Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mission Accomplished! (by Jack)

January 18, 2017

We are back in Punta Arenas, Chile (SCCI) after an absolutely once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Many thanks for all the messages and support...all four of us (Josh, Giuseppe, Jerry, and yours truly) appreciate it.

It may be a few days before I can get a full blog entry done, but the short version is the flight went very well.  Weather was about as good as it gets in this part of the world. For about 600 NM along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (the most interesting part) we had completely clear skies and views of a landscape that deifies description.  Beautiful in such a surreal way.

Just north of our 75S turn-point over the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) outpost called Sky Blu, we started a running two hour conversation with a BAS Dash-7 crew flying along our route. They had heard all about our flight and were very talkative as they almost never hear another aircraft. What a great job they have.

No major problems...a cranky HF radio (reverted to sat phone for position reports) and a bent left main landing gear wheel cover (just removed it) were about the extent of the unexpected. Otherwise, everything went as planned except much better weather than we could have hoped for over such a long flight (almost 2,400 NM on the 17th).

I'll have an a lot more details in the coming days (more than anyone probably cares to read!), but the bottom line is this was an incredible experience. It could not have happened without Josh, Giuseppe, and Jerry (and a bunch of other people on the ground) for which I am very thankful.

We are celebrating tonight and then flying to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (SAZS) tomorrow to rendezvous with Carolyn and Becky (who went on their own adventure while we waited for good weather down south).  After a couple of days of R&R there, we will work our way home via Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Liberia, Costa Rica.

Thanks again for the support and interest in this quixotic aviation adventure.