What do you get when you take a flight instructor and student, hand them the keys to a new plane that must get to its buyer, and then put an ocean between them and their destination? The North Atlantic Challenge.
Benjamin Riecken, who teaches flying at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Jean Olivier Mbog, a senior majoring in aeronautical science, began their adventure July 13, flying a new Piper Seneca V from the factory in Vero Beach, Fla., to an airplane dealership in Odense, Denmark. The aerial hopscotch up the East Coast and across the North Atlantic is expected to take 13 days. During the journey, the pair are talking to reporters and young people about the ups and downs of flying. Riecken, who is from Belgium, speaks English, French, and German. Mbog, from Cameroon, speaks English and French. They also are posting a daily diary on their website, NorthAtlanticChallenge.com.
The Seneca V will be the first in Europe equipped with the Avidyne FlightMax Entegra glass cockpit.
Riecken and Mbog will cover 5,100 nm, with the longest leg 487 nm from Iqaluit Airport, in northern Canada, to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
“We wanted to do something different,” Riecken says. “Crossing the North Atlantic still has the aura of doing it like the pioneer aviators in the early days.”
One thing that will be different is navigation. “There is no radar coverage over the ocean, so we’ll need to report our position as we go. We’ll also be following the contrails of airliners passing above us,” he says.
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