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Capt Stathis Tsagaratos ASe402 USA-Greece trip in a Piper Archer II

For the hellenic language version of this document click here.)

The trip of America


My story of transatlantic voyage with a light sigle engined aircraft started around one decade ago !

 Year 1993 finds me young pilot in New York USA. More specifically an  Instructor at “West Hampton  The Gabreski” airport with no more than 1000 flight hours in my logbook. All of them in light single engined aircraft with the exception of some  in light two-engined planes. Time was running fast and my flight hours were building up really fast since the school I was instructing, had always lots of students. New York winters are famous… temperatures between –20 and –10 Celsius were something quite usual…. Long island summers were quite similar to the greek ones. Of course due to the general area position CAVOK visibility conditions were transforming to 30-40 meters in a matter of 30 minutes. Perfect weather for  REAL IFR training ! Early morning wake-up, briefings, ice removal from the aircrafts, pre-flight inspetions, flights. Most of them training. Voyages, voyages, voyages everywhere. In six years time I flew to more than 19 states and landed in hundreds American airports. In J.F. Kennedy but also in the small and uncontrolled “Spadaro” airfield. Today even though I stand one decade away everyone of these flights parade in my memory’s monitor in a very sweet nostalgic way. I can write pages and why not even books for these aviational years of mine in US. I do not recall any flight that was 100% incident free. While I turning the pages of my logbooks from this period, every recorded flight reminds me of something different…..

School’s base was on Long Island's east side. 10 nautical miles in the North the Atlantic… 4 nm South the Atlantic, east the Atlantic. The only side that someone was able to fly over land was west. Of course east of Long island was positioned quite a number of islands. I remember that I was feeling very good flying to these islands just because as a greek I thought that “flying over Aegean, over Greece, over my country, would be quite the same”. Needless to say that in order to make reality such a flight to the Atlantic islands special preparations and  caution were on the agenda. Not only from the student's,  but from the instructor's side as well. Secure altitudes, headings, times etc Everything demanded to be treated with special care. Flight over the Atlantic was both an invitation and a challenge for all of us. Just think that these distances were leading to an overwater flight of more than  2 hours with single engine at 7000-8000 feet and you will have a good picture of how we felt !

One day School’s Management “dropped the bomb”. “ We need to flight-transfer a PIPER ARCHER II in Greece for a client who has just bought it.” Everyone’s eyes flashed. Strong and indefinite sentiments. Fear, terror, surprise, passion… Management asked for a “volunteer pilot” from school staff. Three of us appeared quite crazy to accept this transfer flight to Greece. Finally luck proved to be on my side and the trip started to be planned. For a whole month all of us were planning… Supplies… special flight suit (we calculated that the cabin temperature would be some 3-4 degrees above Zero Celsius). The possibility of heating the cabin was early ruled out due to potential poisoning and death from possible carbon monoxide leak. Light food, not on the nutritional side but on the weight one. The thought of a co-pilot did not even cross our minds, due to endurance and performance limitations. ;) Charts… Charts…. Charts…. Properly placed and easily accessible. Back seats would be taken out so that an extra 25 gals fuel tank would earn its place inside the cabin to give little Archer the chance to fly from Greenland to Iceland…. We calculated that I would need some 10 refuelling stops to make it to Athens. First leg was from “Gabreski” (KFOK) to Portland International in Main (KPWM). In KPWM a small transformation would be performed in the fuel system and parallely I would pass a two days special school for the single engine flight over the Atlantic. This way I would earn the FAA certificate to qualify for this flight. Everything was planned with care as there was absolutely no margin for error. Tolerating an error in our planning was a luxury. The airplane passed the 100 hours inspection and engine was overhauled. Everything was set for our little crazy dream to become true. Everything except for the aircraft’s owner who finally did not manage to convince the insurance company that the flight transfer of his aircraft to Greece was a secure one. So our dream popped and transformed into small pieces. The plane was dismantled and was transferred to Greece via sea in a not exactly glorious way, according to my humble opinion.

Flying my flight simulator in VATSIM’s virtual skies some years later, my old dream seemed to be alive again. The aformh was serious. Dreamfleet released a very accurate model of ARCHER II. Enough thinking… Since the chance was not given then, now is the time, I thought. I dag out“X-ATLANTIC with ARCHER” project files from my library and preparations started right away.

I decided against using navigation software such as FS navigator, or even the GPS. I also decided against using utilities such as Servinfo, Whazzup et. I wanted to make it “AS REAL AS IT GETS”, so I used only real life aviational sites in order to update my weather data, FSMETEO in order to fly in real time weather conditions and nothing more.

On February 22nd I filed my plane with 100LL of fuel and taxied to runway 24…

It took me 43:03 hours in a 4 months time interval in front of two monitors in order to make it. All legs were flown in x1 acceleration rate in Filght Simulator, as mentioned in ACARS reports and all chosen altitudes were the ones securing flight autonomy and zero icing. (my poor Archer II had no anti-icing devices available except for a PITOT HEAT….) Although FS is not influenced by such phenomenon, I was very much interested to simulate reality the maximum possible degree.

