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Leg 07 – Marihamn (EFMA) to Riga (EVRA) - Part 1

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Arriving in Finland was a shock. It's a bit nippy over here, even more so than 0630 at Portlaoise! Having transited through Helsinki earlier in the day, I sat around in the warm café awaiting an American called Matt. He would have the baton with him and it was my job to bring it safely to Riga.

Just before I had the famous call from our Director of Operations, Mikael (brief as ever), I had another call from the Finnish Government. Turns out they wanted to do some mapping around the coastline and the north of the country, to keep an eye on Russia I think. I was sort of volunteered for the job, starting two days after the ATWC leg. The aircraft to be of my choice and to be in Mariehamn a week before. Turns out the paperwork prevented this to this morning.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Matt arrived and over a coffee (badly needed?) handed over the Baton. It's getting a little bit battered now, having gone around the world five times already. Prehaps it's time for a new baton?

Flight planning had already been done by my navigator, brought over for the survey work. It was a simple plan – get to Helsinki, fly overhead at approximately 36,000 ft, take a few pictures then onwards to Riga. It turned out slightly different to that!

The morning dawned bright and frosty. Definately time for anti-icers to be put into action


Having completed all the start checklists and been pushed back, it was time to taxi out to the active runway. We followed this Saab 340 out, which we will see more of later


Head to head


We had to wait for the Saab to get off, as it was a commerical flight. They didn't realise the importance of the Baton!


Taxi down the runway


Marihamn didn't appear to have a turn around, so it was time to go to the edge of the runway and hope for the best!


We managed it anyway and it was time for the off. The Canberra is very light on the controls


Gear tucking away before the overspeed kicks in


Just about in and accelerating away for higher altitude


Turning onto course navigator


A local control tower operator with a massive lens managed to catch this shot of us climbing away


Cruising nicely


And then the bombshell hit us. Despite having already got clearance to head for Riga, we got a message whilst still over Finland.

“To Aircraft X-Ray Hotel 134. Be advised that permission for Lativa has been cancelled as of 1500 UTC. Repeat, clearance cancelled 1500 UTC. Standby for futher instructions”

The navigator read it out to me, siting in the nice warm cockpit, and it was a shock. Why had clearance been granted then rejected? A futhur message, about 20nm from Helsinki, revealed all.


“To Aircraft X-Ray Hotel 134. Divert to Helsinki, repeat divert to Helsinki. Latvia will not allow Canberra-type aircraft to land due to noise and environmental issues.”

And how did they not know about it before? I have no idea.

Anyway, some photos were taken of Helsinki Airport (might as well, to test the camera) and a tight descending spiral was started


This eventually placed us about 10nm from the runway and heading downwards, Helsinki had cleared us to land. And I still did the classic mistake of lining up the runway with the cockpit!



Safely down and just letting it bleed off speed. No point wasting the brakes!


We got taxi clearance to the remote Business Jet stands. I'm not quite sure what these millionaires thought of the Canberra!


And there's the Saab we saw back at Marihamn!


Going past some heavier metal


And finally parked up for the night, allowing the technicians to work on the aircraft and ensure the photos were crisp


So, what did I do next? Part 2 to follow tomorrow......

Aircraft: Just Flight Canberra PR9
Scenery: Default
AI: World of AI

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Hi Kieran!


Congratulations on an... interesting (?!) start to your flight. A shame you didn't quite make it to Riga (yet), but I have to admit that Helsinki is one of my favourite airports. No doubt you'll find some way of getting down to Riga soon — I'm just delivering some computer machinery to Stockholm, so I'll be seeing you over in Riga at some point to pick up the baton.  :)


Thanks for some great (and very atmospheric) pictures: I look forward to part 2.   ^_^




a.k.a. brian747   


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Well, that was an interesting turn of events for you Kieran.. 


Let me know if you need the Director of Operations to lean a bit on the Latvian authorities for you... what are they thinking halting the progress of the Baton in such way 


Good thing you weren't grounded in Helsinki in a Sunday though.. Speaking from experience everything in that city is closed on Sundays, apart from the really bad tourist shops....

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