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Iceland trip!!

Old 9th Feb 2019, 17:37
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Iceland trip!!

Hi everyone,

Planning a flight to Iceland later this year. Will be obviously departing from Wick. Aircraft will be a Cirrus SR22 G5 with lots of hours on type. Iím fully qualified with all instrument ratings. Iíve never flown to Iceland, so I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to share their Iceland experience and advise. A checklist for everything I need to know, such as equipment, ATC availability, radar coverage, and anything operationally needing to be planned prior. I will be using Rocket route for all planning purposes. I donít need thousands of replies, just someone who can step by step tell me what needs doing and maybe a contact too.
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 18:30
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I have flown in Iceland a number of times, and it was a great experience each time. I found ATC very relaxed and helpful. Reykjavik is a very accommodating airport, and long walking distance or short taxi to anywhere in Reykjavik you could want to be. If you're in Reykjavik, you owe it to yourself to take a day to the Blue Lagoon, it's a bus ride away toward Keflavik.

I very highly recommend flying to two airports:

Vestmannaeyjar, which is an Island less than an hour south east from Rekjavik. It is famous for a volcanic eruption in 1973, which buried half the town. Evidence is still visible, and excavations are underway. Town is a very pleasant walk from the airport. You can take the longer walk from the airport, and climb the volcanoes. There's lots to see on that Island, and were I to return, I would spend a night or two. Be very careful fo turbulence landing at that airport, the winds are often strong, and there can be windshear over the cliffs landing on 30. I flew my base so as to turn close final inside the shoreline, so as to not overfly the cliffs, and expose myself to the risk (and give my wife and daughter a smooth ride - it was fine)

And, Akureyri to the north. A beautiful city in a fjord. The airport is very accommodating, and there's a nice aviation museum there. The flight there will take you across the island, so plan your weather, but the view is great! From Akureyri rent a car, and drive up the fjord past Dalvik, the view is magnificent.
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 18:55
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Only a faint memory, and perhaps it was never more than rumour: wasn't there a time when the carriage of short-wave radio, aka HF, was mandatory for Iceland and/or Greenland? Especially on VFR flights?
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 19:42
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
I have flown in Iceland a number of times, and it was a great experience each time. I found ATC very relaxed and helpful. Reykjavik is a very accommodating airport, and long walking distance or short taxi to anywhere in Reykjavik you could want to be. If you're in Reykjavik, you owe it to yourself to take a day to the Blue Lagoon, it's a bus ride away toward Keflavik.

I very highly recommend flying to two airports:

Vestmannaeyjar, which is an Island less than an hour south east from Rekjavik. It is famous for a volcanic eruption in 1973, which buried half the town. Evidence is still visible, and excavations are underway. Town is a very pleasant walk from the airport. You can take the longer walk from the airport, and climb the volcanoes. There's lots to see on that Island, and were I to return, I would spend a night or two. Be very careful fo turbulence landing at that airport, the winds are often strong, and there can be windshear over the cliffs landing on 30. I flew my base so as to turn close final inside the shoreline, so as to not overfly the cliffs, and expose myself to the risk (and give my wife and daughter a smooth ride - it was fine)

And, Akureyri to the north. A beautiful city in a fjord. The airport is very accommodating, and there's a nice aviation museum there. The flight there will take you across the island, so plan your weather, but the view is great! From Akureyri rent a car, and drive up the fjord past Dalvik, the view is magnificent.

thanks very much. Operationally, how did you find the flying from Scotland over. Was there full radar coverage all the way? Anything different from normal?
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 20:23
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My recollection of ATC across the ocean is faint, and out of date. The last time I flew Transatlantic as a pilot was in 1985, which was my second stop in Iceland. My more recent flying in Iceland has been 172 rental within Iceland, and otherwise a passenger for the crossing.
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 21:09
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Why not speak to the RocketRoute Concierge team to give you a hand on the planning and setting up side?
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Old 10th Feb 2019, 06:23
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Why not plan to route via the Faroes? The waterfall approach to Vagar is well worth the bit of a challenge - it's a published approach. See the Danish AIP for details. There's a stroll from the airport down to the harbour past houses with grass growing on the roofs - very picturesque and different from anything in the UK.. We did it from Stornoway in a Cherokee 180. We could have kept going to Keflavik, but although it was August, we'd have been stuck there for 2 weeks as the weather closed in.

We had VHF only comms. We went at FL60 and lost Scottish Information after about an hour. I don't think there's Radar coverage more than 30 mins away from land. We got Reykjavik after about another hour, but there were plenty of airliners we could have got a relay through if we'd needed to. Monitor 121.5. There was a very powerful NDB on an island to the south of Vagar, 10kw from memory, so if you've got an ADF, that's a good backup to the GPS. We carried 3 GPS. Vagar itself was only Air/Ground, no Radar cover when we went. They seem to have upgraded to 'Information', but still no ATC. Makes no practical difference.

