Tom Horne

To Iceland in a TBM 850

October 22, 2011 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

Our delivery flight began with a 330pm local departure from Daher Socata´s home airport in Tarbes, France, and ended some 7.5 hours later with an arrival at the Keflavik, Iceland airport. Along the way there was a fuel stop at the Glasgow, Scotland airport. There, survival suits and a raft were picked up as well. Those two legs were each about 800 nm, but the TBM 850 is a great cruising machine so those two legs lasted only 3.2 and 2.9 hours, respectively. Headwind components at our cruising altitude of FL280 never went much above 26 knots. But once going feet wet after crossing the Stornoway VOR on the west coast of Scotland crosswind component reached highs of 83 knots.No turbulence and no ice, so life was good.

Between Stornoway and Aldan, an intersection off the south coast of Iceland, winds at 280 averaged 80 knots out of the southwest. But no problem. On we flew into the night, goundspeeds ranging from 265 to 289 knots. Meanwhile, true airspeed was 300 knots while burning 55 gph. So the sense of hardship that prevails so strongly when crossing in a piston single simply wasn´t there. What would have been a 7 hour ordeal in a Mooney or Cessna instead becomes a three hour jaunt in a TBM 850.

Now I´m at the lobby computer at the Northern Light Inn — nli.is–and it´s 815 Z on Saturday. The sun isn´t up yet and it´s raining like mad, something that began during the ILS approach to BIKF´s runway 02 last night. Plans are to leave around 930 but some coffee first to help me wake up. Meanwhile, there´s a surreal scene outside as steam from the adjacent Blue Lagoon hot spring and spa rises into its spotlights. The shuttle van will arrive soon and then it´s back into the murk for a trip to either famed Narsarssuaq, Greenland or a straight shot to Goose Bay, Labrador. Depends on winds, which are forecast to lessen in strength today.As always, more later.

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