Dog management, Medicine/Health | Thomas Wærner returns to Norwegian soil after a difficult flight

On Tuesday afternoon, the handler and the 16 dogs landed at Sola Airport, outside Stavanger, after a nearly 20-hour flight.

– It’s good. It’s been a very long time, especially when you wait without knowing a date, Wærner said during his meeting with the press.

The Iditarod winner could speak of a rather noisy ride and that he even got to fly the plane for an hour. Now he will finally be able to meet his wife and five children after a very long time.

– I can’t wait to see my family again, to go home and get my life back, says the dog walker.

Historic feat

On March 18, Wærner crossed the finish line as the winner of the Iditarod. He became the third Norwegian to achieve this feat. Robert Sørlie in 2003 and 2005 and Joar Leifseth Ulsom in 2018.

Wærner won all the great dog sledding classics in one year: Femundløpet, Finnmarksløpet and Iditarod. No one has achieved this feat before.

Technical issues

The return trip from Alaska took place aboard a 63-year-old DC-6 aircraft. This type of aircraft was the first in service with Braathens SAFE and, after several years in Alaska, it will be on display at the Sola Aviation History Museum.

The first part of the nearly 6,000 kilometer journey took place from Fairbanks to Yellowknife in Canada. The first flight was aborted and the plane returned after 54 minutes due to problems with a propeller.

– The trip was exciting. The plane broke down when we were taking off, so I was like “damn dad, now we can’t leave.” But a group of mechanics fortunately managed to repair it, Wærner said.

Long trip

The problem was resolved and the 4 hour and 40 minute journey to Yellowknife began. After a short stop to refuel, the final 14 hour and 55 minute stage started just after midnight Norwegian time.

At a speed of just over 400 kilometers per hour, the journey continued through Canada, Greenland and Iceland to Stavanger.


Darell Ferguson

"Tv guru. Analyst. Lifelong alcohol junkie. Friendly bacon specialist. Twitter nerd."

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