lundi 5 juin 2017

The dusk of flying the DC-3 in Japan

Already the 5th June today and if everything goes well, we will be crossing the Pacific the next day, on the 6th. At what time, we still have no clue, this will all depend on that low pressure having the tendency to go south, right over Shemya. We have two choices, either fly during the day and land at night or accept to fly a bit of our crossing at night and land during the day. Well, this is mostly governed by the opening times of Shemya. Bear in mind that 3 days before we still had not received the final positive answer from them. Our request had to go up to the Pentagon and was blocked somewhere we didn't know. So yes, landing time 9.30am according our request. By miracle, we could finally reach Shemya and talk to a responsible person that agreed to keep the airport opened even after the normal hours, we only needed to keep them informed early enough. Not easily done with a 10 hour flight that could be departing at any stage with maybe only 30 minutes prior notice...and when we can call them it is probably too late. Getting some gray hairs!
In the meantime early wake up, driving to the airport to fly our Sendai to Mt. Fuji video shooting. Gregory Lemoigne wasn't available when we flew the photo flight so Breitling requested another flight only for some good video shoot. Imagine, 1h20 minutes down from Sendai for a 45 minutes video flight and 1h20 on the way back to Sendai, I let you guess the costs!

But here is the results, stunning also, and magical flight across the rice fields again and right over Fukushima, a place that we start to know almost like home.

After having landed in Sendai for our refueling stop, we loaded our rear cargo hold with our spare parts, tow bar and also refueled the  rear bladder tank. In Obihiro we will then refuel the rest and place the second tank inside the cabin. This will be done on the 6th, or when we depart...

The flight from Sendai to Obihiro was gorgeous with amazing views, firstly onto some clouds and rain but soon becoming clear and calm with absolutely no wind when we landed in Obihiro. 
This place is known for its snow fall during winter and ski resorts.


You can se on the previous picture that we are all smiling, why? Because the latest forecast for tomorrow, the 6th, sees a fantastic opportunity for us to cross the big Ocean. We will unfortunately be less optimistic in the evening, as the three of us were looking at the front schematic, it seemed that it was more migrating towards the north, hence giving us low clouds and rain for our arrival time the next day. And it was even getting less appealing for the next four days after. And Francisco has to go back to Switzerland to work...what can we do, go with Paul and be only us two? For such a difficult leg and my level of experience on the DC-3 I can only suggest not to. In the meantime, lets have a dinner after our 6.5 hours of flight of today and these intense emotions. Of course the atmosphere wasn't very enthusiastic as we were pretty sure we would be stuck in Japan for the next week and meaning I wouldn't be able to fly that incredible leg. 

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