DA20-C1 ferry flight from Ontario to BC
|August has proven to be a very
busy month and the weather has been good.
I managed to schedule a few days to go
and pick up a Diamond DA20-C1 'Evolution' up from Ontario
with a WestJet departure on Monday morning 14th August.
I did not waste the day... I
flew to Sechelt and finished the check time required to
get Matthew off solo in his RV9A.
I repeated my journey to the
airport on Tuesday morning.
I was given a window seat in row
12 (F) for both legs to Calgary and to Kitchener -
Waterloo. This is the best seat if you need legroom.
At Kitchener-Waterloo I wandered
into the Flight School where I did a deal to buy two
Katanas a couple of years ago.
As ever I found a snag on the
aircraft. There was play in the noseleg elastomer pile
(I'd replaced one of these myself in a Katana in
Thailand). Not a deal breaker, but the next morning I
talked to the mechanics about it and decided to ensure
all my landing would be soft gentle greasers while
protecting the noseleg... That's what the elevator is for
When I fly across
time zones I write and log the time as 'z' (GMT/UTC) as
there is less danger of a mix up.
Next stop was to be
Minneapolis Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM).
We crossed the Mississippi River and threaded our way around the southern part of Minneapolis's airspace and into Flying Cloud Airport.
There are three
FBOs at Flying Cloud and it was suggested that Premier
Jet had Diamonds and so I went there.
I looked at the
hotels in the region and chose the Hampton in Eden Vale
which on the map appeared to be near several places to
The wheels left
Aberdeen's runway at 18:16z... I'd picked up two small
water bottles and a Twix for enroute survival.
It was hard work even after I'd climbed to 4,500 feet north of Fort Yates.
We landed at
Dickinson North Dakota (KDIK) at 20:12z and I added 10.85
US Gallons of Avgas to fill the tank again.
I drank a vitamin
water drink and ate a cake out of the vending machines
before taxying out at Dickinson for a takeoff at 21:07z.
I fidgeted with the
maps... Centre suggested going to Williston... Yes I
could go back a bit, but that's not ideal. I decided to
go ahead to Wolf Point - Clayton which while being a bit
short of the distance I'd hoped to make, it did have
fuel, and I could re-plan on the ground.
I was shown where
the key and the sign out sheet was for one of the two
courtesy cars provided by Montana's Aviation community.
phone calls reminded me that I had bookings back at
Boundary Bay on Friday and where was I?
At Cut Bank I left $20 for the use of the courtesy car and then I added 14 US Gallons of Avgas to the aeroplane and the tank was full. 14 USG for 2.5 hours airborne = 5.7 GPH which is very good for 120 knots cruising! Fuel was $5.80 per USG which is $1.52 per litre or between 30 and 50 cents a litre cheaper.
I was able to file
my eAPIS 'Notice of Departure', request Canada Customs at
Cranbrook, and file my flight plan in time for a
departure at 15:30z.
I climbed to 8,500
feet out of Cut Bank aiming for the pass shown on my map,
and I contacted Great Falls radio to open my flight plan
and get a cross border squawk code.
I phoned Canada
Border Services Agency and was given a report number for
my entry back into Canada.
At Cranbrook fuel
was $79.82 for 38 litres or $2.07 per litre, $8 per US
Gallon so about $2.20 more than Cut Bank!
I'd flight planned
to takeoff from Cranbrook at 17:40 for a two and a half
hour flight to Boundary Bay. But a few people chatted to
me... A Jazz Airlines pilot who had once taught in the
two Katanas I picked up in Kitchener Waterloo a couple of
years ago, and a group of CASARA people from Winnipeg who
were asking about mountain flying...
Cranbrook Radio gave me a squawk code, 0040, I was surprised at this but kept it throughout my trip westwards.
The ride was smooth with the odd bump of sink or of lift. I sought the lift and made good use of it!
It was bumpy as I passed high over Penticton.
I stayed high
passing Hope over the mountains to the south of the field
and then taking a gentle descent into the Lower Mainland
to be at 3,500 feet near Mission and 2,400 feet to pass
over Langley before approaching the Nikel where CZBB
tower recognised the squawk code I'd been given at
Cranbrook and told me to join right base for 30.
In the journey logbook I registered 17.1 hours in the air and 19.2 hours on the Hobbs meter.
I stayed in a
Comfort Inn, $105 a night and took a $45 taxi ride to the
airport on the Wednesday morning.
Usually the vendor
ensures the aeroplane has a full tank of fuel when it is
picked up. This was the case when I picked the Scirocco
up from California a couple of weeks before, but this was
not the case now! I added 64 litres of fuel and paid
I had with me the
maps to fly north over the lakes to Thunder Bay on to
Winnipeg and across the Prairies... But it seemed to me
that the southern route would be interesting and offered
more airfields on the way.
I noticed that no
air was coming from the vent on my side and made a note
on my pad to check it out.
As I approached
Saginaw ATC told me they had closed my flight plan.
I had noted the blackness of the exhaust before my departure and so I leaned the mixture throughout this trip and now it's a healthy sandy colour.
The FBO had water,
and I was given a banana and a RiceKrispies bar for
We left theground
at Saginaw at 19:49z and climbed to 3,000 feet.
The wheels touched
gently onto Oshkosh's runway at 21:38z.
Cities in the US do
not always have an easily accessible heart and so it's a
lonely wander that a visitor such as me takes.
In the morning I ate a good breakfast, printed off the information on airports I would need for the day's flying, and got a ride in the hotel's free shuttle back to Flying Cloud Airport.
It's always good to
get local knowledge from pilots who fly in the area
within which you would pass.
The ATIS reported
2,500 feet overcast and I was airborne under it after
taking off at 15:26z.
AWOS was 330/16G21, 4,700 feet Broken, temperature 18
dewpoint 7, 3013".
I went fo a pee,
said hello to the lady in the airport building and then I
was off to Harve, taking off at 23:06z.
We landed at Harve
at 00:38z and taxied in... There was nobody there.
I thought I'd check
out Shelby, close to the highway to Lethbridge and
Calgary, there must be a place to stay...
It was 01:46z when
after an orbit over the town we landed at Cut Bank.
That's enough for the day.
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