2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-08-02

We arrived in Bathurst around 2:30 local today.  We had a wonderful flight along the shoreline of lake Ontario.  Fly right next to the CN Tower as well. We followed it all the way to to the St Lawrence and over flew the Thousand Islands area.  We heard so much about it in school (many years ago) that I was really excited to see it.  It was beautiful, but i think the Perry Sound area was much nicer, from the air at least.  We over flew the Montreal area as well.  First stop was Trois Rivière for a quick fuel stop.

Weather was showing a very unstable air mass creating many thunder storms.  We were not sure if we could even get to our destination.  The flight briefer made it sound even worse. I said we would try and see.  Some times getting a weather brief is worse than not.  We have xm on board so we plan as we go, that always seems to work the best.

We had to fly the first half at 2500ft.  We were above the river so we were good.  Turning inland gave us higher ceilings and we were able to get to 3500.  We watched the radar as we progress and also played the animate weather to see which way it was moving.  There was a scattered line on the Quebec / NB broader and bigger line just west of the Bathurst airport.  I planned to skirt around the southern edge and see if we could get in. Amazingly the cell dissipated as we got closer and getting it was a none issue.

The family was there to greet us and off we went to the house.   Next few days will be spent at the beech and the lake. After that we are off to Moncton.

SPOT Tracker

2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-08-01

Tomorrow we depart for Bathurst N.B.  We have around 4hrs of flying ahead of us.  Weather looks great until about Ottawa. After that I think we will be dodging thunder storms.  Sure hope the ceilings stay high enough to be able to pick our way through.  We plan to fly the lake Ontario shore line and follow the St Laurence.  We will likely stop in Trois Rivière for a break.  After that get clearance from Boston Centre and go direct over Maine or follow the river until about Rivière du loupe.  It depends on what the weather is doing.  Should be an interesting day.

SPOT Tracker

2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-07-29

We had a nice flight out of Thunder Bay this morning.  We flew the shoreline to Marathon then direct to Sudbury via Chapleau.  The only weather was near marathon and it was still good vfr, just lower visibility from all the moisture.  I did lots of map reading to ensure I knew where we were even though it was always the middle of nowhere.  Bogs seemed to be the best choice if the prop stopped and we stayed fairly close to some type of road or railway.  I did not have flight following like we had from Brandon as we were to low, so you are really on your own. The flight was 2.5hrs as we flew lower and slower in the thick air.  It was a pleasant ride with only a few bumps near the end.

The relatives were there to pick us up and were soon wizzing through town to their place.  We had a great afternoon and evening, it was great to see everyone.  No alarm for tomorrow, we want the rest.  Then off to st Catherine’s for 3 nights in Niagra falls.  It will be another short day of flying.

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Update!

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We are happy with the decision we made to press on and not stop in Kenora. There is two lines of weather, one that is just missing kenora and the other is partially over Dryden. It could have easily been south 30 miles and we would have possible been stuck if we stayed. Besides fuel is much cheaper here, $2.23/l in kenora, ouch!

We plan to stay off the oxygen today and fly low for the scenery. We will be skirting the edge of the lake and heading inland just after Marathon taking us over Chapleau then into Sudbury. The flight will be just over 2 hrs, so a short day of flying today. We plan to just stay one night and head out to Niagra falls on Monday to beat the weather coming in on Tuesday. We will be in Niagra Falls for a few days.

SPOT Tracker

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2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-07-28

Hello,

We are presently cruising at 9500 doing 182kts over the ground burning 10.5 165 kts true. We had to turn south of suffield do to the weather ahead. We like to avoid the areas with lightening;-). Showing 2.5 hrs from Brandon and 461 nm out. After that we head to thunder bay to avoid the thunder storms tomorrow morning.

Follow our SPOT progress at:
http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0K2qUrM1205OcaMGxkSqBFXnY4fQmhF4E

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Update!

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Made it to thunder bay in under six hours.  After Winnipeg we climbed to 11,500 for a smooth ride over the scattered clouds.  We did a bit of a dogleg just to stay within glide of civilization. Total flight for the day was 980 nm.  Very smooth flight for the most part.  Sudbury tomorrow to visit my great aunt and uncle.

SPOT Tracker

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2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture

Here is Troys spot tracker to follow along if you wish, we leave this Saturday, July 28, 2012.

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0K2qUrM1205OcaMGxkSqBFXnY4fQmhF4E

Plan is to fly to Kenora, Sudbury, Niagra Falls, Bathurst to Moncton. Then down the east coast towards New York, back through Chicago, Grand forks then home.

Hopefully the weather co-operates as these plans could totally change.

2012 San Francisco Air Venture 2012-07-02 Day Summary

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2012 San Francisco Air Venture Departure (2012-07-02)
2012 San Francisco Air Venture Departure (2012-07-02) @ 08:30 from Chestermere, Alberta.

The first day of the trip is under our belt.  It was a hell of a day of flying, for sure.

We decided to cross the Divide via the Crowsnest Pass route to Cranbrook.  We scraped through between the clouds and some convenient saddles between mountain peaks.  Luckily, the clouds were building, but not dropping.  Very exciting mountain flying, but not dangerous.  We got to chat with Darren Scarlett a bit, too, because he was up flying high west of Calgary.

