Ulan Bator, October of 2ooo
we have settled in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia now - and I am back online. First and foremost a Grande and Heartfelt * THANK YOU * to all who formed the network around me in the preparations and the realisation of this Flight of a lifetime.
I met many new people on the way - including a new myself: The endeavor left me stronger and even more determined to live and experience our beautiful world to the fullest. It was a strike towards freedom. Isn't it funny that the only real obstacle was that of a stamp on a paper - that would have allowed me to fly through Russia. Nothing else could stop us.
As for now I am planning to continue the flight as Dietmar has outlined it: Fly down the Aleutian Island chain and then fill her up for the longest leg.... Shamya Island (USA) to Hokkaido (Japan). Then down until I can safely cross into China and up to our new home, Ulan Bator with a stop in Dalan Satgad (desert Gobi). That will probably happen some time in July of 2oo1. Until then... hm...some new project in the bushes?
I have prepared a * Tale of a Trip Bonn to Nome * which has the story from a Pilot's view and some breathtaking pictures. The images are all thumbnailed - you can enlarge them for a better impression. Please fly along with me - leaving civilisation behind to travel against the stream of those early people from Sibiria who crossed over Beringia many thousand years ago to REALLY discover America and even continue over to Europe - the Eskimos, Inuit, Greenlanders.
The beautiful wings of my Europa - now safely stored in a heated Hangar in Anchorage - have carried me halfway around the world. She never disappointed me - often surprised me with her ability to carry and her economy. She flew into AirVenture 2ooo, Oshkosh making a dream true. After all the years of building she now is the magic carpet. And then she allowed me to look down onto the glaciers of Greenland and fly the dreamstreet of the world: the Alaska Highway. Don't ask me "why". I don't have an answer. Take one free evening and ask me "how it was...".
and how it will be.
here is the dictionary as Dietmar followed the flight:
August, 19. 2000 09:30 UTC
N81EU left Nome at 19:25 and arrived at Anchorage/PAMR at 4:30 including a short stop at PAMC for fuel. The bird dropped it's wings and is sitting safe at a private hangar. The Pilot will try to catch an early morning flight to meet his family en route in Seoul, holding an additional flight for safety, "straight" to Ulaan Bataar. The reality will grab him on Monday, 21st of August. But one thing is for sure, shortly after settling at the new home for the next years, the planning for continuing the world cruise will be taken up. For those who like to have some figures, N81EU flew 8530nm in a time of 115,5h on her way from Bonn to Anchorage covering 23 degrees in N/S and 173 degrees in E/W direction (based upon the present available data at the editors desk).
For me, the interims editor, the bell is ringing too. This page is passed back to it's owner now. Thanks for your interest... it goes without saying, that I am looking forward to complete the task of reporting from a world around trip ! See you then ...
August, 18. 2000 10:17 UTC
The Russian Minister of Transportation said "NJET" !
Thomas will go to Anchorage a.s.a.p. and look for hangar space leaving N81EU parked there for the time beeing. He himself will go by commercial flight to Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia. At a later time in the near future, N81EU will continue it's flight westbound around the world, taking a different route. Here again, Thanks to everybody who was with us so far. (me, the editor during those last 28 exciting days, has the strong urge to express his personal opinion about this interrupt. It is extremely disappointing, that there are still countries, hindering actions which are self-evident in the rest of the civilized world.)
August, 17. 2000 06:45 UTC
Beautiful Nome beside the Pacific is turning into second home for our pilot ... to be serious again: he is still on a painful "wait" for any response from Russia. Thanks to all those folks around the globe, trying to help and comfort him.
August, 15. 2000 20:35 UTC
Now we know it, N81EU left Fairbanks at 0:36 and arrived at Nome at 6:15. There will be a new request through official channels to enter Russia and an answer is expected earliest tomorrow morning (local time). Another patience examination ...
Out of incoming emails it's obvious, N81EU has arrived at Nome, the pilot just didn't disclose so far "WHEN" ? There are rumors from the higher levels, as if Russia might cancel the "njet" ... we will know soon and more ...
Our pilot had a good night, it wasn't as cold as expected. The weather in Fairbanks is poor, low ceiling, rain ... during the morning N81EU including the pilot moved into a nice little log-house. The fire place was started and they are awaiting better conditions to move to Nome/PAOM. No news from the Russians so far ...
August, 14. 2000 06:50 UTC
Thomas left White Horse at 19:05 , did customs declaration in Northway at 22:30 and left for Fairbanks at 23:31. The touch down at PAFA was at 03:00 and our pilot intends to spend this night at 64 degrees North in his sleeping bag under the wing... might be a cold one ... Independent of a Russian go or nogo, tomorrow N81EU will fly to Nome/PAOM to meet the Pacific... and then the next decisions will be made. Stay tuned, folks !
