Pilot’s log: Friday, May 1, 2020

Origin:Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (KMHT), Manchester, N.H., USA
Destination:Gander International Airport (CYQX), Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Distance:907 miles

Welcome aboard! Today we take off from Manchester, N.H. on the first leg of our virtual around-the-world flight adventure. We’ll fly east to the Atlantic Ocean, then follow the Maine coast until we cross into Canada. We’ll then fly over New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence until we land in Gander, Newfoundland.

Today’s flight deck video shows us taking off from Manchester and circling the city before heading east towards the ocean. Take a good look! It’s the last time we’ll see New Hampshire out our windows for a very long time. We’re flying in a vintage twin-engine Douglas C-47 aircraft.

Our plane has a range of only about 1,000 miles. Flying to Europe without stopping is at least 2,800 miles. So to get there, we’ll need to hop-scotch across through a series of smaller airports that ring the North Atlantic Ocean. In fact, we’ll follow a very historic path: the same route that brought planes and supplies from the U.S. to Europe during World War II.

Called the “North Atlantic Ferry Route,” the path started right in Manchester, N.H. During World War II, our airport was called “Grenier Air Base” and served as a massive military staging point for U.S. troops and equipment headed to Europe to help battle Adolf Hitler’s Nazi war machine.

Aircraft back then (including our C-47 transport plane) did not have the range to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. Instead, they were sent by the hundreds along the North Atlantic Ferry Route, which we’ll follow in our own journey. We’ll learn a lot more about this route as we go. But for now, keep in mind that military veterans who flew this same route 80 years ago are still with us. If you meet a veteran of World War II, be sure to say thank you for his or her service!

Today’s flight takes us to our first foreign country: Canada! As our northern neighbor, Canada has many similarities to the United States. The major language is English, although people in some areas speak French. The money they use is the dollar, but Canadian money comes with pictures of the Queen of England, which is an entirely separate country. Can you find out why this is so?

Another thing about our today’s flight is that we’ll lose an hour while we’re in the air. How is this possible? It happens because time all around the world is divided into “zones.” When we cross from the U.S. into Canada, we go from the time zone in the Eastern United States to what’s known as the “Maritime” zone in Canada, where time is one hour later. Then, when we get to Newfoundland, we actually lose another 30 minutes! Can you find out why time is divided into zones?

One curious thing about our route is that we’ll pass over a part of the coast in Nova Scotia, Canada called the Bay of Fundy. It’s famous because here the difference between high and low tide is greater than anywhere else on Earth: more than 50 feet! This is due to several geographic features that occur here and nowhere else in the world in quite the same way. To learn more about why the tides are so high, check out our resource link, which includes time-lapse footage showing you high and low tide speeded up so it takes less than a minute.

Onward to Gander! And please join us for our next segment on Sunday, May 3!

Resources to learn more about today’s flight:

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