Here it is! The last part of the two week long ferry flight journey across the Atlantic that takes our pilots to their final destination in Arendal, Norway. They landed at 14 different airports, overflew 6 different countries, crossed the Atlantic and covered over 4300 nautical miles in the two Cessna 172's. All by themselves.
We were almost home. We sat our alarms real early, went down to the airport to prepare for our final day of flying of this trip, it almost felt a bit unreal.
The forecast looked great, with almost clear skies the whole way and only a few reports of lower clouds to the east of our destination. However, those clouds would not affect us on our flight.
Today’s plan was to fly from Sumburgh airport on the Shetland Islands to Kristiansand, Norway, and then proceed the last 27 nautical miles to Arendal, Gullknapp airport. The reason for going to Kristiansand first and not directly to Arendal was in order to clear customs first with the Norwegian authorities.
Heading towards Kristiansand
We took off from Sumburgh at around 07:45 UTC and had a very nice flight with only a thin cloud layer above us.
After about 30 minutes of flying we started seeing small black dots on the water far off in the distance. It looked really peculiar… Once we got closer we could see that all of those black dots actually were oilrigs. They were everywhere. To be honest, if the engine would have quit during this leg, survivability should not have been much of a problem. Provided the oilrig crew would have seen us upon landing. We would probably have been picked up quite soon after landing since we pretty much were within gliding range to at least one oil-platform all the time.
Up ahead we approached a huge milestone for us – entry into the airspace of Norway. Personally, I had really been looking forward to this moment. Just before approaching the airspace border we got handed over to Norway control, where we were greeted by the familiar Scandinavian accent. It felt so good being home again. And then the moment came, we saw our little airplane symbol cross the blue line that depicts the airspace border. In retrospect it was quite anticlimactic… It literally was only a little airplane symbol crossing a line on a map (see picture below).
What was great though, was overflying the mainland of Norway for the first time. That was such a cool moment, seeing our little wheel over the terrain of Norway!
We requested the visual approach into Kristiansand, to avoid the detour that an instrument approach would have caused from the direction that we were approaching from. The terrain in Kristiansand is a bit different from the flat landscape that I personally am used to in the middle parts of Sweden. Therefore, it was quite fun to fly the visual approach, which was in a valley. However, compared to the valleys of Greenland this was almost flat terrain.
After landing we got driven to the terminal to clear customs, unfortunately they were not on site. So, we spoke to this very helpful gentleman on the phone. While he went through the paperwork we had some well-deserved lunch. After lunch we did the last hop over to the airplane's final destination – Arendal Gullknapp Airport.
USA to Norway - we did it!
This flight was such a nice trip, more like a lap of honour than anything else, in comparison with the other legs we did during this journey.
Once we approached Arendal we joined up in a loose formation over the city, then we did a flyby over the runway before joining the traffic pattern to land.
WE DID IT. We took us all the way from Kansas, United States of America to Norway. We landed at 14 different airports, overflew 6 different countries, crossed the Atlantic and covered over 4300 nautical miles. All by ourselves.
Upon landing we were greeted by a water salute from the airport fire truck and then we finally could leave the aircraft to hug each other. WE DID IT. We took us all the way from Kansas, United States of America to Norway. We landed at 14 different airports, overflew 6 different countries, crossed the Atlantic and covered over 4300 nautical miles. All by ourselves.
After this we were welcomed by both students and instructors of the Arendal base. They even got us cake and coffee! The local newspaper was there to interview us as well.
We could not really have asked for a warmer welcome than this!
An adventure of a lifetime
Finally, we finished the day by cleaning the aircraft, removing all our stuff – from what has been our home for the last two weeks. It felt a little strange parking them in the hangar, but at the same time, very rewarding to have completed the mission.
This has truly been an adventure of a lifetime.
Months of preparations culminating during these two weeks of flying. We were a great team, with good decision making throughout the trip. With good safety equipment, well over the legal requirement. This in combination with flying two brand new aircraft with ADS-B In (so, we could see each other on our navigation display the whole way). Made us feel safe during the trip.
A big shout out to OSM Aviation Academy for providing all the help and equipment we asked for. A special thanks to OSM Aviation Academy’s safety department for their thorough safety analysis and risk mitigation before the flight.
Finally, I would like to thank you, the reader, for following and reading about our adventure.