Over two months after the Iditarod ends, Champion Thomas Waerner is welcomed home

Thomas Waerner has had a long journey to the Iditarod 2020 and an even longer journey home. It has been two and a half months since the champion finished the Iditarod, now he and his team are finally home. It really all comes down to being in the right place at the right time.

Due to COVID-19 Thomas ended up being stuck in Alaska with a full dog team. He couldn’t fly directly to Norway because of the COVID-19 restrictions and a non-direct flight would be logistically impossible for him and his team of dogs. By chance, a museum in Norway was looking to purchase the vintage DC-6B aircraft that happened to be located in Fairbanks, Alaska and owned by Everts Air. Thomas and his team had been staying in the Fairbanks area with friends during the quarantine and somehow this all came together.

DC-6B refueling in Yellowknife, NT, Canada. Pictured 1956 Douglas DC-6B, 1961 Lockheed L-188 Electra, and 1942 Douglas DC-3C. Photo and aircraft information provided by Patrick Jacobson of Yellowknife.

The purchase was a go and they even got a new paint job before the trip. Thomas packed up his dog team plus a few dogs from fellow Norweign musher, Tom Frode Johansen. With 25 dogs on board the flight and crew left Fairbanks early morning on June 1. They were able to get out and walk the dogs during their quick fuel stop in Yellowknife, NT, Canada. 

Thomas Waerner walking dogs during the refueling stop in Yellowknife. Photo by Patrick Jacobson of Yellowknife.

Dog Team on Flight Photo by Patrick Jacobson or Yellowknife.

After over 20 hrs of flight time, Thomas, dogs, and the crew touched down in Norway June 2, 3:25 p.m. local time. They were greeted by reporters, fans, and mushing team sponsor Qrill Pet. Local news Oppland Arbeiderblad aired live coverage of the arrival and the link to replay the video is below. The vintage DC-6B will rest at its new home at Flyhistorisk Museum Sola.


DC-6B at Roros Airport 1965, exact same plane Thomas flew home in this week. Photo shared by Thor Broen.

Video by Mikey McBryan


Other resources following Thomas’ journey:

DC-6B Aircraft Facebook Group

If you are interested in following the history of the vintage DC-6B aircraft and read more about Thomas’ trip, those interested can join the Facebook group named DC-6B N151 (LN-SUB) Ferryflight Group. 


Flight Tracker

Replay the flight tracking via FlightAware online.


Qrill Pet Mushing Team Facebook Page

Follow Thomas Warner and the Qrill Pet Mushing Team which also includes mushers Marit Beate Kasin, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Dallas Seavey, and Hanna Lyrek. You’ll find more photos and video of Thomas’ mushing season.


Oppland Arbeiderblad News Video Coverage

Thomas Arr

Video coverage highlights: (approx. time marks. All in Norwegian except interview with the pilots, no subtitles.)

17 min mark plan landing

32 min mark unboarding starts

46 min mark interview with the pilots (in English) about the history of the DC-6B.