What equipment is required to fly a small plane across the Atlantic via Canada, Greenland, and Iceland? Is any additional training required beyond an ordinary pilot certificate? Can it be done in VFR flight?

  • $\begingroup$ Detailed knowledge of geography, airports where you can land along the way etc. I am not an expert but these things came to my mind. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Dec 20 '13 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ how about "enough fuel!" $\endgroup$ – rbp Oct 27 '14 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ True. In fact, for flights leaving Canada you are required to have 10% more fuel than the normal IFR requirements. $\endgroup$ – xpda Oct 27 '14 at 19:22

While probably legal to fly over the Atlantic VFR, it appears getting out of Canadas airspace is a different matter. After a bit of googling I found this article on COPA's website, saying:

Both for flying in the northern parts of Canada as well as in Greenland airspace, an ADF is legally required (refer to TC AIM 3.16.10 and CAR 605.18). I didn’t have one, so one had to be installed. Other than that, FDOW didn’t need any modifications. IFR approved GPS is an absolute must; we had three GPS receivers on board.

Speaking of IFR: As per CAR 602.19, pilots attempting trans-oceanic flight must hold an instrument rating. Even though an IFR flight plan is only required above 5,500 feet across the Atlantic, NavCanada will not issue an oceanic VFR clearance when leaving Canada. In addition, it is extremely unlikely for any airplane to stay in VMC during the whole trans-Atlantic flight. Therefore, it’s mandatory that both, pilot and airplane are certified and current IFR.

That being said, weather over the Atlantic can be very treacherous, especially if you're unable to climb on top.

There are quite a few stories around about crossing the Atlantic in smaller airplanes, there's also an Ice Pilots NWT episode (season 1 episode 9) where they ferry two water-bombers to Turkey, although not very technical, it's a nice watch.


I did a crossing in a Beech Bonanza in mid-july; even during that month I picked up ice. I wouldn't cross VFR unless you had a lot of time sitting around iceland waiting for a large high pressure system to stumble your way. As an example faroe was clear when I arrived and the control folks said the sky hadn't been clear in 20,days; so I got a nice clear day of sight seeing. Bergen was socked in IFR with ice, so I was delayed even having IMC capable plane and CMEL-IR... The weather systems are smaller up north, and they tend to linger it seems.

  • $\begingroup$ What kind of icing? Induction, instrument, or structural? $\endgroup$ – jskypilot Dec 23 '15 at 14:37

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