DA62 factory ferry flight across the North Atlantic

On YouTube, I came across this series of videos of a Diamond DA62 ferry flight from Diamond’s factory in Austria to their other factory in Canada:

I’ve never “crossed the pond” in a piston aircraft, so I thought it would be an interesting experience to recreate this flight in MSFS. Wanted to share the route with others who may want to try it too.

There are freeware mods for all of the airports on the route, which I’ll list below. I haven’t checked out all of them in detail, but some of them look quite nice. In addition, the DA62X mod is a must, of course:

I don’t have a lot of time for simming, so I’ll probably be taking my time with this flight, but I’ll post screenshots if I make some good ones. In the meantime, here’s the DA62 ready to go in front of the Diamond factory in Wiener Neustadt:

Here is the route of the flight, with notes and links to scenery.

LOAN Wiener Neustadt East

The Diamond factory is at the western end of the airport and is represented in the addon scenery.

EKSB Sønderborg

EGPC Wick

BIRK Reykjavik

Initially, they filed this leg to BIEG Egilsstaðir, then continued on to Reykjavik when the headwind reduced enough to make this possible.

BGSF Kangerlussuaq

Alternate in case of stronger than forecast headwinds was BGKK Kulusuk on the east coast of Greenland.

CYFB Iqualuit

CYGL La Grande Rivière
https://www.jpfil.com/quebec-fs2020/aeroports.htm

CYXU London, Ontario

The Diamond factory is at the southern end of the airport; there’s a slightly hidden taxiway that leads there from the departure end of runway 33. This taxiway is in the scenery, though there aren’t any parking positions defined there and the factory itself appears to be just a default building – but it should be possible to taxi to the factory.

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First two legs completed.

First leg: LOAN Wiener Neustadt East to EKSB Sønderborg

Flew at FL 100 to stay out of the icing. In and out of clouds for much of the flight.


Crossing the Danube


Abeam EDDC Dresden


On the ground at Sønderborg

Second leg: EKSB Sønderborg to EGPC Wick

Better weather for this leg, so more screenshots, even though much of the leg was over water.


Departing Sønderborg


Leaving the Danish coast near Hvide Sande


Over the North Sea


Approaching Wick


Short final runway 13


Parked on the apron at Wick

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Leg 3: EGPC Wick to BIRK Reykjavik

The North Atlantic beckons. Immersion suits on!

Winds were relatively favourable on this leg – a crosswind to start with, turning into a slight tailwind later in the flight.


Wick disappears into the gloom


Approaching Iceland


Reykjavik off the left wing


The mountain Akrafjall on the approach to runway 19


Final runway 19


Parked in Reykjavik

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Leg 4: BIRK Reykjavik to BGSF Kangerlussuaq

Relatively strong headwinds were forecast for this leg, so I initially planned to fly only to BGKK Kulusuk, then reassess when I got close whether I had enough fuel to continue to BGSF Kangerlussuaq. I also elected to fly the overwater portion of the flight at only 6000 feet to avoid the worst headwinds.


Departing Reykjavik


Over the North Atlantic, between layers

Approaching Kulusuk my fuel state looked good, so I chose to continue. The Greenland ice sheet rises to pretty high elevations, so I climbed initially to FL 110. I was in clear air initially but entered clouds after a while and started to pick up ice. Rather than stay in the clouds and rely on the deicing system, I chose to see if I could climb out of the icing. I did break out and flew the remainder of the flight at FL 160.


Fuel state looks good, so continue to Kangerlussuaq


Approaching the east coast of Greenland


Overhead Kulusuk


Crossing the ice sheet

On their crossing, Martin and Micke do some spectacular sightseeing over the lakes east of Kangerlussuaq, but I had a solid undercast that I couldn’t get through VFR, so I flew the LOC Y approach to runway 09. Fortunately, the winds were light – the approach can get pretty turbulent if the wind picks up.


Just breaking out of clouds on the approach


On the approach, looking west


Short final runway 09


On the ground at Kangerlussuaq

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That looks like a fun flight! :smiley:

I’ve done one North Atlantic crossing in the other direction in the TBM 930 (which is rather faster!), sounds like it would be really fun to try it in the DA62 some time too. :slight_smile:

I have to say I only discovered the DA62 pretty recently. The videos I linked to above as well as those on Richard Tyrer’s YouTube channel got me interested in the Diamond twins, and I’m really enjoying the DA62 in MSFS - recommended! The TBM goes higher and faster, of course, not to mention that it’s pressurized, but I think in a real-life ocean crossing I would like the thought that the DA62 has a second engine in case one fails.

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Leg 5: BGSF Kangerlussuaq to CYFB Iqaluit

First off, who noticed the mistake I made on Leg 4?

For the leg to Iqaluit, I initially planned for FL 100 to avoid the stronger headwinds higher up, but it turned out I was still in clouds at this altitude and picking up icing, so I climbed to FL 140 to get out of the clouds. The headwinds were indeed stronger here, but this leg was relatively short, and I still had ample fuel to make it to Iqaluit.

I had a solid undercast all the way, so not too many enroute screenshots.


Taxiing out at Kangerlussuaq


Lined up on 27, ready to go


Goodbye Greenland


Breaking out on top


In the cruise at FL 140. The headwind is still relatively light here but picked up later in the flight.


