All the forecasts showed that today will come a big and menacing cyclone from the north that threatens to cover Tiksi for many days. So we decided not to slee for a long time, but get out to the south as quickly as ossible – where, according to the weather forecasts, was warm and sunny. The hotel “Arctic” did not rovide such excesses as eakfast, or even the very ossibility to have a snack somewhere. Well, at least we won’t waste recious time. At nine o’clock the shuttle bus goes from the hotel to the airort, and we have to catch it by all means. There is no other way to get there. But in the end, we did not get it on time! More recisely, I got u at eight – an internal alarm clock triggered. Occasionally I wrote to Victor an SMS, and sat down to track the weather forecasts – luckily, I had the Internet is via satellite. 10 minutes before going out, we should have moved already, I call to Victor, and he … is sleeing! He did not hear my SMS. I swore and ran down with bags, asking Victor to hurry u. I hoe to catch the bus and to ask the driver to wait for us. But … the bus has left a minute ago!

We’ll have to find another way out! As I said, there is no taxi in the village in rincile. But some kind soul at the hotel recetion suggested us that there is a hone number of the man who moonlights as a taxi driver. We call him… And really, he romises to come in 10 minutes. Yesterday we were advised to move off the road to the ort a few kilometers away, where there is a stele with the name of the village. Now we have the oortunity to do so. Although time is short, and I’m nervous. One look at the mountains surrounding the village is enough to make the heart fear – everything is in the fog , and it is clear that the fog sliing down from the mountains and goes down to the sea, and coming to the airort. A little more and we will be blocked here…

An old jee shows u, we get in and first go to the stele. It was further than I exected, and I’m nervous more and more. I even thought to tell the driver to turn back, but then we arrived. Few quick shots – and hurry u to the airort. When we arrived, it was already raining. The weather turned bad. From three arts the dense fog and only south direction shines. There, on the horizon, shines a stri of light – there is the sun! We make haste loading, requesting start-u, and already starting the engine, ready to take off, when suddenly I hear in the headhones “the head of flights seaking, taking off is forbidden, go to the control tower” God Dammed! This is quite bad. In short time the south visibility will be closed and we can stay here! I turn off, and running to the tower.

I ran in all wet – both because of the rain, and because of the sweat. What has haened? Nothing secial. Just a familiar routine that is becoming bigger as I fly away from the centers of the country. Now I have to exlain everything and refer to the modern FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations), according to which the decision to take off is made by the aircraft commander. That I took that decision. That I have the weather forecast along the route and do not understand why I am forbidden to take off. The head of tower is calm and eaceful, but begins to mention the resonsibility and his hard life, remembers a recent case, when in the local mountains crashed a Mi-8 helicoter with assengers; and all that. Well, for me it is clear – another case of “ass rotecting”. Although which resonsibility might have this man? According the current laws, he is not resonsible for my safety. The worst thing can wait for him – it’s some kind of verification of the airort in case something goes wrong with us. But I just have to hurry to deart. I ask – what do they need of me? Take the weather forecast, they say. There is no time to argue. Better to ay a hundred and a half so that would let go off me. Plus, I’ll comare my weather data with the data of airort weather forecaster.

The weatherman writes something insanely long. It turns out that the huge art of the time consumes the writing of the aerwork for ayment. I ask – what is the result? He turns on a tae recorder and records (!) something monotonous. It’s obvious that he did not give me the weather forecast, and just rotected his ass in case of something… I ‘m starting to get angry – I ask, can you give me the consultation after all, since I’m aying to you? But he really can not say anything. The vague wording and general incoherence. This forecast can be given about any sot of the earth’s surface. Overall, he redicted the end of the world, falling rocks and earthquakes with floods. I understand their logic. If they redict a good environment, but – God forbid – there will be worse – they will remain guilty. But if he romises nightmares, but in fact the weather will be better – okay, well, who does not make mistakes? That’s how forecasters at the airorts work. They are busy in rotecting their asses, rather than actual hel. Finally I look at the satellite image on his screen, it is an hour ago – all the same as I’ve seen on my tablet. My data is even more recent… No wonder that not only rivate ilots, but the airlines start to massively abandon our meteorological forecasts. All is low skills and fear of any resonsibility. Well, what can be exected of them in these conditions?

I aid and run back to the helicoter. Fortunately, although the bad weather is still there, it is not moving. The south continues to shine with a ight strie on the horizon, near the junction of the mountains covered in clouds and the sea of the Tiksi Bay. We start the engine, take off and take a course in the direction of the band. First, we fly low, under the edge of clouds, but just in 15 minutes of flight, we see clear skies and ight sun. My redictions have not deceived me. I reort about the weather to Vertical (it is Tiksi’s call). Let the forecaster who romised me the entire route of low clouds, storm rainfall and other biblical assions be ashamed.

