Today, Bluie West One is known to us as Narsarsuaq (BGBW), Greenland, and a fabulous freeware rendition of it is available here.

So then, get downloading, and fire up your DC3, C46, C87, or whatever takes your fancy, and starting from Goose Bay (CYYR; FS9 but good in FSX) go and see what all the fuss is about, but don't wait for sunny skies, instead and in homage, do it on a rainy day. 

M.Kok has offered consolation beers instead of berg's, as apparently Aerosoft's bergs have melted due to sim global warming. 
Sorry then to say that ice cold beer is off the menu. 

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