ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Atlantic Crossing on a Single Engine Airplane Part 1

Updated on February 3, 2013

Since my early days of flying back in 1978, when I was trying to learn how to fly sail planes in Panagitsa Edessa Greece, the idea of crossing the Atlantic on a Single Engine Airplane was stuck in my mind.

I guess it was out of reading too many aviation adventure books that time.

The Airplanes

The Single engine airplane I crossed Atlantic
The Single engine airplane I crossed Atlantic
A C172 similar to the one we were flying to Italy
A C172 similar to the one we were flying to Italy
Cessna 172 The Instrument Panel
Cessna 172 The Instrument Panel
Cessna 310
Cessna 310
Cessna 310 another shot
Cessna 310 another shot
Piper Navajo 425P
Piper Navajo 425P

Anyway, I got my PPL SE Airplanes (Private Pilot License Single Engine) back in 1982, from the Local Aero-club. We were a few active pilots back then and the norm was to fly around the airport's pattern, nothing spectacular. Touch and goes for an hour or so, and then sitting in the club talking adventures of others. I thought that flying was much more than that, so I started planning trips to nearby destinations. The most attractive destinations were the Greek Islands, at least the islands with a runway. Fuel was always an issue, as the vast majority of the Islands had no aviation fuel. I am afraid that this situation has not been changed until today.

For a year or so, I did a lot of flying to the Greek Islands. Starting from my home airport in Thessaloniki (North Greece) I had to make a stop over to Marathon (Athens Greece) for refueling, and then proceed to Mykonos, Santorini, etc. Fellow pilots in the Club, started also traveling further than the airport pattern, so we made a group of enthusiasts for long distance flying. Then the idea came to fly further away, to Italy. First destination Brindisi. They serve perfect espresso coffee and Italy is famous for shopping. Well, the problem was not only the fuel, as we could refuel in Corfu Island, but also the Otranto straight, 90 NM of sea, between Greece and Italy. It was a risk on a single engine airplane.

We did it, and we liked it and every other weekend we were in Brindisi and Bari for espresso and shopping. The tech-nick was simple. Otranto straight is a very busy shipping lane. Several passenger ships, cargo ships and ferries are crossing the area, both Northbound and Southbound. As we were crossing Otranto, we would not fly straight to our destination, but we would fly over the ships beneath us, a kind of zig-zag, leaving one ship to fly above the next one. In case of loss of power on our single engine, the plan was to ditch near the ship, so to have more chances to be seen and survive.

We never had a single incident during that trips, although I remember, flying from Thessaloniki to Skiathos, an island 90 NM South of our home airport, on a Cessna 172 Rheims, (220 HP), we experienced a loss of oil pressure, minutes away form the island. When we landed and we opened the cowling of our single engine we realized a crack along the engine body, leaking the last drops of oil. The engine broke on our way to the island, and lost all of its oil. We were lucky that it happened when we were about to land. It took several weeks to fix the airplane with a new engine and fly it back home.

Years passed by, and at the end of 1989 I earned my ME (Multi-engine) licenses as well as IFR (Instrument Flying) training. It was the time I purchased my first airplane, a Twin Engine Cessna 310. The trips were longer and further away, like Larnaca Cyprus, or Innsbruck Austria. Gaining experience, adding flying time, the dream was always there. To cross the Atlantic on a single engine airplane.

It was January 2008 when one of my classmates in the pilot school, Costas, called me and asked me if I was in the mood to help him fly a single engine airplane all the way from Athens Greece to New York. He had to deliver the airplane on behalf of its owner and as it was a long trip, with unfavorable weather and he would appreciate to do it with my help.

We were friends with Costas, since our early days of flying. We have been flying together several times since then, both on single and twin engine airplanes. I trusted him, and he trusted me as a pilot. I remember one afternoon, back in mid eighties, he had to renew his medical, in Athens. We were sitting in the club and he asked me to fly him from Thessaloniki to Athens, see the doctor for couple of hours and then fly back to Thessaloniki. It was February, the sun was setting early, and the weather was very cold. The club had a fleet of old Cessnas 172 which are not famous for the cabin heating abilities. We decided to carry blankets and cover our feet to protect them from freezing. And off we went.

To be continued.....

Part 2-3 & 4 Already Published The story is now complete

Follow the links at the end of this text


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • stars439 profile image


      9 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      You were blessed that your cracked engine, cracked near the end of your flight.Thank God you or no one elsae got hurt. God Bless

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You are Lucky sir .. :) wish you nice flying all the time..

    • Mike India profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike India 

      9 years ago from Greece

      You are right Dan, Too many photos in the archive. I took care of it. Thank you for the comment, and I admire your observation skills.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That is not A C-172 above...It looks like a C-182RG.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)