The biggest problem is the weather. The freezing level is a consideration, even in the Summer. We were able to remain outside cloud when above the freezing level, so no problem with a PA28. If you have TKS, so much the better. We had to wait for 4 days on Lewis for good enough weather in an August. Even then, the waterfall approach had cloud covering the tops of the valley, like flying into a tunnel.

We wore immersion suits and life jackets at all times, with the raft on the back seat. We practiced getting out with the raft in all the kit, but I've been advised that unless you actually practice it in the sea, it probably isn't going to work. BRS will make sure the aircraft is upright hitting the water, at least. There's video somewhere of a SR20 ditching using BRS, but I think that was in warm water. There's an air-sea rescue service based at Vagar.

The planning is at least half the fun. Well-planned, the flight itself should be routine.

TOO

Last edited by TheOddOne; 10th Feb 2019 at 06:55.
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Old 10th Feb 2019, 08:37
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Iíve flown in and out of Vagar on many, many occasions. Be cautious, low cloud, wind and rain are not the only issues. Turbulence flying down the valley on approach can be violent on larger aircraft - certainly would want to encounter it in a light aircraft.
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Old 11th Feb 2019, 11:42
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Originally Posted by Jimbo3840 View Post
Hi everyone,

Planning a flight to Iceland later this year. Will be obviously departing from Wick. Aircraft will be a Cirrus SR22 G5 with lots of hours on type. Iím fully qualified with all instrument ratings. Iíve never flown to Iceland, so I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to share their Iceland experience and advise. A checklist for everything I need to know, such as equipment, ATC availability, radar coverage, and anything operationally needing to be planned prior. I will be using Rocket route for all planning purposes. I donít need thousands of replies, just someone who can step by step tell me what needs doing and maybe a contact too.
Sounds like an EPIC trip!! I am doing it the easy way with The Greenland Air Trophy, which I think is leaving at the end of June. If dates match might be much simpler to join along??

:-)
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Old 11th Feb 2019, 18:19
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The Iceland AIP is available for free as an app for Apple devices
tubby linton is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2019, 05:48
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Far North at Wick can rent you dry suits and life rafts.
Nominally, you are expected to plan a 3 hour fuel reserve for single engine. I believe that is unenforced and may be exempted.
BIEG is a good choice for port of entry. No handling/landing charges and a friendly reception.
If the weather cooperates, Akureyri and Isafjordur are fun places to visit and I'm sure many others too.
No HF radio requirement if you stay out of the OCA and VHF coverage is good over most of the route.
If you can't get through with a position report, just hail an airliner on 121.5, switch to 123.45 and ask them to relay your report.
Be prepared to pay double the usual price (at least) for everything!
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Old 12th Feb 2019, 11:07
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BIEG (Egillstadir) is indeed a nice, neat, quiet, friendly airport that I have used 3 times IIRC. However, I once arrived a few years ago outside 'normal office hours' and was apologetically relieved of a goodly sum for Customs clearance; $100 US rings a bell .. but might well have been more ! Might be worth checking this before takeoff. TKS fluid also eye-wateringly expensive in Iceland to the extent that I have baulked at ever buying any there.
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Old 12th Feb 2019, 19:39
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No HF radio requirement if you stay out of the OCA
Glad to see some reaction regarding the HF requirement. But, please excuse my ignorance, what is or what means "the OCA"?
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Old 12th Feb 2019, 20:28
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Originally Posted by Jan Olieslagers View Post
Glad to see some reaction regarding the HF requirement. But, please excuse my ignorance, what is or what means "the OCA"?
Oceanic control area - In this case the Shanwick

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Old 13th Feb 2019, 09:14
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Glad to see some reaction regarding the HF requirement.
I frequently take a non HF equipped airliner from the UK to Iceland, using the BARKU-RATSU-ALDAN-ASRUN routing. I assume the same VHF route is available in lower airspace?

DH
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 15:29
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The rules on HF are variable depending which bit of ocean you are flying over. Also the levels of control/checking vary by state.

Not hugely helpful answer, but at least will clarify that there is not one rule for the entire route.

Safe flights, Sam.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 22:18
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Flying from Wick to Iceland via RATSU ING or similar at any reasonable unpressurised IFR level presents no problem for VHF only.

The leg from BIRK to Narsarsuaq will take you out of VHF coverage at unpressurised levels, but seems to be largely un-policed and it is relatively easy to relay Ops Normal and Position reports via 123.45

You will similarly lose VHF coverage on a Narsarsuaq Goose leg, and the Canadians are getting much more stroppy about non-HF equipped aircraft flying the route. Practically, this is more of an issue coming Eastbound, where you may be denied startup clearance if you don't claim to have HF on board. Satellite is not accepted as an alternative. This never seemed to be an issue until a few years ago, but rumours of fines abound in more recent times.

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Old 14th Feb 2019, 04:36
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One nice trick is only giving the clearance on an HF frequency - but there is a workaround.
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