Ultralight Flight: CTV News Video Interview with CRUFC President

Ultralight Flight

CTV News Original Air Date: Friday, September 14, 2012

Watch Video Interview

In Alberta, ultralight airplanes crashed near Ponoka, Indus and Lloydminster in the summer of 2012. That’s three accidents in as many weeks – one fatal.

Aviation enthusiasts say ultralight aircrafts are well-built machines. They point to Transport Canada, saying the required training hours are not always enough.

How safe is the hobby? What causes accidents? Mechanical problems or pilot error? How can “rules” be balanced with the public’s freedom to fly?

Alberta is a hub for this hobby, and we get the discussion on life and death issues off the ground with three experts. Mike Hughes, from Wetaskiwin, owner of Challengerwest – sales and support for advanced ultralight aircraft in western Canada; Shane Daly is President of Innovative Wings Inc., which offers building and maintenance service for amateur-built and home-built aircraft; and Norm Vienneau, President of the Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club.

2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-08-10

This is the flight for today. Weather looks great. As you can see the weather we had to work around is still terrible. If we would went south through the US we would really be stuck. One thing to make note of with foreflight. There is many places in Canada that only report temperature and dew point. Foreflight shows that as VFR. You should only look at the major airports that report weather, not many in Canada though. The route could show lots of vfr green dots but it is all Ifr. Also I do not find foreflight to show the weather radar as intense as it is compared to the XM. Most of the system yesterday was yellow and red showing lots of convection, foreflight did not show that. Easy day today, we all look forward to it.

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We had a great flight today. It was 500 NM and it took under 3 hrs. We trued out just under 170 kts at 8500ft and had about 10 to 15 kts on the tail, yes tailwind west bound. The high was north of us and the low was south, so the east wind blew. We landed in Fargo as Grand Forks was fully booked due to a convention in town. Fargo has a great FBO and we got a great room. My wife and kids really wanted a break from flying after the day we had yesterday, so we stopped here.

Customs is booked for a 11:00 arrival in Regina. We had planned to fly most of the way in the US but now there is a low sitting to the west of us that may create some IFR weather. Best to play it safe and head north. Hopefully just scattered thunderstorms to deal with. This trip west bound has been very challenging, doesn’t look like it will be easy until we are finally home.

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

This is our planned route for tomorrow.  It will be around 5.5 hrs of flying.  We have booked custom in Sault Ste Marie for a 16:00 arrival. I am tired of spending $2 plus a ltr;-). Some spots are at $1.40 in Michigan.  We are going there to fill all 4 tanks.

Weather is looking good other than the system west of the Sault.  If it looks bad tomorrow we may have to change our plans.  Going south to New York looks like a bad choice weather wise so we decided against it.  This route is the most direct and we plan to stay Friday in Grand Forks at a hotel with a huge water park. We stayed there a couple of years ago and the kids really want to go back.  The hotels will be just about free with all the savings in fuel. Hope the weather cooperates.

Also, here is some shots from around New Brunswick. We flew into a grass strip today in Havelock, it is beautiful there.  Also flew up Grand Lake and then over Sussex to the Bay of Fundy.  We saw the hope well rocks and miles of sea floor as the tide was out. It is a beautiful place to fly.

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2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-08-07

We got into Moncton yesterday afternoon.  Thankfully the front was small that went through over night.  The wind had changed to more down the runway but still over 20kts on the ground.  It had gotten to over 30 kts that evening right across the runway.  We said our good bye and loaded into the sweltering cockpit.  The climb out was quick but rough.  We immediately headed to my parents place for pictures and really got bounced around down low.  We climbed a bit for smoother air and then headed to see the camp on the lake we stayed at.  We soon turned south for Moncton.

The air was really rough, annoying rough.  We headed for the coast line and viewed all the wonderful beaches passing by.  We soon got Moncton tower and got cleared for a straight in on 24.  The landing was uneventful and we taxied in amongst many jet traffic on the airport.  32c on the ground. It was a hot taxi.

Jody’s parents were there to great us.  The school located a spot for us to tie down and the place was mostly deserted. We were told it was to windy and to low of ceilings, all their flights were canceled.  I thought that was a shame. If students only fly in perfect weather they will not know how to deal with the not so perfect weather on cross country flights.  I never liked the fact that I learned so much more about flying after I got my license.

I will get pictures of the flight to Moncton as soon as I locate my camera cord;-)

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2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-08-05

We had planned an evening departure today to Moncton.  The weather tomorrow is not good and we figured we had better leave early to make sure we can get there.Well I have made the decision to cancel the flight.

The winds here have been howling all day, and it is not so much the wind as the direction.  It has been 90 degree across the runway.  10 gusting 25 kts.  I have never seen such a gusting wind.  I am sure the trees are causing most of it.  The wind is also forecasted to get worse as the evening goes on.  It is also 32C on the ground before the humidity!

We could take off but every other runway in New Brunswick is east/west.  If we got airborne and could not land we would have to go to Halifax.  Then the incoming weather plays another roll.

The front is just about to the Maine/NB border so we would not have much time to get to a new destination.  Saint John is currently IFR.  Might be always IFR there though;-)

The other strike is they do not sell 100ll in Bathurst, yep you heard that right.  We don’t have a ton of time to do circuits trying to land.

Circling around over heavily wooded areas, trying to land but can’t because of the cross wind and running out of fuel.  No thanks!

Maybe tomorrows weather will not be as bad as predicted and we will be on our original schedule anyway.   Time will tell.

Branch airlines carry precious cargo and they are fine for an extra day with Nan and Pop.

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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.

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2012 – Troys East Coast Air Venture – 2012-07-30

Today was one one of the most beautiful flights.  We first climbed out of Sudbury to the high cruising altitude of 3500 ft;-).  We over flew the city then headed to the camp we stayed at 15 years ago on our drive out.  Thanks to the iPad we found it no trouble and took a few pics.  After that we climbed on top the scattered layer.  It was so mucky and hazy that I decided to descend for better views. We flew west of perry sound and the scenery was absolutely beautiful.  It is amazing how many islands are there and the huge number of boats.  It was smooth over the lake with the odd float plane cruising under us.  The kids really liked looking out the window.

Toronto center was so nice and helpful.  We joined the shoreline at Hamilton and followed it into st Catherine’s.  It is hot on the ground so we slowly got ready for the cab ride.  Now having supper and beer in niagra before we walk to see the falls.  A great trip so far.  We will get pics tonight once we get the kids to bed.

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