We most definitely are getting used to seeing some unusual routes and epic flights on the radar these days. As previously reported, Air Greenland and its crew are not afraid of taking their turboprop planes for long-haul excursions. On Monday, it operated one of its Dash 8-200 aircraft on a first-ever nonstop flight from Copenhagen to Nuuk. Flight time: 7 hours and 52 minutes.
There and back again
Air Greenland suspended all commercial traffic on the 20th of March. Domestic travel will resume from Saturday, the 25th of April, but there are no flights scheduled across the Atlantic until the 1st of June. However, until recently, it has continued to operate a link to Copenhagen for medical staff, test kits, and other supplies. Before Sunday last week, these flights had a short stopover at Reyjkavik’s airport Keflavik.
On Sunday, however, the stop seems to have been made redundant. Air Greenland’s little Dash 8 continued right past, or to be precise, above, the volcanic island and headed straight for mainland Denmark. That journey lasted for 7 hours and 25 minutes. The little-turboprop-that-could then turned around and broke its own record with almost 30 minutes on its way back the following day.
“We’ve never flown eight hours in that type of propeller aircraft before. The longest so far has been a five-hour flight for service with the planes in Canada” says pilot and captain of the trip Ove Grødem in a statement to Simple Flying.
“Everyone cooperated so well in that situation, and it makes me happy. It’s pretty amazing how everyone pulls in the same direction, dedicated to see this thing through.” he added on the operation as a whole, praising the cooperation between authorities, health care systems, airport staff, and crew.
23-year old OY-GRP
As reported by One Mile At A Time, the plane in question was a 23-year old Dash 8-200 with the registration code OY-GRP. It was operating an evacuation flight from Nuuk to Copenhagen for an insurance company, while also carrying a patient to the mainland.
The return flight with four people on board (two pilots, one flight attendant, and one doctor) became historic for two reasons. First, it was to our knowledge, the longest Dash 8-200 flight ever (should you know of a longer one, please let us know in the comments). Secondly, it was the first-ever nonstop flight from Copenhagen to Nuuk.
The flights, covering over 2,200 miles, were made possible without any extra fuel tanks, precisely because they were almost empty. Indeed, as OMAAT learned, the captain said it could have continued for another hour when it landed in Nuuk with an extra 400 kg of fuel to spare.
New Nuuk airport 2023
According to FlightRadar24, the plane landed back at Nuuk Aiport at 18.28 local time. The airport sports a runway of merely 3,100 feet. It took off again the next day for a series of domestic flights between Nuuk, Kangerlussuaq, and Sisimiut.
Greenland is currently accessible by air only from Denmark and Iceland, but if plans are not thwarted by too much, that could change in 2023. Kalaallit Airports International won a contract to renovate two airports in August last year. Nuuk and Ilulissat will both get runways of about 7,200 feet, opening up the island’s most popular tourist destinations for regular long-haul traffic.
Despite obvious challenges, Greenland’s goal to make tourism one of its three economic pillars (in addition to fishing and mining), may not be that far off. If social distancing is to become a requirement on travels, there are worse destinations than the world’s largest island.
What is the longest you have been on a turboprop? Have you been to Greenland? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments.