My experience with the Thule Danish Aero Club begins about 6,000 miles south of Thule at Mather Air Force Base, Sacramento, California.
I was on duty as an air traffic controller discussing which remote assignment would be a good one.

In 1968 I was stationed in Viet Nam, Phan Rang Air Force Base, and it was time for my second remote location assignment.
We all knew that if a person stayed for 20 years in the military therewould usually be two assignments to remote locations.
It was soon mytime and I wanted to have some say in the decision, not like the firsttime .
it was go to Viet Nam or defect to Canada.
I chose Viet Nam.
One of the other tower supervisors said I should go to Thule,Greenland.
Immediately my eyes got three times their normal size and mymouth dropped almost to the floor.
After living in sunny California forfive years why would I want to go to -50 degree temperatures? Sensingmy shock and disbelief this other supervisor said, "Thule is the bestkept secret in the Air Force.
""First," he said, "the Danish people are the what makes Thule such agreat experience.
" He then explained about Danish Arctic Contractors,which are now called Greenland Contractors, and all the Danish peoplethey employ to supply base services such as transportation,communications and medical care.
The medical care at Thule has become amajor part of my life.
I met Susanne Damgaard Petersen, a Thule nurse,in 1980.
We are still together living in Eagle River, Alaska.
Susanneworks as a nurse at Providence Hospital and I''m the airport manager forLake Hood Seaplane Base.
Lake Hood has 500 general aviation aircraft onfloats and 500 aircraft on wheels, in the winter skis.
Lake Hood isfamous for being the largest seaplane base in the world.
However, allthat is another story, for another time.
Based on this recommendation to go to Thule, I volunteered.
It wasn''tmore than two months before I received orders to go to Thule and withinsix months I stepped off the C-141 on January 2, 1980.
Again, my eyesgot three times their normal size and my mouth dropped almost to thefrozen aircraft parking ramp.
I believe there is an old Danish sayingthat goes something like this, "shit is shit and done is done.
" Meaningyou can''t change what''s been done.
OK, it''s time to suck it up and makethe best of Thule.
In the old wooden Thule air traffic control tower the first few months,I couldn''t see anything of the airport except the runway and taxiwaylights.
In the spring I found out there was a small lake between therunway and taxiway, along with several buildings.
Most of my time wasspent at the base gym and NCO Club working as a bartender.
At the base gym most Danes played badminton, which I found a greatchallenge.
I remember getting beat 15 to 1 more often than I care tomention .
but soon the games became closer and closer.
Three yearslater at Sondrestrom Air Base I became the number two ranked player onbase (among Danes and Americans alike), but again, that''s another story,for another time.
This year at the Alaska Senior Games, in Fairbanks, Ionce again played badminton in the state senior competition.
It''s beenover 20 years since playing badminton at Sondy, however the Danes taughtme the finer aspects of the game which I haven''t forgotten.
I was ableto earn a gold medal in men''s doubles and two silver medals, one inmen''s singles and one in mixed doubles.
Badminton is still a greatchallenge.
Spring of 1980 and all of a sudden there comes a radio transmission from"Thule One.
" I look around for some lost aircraft trying to find aplace to land.
Well that just doesn''t happen at Thule.
The airport is800 miles above the arctic circle and aircraft just don''t happen to flyby.
"Thule One" is the call sign for the Danish Aero club''s Cessna 172,it''s spring and time to fly.
For me this was a new challenge.
I''dbeen a pilot since 1972 having flown around most of the USA and a littlein Germany, while stationed at Bitburg Air Force Base.
But Greenland .
wow!After "Thule One" made its first flight of the season I quickly went tothe hangar and asked about getting "checked out.
" Seems I was the firstmilitary person to ask about joining the club.
After a short questionand answer period they were willing to accept me.
The "check ride"wasn''t anything I hadn''t seen before and after a few solo flights to theice cap, Camp Tuto, and around the glaciers just to the north of Thule Iwas ready to venture farther.
But where to go?One of the Danish pilots suggested I go to Quannaq, land on the frozenice in front of the village, walk into the village and see what life islike for the Greenlandic people.
Great. an adventure! Americans aresometimes very naive, and coming from California we can be very, verynaive.
In my mind, the vision of landing on the frozen bay in a small Cessnawould be like African natives seeing an aircraft for the first time.
Ibelieved they''d never seen an aircraft and would come running out oftheir homes to touch the aircraft.
The flight from Thule to Quannaq was on a bright clear beautiful day,those spring arctic days when the blue color is something that can neverbe copied by human beings.
I found the village located along thehillside, just where the map said it would be.
After circling Quannaqseveral times, just to let them know I''d be landing soon, I flew overthe landing spot to check the ice.
A Greenlandic fellow, living inQuannaq, groomed the ice surface with a small plow and placed red55-gallon drums on both sides of the runway.
Very well groomed, easy tofind and safe to land.
After setting up the aircraft for landing I looked one more time at thevillage, just to make sure they would all run out to meet the aircraft.
However, I didn''t notice movement at the village.
Strange! Maybe myeyes just weren''t use to seeing people moving between the frozenicebergs.
Landing was pretty good for the first time landing on frozenwater, came to a quick stop, jumped out of the aircraft just waiting tosee all those curious faces touching this metal bird that brought peopleto the village.
After standing around for about 10 minutes, getting colder, I realizedno one was coming to see the aircraft.
We hiked into the village and noone even noticed, that I could tell, that we were there.
My heart wasbroken, the big adventure wasn''t as big as I expected.
However, thatwas my first of many flights to Quannaq.
In the summer there was anarrow, short gravel landing strip made near the village.
After takeoff the pilot must quickly lower the nose of the aircraft to gain speedand lift, just like jumping off a mountain side.
After numerous flights to Quannaq, both winter and summer, the villagersseemed to accept me showing Danes their village and in my mind they kindof accepted me as a local figure.
After four years and six months inGreenland I was able to log over 400 hours of flying time thanks to thevision of several Danish pilots who were willing to bring small aircraftto Thule, and Sondrestrom, so the average workers could experienceremote locations.
I''ve continued this type of flying here in Alaska .
life hasn''tchanged much for me.
Still living with a Danish nurse, flying to remotelocations in Alaska and work at an airport all day.
This adventurebegan at Thule and the Danish way of looking at life, which I learn moreabout everyday.

'Andy Hutzel