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  #1  
Old 02-17-07, 07:49 PM
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Anyone been to the Azores?

Just a question: Has anyone ever flown to the Azores? A direct flight from St. John's (Newfoundland, Canada) to Horta (Azores Islands, Portugal) seems to be 1179.9 nm.

My POH lists my endurance at most economic setting (888 LBS fuel, at 10,000 ft, HP 43%, MP 16, RPM 2400) to be 1615 nm. Of course, according to the POH I can burn more fuel and get there faster (RPM 2600, MP 19, HP 63% for endurance of 1430 nm.

I prefer the 10,000 ft altitude, for reasons of oxygen conservation.

Am I missing something, or is this do-able?

And if so, what about flying back westward into the wind? (I guess that's when one would rather do the Ireland -> Iceland -> Greenland -> Canada thing...
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Last edited by gkey : 02-17-07 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 02-17-07, 08:02 PM
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Anyone been to the Azores?

I guess another way of finding out if such a trip is do-able, is to fly from Vancouver (BC) to Brandon (MB), and then turn up north-west to Saskatoon (SK). This trip is 20 miles longer than a trip to the Azores, and the last leg is into the prevailing winds, but it has a gazillion airports on the way, just in case...
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Old 02-17-07, 11:48 PM
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I would consider such a trip, absent strong tail winds and a comprehensive mapping of your airplane's actual fuel consumption at various %HP levels, highly risky.

Let me approach this from several points of view.

First, the POH data is for a new aircraft under near-ideal conditions. Your aircraft is now over 30 years old, so its engines and propellers are not as efficient as new ones, and its drag is greater than when it was new. At my most common cruising conditions (5500 ft., 2400 RPM, 21 MP) my '73 337G (basically the same aircraft as yours) uses 12% more fuel than the POH table at a speed 8% slower than on the table. So a 20% margin of conservatism relative to the table might approach actual aircraft performance. And if that's what you get, you're ditching west of the Azores.

Second, even if your aircraft shows better performance during mapping, there's no room for error here. I'm an engineer and I know a little about fuel systems (go to www.SkymasterUS.com to see my "Fuel Supply Management" page) and you're talking of 9 hours or more in flight. Virtually any anomaly can cause you to fall short of your target -- losing your aircraft and possibly your life.

Finally, we have a member, Brian von Herzen, who has done the Canada - Europe trip numerous times in his Skymaster without ferry tanks, and he always goes the northern route. And Brian is a meticulous planner who must have given considerable thought to this matter. That's a more compelling argument for me than all the engineering calculations.

Ernie

Last edited by Ernie Martin : 02-17-07 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 02-18-07, 01:44 AM
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Thanks for your answer, Ernie. I find it most insightful. Maybe another stupid question, but would tip tanks change your opinion? I'm just thinking the fact that the water is warmer, is in direct corrolation with survival odds. And that hundreds more ships cross that line 24 hours a day.

I know about the trip across Greenland and Iceland, but I know of someone who totally lost it in one of those fjords when it misted up, and paid for it with his life. Don't get me wrong - I DO want to go to Greenland one day, just for fun (OK, dinner too).

I want to actually fly the distance over land first - hence my second post. I first want to intimately know what exactly my plane's performance is, before I go anywhere over open water.
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Old 02-18-07, 11:37 AM
Dave Underwood Dave Underwood is offline
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I have done the crossing via Narsarsuaq a couple of time in my FT337GP and would suggest that as being the safest overall. I also help Ed Carlson teach his Cross the North Atlantic course here in the UK so have heard many of the stories and thought long and hard about the various issues of getting from here to there and back. In fact I am planning to go across this spring again.

A couple of notes on any crossing: the rules require you to carry 50% more fuel than is required for the leg so in the 337, you would need to carry fuel for the best part of 2000 nm to go via the Azores. That's +250 gals by my cals.

There are also the normal extensive safety gear requirements. You will also be airborne for the best part of 9 or 10 hours at 155 kts. That is way beyond my endurance.

This means that tanking the plane is really the only option and please do note that the book values are not achievable, even on a very good day.

EM's -20% view is not bad, certainly that has been my experience on long distance flights. At 55% & std 148 US gals I am on dry tanks at the 950 to 1000 mn mark even using a GEM. I am not likely leaning nearly as much as they did on the test flight. I am sure they were lean of peak to achieve the book figures.

Gami injectors would help extend the range as an FYI and you could then run lean of peak so increase your range by that missing 20% if all was working in your favour.

Carlson has done the Azores trip about 30 times if memory serves me right, mostly in tanked King Airs. These days if asked, his comment would be to fly the north route unless you have heavy iron and tonnes of range.

