After an extremely cold and stressful crossing of the North Atlantic from Nuuk, Greenland to Iceland, it was necessary to thaw before continuing my journey. Iceland's famous “Blue Lagoon" was suggested by my friend Ed Neffinger as an appropriate pilot de-icing facility.
My original route of flight from Reykjavik, Iceland to Wick, Scotland. The route was modified prior to takeoff to fly at 3000 ft and below freezing levels off the coast of Iceland.
An enormous storm, which would have kept me grounded for the next five days, was moving rapidly towards Iceland from the west. My plan was to leave BIRK in the early morning just before the storm hit. A large high, parked over the west coast of Ireland provided clockwise wind rotation and 36 knot tail winds towards Scotland. Perfect.
173 knots ground speed at 6.2 gph. I would pay a price for the tremendous tail wind later.
Passing the rugged Faroe Islands enroute to Scotland.
EGPC - ATC reported winds at 29 knots gusting to 38 knots right down the runway. Wick is located at the northern tip of Scotland and gets blasted by unrelenting arctic winds.
The landing at Wick, Scotland was like riding a bucking bronco down to the ground. After touch down and half stick back to protect the nose wheel, the plane started to climb again. I hope Wick ATC would not charge me for multiple landings! The taxi to the “Far North Aviation” hanger was practically uncontrollable.
To escape the blustery winds outside, I taxied my plane in to one of the WWII-era hangers at Wick airport. For many ferry pilots, this is the last stop in Europe before heading to Iceland and onward to North America. The entire airport is a time capsule from the 1940's and has a great vibe. Thank you Andrew for the tremendous welcome and support during my stay in Scotland.
On 21 May 1941, a photographic reconnaissance Supermarine Spitfire piloted by Flying Officer Michael F. Suckling took off from Wick, and flew to Norway, in search of the German battleship Bismarck. If Bismarck was to break out into the North Atlantic, she would present a significant risk to the ships supplying Britain. 320 miles to the east of Wick, F/O Suckling found and photographed her, hiding in Grimstadfjord. This information enabled the Royal Navy to order HMS Hood and other ships, as well as aircraft, to take positions intended to track Bismarck, and prevent her from entering the North Atlantic. In ensuing battles, Hood was sunk, and, later, Bismarck. German battleships and battle cruisers never again entered the North Atlantic.
Credit: Wikipedia, Wick Airport.