In the Tirana Albania to Kerkira (Corfu) leg I had the pleasure to be escorted my friend Antonis Kantas (TRA26A) 

and after an “enlightened Vectoring” between North Corfu mountains that brought my adrenaline to the red…. KERKIRA APPROACH controller (Who in order to honour my 



tour was Aegean Seagull “Boss” Mr Fotis Dimitropoulos) brought me safely down to runway 17 in greek soil.

(Note: The only time that I turned GPS on, because my adrenaline was a …bit increased and I wanted to have a snapshot of the “vectoring” !! )

I feel very glad that I have brought a small aviational dream into reality even though a virtual reality.

(Why the sentence above leads me to the well known ad of a Scottish whiskey ;) )…  

I feel more glad though because I flew from America to Greece with Aegean Seagull colours. I could select the national registration of Greece (SX) but I have  chosen the callsign of ASE, a virtual airline company which was created with high spirit from a friend and was manned with serious friends virtual pilots.

With respect to Ase pilots seriousness I dedicate this voyage to all of them and I suggest them to fly this trip and enjoy the magic of flying over the Atlantic with small plane without FMS and LNAV.

Just ”heading” hope and love for virtual flying 

 Leg 1

From : New York  The West Hampton          

               Beach - The Gabreski Airport   KFOK

  To :      Portland International (Mane)  KPWM

  Block Time : 1:39'

  Flight Time : 1:27'

  Final Fuel :   86 kg 

  Spent Fuel : 44 kg

  Length :       153 NM

  Cumulative Hours: 1:39'

  Cumulative N. Miles: 153 NM





















Leg 2

From : Portland International (Mane)  KPWM

To :     Gaspe CYGP

Block Time : 3:02'

Flight Time : 2:53'

Final Fuel :   63 kg

Spent Fuel : 66 kg

Length :       261 NM

Cumulative Hours: 4:41'

Cumulative N. Miles: 414 NM






















Leg 3

From : Gaspe - CYGP

To :     Goose Bay Canada - CYYR

Block Time : 3:31'

Flight Time : 3:20'

Final Fuel :   40 kg

Spent Fuel : 90 kg

Length :       427 NM

Cumulative Hours: 8:12'

Cumulative N. Miles: 841 NM





Leg 4

From : Goose Bay, Canada - CYYR

To :     Narsarsuaq Greenland - BGBW

Block Time : 6:16'

Flight Time : 5:59'

Final Fuel :   59 kg

Spent Fuel : 125 kg

Length :       503 NM

Cumulative Hours: 14:29'

Cumulative N. Miles: 1.344 NM





Leg 5

From : Narsarsuaq, Greenland - BGBW

To :     Keflavik, Iceland - BIKF

Block Time : 5:57'

Flight Time : 5:43'

Final Fuel :   00 kg !!!

Spent Fuel : 130 kg

Length :       614 NM

Cumulative Hours: 20:25'

Cumulative N. Miles: 1.958 NM




Leg 6

From : Keflavik, Iceland - BIKF

To :     Endinburgh, Scotland - EGPH

Block Time : 5:35'

Flight Time : 5:26'

Final Fuel :   03 kg

Spent Fuel : 127 kg

Length :       612 NM

Cumulative Hours: 26:00'

Cumulative N. Miles: 2.570 NM





















Leg 7

From : Endinburgh, Scotland - EGPH

To :     Biggin Hill, London UK - EGKB

Block Time : 3:47'

Flight Time : 3:23'

Final Fuel :   46 kg

Spent Fuel : 84 kg

Length :       279 NM

Cumulative Hours: 29:47'

Cumulative N. Miles: 2.849 NM










Leg 8

From : Biggin Hill, London UK - EGKB

To :     Schwechat Vienna, Austria - LOWW

Block Time : 5:16'

Flight Time : 5:11'

Final Fuel :   13 kg

Spent Fuel : 117 kg

Length :       572 NM

Cumulative Hours: 35:03'

Cumulative N. Miles: 3.421 NM






Leg 9

From : Schwechat Vienna, Austria - LOWW

To :     Rinas Tiranna, Albania - LATI

Block Time : 4:34'

Flight Time : 4:25'

Final Fuel :   25 kg

Spent Fuel : 102 kg

Length :       458 NM

Cumulative Hours: 39:37'

Cumulative N. Miles:  3.879 NM










Leg 10

From : Rinas Tiranna, Albania - LATI

To :     Kapodistrias Kerkyra, Hellas, LGKR

Block Time : 1:12'

Flight Time : 1:08'

Final Fuel :   28 kg

Spent Fuel : 23 kg

Length :       85 NM

Cumulative Hours: 40:49'

Cumulative N. Miles:  3.964 NM




























Leg 11 

From : Kapodistrias Kerkyra, Hellas, LGKR

To :     E. Venizelos, Athens, Hellas, LGAV

Block Time : 1:12'

Flight Time : 1:08'

Final Fuel :   28 kg

Spent Fuel : 23 kg

Length :       85 NM

Cumulative Hours: 40:49'

Cumulative N. Miles:  3.964 NM






With honour



Captain Stathis Tsagkaratos                 

 Aegean Airlines RJ100 Fleet

 Proud member of Aegean Seagull.



For the hellenic language version of this document click here.

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