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Across the Atlantic in a Skyhawk: Part 1


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The airport where I learned to fly was Houston Gulf, near League City Texas. I remember my first flight instructor told me that the airport was owned by "some Arabs." Those Arabs were the Bin Laden family. Shortly after 9-11, the property was sold to a real estate developer who bulldozed the site and built houses. The location is now called "Tuscan Lakes."


However, in fs9, Houston Gulf (KSPX) lives on.


About a week ago, I decided to go roaming in the Skyhawk. I started at KSPX and used GPS navigation to fly into KACT, or Waco International, and then up to Fort Worth Spinks (KFWS), reliving a trip I took many years ago in my old Piper Cherokee 140. When I reached Spinks, I decided to see if it were possible to fly the Skyhawk across the Atlantic by taking the northern route. With a range of 750 miles, it might just barely be possible.


From Spinks, I flew the simulator up to Lambert Field in St. Louis. I used the auto pilot to do the flying, and went outside to put up the storm covers on the windows in preparation for Hurricane Laura which was scheduled to make landfall the following day. During breaks,I checked out the progress and when the time came, made the landing at Lambert field (KSTL), the field Lindbergh once made his home base. From there I worked my way east in easy stages, with refueling stops in Indianapolis (KHFY), Pittsbergh (KPIT), and Republic field on Long Island (KFRG). KFRG is where the Spirit of St. Louis starts from in FS9 for the transatlantic crossing.


I needed to find a place to hop across to Greenland, so I flew from KFRG to Halifax Intl. (CYHZ), on autopilot while I took down the storm covers since by that time Laura had passed on to ravage southern Louisiana. From CYHZ, I flew up to a field in Fox Harbor Newfoundland (CCK4) which turned out to be simple gravel strip in the middle of a barren landscape. That is not precisely accurate, however, for according to Google Earth there is a building on the field which must house an FBO and there is a town nearby, so I felt that it was fair to consider myself refueled.


That is where I am today after my most recent session in FS9. The next leg to a place called Julianhabn in Greenland (BGBW) is only 629 miles, which is long, but I should be able to make it easy with a full fuel load, although I intend to keep the RPM down to 2100 lean out the mixture as much as I can. I did a test on the way up to Halifax and it appears I can get the fuel burn rate down to just under six gallons per hour.


From BGBW, the distance to Reykjavik in Iceland looks doable. The biggest challenge will be crossing from Iceland to an airport in the British Isles. The closest one to Reykjavik is Donegal, Ireland at 683 nautical miles.

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