Ukrainian Pilot Flies Over Atlantic
At the age of 37, Ukrainian pilot Oleksiy Popov flew across the Atlantic in a single-engine aircraft. Having spent 46 hours in the air, he became the third Ukrainian to complete the flight.
A snow-white single-engine Cirrus SR22 GTS aircraft landed for refueling at the Korotych airport in the Kharkiv region. Oleksiy Popov, 37, had flown over the United States, Canada, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, and Europe on this aircraft. The chosen route was complex — in some sections over the ocean he had to fly without radio communications.
“This is a really difficult section of the route, I mean the Atlantic Ocean. There are things that make you stronger, define your spirit, develop your character. For a pilot, it is very important to face difficult flight conditions,” Popov said.
The most difficult part of the route lay over Canada. The pilots decided to visit the homeland of the Inuit, the town of Iqaluit. The beginning of the journey was accompanied by good weather, but everything changed suddenly.
“We came upon severe icing, strong wind, wet snow, we tried to change altitude, but the fact is that the wind blew constantly at all altitudes. A change in altitude means a loss of fuel, in any case, we were preparing for an emergency,” he said.
Popov described how they fought against the elements for two hours of flight. Loud music and focus only on aircraft controls helped him overcome the stress.
To keep fortune on his side, Popov always has his talisman — a sticker of a Star Wars stormtrooper.
Popov’s flight was courageous, Ihor Biriukov one of Popov’s instructors, a former military pilot, said.
Biriukov said that he has more than 20 years of experience, but has never flew over the Atlantic.
“There are approximately five sections of the flight, thousands of kilometers in a single-engine aircraft. There is a point of no return: in case of emergency no one will help — this is a big risk!” said Biriukov.
Popov has one more dream — to learn to fly a Ruslan cargo aircraft.