Glideslope intercept


Established ILS runway 34


On the ground at a wet and gloomy Iqaluit

We’ve made it across the Atlantic – welcome to Canada! We still have two legs to go however to our final destination of London, Ontario.

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Not using “U” registrations REEE!!!

I confess my ignorance – what’s a U registration?

“U” registrations are only temporary and are used for ferry flights as the plane gets re-registered when its arrives

Interesting – didn’t know that!

My excuse is that the ferry flight that I’m recreating used a non-temporary Austrian registration, though I didn’t actually use that exact same registration.

Those are temporary registrations. OE-UDA and UDN

:man_facepalming:

OK, now I got it. Thanks!

For some reason, I thought the U would go right at the front of the registration instead of the country prefix, but I realize now that that doesn’t make a lot of sense, as some country still needs to issue the temporary registration – right?

TIL

Leg 6: CYFB Iqaluit to CYGL La Grande Rivière

The North Atlantic is behind me, so the immersion suit can go in the back. Good riddance!

When I cleared customs, Canadian officials pointed out to me that the aircraft was actually marked with the wrong registration. To think that I’d come all this way, and no one had noticed before. Luckily, the FBO had some PVC film lettering and were able to change the registration for me.

With that done and the DA62 refueled, I was finally ready to launch for La Grande Rivière. Weather looked good along the whole route, so this should be an easy flight – right?


Can you say “ramp presence”?


Ready for departure…?

All lined up and ready to go on runway 34, I performed the power available check, but with the throttles all the way forward, I only got 43% power. No annunciations, check all the switches, try again. Same result. Reluctantly, I told the tower I had a technical problem and would have to taxi back to parking.


Back on the ramp. But the registration is correct, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

Luckily, the Iqaluit FBO came through again. They really are a five star operation. As luck would have it, Tommy, one of their AMEs, specalizes in Diamonds. He got the cowlings off and, muttering something about FADECs and turbocharger failures, got to work.

Just a few hours later, the DA62 was ready to go again. This time, I got a full 100% power, and a shakedown flight seemed to indicate that everything was working as expected.


Finally launching out of Iqaluit, if only for a shakedown flight


Set up for the RNAV runway 34

By this time it had gotten pretty late in the day, so I decided not to press on but stay another night in Iqaluit.

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Leg 6: CYFB Iqaluit to CYGL La Grande Rivière (second attempt)

This was maybe the most challenging leg so far. On my first, aborted attempt, the weather would have been great, but it deteriorated during my stay at Iqaluit. There was now icing forecast for most of the route, and weather at the destination was close to LPV minimums for the RNAV runway 13 approach. The weather at Wemindji, my alternate, wasn’t great either, but good enough. And ferry pilots don’t get paid to sit around.

I had already lost enough time, so it was an early start. Props were turning by 5:45 am local time, and departure was shortly after 6:00 am. 100% on the power check this time.


An early start


Taxiing out


Power check: 100%


Climbing out


Goodbye, Iqaluit

I had planned to cruise at only 6000 feet to stay below the icing level. On the second third of the leg, the bases lifted, allowing me to climb to 10,000 feet for a better TAS. As I got closer to my destination, the bases lowered again, and I descended back down to 6000 rather than brave the icing.


There’s ice in those clouds


Airways? Where we’re going, we don’t need no airways.


A welcome break in the clouds

Getting closer to La Grande Rivière, NEXRAD showed precipitation ahead, and sure enough, I spent the last 50 miles or so flying through rain. I set up for the RNAV to runway 13, knowing it going to be close whether I was going to make it. There was a break in the clouds near the FAF, but there were more clouds between me and the airport, and I was soon back in the soup.


And back into the clag


Solid IMC on the approach

With the altimeter winding down towards my DA of 920 feet, I was getting ready to execute the missed approach when, just below 1000 feet, I saw the runway lights through the murk. A welcome sight indeed!


Relief


About to touch down


Taxiing in


On the ground at La Grande Rivière

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Leg 7: CYGL La Grande Rivière to CYXU London International Airport

Last leg! After spending so much time over the remote wilderness, it was going to be strange to be back in a densely populated area. But the DA62 was being eagerly awaited at the factory, and I had a commercial flight to catch back to Europe.


Taxiing out at La Grande Rivière


Better weather than when I arrived


A sucker hole beckons – but we’re IFR anyway

I had planned the flight for 16,000 feet and initially climbed to that altitude, but clouds and icing soon forced me down. I was finally out of the icing at 8,000 feet and stayed at that altitude for a while.


Catching glimpses of the ground far below


Approaching the southern end of James Bay


Overhead Waskaganish

South of Waskaganish, the weather started to improve, and I was able to climb back up to 16,000 feet. Signs of human settlement down below also started to become more and more common until, south of Lake Simcoe, they merged into a continuous mesh of farm fields, towns, and cities.


Leaving the bad weather behind


I had almost forgotten what farm fields look like

Approaching my final destination, winds were favoring runway 33, but I wanted to recreate Martin and Micke’s flight from the video and so accepted a slight tailwind for a landing on runway 15. After rolling out, taxiway F took me straight to the ramp of Diamond’s North American factory.


On final runway 15 with a slight tailwind


Long landing approved


Where are we going?


Parked in front of the Diamond factory

Mission completed – and what a great aircraft to make this trip in. I’ve caught the bug, and I think I may recreate more flights of the Diamond duo Martin and Micke in the future.

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