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Halfway around the World in 40 Days

From my daring Solo Flight in a small Propeller Plane over the Atlantic, the Pack Ice and the Desert

Kathrin Kaiser

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With meticulous preparation spanning 20 months, I embarked on my journey with a hundred items packed, ready to traverse from Germany to the West Coast of America. My quest was to explore the world, immerse myself in diverse cultures, uncover the mysteries of Eskimo cuisine, and confront the legendary and feared Faroe Islands. Although faced with numerous dangers, genuine fear gripped me only once. Yet, the thought of surrender never crossed my mind. During long, perilous flights over icy expanses, unexpected encounters with whales reassured me that my choices were right. My little red plane startled seals on ice floes, touched down on closed runways, approached erupting volcanoes, and soared over the residences of American ex-presidents. The physical and mental strain led to significant weight loss, but each challenge was met with unwavering determination. A timely intervention by a policeman rescued me from an awkward situation and narrowly avoiding an illegal parking charge for an airplane added to the adventure. A windfall in Las Vegas provided enough funds for a barrel of AvGas in Canada, yet I squandered fees at an FBO for a simple hug after a particularly taxing flight. In Iceland, aggressive birds and a night in a dubious hostel were I narrowly escaped. From flying over the polar ice in the Arctic to crossing the Nevada desert, I navigated through icy clouds, turbulent Rocky Mountains, persistent headwinds, inclement weather, phone malfunctions, and technical breakdowns. Scarcity of aviation fuel, unavailable hotel rooms, and the absence of internet were commonplace challenges. A surreal encounter with a fata morgana added to the unpredictable journey. Landings consistently led to new friendships and unexpected assistance. Flying, I realized, is a skill, but the decisions made during such a journey transform a person. This expedition made me feel more alive than ever before, a personal and self-discovery odyssey where I learned invaluable lessons that theory alone could never teach. It was a genuine adventure, perhaps one of the last of its kind, and I would embark on it again without hesitation.

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Pilot, aviation, Earthrounder, Plane, North Atlantic