|5 Dec 1969||McGuire AFB, NJ||Goose Bay AB, Labrador||70002||2.6 hrs|
|5 Dec 1969||Goose Bay AB, Labrador||Thule AB, Greenland||70002||3.6 hrs|
|5 Dec 1969||Thule AB, Greenland||Søndestrom AB, Greenland||70002||2.2 hrs|
|6 Dec 1969||Søndestrom AB, Greenland||McGuire AFB, NJ||70002||5.2 hrs|
|Total flying time||13.6 hrs|
The missions to Greenland were flown to support U.S. personnel stationed there. During the winter, ice prevented access by ships and we flew regular trips to bring fresh vegetables and produce as well as mail to the poor souls stationed there. These trips were always flown as a single duty period. An extra pilot was added to the crew to spell the other two, but it was a long "day" as can be seen from the total flying time. Goose Bay is just below the northernmost latitude where trees grow and yet it is almost four hours from there to Thule at 78° North Latitude. One cannot appreciate the size of the Earth until one flies more than 6 hours due north from New Jersey. Above Goose Bay, the world is perpetually white for as far as the eye can see. In the winter, when this flight was made, it is also perpetually dark. Unlike almost any other region of the world, including over the oceans, no lights at all are visible on the surface. The Aurora Borealis, though, is spectacular at the higher latitudes. Because of the proximity to the magnetic pole, the rapidly changing magnetic variation, and the polar effect of "meridian convergence", we used a navigational technique called "grid navigation" which maintains the familiar relationships of compass heading and desired course of the lower latitudes. The gyro compasses were slewed to grid north and navigation was conducted with grid courses carefully checked with celestial shots, loran, and radar fixes as available. At Thule the temperature at this time of the year is well below zero and the runway is always covered with rime ice. Due to the extremely low coefficient of friction, we could not land if the crosswind was in excess of about 5 knots. The aircraft could only remain on the ground for about 2 hours to avoid "cold soaking" and its accompanying failure of hydraulic seals. Us humans had to carry complete arctic weather gear on these trips, which we needed just to get from the airplane to the nearest heated building.
Revised: 30 March 1999