The southerly, northern trip via Narsarsuaq, BGBW is a series of 650 nm cross countries with BGBW being the only real problem if you go that way. The solution to that is only fly to BGBW when it is going to be VFR. IFR to BGBW is not great as it is surrounded by mountains for an NDB/DME approach with an MDA at 1480 feet and 4 miles as I remember without looking at the chart.

Go when its VFR and it is a nice trip with a pretty easy approach upteh fiord, a left turn to right base & landing. You don't need GPS, but you would be crazy not to have one to find SI and navigate the 40 nm up the fiord. Which leg to take is what fools many folks, but on teh GPS you can see it.

So what is the northern route, three legs over lots of water, but each about 4 hours long east bound with tail winds or 5 hours west bound with head winds. There are also lots of tourist things to see and do on the way.

Did you know that Leif the Red built the first restaurant and house of ill repute just around the corner from BGBW. Unfortunately it was not replaced when it burnt down in 982 AD.

My two cents worth.

Dave
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  #6  
Old 02-18-07, 12:13 PM
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Dave's response is right on target. Since I've never considered a trans-Atlantic journey, I didn't know about the 50% fuel rule, but it certainly makes sense. (Brian von Herzen once invited me to go with him on one of his crossings, pehaps because most of my flights are over water, but, to be honest, I find even the northern routes too risky -- or put differently, I'm a chicken!)

About the only comment I have deals with lean-of-peak (LOP) operation. I would tend to disagree with Dave that Cessna employed LOP to generate the POH figures. I guess I'm naive and can't believe Cessna would use a procedure vastly out of conformance with the POH operating instructions. I think they did lean aggressively, but stayed ROP, and along with new engines, new props, and a super-clean (and waxed) airframe, you can get to the POH figures. And there is evidence for this in the POH when you look, not at the consumption, but at the speeds attained.

But I'm splitting hairs here. Dave and I agree that you can't do this safely without adding more fuel tanks and making other preparations. One that hasn't been discussed is oil consumption. I don't think it's a show-stopper, but I would make sure that your two engines can go the distance without running out of oil.

Ernie
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  #7  
Old 02-18-07, 12:20 PM
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Thanks, Dave. So, a trip to the Azores from Canada is completely dead, then? (I have 142 usable US Gal)

In your expert opinion, if planning a trip from Canada to South Africa, which waypoints would you recommend? (Political considerations included). I don't mind the 'northern' trip across the big pond - I think the scenery should be really spectacular, but I was kinda thinking to hop the islands west from Northern Africa to stay away from unfriendly places.

I am really in the fetal stages of planning this trip, and need a lot of research still, but you got to start somewhere, right?

My plan 'B' was to do the northern route to Scotland or Ireland, then work my way down to the Canary Islands -> Dakar (Senegal) -> Accra (Ghana) -> Luanda (Angola) -> Maun (Botswana) -> Pretoria (South Africa). I want to minimize my stops, to lessen paperwork if possible.
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Last edited by gkey : 02-18-07 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 02-18-07, 12:28 PM
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Maybe I should give a bit more background: I am a Canadian now, but was born and lived in South Africa for 32 years. All my family still lives in South Africa, and there are a million reasons for me to do this 'pilgrimage' - including the coolest story a grandpa can tell his grandkids one day!

At this point we plan to be 2 pilots on this trip, flying legs under 8 hours at a time. This way we can alternate every 4 hours for PIC. We thought of having 3 pilots, but that would increase weight and averall costs.
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Last edited by gkey : 02-18-07 at 01:18 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-07, 09:59 PM
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Check out this web site lots of good info.

http://www.equipped.com/
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Old 02-18-07, 11:38 PM
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Also, you should read the articles here http://www.earthrounders.com/
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  #11  
Old 02-18-07, 11:55 PM
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And I have a page on ditching in a Skymaster in www.SkymasterUS.com

Although it's more oriented to warmer Caribbean waters, elements of it (like the proper flight procedure, opening the door before touchdown, when to release seat belts, etc.) are still relevant. The page is based in part on a ditching course given for general aviation pilots.

Ernie
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Old 02-20-07, 07:14 AM
Dave Underwood Dave Underwood is offline
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If you like tourist things, go to the museum at Wataskiwin Alberta first before heading east. For anyone else, it is a very neat place and the site of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame with a number of family friends listed, as well as neat airplanes.

Then head for Thunder Bay and then go south of Lake Superior to the Sault watching for thunderstorms in the Duluth area. The southerly route has more airports etc.

