The search for a missing pilot who crashed into the ocean off Iceland’s southwestern coast on Monday has been called off after an extensive search for the past two days. The pilot, who was British and not American as earlier reported, is assumed dead.
Icelandic pilot Egill Gudmundsson was familiar with the missing pilot, whose name has not been revealed, and told Morgunbladid he was very skilled. Gudmundsson said he had likely carried a flotation suit and a lifeboat.
“He always flew with a special emergency transmitter—in addition to the airplane’s standard emergency transmitter—which transmits through a satellite, a so-called E-pirb,” Gudmundsson said. “As soon as it touches water it transmits a signal. If it didn’t, I find it very strange because it is water proof and should send a transmission even though it’s submerged in water.”
Gudmundsson said that with the emergence of GPS equipment it became safer to fly long distances with small airplanes, like the British pilot’s Cessna 310. The missing pilot had chosen a popular route, from Goose Bay in Canada to Narsarsuaq in Greenland and from there to Reykjavík. Each leg of the journey takes four hours.
But, it is still dangerous, Gudmundsson said, especially in winter. “If there is considerable headwind, 40 to 50 knots, the airplane runs out of fuel faster. Also if ice accumulates on the airplane, it becomes heavier and uses much of the extra fuel needed for landing.”
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