I JUST HAVE TO SHOW YOU THIS DANGEROUS AIRPORT I LANDED AT IN 1945 ON MY WAY TO JOIN THE 8TH Air Force IN ENGLAND

Narsarsuaq Airport | Greenland

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Narsarsuaq Airport | Greenland

Narsarsuaq Airport was built in 1941, a time when planes required much shorter runways to come to complete stops. Now that we’re flying much bigger jets, much faster all over the globe, the danger’s increased at Narsarsuaq in Greenland. Not that professional pilots are incapable of landing on the airstrip. Plenty of them do, with estimates of around 25,000 people flying into and out of Narsarsuaq annually, which speaks volumes about the talents of the pilots landing there. Narsarsuaq is also the only international airport in Greenland, which means there literally aren’t any other options in the country. But, to us, that lack of other options makes the fjords and water surrounding the airport all the more daunting. We’ll either land on the airstrip or in the fjords. Statistically it’s the airstrip, but paranoia still has us suspicious of the other option.

I RAN ACROSS THIS SLIDE SHOW TODAY AND IT BROUGHT BACK A MEMORY I FEEL COMPELLED TO SHARE.

In December, 1943 I had just finished training with nine other airmen in Avon Park, Florida as a crew for B-17 bombers.

We traveled by train to Savannah, Georgia where we were given a brand new B-17G bomber and ordered to fly the airplane to England where we would join the 8th Air Force.

In the first week of January we took off and landed for refueling in Bangor, Maine. A blizzard grounded us at the airport in Bangor for two days when we were finally able to take off.

Another blizzard forced us to land in Labrador were we spend another two days waiting for the weather to clear.

Finally we took off and flew to Bluie West One Airport (now known as Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland). The approach to the airport was up a fiord. As we neared the airport we found a large iceberg in the water at the end of the only runway. I thank God that we had a pilot who was a former tank captain in the regular Army and so he managed to fly almost touching the iceberg before he made a sharp righthand turn and immediately touched down on the very short runway which sloped up from the waters edge at a 10 degree slope. I consider it a ‘miracle’ landing.

The next morning we took-off down the sloping runway with the iceberg still sitting in the fiord at the end of the runway. We prayed as the bomber gained momentum down the down-sloping runway racing toward the iceberg. At the very last moment the pilot (who was a former tank commander) pulled up on the yoke of the bomber and we cleared the top of the iceberg by a matter of a few feet. It was another ‘miracle.’

God is good!!!!!!!!

We continued on to Iceland and then after a few more days grounded there by a blizzard, we flew to Scotland. On that last flight the temperature inside the bomber was minus 50 degrees, needless to say, even with heavy flight suits we were COLD!!!

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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8 Responses to I JUST HAVE TO SHOW YOU THIS DANGEROUS AIRPORT I LANDED AT IN 1945 ON MY WAY TO JOIN THE 8TH Air Force IN ENGLAND

  1. Sheepdog says:

    Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed reading this.

  2. Bernice Jones says:

    As a defender of our country you were a fighter pilot and held a gun. Then you became a private pilot and in the eye of a storm God held you. Then you became a priest and a fearless defender of the Holy Mother Church the Holy Spirit filled you. Then you became a Bishop and under whose leadership from St. Peter to the present, you hold all of us.

    Your life, your journey and our blessing from God you are!

    He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. John [21:17]

  3. Donna Bethell says:

    In Colombia I flew in a DC-3 through the Andes. And I mean through, as that airplane could not go over the mountains. That was in 1966 so the plane was at least 20 years old. We landed at an airport where the approach was so tricky and the runway so short that I was told the pilots were rotated out every month so that they would not get overconfident.

    But all of that was voluntary. Thank you for your service, Bishop, in the armed forces and to our Church.

  4. Traditional Latin Mass + says:

    God bless you for your service to our Lord and your country. I was reminded by this post of landing in Kandahar AF for the first time, doing evasive manouevers onto a pretty patchy (and hot, soft) runway in a CF130 Hercules.
    Fr Paul Acton (LCol ret’d)

  5. Mary Anne says:

    Extremely interesting! Thank you all for boarding this aircraft and exposing yourselves to this danger. Wow! Yes! Like the Titanic … only you made it over the iceberg. Thank God! It does sound like a miracle. A Priest on board always helps!! I lived in Bangor in 1949 … I know the airport you refer to …. memories flood up of those times …

  6. leftfooter says:

    God is VERY good!

  7. Mary Parks says:

    BRAVE MEN

    On Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 1:17 PM ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP wrote:

    > abyssum posted: ” 2 Narsarsuaq Airport | Greenland Narsarsuaq Airport was > built in 1941, a time when planes required much shorter runways to come to > complete stops. Now that we’re flying much bigger jets, much faster all > over the globe, the danger’s increased at” >

  8. Sandra Ida says:

    WOW….thanks for sharing!!  Sounds like this experience would make a great action movie! And, yes, God is good!!  All the time! Greetings from South Florida. Sandy Ida

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