If you have not flown in the east before, stay away from the major airports, but include Hamilton and Ottawa on your route for the air museums. The via Sept Isle for fuel.

to CYYR - Goose Bay
BGBW - Narsarsuaq
BIKF - Keflavik or BIRK - Reyjkjavik
EGPO - Stornoway in Scotland

The alternative route is the far north route as follows:

CYVP - Kuujjuac
CYFB - Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)
BGSF - Kangerlussuack (Stromfjord)
BGKK - Kulusuk
BIKF or BIRK
EGPO

From there make sure you see Duxford on the way past but remember it is PPR.

Stay away from all large airports in Europe.

Going further south, there was a trip "Called East 14" from the UK to South Africa about a year ago and they went via Salzburg, Cyprus to Cairo and down the east coast of Africa as it was safer and had better fuel availability. I will see if I can find the link for that trip and add it to this thread.

I don't know about the west side of Africa these days, but I have a friend flying out of Sierra Leone at the moment and I will try and contact him and get the very current view from him. FYI - I think things change quite quickly so you may want to be flexible.

Drop me an email if you want more information at dcunder@aol.com.

Regards - Dave
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Old 06-26-07, 02:05 PM
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CYVR to CYBR

Unfortunately, I have not visited this site for a number of months, thus I hope my information is some use to you.

I have a 1975 T337G ( N187 ) which I flew from Erickson, Manitoba to Doha, Qatar in the latter half or 2006.

In the couple of years leading up to this trip, I did the Victoria to Brandon flight a number of times. At FL190 it took me about 5.1 hours and 110 usgal. I had about 32 left over as comfort factor. Short Answer, your Vancouver trip to Brandon should be possible, even if going via Saskatoon.

Your decision to go the northern Atlantic route is sound. In my planning for the trip to Doha, I looked seriously at the Azores option. It seemed to be on the limit of endurance, but possible. Then I started feeling a tightness in a male specific area; Plus, it was about 1000 miles further for purposes of my journey. I was not very comfortable with the risks posed by 5 - 6+ hours over the open Atlantic. Too many things could change while enroute and past the point of no return ( such as wind ). Then suddenly all of your planning is invalidated.

Ed Carlson and I did the Northern route through BGBW and I would highly recommend it. We had a great time, and I have decided that I will some day go back to Greenland and Iceland just for the sake of spending some time in two of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of the world. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more time and enjoyed these places on the trip.

Please keep us updated on your trip when you have a moment.

Best Wishes,.....Barry Sloane - N187
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Old 06-26-07, 02:34 PM
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Thanks Barry.

I am starting this year with some long x-country flights, just to get used to the signs of personal fatiguing and the plane characteristics on such a long flight. I already noticed that the S-Tec 55 tends to veer up + down a little when set to ALT for long periods. A quick change to VS +0 corrects that, and as soon as she has settled, ALT will work again perfectly. Each plane has its own personal little quirks, and I want to know them before I hit the wide open spaces above endless water.

Fortunately, Canada is a big place, so one can do very long trips with the comfort of Terra Firma beneath you. And the routes I'm planning on have gazillions of airstrips, just in case.

My first planned exersice route is next week - it is one that is very familiar to me (back in my days with the 172). From CEN5 (Cold Lake, AB) to Brandon, MB on July 4, 2007. I'll stop there for supper, drop off my wife and daughter with friends, and return to CEN5. That will give me almost 700 nm in one day. Then I'll repeat the same trip a week later.

In August we plan to do this same route again, sleep over, and the next morning depart from Brandon to Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island. That will be my second trip over the mountains, and my first one without my good compadre, my CFI. Although the trip can be done without refueling, my comfort levels do not allow me to do that, and I will park in Lethbridge for refueling, lunch and a leg-stretch before taking on the mountains. I'm just taking it easy.

Later the year I also plan to go from CEN5 to Thompson, MB and on to Churchill. Maybe do a little whale watching from the sky at the same time...
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  #15  
Old 06-27-07, 08:06 AM
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Interestingly enough, one of the guest speakers at the Lucaya conference talked about flying to the Azores. He was taking Skymasters to Africa. He preferred the route through the Azores, instead of over the north atlantic.

His reasons were sound: warmer weather, warmer water, more ships, warmer climate when he landed. His trips were in un-pressurized Skymasters. He had an HF radio, but was frequently able to contact airliners to relay position reports. There were aux tanks in the cabin, but he felt that the trip could be done with just the wing tanks, if weather was favorable.

I had the opprotunity to listen to Brian VonHerzon talk about his north atlantic crossings, and our speaker at Lucaya. Comparing the two, it would seem logical to me that the route through the Azores would be preferred.

Incidentally, Brian has an excellent blog going about flying to Iceland, at http://www.brianvon.blogspot.com
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