We each had crappy landings at Cranbrook.  We had trouble with the pumps at Creston, but we got that sorted out and then hopped he 3.5 miles to the border strip at Porthill where we entered the US.  Really easy crossing, and the border people were excellent.

The flight down the Creston Valley, over Sandpoint, and into Coeur d’ Alane was terrific, even though we had a pretty strong headwind at altitude.  Lots and lots of flooding in that valley, same with the Kooteney valley near Cranbrook.

The scenery we’ve seen today has been indescribable.  From the Cowboy Trail to the high mountain peaks, to the fertile valleys, it’s been simply spectacular.  I really think it’ll be hard to match anywhere else on the trip.  Got lots of good video and I’m really looking forward to putting the video together.

Tomorrow, we’ll do two hops; from here to Richland, Washington, then on to Bend, Oregon.  We flew nearly 5 hours today with the longest leg being Kirkby‘s to Cranbrook about 2:20.  Hopefully, tomorrow won’t be as long.  We’re both knackered.

We met guys in Cranbrook who’ve heard of the CRUFC and are pretty interested in the trip.  At Creston we met some guys from Lethbridge, too; namely Ron Janzen and his partner.  They bought Troy’s RV-7 and both know Darren Scarlett.  It was nice to see them again.  They’ll be coming up to Kirkby’s breakfast next weekend.

This is a truly terrific adventure, already.  Both Geoff and I have been this way before, but tomorrow we’ll be venturing into places we’ve not been yet.  Luckily, they won’t be so humid as some of the places in BC were today.

Gotta get ready for tomorrow.  I’ll try and do a daily post to keep you up to date.

Blue Skies,

Stu

2012 San Francisco Air Venture 2012-07-02 @ 17:29
2012 San Francisco Air Venture 2012-07-02 @ 17:29

Now, That’s Flying!

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by Stu Simpson

I was, as the saying goes, right on the ragged edge. It was the toughest approach I’d ever made in 25 years of flying, right at my limits, and it was fun! I fought turbulence and wind shear like I’ve never seen. And for a few seconds I was actually frightened in an airplane; a very strange feeling for me.

And I did make it, but it was ugly. I touched down beneath the trees on my first bounce just as a three-point buck wandered onto the last third of the strip. But by the end of my second bounce, I knew this just wasn’t meant to be, nor did I want to subject my wingmen to such a beating. I powered up, still coursing with adrenaline, and left that backwoods airstrip behind.

Now, that’s flying!

And then there’s Darren Scarlett, who owns an RV-7. It’s beautiful and powerful. It has a 180 horsepower engine and a constant speed prop. It’s fast, too. I mounted a video camera in his cockpit once and recorded him as he did three rolls and then pulled up into a Cuban Eight. I watched by the runway as he shot a low inspection pass at high speed. I could see his smile flash as he zoomed by in the sunlight.

Now, that’s flying!

How about Geoff Pritchard? He’s got this pristine, and I do mean pristine, 1946 Champ that he recently rebuilt from the ground up. It’s gorgeous in red and white. When that Champ is on the taxiway silhouetted against the evening sun, or in the sky against the deep blue, the effect is simply mesmerizing. Geoff and the Champ float along up there thumbing their noses at age and time, making the most of every minute they’re in the sky.

Now, that’s flying!

Wade Miller has what some consider a dream job. He’s an airline captain. He pilots a 737, worth around $70 million dollars, probably more. It has stuff in the cockpit that comes straight out of Star Wars. And Wade gets to work with it all. The plane’s capabilities are simply amazing. It zips along at about 500 mph, climbs beyond 40,000 feet, and still lands on runways only a mile long in nearly any weather. And 737’s make money.

Now, that’s flying!

Barry Davis flies a homebuilt airplane now, but he used to fly a Cessna 182. A great deal of that flying was done at night. He’d cruise over the city and watch the world sleeping below. He’d see cars and trucks scooting along beneath the endless cones of street lamps. A million or more lights of all colours would dazzle as they reflected from the glass of the downtown skyscrapers. Red and green fireflies would race through the blackness above the horizon as other planes came and went at the airport. And an uncountable number of stars would twinkle overhead until an errant cloud would scrub them away for a few moments.

Now, that’s flying!

And Bob Kirkby. Bob has a terrific airplane – a Piper Super Cruiser. It’s a flying piece of history that looks like it just rolled out the factory door. It did, of course, back in 1947, but you’d never know to look at it. Bob loves to get up in the Cruiser with one of his grandkids, or another airplane buddy, or maybe just by himself. He’ll go about half an hour away to where there’s a restaurant that serves pie almost right next to a grass airstrip. Bob and the Cruiser love grass runways.

After pie, he’ll take-off to who-knows-where and cruise along at, oh, maybe a thousand feet over the ground. He’ll watch as the land changes color in the season, maybe getting greener, maybe browner. Bob will feel the stick as the wind tugs on the ailerons every now and then, checking to see what it can get away with. He might snag a thermal and then ease off some power as that small burst of heat floats him along a little bit faster on a little bit less gas. Bob will smile at that.

And soon he’ll make that last turn onto final approach at his own grass airstrip. Bob will set the Cruiser down so smoothly that for the first few seconds he’ll wonder if he even landed. Really, I’ve seen him do it.

Oh, ya. Now, that’s flying!