Browsing Tag: Icelandair

Iceland, 2012

My trip to Iceland in 2012 – Photo: Katka Lapelosová


Three years ago, I traveled to Iceland for the first time. It was sort of a spontaneous trip that a friend and I had planned last minute, but it ended up being one of the best international experiences ever. And with flight time being less than five hours from NYC, the chilly country makes for the perfect “long weekend,” European getaway.

Most people travel to Iceland to explore glaciers (check), see the Northern Lights (check), play with Icelandic ponies (check), or hang out at the Blue Lagoon (major check). But one thing they underestimate is what they’ll have to eat while they’re there.

BONUS: Traveling to Keflavik on an Icelandair Boeing 757

Iceland is a foodie’s dream. It’s not really surprising, considering Icelandic dishes are typically locally sourced, and with such unique agricultural conditions, chefs and locals alike have gotten creative with their recipes. The food and drinks I had in Iceland were some of the highlights of my trip, from lobster stew and Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), to whale meat and puffin (ethically farmed, and better than it sounds, trust me).

The summer’s ever-persistent sun over the Perlan (the Perl), a hot water storage facility turned museum and mall

The summer’s ever-persistent sun over the Perlan (the Perl), a hot water storage facility turned museum and mall

This is a continued story about visiting Iceland, via Icelandair. Be sure you first check out: Review: Traveling from Seattle to Keflavík on an Icelandair Boeing 757 & Why Iceland is Not Just a Stopover, But a Destination – PART 1.

We spent the next day touring the Golden Circle, which took us about 185mi up into central Iceland and back.   The first stop was Gullfoss (the Golden Fall).  Walking down the path through misty spray reveals the breathtaking two-stage falls.  Unlike falls in the US, there’s nothing but a little rope keeping onlookers from wandering too close to the edge. It felt a little dangerous and I liked it!

Reykjavík’s Old Harbor, home of commercial fishing outfits, whale watching tours, and workboats alike.

Reykjavík’s Old Harbor – just one of the many beautiful views of Iceland. Image: Nicholas Smith /

Being based in Seattle, Icelandair’s nonstop flights bring Reykjavík about as close as the flight to Miami. The question that everyone keeps asking me, though, is “why would you visit Iceland?”

Iceland’s terrain and activities match Seattle’s “weather be damned” love affair with the outdoors to the tee.  The trans-continental island’s atmosphere is unrelentingly Myst-esque; clean, fresh, bright, and utterly colorful.  The temperate climate, driven by the warm Irminger Current, keeps the island nation splendid throughout the year. The looks are reason enough to visit, but adventure doesn’t come from looks alone.

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in July, 2012 Courtesy: WheelTug

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in June, 2012. Yes, it’s moving!
Courtesy: WheelTug

You may have read my recent report on the Honeywell/Safran Electric Ground Taxi System, or EGTS.  But as we’ve seen countless times with many technologies, there’s rarely just one solution to a challenge.  We’ve had the 707 & DC-8 duo,  L-1011 & DC-10s, 737 & A320s, PCs & Macs, iThingys & Everything Else… you get the idea.  Interesting, though, that the market usually settles down to 2 options. So it should be no surprise that there’s another E-Taxi system, one that takes a different approach to meeting the same objectives of saving fuel, time, and other operational costs.

Gibraltar-based WheelTug decided to figure out a way to power the nose gear in their E-Taxi solution, and not the main gear. Their reasons? Easier and quicker installation; no interference with braking and anti-skid systems; shorter cable runs to the equipment bay under the cockpit; and it’s lighter, on the single nose gear rather than two main gear. But there isn’t much space available on the nose gear and in the wheel well. To make it all work, WheelTug looked to an old idea updated with new technology – the “wheel-hub” electric motor.