Norway Tour – Ken, Tony & G-CCHL
Club and Group Members Ken and Tony recently took GCCHL to the Northern Tip of Norway. They tried in 2018 but the weather conspired against them and they only made it as far as Bodo. They found it a great trip as they then went into Sweden and later spent a great weekend at Peenemünde where the V2 rockets were made (visit highly recommend).
After many, many hours planning and 36 hours flying they learned a lot of dos and don’ts. So, if anyone is thinking of planning a trip read on with Ken’s report and this may ease your journey a little.
To wet your whistles Ken has sent a few pictures. The video was them taking off from Namsos the lowest airport in Norway at 7 ft to Roros the highest at 2,053 ft. Taken by a member of the Namsos Flying Club.
OUR NORWAY TRIP 2022
We recently flew in our Piper Archer III from the bottom of Norway to the top and back, landing at over ten different Norwegian airfields, some of those more than once. We flew from Lydd to Groningen (Holland) to Aalborg (Denmark) and entered Norway at Notodden. We also left via Notodden and then Billund (Denmark) and Deventer (Holland) back to Lydd. We made a similar trip to Norway in 2018 but via Lerwick, across the North Sea to Bergen. Our 2022 route through Holland and Denmark was more pleasant!
We did most of our flight planning with SkyDemon backed up with paper charts. We used SkyDemon to file our flight plans and GARs/Gendecs, check weather and Notams as well as enroute navigation. We used pretty much all of SkyDemon’s
functionality and it performed flawlessly on both an iPad and a Samsung tablet. The iPad had a sim card to enable us to receive METARs enroute and was also connected to a SkyEcho2 device which enabled us to spot ADS-B equipped aircraft and FLARM equipped gliders which was very useful in Holland and Denmark. We turned off ADSB out as SkyEcho 2 is currently approved for use as an ADS-B OUT device in the UK and Australia only.
We learned a lot while planning our trip and flying it so we just wanted to share our findings, so anyone who wishes to fly to Norway in the future, may find this useful. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive guide and we are not aviation experts, but every little helps as they say!
Norway is an amazingly beautiful country with great people, so we wholeheartedly recommend it as a GA destination. Just brace yourself for the price of beer (and take some half bottles of your favourite tipple with you).
Some of the larger airfields are H24, many airfields are not. They often have unusual opening times to accommodate internal flights so you may find them open in the morning, closed in the afternoon and then open in the evening. Remember, in summer in Northern Norway, it’s daylight all day.
Check the AIP Opening Times link for availability (below) but check Notams as the times are often modified. The times are always quoted in UTC. In summer local times are UTC +2. Be careful when checking times in the AIP as there is a section for Admin, MET, ATS, Customs,
Fuel, Handling, De-icing. Don’t look at the wrong one and give yourselves a fright!
It is possible to land and take off at an airport using blind calls. There is a website myppr.no that allows you to fill in your details and make such a request to an airfield in advance for permission. We did not use this facility but check out the website.
Avinor (the equivalent of the CAA in Norway) sell a weekly take-off card which gives you unlimited take-offs (they consider take-offs rather than landings). If your aircraft has an MTOW less than 2730 KG, there will be no parking charges. The charge for the card in 2022 is NOK 766 for an aircraft with MTOW less than 1500 KG. Very reasonable! See the link for details. However, beware, this card can be used at any Avinor airport (except Oslo) but not all airports are Avinor airports.
If you land or park at Sandefjord/Torp (ENTO) for example you will be charged for take-off and parking overnight. This is also true for Notodden (ENNO) but we used this as a convenient gateway airport into Norway as it’s friendly and not large, sells Avgas 100 LL, takes credit cards, does not charge for overnight parking and the take-off fee is a reasonable NOK 250.
See the Avinor Airports link below.
ENTERING AND LEAVING NORWAY
The VFR Guide referenced in the link below details the entry and exit requirements. Norway is part of the Schengen Agreement and privately operated aircraft with maximum take-off mass not exceeding 5700 kg and a maximum of ten passengers may use any airfield by submitting a complete ICAO flight plan to Customs at the latest four hours prior to entering or leaving Norwegian territory. This requirement can be met by forwarding a copy of your ICAO flight plan by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
FLYING THROUGH NORWAY
The scenery is amazing with incredible views of mountains and fjords. This can bring some challenges so do read the VFR flight guide. Most airports do not need PPR but occasionally one does, for example, Bardufoss (ENDU) requires a PPR form to be filled in probably because it is Civil/Military. Generally, a flight plan is sufficient. It is highly recommended to fly on a VFR flight plan. Letting ATC and the destination airport know your plans makes getting a flight information service from A to B simple. Norwegian ATC are very helpful and friendly and speak great English (as it seems does everyone in Norway).
At first sight Norway is covered in danger areas but we never had any issues. We filed our flight plan, asked for a flight information service and that was that. ATC looked out for us. Be aware of some terminology differences, for example, Runway is Free. Check the VFR
Extending 1,089 miles NNE–SSW, Norway has the greatest length of any European country. It has a long coast and mountains. Suffice to say, the weather can be a challenge. It can change in the blink of an eye. Even in the middle of July you can hit the icing level at a few thousand feet in the North. The long coast, though, does give you the opportunity to fly below low ceilings, avoid ice, and see some stunning coastal sights.
Many airfields in Norway do not have Avgas 100 LL and those that do often run out. Ensure that you check availability of Avgas via the AIP but, more importantly, Notams, SkyDemon Pilot Notes and regularly phoning the airfield.
On some airfields Avgas is available via the local flying club e.g. Namsos, Orsta. Check with SkyDemon Pilot Notes. It’s important to phone up the club and keep in constant touch with them. If they run out they’ll know where the nearest supply is. They are very kind and
helpful. If an airfield has Avgas there is a very good chance you won’t be able to pay for it unless you have an AirBP card (no credit cards, RocketRoute or cash). Apply for one in plenty of time as it can take weeks to arrive. They are free and don’t require a deposit. We had to use PayPal for one payment to a flying club as they couldn’t accept any cards.
Avgas availability was our biggest challenge both planning and flying this trip.
AIP Opening Times: https://ais.avinor.no/OperationalHours/Latest/ops_hrs.html
VFR Guide for Norway: https://luftfartstilsynet.no/en/about-us/news/news-2017/vfr-guide-for-norway/
Avinor Airports: https://avinor.no/en/avinors-flyplasser/
Avinor Airports (from Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Avinor_airport