August, 13. 2000 20:32 UTC
If the weather allowed, N81EU should have taken off at 19:00 en route to Farbanks/PAFA. A customs stop is scheduled at Northway/PAOR ... with an "agricultural clearance" again ? ... ;-) ... as soon as there are further news, you will get them, HERE !
August, 12. 2000 20:25 UTC
Well, to tell the truth, the spirits are a little bit down ... so is the ceiling and snow is falling !yes! and this means, that N81EU is grounded since yesterday. In addition there is still no o.k. from the Russians to cross their territories on the way to Ulaan Bataar ... but we don't give up so easily. Friends from all around the globe are trying to be of help to turn this trip into a succesful one ... stay tuned for better news ...
August, 11. 2000 6:41 UTC
N81EU reached Watson Lake at 22:22 after a fascinating flight through the "trench", climbing to 11900ft, the max. altitude so far. After refueling, Thomas took off for Whitehorse /CYXY in the famous Yukon Territory, following again the Alaskan Highway. Arrival time was around 02:30 and at 05:45 we had a lenghty phone talk, him watching the sun going down, me watching her rising. The spirits are up and tomorrows destination will be Fairbanks/PAFA in Alaska.
August, 10. 2000 20:00 UTC
As you might guess from the date, there was no more flying yesterday but some rain instead ... what a deal ... As this strange weather is hanging around along the Eastern side of the Rockies there is an interesting escape trial today. Instead of waiting for better conditions to go North reaching Fort Nelson, N81EU will go West, cross the first mountain barrier and then turn North, following kind of a big "trench", flanked by 9000ft mountains, up to Watson Lake/CYQH to meet the Alaskan Highway again. Thomas was scheduled to take off around 16:30 ...
August, 9. 2000 14:05 UTC
If the weather allows, there could be a chance to reach Edmonton in a four hour flight, facing up to 45kt head wind ... one could walk as well ... ...he walked...it took those four hours to CYXD and another four hours to Dawson Creek/CYDQ from where he called some minutes ago. The famous Alaskan "Highway" starts here, streching out North. Today's plan is to reach White Horse/CYXY which will be a head wind game again.
August, 8. 2000 06:40 UTC
The big time difference between West Canada and Germany is somewhat hampering the idea of a timely update. Last night brought a lengthy phone call with the pilot. He is in good spirits despite the unpleasant weather which is eating up precious time... can't be helped. The weather guys keep talking about an opening in the afternoon (the canadian one) before the next heavy stuff is approaching.....wait & see ...
August, 7. 2000 11:51 UTC
New mail from Jim: Thomas landed Saskatoon (CYXE), short of his goal of Edmonton, using discretion as the better part of valor, due to heavy rain ahead. Weather looks good for Monday & all systems are working great on the Europa.
After a long silence period, here is the latest mail from Jim Price. Thank's Jim !
8/5/2000 1600 UTC- After a wonderful visit in the Detroit area, Thomas departed KPTK (Pontiac, Michigan) for Winnipeg, Canada. Send off was with John Maxfield's Reserve Grand Champion Funk & Jim Price's world altitude record holding Long-EZ flying along with Thomas. Radio problems caused the use of his back-up hand held radio, but were quickley corrected when he found a loose connection on his main radio. Everyone continues to wish Thomas "happy travel(s)".
8/5/2000 PM- Under the threat of a wall of thunderstorms in front of him Thomas lands at Thief River Falls, Minnesota USA and just short of his goal of Winnipeg, Canada. He had to go out in the rain several times because of the storm caused wind shifts and Thomas wanted to keep the Europa headed into the wind. This will allow the plane to weather the storm in the easiest fashion when on the ground.
8/6/2000 1700 UTC- Thomas is off for Winnipeg to clear customs, then on to Edmonton. From there he will head to Dawson Creek, which is mile one of the Alaska Highway. From there he will follow the highway "north to Alaska!"
August, 2. 2000 21:30 UTC
Oshkosh is over ... the reality returns. The weather in Detroit is a dream, a bad one, rain, rain and rain again. N81EU is eager to eat up the miles, looking Northwest ... well, patience is another needed skill for flying ...
July, 27. 2000 24:15 UTC
As it was clearly understood from the background noise on the phone, Thomas had reached Oshkosh. N81EU touched down at 13:00 at KOSH after a short flight from Detroit. By now, the speeches should be done and our pilot has some days to relax before taking up the next challenges on the way to Ulan Bator in Mongolia. How did I say before... stay tuned folks...
