Restoring the Flugstodir website is underway. Lets begin with some raw material, a LOT of photographs of aviation history of Iceland. They are quite disorganized and lacking descriptive text, but that will improve over time. The website was in the past, used by Isavia, the official controller of airports and aviation in Iceland.
Here’s an Icelandair flight I took from Billund Denmark to Iceland. A 757.
The view from back seats in the aircraft.
A lovely diagram of all the routes of IcelandAir.
I was in Billund airport for a few hours, before flying to Copenhagen, then Keflavik airport in Iceland. As you can see, the Billund terminal is not large. I actually missed a connection from Billund to Keflavik. IcelandAir is apparently famous for being on-time, meaning, they do not wait for delayed passengers.
Here’s more pictures of the Billund terminal, taken from the taxiway.
We stayed at the Hilton hotel attached to the airport, and from the hotel, there is this view of Terminal 3.
And viewed from a greater distance, you can appreciate the shape of terminal 3 is like a paper airplane shape. Airport architecture is the modern world’s best place to show off curves and flight motifs.
This YouTube video of IcelandAir’s Boeing 757 is really great.
There’s a fun holiday story about how I ended up going through Iceland on my way home. I was in Berlin visiting the Berlin Aviation Museum (Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow) and on the way home, the Amsterdam airport was completely fogged in, and all flights cancelled. There was a crush of people in Berlin who needed to be rebooked.
The agent found a connection: Berlin Tegel airport to Billund, Billund to Keflavik, Keflavik to Edmonton. We were happy at first, actually happy anyway, even after we missed the connection, but the people in Billund were unhappy with KLM who sent people to a small airport with no hope of succeeding in a connection. I was happy because I got to visit Iceland and learn a lot about it’s aviation history during the flight, and in the airport.
I first started being interested in flying when I was eight years old. My mom gave me a book about Amelia Earhart and the pages were illustrated with big fluffy clouds as she flew through the sky. Amelia was my childhood heroine, but I think more than that I liked the idea of aviation. I thought that flying would be something like being totally free. The idea of crashing never crossed my mind.
As the years went by, I pretty much forgot about my love of aviation. It was only in my twenties that I remembered that I had even had pretending to be a pilot as an actual hobby! I didn’t have a lot going on in my life at the time – I had graduated as an English major two years before and had found exactly zero real jobs in my field. I had managed to find a job at a sandwich shop in my hometown and was toying with the idea of applying to grad school so maybe I could get hired as a teacher at a high school or something, which was already kind of a competitive market. Soon enough, I was in Iceland, and my hobby would save my life.
Bored and with no real prospects in my mid-twenties, I was desperate for something that would be stimulating. At the very least, I hoped it would be entertaining. Watching The Bachelor every week with my roommate was fun (not really), but I craved more. There had to be more than paying off my student loans, making rent, and biking around town. I was living kind of healthy, kind of not, but was more or less bored of the same old routine. I would wake up in the morning, shower, go to work, come back and make dinner, then go to bed. It was all right, but the repetitive nature of it was starting to get to me.
That day I went to the library to return a few books. In the hallway, I stopped and saw a flier that was advertising private flying lessons. It was a bright pink poster with a photo of a little airplane on it that looked totally manageable. I grabbed one of the detachable chits from the flier and went onto the site to follow up. Everything seemed legit and I had a little bit of extra cash, so I figured why not? I’d let my childhood dreams stretch their wings and soar a little bit. What did I have to lose?
The first lesson was nerve wracking but totally fun. I couldn’t believe that I was actually getting to go up in the air, and not just in a standard American Airlines boarding ticket kind of way. This was the real deal! I also started doing Weight Watchers at the same time, as I was a little over a healthy body weight for me and didn’t want to hold onto those extra pounds and serious lack of body definition. All of a sudden, my life felt more fun. Getting up in the morning became exciting! Things were looking up.
I had so much confidence from my new adventures and my new physique that I decided to look into job opportunities abroad. I’d always wanted to travel and I wasn’t in a relationship – nothing was holding me back. When I saw a full time job teaching English and tutoring in Iceland for six months, I jumped at the chance. Within the next fall, I decided to try out this new surgery for weight reduction, the best thing I have ever done.
With my healthy diet intact and my bags packed, three weeks later I was departing for Iceland airports. I planned to continue my lessons in Iceland, and if I couldn’t do that, just read up on local customs and history. My lodgings were very nice, and I made plans to fly a plane for the next day.
The instructor Margie was actually American and very nice. We had a smooth ride, and when we came back down, she mentioned how she had to go to the doctor with her mother after this. “Breast cancer,” Margie told me, a sad look on her face. “You have to check yourself, because by the time you get a mammogram, it may already have spread. Just like my mom.”
Iceland was a land of beauty and mystery, of elements I had never felt or discovered. That night I checked in the shower. Everything seemed fine. The next day I did it again, thinking of planes and airports. That’s when I found the lump.
I made an appointment to see a doctor and didn’t sleep for about three days. When I got in, they did their best to reassure me. I kept looking at aircrafts on my phone and reading about Cessnas to stay calm in the waiting room. They said they’d call me with the results.
To make a long story short, me deciding to change my life actually saved it. A chance trip to Iceland, my history with flying, and a chance encounter all led to me checking myself out and getting evaluated as soon as possible. It was breast cancer, and my hobby meant catching it far earlier than I would have normally.
Five years later, I am breast cancer free and still flying. Thanks to Iceland and the people of its airports and flying lessons, I now have a lease on life that might have ran out years ago. I’m here because of my love of aviation as well as the fact that the universe works in mysterious ways. As for me? I’m not complaining.