An extreme flight of 4500nm with an ultralight motorglider from Athens Greece to Nordkapp, accomplished by our Greek distributor Michael Anastasiou and his co-pilot Nassos.
Day 1, 21 June 2008: Athens (Greece) – Corfu – Southern Italy – Ajdovscina (Slovenia)
Total fuel burn: 85 liters (22.4 US Gallons)
Cruise levels over the route: FL105, FL65, 2000 ft.
Average cruise: 196 km/h (106 kts) at 10.4 lph (2.7 USgph)
The crew arrived at Pipistrel headquarters in the afternoon after a bumpy flight over the Italian peninsula. The aircraft performed flawlessly and showed typically low fuel consumption. The average cruise includes taxi, take-off, climbout, everything! Last picture is the FogZapper.
Day 2, 22 June 2008: Ajdovscina (Slovenia) – Szczecin (Poland)
845 km (457 NM), flight time 4 hrs 34 min
Total fuel burn: 45 litres (11.9 US Gallon)
Cruise levels over the route: FL115, FL95, FL85
Average cruise: 188 km/h (102 kts) at 10.1 lph (2.6 USgph)
Mike and Nasos were stopped by a cold front passing Poland at the time and they stopped at Szczecin before a thunderstorm. Flying high makes the fuel consumption even lower!
Day 3, 23 June 2008: Szczecin (Poland)
Cold front has just passed, strong winds and another weather system towards the North. Delayed take-off.
Afternoon update: Flight progress cancelled for today, bad weather on projected route to Tromso, Norway.
Day 4, 24 June 2008: Szczecin (Poland) – Kagerod (Sweden)
370 km (199 NM), flight time 2 hrs 45 min
Total fuel burn: 24 litres (6.3 US Gallon)
Cruise levels over the route: FL85
Despite super-strong headwind (75 km/h; 42 kts at FL85, 60 km/h: 32 kts at 3000 ft) and low clouds the team decided to press on and during the morning flight reached Kagerod, Sweden. Landing took place with 25, gusting 30 kts wind, no problem for the Sinus. For the next day, planned route is all the way to Tromso in northern Norway.
Day 5, 25 June 2008: Kagerod (Sweden) – Boras (Sweden)
Because of bad weather obstructing the way towards Tromso, the team flew 1:30h north to Boras, the home of 4th largest Swedish gliding aeroclub to perform a demo-flight with the Sinus. Even the local TV station interviewed Michail & Nasos!
Here are some photos from the photo-shoot:
Day 6, 26 June 2008: Boras (Sweden)
Waiting for the warm front to pass, weather finally looks OK for tommorow, a 13 hour non-stop flight direct to NordKapp!
Day 7, 27 June 2008: Boras (Sweden) – Kristiansund (Norway) – Tromso (Norway)
In Michail’s own words: “Departed Boras (ESGE) at 06:35 local time, flying via Kristiansund (ENKB) at 09:45 all the way to Tromso (ENTC)”. This will be a long one, over 1600 km (850 NM) to be exact!”
Update: Sinus landed at Kristiansund (ENKB) at 09:57 local time, the flight from Boras took 3:27 hrs for distance of 678 km (366 NM). Crew will continue to Tromso (ENTC) as planned for today. Remaining distance to Tromso is now 882 km (476 NM), stay tuned!
Update 2 – Mike writes the news himself:
“Tromso! The final frontier… 4:40 hrs from Kristiansud. Average speed 108kts. From FL65 down to 2000ft as we approached the Northern fjords of Norway. 50 liters of fuel. It is FREEZING here! 9 degrees Celsius. The view from above is simply stunning! A lifetime experience… Nordkapp is now only 2 hrs North. We depart maybe tonight maybe tomorrow…”
Enjoy the photos!
Last update for today:
“Insomnia! 23:10 and the sun is up! Today’s forecast is for ceilings @3000ft. This is super conditions. We slowly get the feel of the weather up here. It changes fast – warm front followed by cold front. It creates pockets of good weather and we try to cruise in them. 20kts of wind are common upon landing. SHRA conditions are normal (photo). We are worried for icing, but until now it has been OK. Temp at 3000ft ~7C.”
Day 8, 28 June 2008: Tromso (Norway) – Nordkapp (Norway) – Tromso (Norway)
Over the Nord Cap!
“After the weather worries and many obstacles, we finally made it! 4200km away from home. We flew today from Tromso to Nordkapp. We circled many times over it with a cloud ceiling of 2500ft and OAT 6C (our hands were freezing every time we took the camera outside the aircraft.) Many tourists and the typical trailer park.”