July, 26. 2000 24:00 UTC
At 03:00 N81EU landed at Dorval, which is close to Montreal. The Pilot had a good sleep, one can't cheat mother nature, and took off again about 11:30 . He is trying to get the US clearance while en route to Detroit. The arrival in Oshkosh will depend on those answers, either in the morning or in the late afternoon after the reopening of KOSH when show time is over. At 13:45 the next stopover occured in Rockcliffe/CYRO. Nasty cloud formations are enforcing a new route. 14:15 take off is scheduled...new direction was the Northern side of the Great Lakes/Sault Ste Marie/CYAM and there came the call from Chippewa/KCIU at 19:35 which is just beside. N81EU has reached American territory. Due to the weather she is now bound for Detroit. Arrival in Detroit at 22:45. Let's call it a day as poor weather is blocking any further movements. By the way... the hook to Detroit was necessary to get the "agricultural" clearance for USA, yes, you are reading correctly...
July, 27. 2000 21:05 UTC
According to FBO/Goose Bay the N81EU took off at 11:00, filed VFR ... surprise, surprise ... Thomas just called from Waterville/Canada (45N03/64W39) where he arrived at 19:05, a place where EUROPA #223 is growing under the hands of Christoph Both. The route encountered once more disgusting 34kt head wind. Another newsworthy fact : this Rotax engine didn't need a drop of oil since leaving home ! This day isn't over yet ... waiting for the next moves ... After a short round with a cobuilder of Christoph, N81EU will take off at 21:15 en route to CYQG/Windsor as the weather forecast for tomorrow is not very promising ... another long leg, but the "magnetic" Oshkosh seems to be pulling with all it's force.
July, 26. 2000 23:10 UTC
Another "windy" day slowed down N81EU. After 9 hours Goose Bay/CYYR in Canada was reached at 20:37. There had been segments during the day where the wind turned 95kt air speed into lousy 59kt over ground. The POND (English for Atlantic (Thanks! Graham)) is "done", reason enough to have a good rest in Goose Bay. Tomorrow should get us as far as Pontiac(KPTK) beside Detroit via Roberval (CYRJ) ... a tough 10h day (if there is no head wind again) so that Oskosh, a "tiny" 237nm jump from Detroit, could be reached on Friday morning ... looking forward to meeting a lot of friends there.
July, 25. 2000 21:40 UTC
Well, well finally... N81EU took off at 10:51 from Reykjavik, still a little bit foggy .. and fighting a constant 8kn head wind it took roughly ten hours to come around the southern tip of Greenland, find the right fjord, dive 38nm into the fjord and the final ended at 21:00 in BGBW/Narsarsuaq (sounds real Eskimo). Great views, exciting experience and there is more to come ... tomorrow the last jump over the big water into Cannada is scheduled.
July, 24. 2000 17:50 UTC
At 9:37 this morning N81EU was airborne and on her way to Iceland after a friendly and warm welcome in Scottland last night. Some technical data for those interested: fuel consumption yesterday around 10l./4100rpm/100kn. Arrival at BIRK/Reykjavik/Iceland at 16:39, spending another day above the clouds and diving down through the only hole the weather gods had left. Still in excellent spirits, looking forward to the next leg ...
July, 23. 2000 18:30 UTC
Departing from LFSG/France under good weather and in good spirits after meeting Michel Gordillo. Todays leg included Calais-Dover and then North through England reaching EGPA/Kirkwall in Northern Scottland in the early evening. An inflight HF test arround 16:15 UTC on 14.320 MHz to old Germany was successful. The last 20nm Tom Sinclair performed as wingman with his Europa G-BVKF. Arrival at EGPA at 17:45 UTC. During the whole flight UK was hiding under a closed cloud cover so all interest was diverted to the flawless performance of plane and engine.
July, 22. 2000 17:20 UTC
Departing from EDKB at 14:05 UTC, arrival in France at LFSG at 15:45 UTC, plane performance satisfactory. There was a rather emotional "Sayonara" followed by a short formation and photo flight. The HF connection was successfully tested from France and is expected to be even better from Scottland tomorrow evening.
July, 22. 2000 07:30 UTC
As if planned...yesterday the U.S. based server of this beautiful page went down. We pass the apologies of the server site to our esteemed readers.
News: Due to a heavy workload with a lot of tiny little things to be finished before the big trip and enormous curiosity from the media asking hundreds of questions, the departure from Bonn/Germany had to be postponed. Todays first leg will be EDKB - LFSG ....
For the time beeing, the lower part of this page turns into history ... (simple reasons like available diskspace)