Twin Otter Amphibian Delivery Flight (Part 1)

Pre Delivery.

Evening fellow guys and girls and welcome to Gatwick, I’m taking some additional time off (in between of FlyUK flights), to take a 787-9 back to Seattle in a series of flights in order to get acquainted with the new aircraft and also as a means to fly myself, co-pilot 10 supporting staff to the Canadian town of Yellowknife in The Northwest Territories, a place made famous by Buffalo Airlines on Discovery’s Ice Pilots. We have a mission to deliver a DeHaviland Twin Otter 300 Amphibian aircraft to the Portuguese Island of Madeira, this is a big ask, the aircraft is of reasonable age and condition and spent most of its life in a hanger and is intended to be repainted and operated as a sea surveying aircraft.

So where am I now? I’m currently sat in the pilot’s lounge at New York’s JFK airport after a long but pleasant flight from Iceland, albeit a day later than planned, why? Well yesterday for some unknown reason the 787’s avionics decided that 20minutes decided to loose causing us to return to the airport with now comms squawking 7600, it tool 3 attempts for the error to clear by which time it was too late for us to file a flightpal and proceed to New York, and I certainly didn’t fancy flying a huge aircraft like the 787 over 2000nm without testing the avionics, so that’s what I did.

Post Radio Failure test flight.

The error cleared after a factory reset three times and after 6hours of working alongside Icelandic Air engineers and Boeing. After that I requested special permission to fly a VFR flight at 15,000ft across Iceland before to turn north towards Akureyri airport and then return to Keflavik. The system seemed to function as normal so once we landed and taxyed back onto stand we shut down the engines, refuelled for the trip to New York and secured the aircraft. And made for the Pilot’s lounge and bar and retreated to bed.

Flight to New York.

Woke up this morning at 5am for a 7:45am departure armed with all the relevant plans, permits and information and my trusty camera. I boarded the aircraft whilst my co-pilot did the walk around and the support personnel took their seats, with only hand luggage with them. I brought the aircraft to life and set up the FMC with the morning’s flight plan etc. The flight is about 5:30hours taking us over The North Atlantic Ocean, Greenland’s southern tip and into North East Canada and down the Eastern Seaboard and over the places synonymous with Stephen King and the state of Massachusetts, before starting a decent and vectored into New York and Manhattan ATC, and finally JFK Airport.

Weather reports where still showing that New York was still in the midst of a cold ‘winter bomb’ with temperature down at -15C although with reasonable visibility and we could just make out Manhattan on the horizon as we approached the airport. Next stop is Paine Field, Washington, but a few hours in The Big Apple will be appreciated, scarf and layers required, see you soon J.

Gatwick to Kennedy Airport (via Keflavik Photos).


Preparation for flight and taxy out to the runway at Gatwick

Taking off from Gatwick for Keflavik on the way to New York, camera was in my hand luggage back in the cabin so no pictures for this flight.

Punching out of Keflavik – passports ready again and this time the cameras or out and ready

Watching a glorious sunrise over the North Atlantic – Breakfast was first rate British Fry-up (Airline Style).

Landfall on the North American Continent with the Eastern Seaboard below.

Sent in by an a controller on our descent into Kennedy.

Descent and Approach into Kennedy – nearly there

Final Approach with a hazey view of downtown Manhattan – Autopilot flying the approach.

Landing roll and taxy in for shutdown and clear US customs

Flight to Washington – back to the factory!! – For a repaint

Welcome back on board!!! WOW! I love new York truly the city that doesn’t sleep, however our time in this great iconic city is over and it’s off to a quieter and slower pace of the North West Pacific, and a city that I will always hold close; Seattle.

Many years ago (not too long though), I started my flying career flying in and around the area and particulary Tacoma Narrows. We are hoping to spend a few days in the area and checking out some old haunts; Bremerton, Ranger Creekm Arlington and Olympia. We should also be getting the aircraft that the aircraft owner (the Twin Otter) has arranged for us to take up to Yellowknife.

This evenings flight will be approximately 5hours 30min across the northern states, before passing Washington’s Crown Mountain – Mt Rainier we should land at The Boeing Factory just around sunset.


On-board camera taking in the view of Kennedy’s Air Traffic Control Tower. Built under the instruction of The New York Port Authority, to take advantage of new technologies in air travel and standing at 321ft and 32 storeys. Replacing the original 15 storey one, which was built in 1957.

Ready of taxy and pushing back from stand.

Full Take-off power, and Downtown Manhattan on the camera on the flight deck

Nothing but blue crisp skies.

Watching the sun go down as we approach our destination.

Setup and on final approach.

Landed and rolling out – finally got this bird home

Unloaded and on the way to sign the aircraft back to Boeing – Next up is a trip to Yellowknife after so R&R in the Seattle Area.

Off to Yellowknife

Well I’m actually at Yellowknife Airport up in The North West Territories of Canada, and bloody hell it’s COLD!!! We made it is reasonably cold time with the Caravan, and the Twin Otter is being prepped for this huge trip from the Artic North to Sub-Tropical climates in Madeira. But I need some practice starting the engines…. Usually I don’t have any problems starting turboprop aircraft, however there this Twin Otter is an Amphibian aircraft so has something called start locks, which inhibit the engines from producing trust on start up on water….. apparently the brakes don’t work on water…

Ready for loading up and departure from KPAE.

Line up and throttle up

Scenery shots on the way to Quesnel Airfield – Canada is gorgeous

On Stand for the night

Good Morning – today we head to Hay River… Jeez it’s cold…

Sun Rise….. Not that it helps ha

Warning Indicator – Left tank LOW!

Sitting in a warm canteen planning the trip to Yellowknife, having to wait for the engineers to check the fuel system, the engine is draining the left wing tank only.

Flight and arrival to Yellowknife.

Here is the aircraft that we will be flying down to Madeira….. First training!!!

Transport Flight – PA31 Chieftain Pick Up

Good evening my fellow pilots and a warm (literally). This is a bit of a strange trip for us this time round; rather than deliver an aircraft for a client to a far flung country by flying that aircraft all the way. This time we flying from the UK into The United States in search of a twin-prop aircraft in the form of a PA31 Chieftain, our client/guest for the trip is a Mr Ben Millen, he is a pilot from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, having just achieved his MEL PPI he is looking for a medium sized ‘older’ piston propliner aircraft. After some searching around we found one in Nevada, near Lake Tahoe, the question is how get there.

You may think I’m speaking from The UK, nope! We set off from Ronaldsway (My new FBO) northbound towards Iceland, before heading towards Greenland and Canada, in the newly reacquired Airbus A318, recently back from lease in The UAE, the A318 is set up as a business jet to rival aircraft similar in size to the Gulfstream, as you may know that The Airbus is easily capable of flying The Atlantic from Shannon to New York with 40 passengers on board… Why didn’t I just do that? Well the idea is to create a way home without having to guess to much later, I decided to fly the same corridor that most ferry pilots when flying from The States to The UK in smaller aircraft…. I’ve got my Camera with me hoping for good photo opportunities…

Our next stop in Boston, Mass…

Taxying from the gate at Keflavik, Iceland

This is early afternoon in Iceland, the sun pretty much doesn’t get much higher in the sky, this is winter afterall.
Aircraft flypast of Keflavik Tower – they sent it to us, off to Greenland

On descent to Kangerlussuaq, stunning sky as we go slightly further north

Landed in Greenland

Cleaning out the aircraft, and heading to the terminal building.