Into the Ice

This March I had the pleasure of being the pilot for a research expedition to the ice just east of Greenland, led by the Institute of Marine Research.

We landed onboard the Norwegian Coast Guard icebreaker KV Svalbard in Tromsø, then steamed west for roughly 750nm to the West Ice. We were close enough to the coast of Greenland to see land in the distance most of the time.

Our objective was threefold.

1. Locate Harp and Hooded seal breeding patches.

2. Place GPS markers around the patches. This would make it easier for the fixed-wing asset responsible for aerial photography to locate the seals. The pictures from that is used to count the seal pups.

3. Staging. Flying transects through the patch where the researchers note the age of the pups. This is possible due to how fast the seals grow over a limited period of time. Harp pups are left to fend for themselves after 12 days, and Hood pups after 5.

We only had 6 days in the ice, so we were quite busy when the weather was on our side. Unfortunately the last round of staging had to be cancelled due to extremely poor visibility and low ceiling.

Though a short trip, it was a really nice experience, and I would like to thank all those who participated.

Article: Vertical Rewind: Coast-to-Coast… in THAT?

I’ve always been a sucker for stories that put you right there in the cockpit. Books like Chickenhawk by Robert Mason and Too The Limit by Tom A. Johnson are good examples of this, and gave us great insight into the Vietnam War from a pilot’s perspective. Now Vertical Magazines historical Rewind series offer great views into the history of rotary flight. One that captivated me in particular was the non-stop US coast-to-coast flight by Bob Ferry in an OH-6A back in 1966. This story is written by Don Porter and puts you right there next to Bob on this record-breaking flight, well worth a read! And if you have any other books or stories like this you would like to recommend, please leave a comment.

Read the article here: Coast-to-Coast…in THAT?

The U.S. Army Hughes OH-6A light observation helicopter. Don Porter Collection Photo