Our plans were to continue directly to EFRO (Rovanniemi). The ceiling over the last peninsula of Norway was so low that we could not continue. An occluded front was doing its job at its best. After the photo session over Nordkapp we returned to Tromso in bright sunlight. What a nice gift to us! The photos speak for themselves.
After landing we discovered that there was no hotel room available. Almost like a scene from the movie Terminal, we had a pizza delivered to the handling agency and the two couches will be our beds for tonight.
Tomorrow we start the return flight. Crew and plane prepared for an 8:30 flight time, non-stop weather permitting from Tromso to South Sweden, and stay at our new friend’s place ESGE. Time to enjoy our …couch!
Mike & Nassos
Day 9, 29 June 2008: Tromso (Norway) – Boras (Sweden)
The Eagle is safe in Boras. Tromso to Boras 8:02 flight time exactly with an average of 15kts headwind. 85 liters of fuel, 1500km with the deviations for weather and altitudes from FL080 down to 1000ft. Fuel economy is fantastic and figures in the manual all correct!
We crossed all Norwegian and Swedish mountains from North to South and not the easy way West to East. 4 hours over the highest terrain of Sweden. The photos speak for themselves. If we were not in a Pipistrel Sinus we would not have attempted this!
After the mountains we crossed endless forests doing slalom around the towering cumulus that many produced Virga. A phenomenon that we do not see very often.
Tomorrow weather permitting: ESGE-LJAJ (Boras to Ajdovščina)
Traditional Swedish dinner now at the super friendly Gliding Club of Boras with our new friends.
Day 10, 30 June 2008: Boras (Sweden)
A day of rest, bad weather.
Day 11, 1 July 2008: Boras (Sweden) – Ajdovščina (Slovenia)
Another superlong flight, more than 1400 km (760 NM) non-stop again! How many serially built ultralight aircraft can do this with double crew at 100 kts and around 10 liters per hour?
The guys did it in an impressive 6:59 hrs flight time! See pictures for this… We at Pipistrel prepared a small ceremony to mark the successful project! Congratulaitons! Tommorow, Mike and Nasos head homebound towards Greece.
Mike and Nasos departed Ajdovscina at 9 AM local time. They plan for a non-stop 7:30 hrs flight directly to Corfu and then Athens, Greece.
The route from Slovenia (LJAJ) to LGKR (Corfu) was trouble free and we were surprised with the controllers and service provided.Excellent! 4:35 flight time.
From Corfu we made one stop at the Air club of Larissa a normally 1 hr flight so Nassos can go home and Mike continued the last 1 hour flight solo to Kopaida.
Of course no refueling required for all these flight legs since Ajdovscina, but precautionary Mike added 10liters in Larissa as the weather was not the best going home.
In all this trip we had various weather conditions. The toughest weather encountered was here in Greece at our last flights where the afternoon thunderstorms had actually cut Greece in half making the West to East flying if not impossible very difficult. The Sinus surprised both of us with its performance.
At FL135 we had to climb to FL140 to dodge CB clouds. The lowest temperature we encountered in the whole trip was not in Norway but in our home Country. 4.5C under an anvil cloud. The CBs were so nicely developed that mamatus clouds were visible. With our escape route back to the West we found a small hole in the clouds and went through it at FL135. Above us a C130 was crossing through the same hole at FL150. Passing behind the CB line we were able to turn Northbound and towards our destination. The deviation was 40 min extra on top our scheduled flight time. The last 25 min we did it with the engine off. The first gliding portion of the entire trip.
“I (Mike) had to continue to my airfield solo. Loaded with memories and experiences…
From Tromso Norway to Athens Greece, the Sinus required only 2 times refueling! One in South Sweden (Boras) and one in Ajdovščina.
8500km+ , 11 countries, 42 flight hours, 12 days (3 days more due to weather), many new friends….”
We would like to give our sincere thanks:
– To each other. Mike to Nassos and Nassos to Mike for the excellent teamwork and spirit.
– To all the Pipistrel Team for the unique support during our entire adventure
– To all our new friends we made in this trip for the super hospitality and assistance they provided
– To all the ATC units and airport authorities we used
– And finally to our white Eagle, the Pipistrel Sinus that brought us there and back safely and comfortably while sipping 9,7 liters average per hour!
Maybe it is early, but during the smooth cruising over Montenegro, we (Mike & Nassos) had the chance to discuss our next extreme flight!