ROUTE

REACH THE UNREACHABLE

photo © Tom Hegen

Start point: Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Our staff will be there to welcome you. Our route and altitude depend on the weather conditions and we will update you with the latest Arctic weather forecasts. We will host a safety briefing before takeoff and the pilots will brief you about the selected route. Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement of any kind with more than 1,000 permanent residents. From there we go north. Since we are looking for favorable tailwinds and also taking into account the chances of spotting polar

bears, whales and rare wildlife, every route will be unique. We aim to take the most scenic route northbound from Svalbard. Admire the view as we fly north over arctic icebergs towards one of the most remote places on the planet. Sit back and relax, enjoy the cuisine of our award-winning chef. Once landed on the North Pole, we explore the landscape and terrain with our excellent guide. Our Expedition leader will educate climate and nature of the Arctic region and the ever-changing environment of the physical North Pole.

NAVIGATION

For early explorers, the Arctic was challenging to navigate with conventional methods, as magnetic compasses prove unusable the further north we go. At the magnetic North Pole, the compass needle points straight down and everything from this point is south. Flying over the North Pole required a new way of navigation. The new method was Grid Navigation, a grid overlay of the area, appropriate to the map projection, instead of True North or Magnetic North for direction reference. Today, satellite references make the Arctic area less challenging
to navigate.

SVALBARD

Svalbard is a wild place. Longyearbyen, located on the largest island Svalbard, Spitsbergen, is one of the most northerly settlements on Earth. There are only a few roads. Dog sleds and snowmobiles are used to access the wilderness. But beware, there might be Polar bears around.

  • Ny-Ålesund is where an airship mast from the 1920s still stand, used by the famous airships Norge and Italia. Ny-Ålesund is populated by 35
    permanent residents.

  • Svea was a Swedish settlement for coal mining initiated in 1916 and the largest coal deposit on Svalbard. There has been no commercial mining activity in Svea since 1987.

  • Pyramiden is a ghost-town of the former Soviet Union. Take a glimpse into the history of the Soviet era, where the inhabitants left their houses with the dishes still in the racks and their coal mining tools left standing as if to be used the next day. Pyramiden is like a frozen portrait of the past behind the iron curtain.

FLYING WITH THE WIND

Winds turn clockwise when ascending on the northern hemisphere. By shifting altitude we are able to fly in more favorable wind conditions and directions. Balloons use this feature to steer. We use it to increase efficiency and speed.
Choosing a different route can be used to find better wind directions. Ocean sail regattas use this fact when racing sailboats. In the same manner; OceanSky will operate hybrid aircraft to benefit from favorable wind forecasts.