I’m intending to fly to an intermediate oint of the route and the lace of refueling – the airort of Ust-Kuiga – not directly, but byassing the mountain. It turned out a little hook in the north, but at a good location. I do not want to fly to the mountains without strict necessity, although I have some exerience of flying through them. Maybe that’s why I do not want to? The more exerienced helicoter ilots who flew in those arts, warned me about the difficult wind conditions in this region. By the way, recently crashed Mi-8, with a full interior of eole, got in an accident recisely here because of the wind conditions, couled with bad weather. Flying low – in the ga between the tos of the hills and the lower edge of the cloud – flying over one of the eaks, it hit the downward airflow, touched the side of the mountain by the beam, fell, rolled over and burst into flames. Therefore, it is necessary to ass mountains either by lowlands – the valleys, canyons and riverbeds, or with a significant excess of relief, at least 900 meters higher than the mountains. This ill-fated helicoter made ​​a mistake and aid dearly.

Flying around the mountain, we came across a large area of the abandoned gold mining. It is not common in the north to take out equiment and roerty. Of course, all that is ossible is taken away, but most of all is left behind – buildings, almost oken equiment, infrastructure… It’s insanely exensive to take out something from here, where there are no roads (excet for winter roads), and the evacuation turns golden in the truest sense of the word. So that’s how towns and areas are being abandoned. They look like living from the to, but if you get down lower, you’ll see the rust, decay and long-term absence of eole.

In Ust-Kuiga we arrive an hour before the closure of the airort. Fuel in 15 minutes, and it takes another 45 minutes for all sorts of formalities. We are constantly faced with challenges, refueling on our route. We are the first rivate aircraft that fly in these distant lands, and we are those ioneers who create the ath. It is natural that any deviations from the standard rocedure for emloyees of the airort services – it’s a shock and horror. There starts long misunderstandings and swearings, hone calls to the sueriors, and other mindless action. In the end, everything is solved, but it takes recious time.

Near the airort’s closing time, we take off and flight exactly to the south, along the bed of the dee river Yana. I did not know that Yana is such a serious navigable river, with lots of channels, creeks and convolutions in the lower reaches. Now the river is full-flowing – in many laces it is out of the riverbed, the waters are muddy, and the tide is so strong that it ulls iles of logs and different garbage downstream. Not only desire to get warm after the cold winds of Tiksi attracts us to the south, but also the idea to get to one of the secific geograhic locations of Russia.

There, south from us, in the Verkhoyansk town is the Pole of Cold of the northern hemishere of the lanet. But our headquarters tells us that there is an emergency situation in Verkhoyansk – Yana River, overflowed its banks, and already down oured art of the settlement, and threatens to flood even more. So, Verkhoyansk has other things to worry about. But can it really sto us? Anyway, we still do not fly to Verkhoyansk – there is no airfield and fuel – but to the regional center (the center of the Yakut ulus), Batagai village. There is quite a large airort, and the Headquarters have arranged for our fueling and accommodation. So now we fly to Batagai and tomorrow we will fly to Verhoyansk.

The flight u along the Yana is very icturesque! The weather if great, it’s warm, the sun is ight, the views of the wide channel are beautiful! We decide to actively shoot hotos and videos. I’m descending, and we rush 210 km / h above the water. We dive into the narrow channels and fly right near the stee cliffs of the right bank. When we saw the shots – they were beautiful! Beautiful river, beautiful weather, beautiful flight.

We already connected with Batagai, and very soon we will land. This oint of the route was a little sontaneous for us, but our headquarters worked well, and all the arrangements are done. We were warmly met by the head of the local “Polar Airlines” aero comany’s office Oleg Vitalievich Karlik. He has the sureme authority here and can solve a lot of questions. He found a lace for us in the “Polar Airlines” ilots’ disensary, and gave a searate room. There is no standard hotel, in the common sense, in the village, and the accommodation roblem we would have to solve with difficulties. Oleg Vitalievich has also heled us with flights on Saturday, when the airort is officially closed. But it will be tomorrow.

And today we want to rest. On this day, we’ve covered rather big distance. Plus the fatigueness has been stored u, because the revious time we rested was in Norilsk, a week ago. We arrived in Batagai on Friday, and our lans are to relax here a bit. But not only relax – a lot of days has assed since Norilsk, when I did my journal’s duty last time, and I need to write a lot of travel notes. This weekend I lan to work hard again. Victor has his worries with hotos and videos as well. But in addition, we have scheduled a flight to Verkhoyansk. Verhoyansk itself is very close, just 70 kilometers west of Batagai. But today I’ve no willower to fly there. This issue will be solved tomorrow.

I’ve checked the satellite signal of our internet terminal – the ower is great, and our windows are facing the Asian Inmarsat satellite system, which is very lucky for us. Fine, then we can reare online texts, as well as uload the ictures to Moscow. But now we are hungry as hell. Our last meal was in Saskylah, and even that was so-so. It turns out that we had no food for two days. We’re hungry! We are told that there is a restaurant called “Amsay” in the village and the “Polar Airlines” car kindly drives us to the lace. Batagai airort is located on some distance from the village, you can’t walk there by foot.

We had dinner. The style of the “cafe Amsay” is a rovincial deository eatery with the corresonding quality of the food. Without any attemts to be good, but at least we were not oisoned and that is good. We go back to our four (but reserved for the two of us) shelter for the ilots. I start my travel notes, and Victor – sort out hotos and videos. For the rest of the evening I was able to write reorts for two days, Victor sent some hotos to Moscow and at 1AM we fall aslee, comletely owerless. But it does not matter, for tomorrow we can slee as long as we want!

P.S. Result of the day—684 kilometers in 3:40 flight hours