my alarm for 05:30... Of course this meant a largely
sleepless night, but at least I woke up in time to make
Our early start was stalled by
low cloud but a briefing from Kamloops Flight Information
Centre suggested VFR conditions along the US border and
into the mountains to the east.
I filed a flight plan to Salmon Arm, and we took off from
Langley Airport at 16:23z (GMT/UTC), 09:23 PDT (not
I use GMT (z) here because we will cross time zones and
GMT makes more sense!
GMT is 7 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time, and 6
hours ahead of Mountain Time.
We flew eastwards along the
south side of the Glen Valley Practice area...
The north side of Sumas Mountain through the valley
looked as if the clouds and ground met, it looked grim
through there but south of Sumas looked OK and down over
the border the weather was as the briefer said.
I called Abbotsford and obtained clearance through their
zone for us to pass to the south of Sumas Mountain.
I look for sunny patches on the
ground ahead to check that we're not flying into a grim
dark place ahead.
We weaved between the clouds with a good view of the
ground, it looked a little dodgy just to the east of
Chilliwack, but it opened up somewhat and we had a good
clearance from clouds, the ground, and the mountainsides
as we flew on up over Hope.
I passed weather information to
a Cessna that was following us ten miles or more behind.
Over Hope we could see that the
Manning Park area beyond the Hope Slide was bathed in
sunshine and since the Cessna was going in that direction
I relayed that information.
We were going to route up the Coquihalla highway and it
wasn't so rosy a picture through there, but it was
do-able without compromising height or safety.
At 17:22z we were through and
we'd climbed to 7,500 feet.
The rest of the journey to the
Okanagan Lake was in the clear, but the lake itself was
covered by scattered clouds.
With Vernon in sight we cut the corner to fly direct to
Landing was at 18:21, 1hour 58min airborne time, and we
added 69 litres of 100LL to top the tanks off.
Salmon Arm's fuel price was
$1.70 a litre which is a lot cheaper than here in the
Lower Mainland around Vancouver.
Mogas is available as well, and a Pelican flew in to
refill with the best fuel for the Rotax 912 engine.
I believe that this Pelican was the one that was once a
tailwheel aeroplane based at Delta Air Park, it now has
an ugly nosewheel!
I closed one flight plan and
filed another, this time to Valemount.
We took off from Salmon Arm at
19:04z and headed northwest and then north enroute at
There was some cloud over the mountains to the north of
Salmon Arm but nothing to bother us and we had an easy
cruise all the way to Valemount.
At 19:24z the Aera GPS warned of low battery and so I
turned it off. I didn't use it at all as a primary
navigation aid after that; throughout the trip I was on
the map and it wasn't a problem for me. How can you get
lost in brilliant weather?
The battery should be preserved for emergency use.
I keep a record of where and
when we change fuel tanks and try to maintain their
Left to Right was at 19:34z at 6,500 feet over Monarch
Lakes Provincial Park. We passed the Adams River at
19:42z, Blue River-Mud Lake at 20:07z, and landed at
Valemount at 20:39z after 1hour 35min in the air.
There was nobody at Valemount,
it was 13:42 Pacific/14:32 Mountain time, and I was
Thank goodness I'd brought bananas and Granola bars!
The aeroplane took 46 litres of
100LL at $1.80 per litre.
I closed the flight plan, and
decided to check where we might go next before filing the
next one as we were either going to go to Edmonton or
directly to Wetaskiwin which was the target of our
We decided to go to Edmonton and so the flight plan was
filed before we took off at 21:51z to fly north to the
Fraser River valley which takes you southeast below Mount
Robson, then east, then north and north east to spit you
out over the Prairies.
I took pictures of the highest
mountain in the Canadian Rockies on the way past...
We monitor 126.7 on these flights and don't expect to
hear much, but suddenly a Cessna 172 called up going the
It was a registration I recognised as it was a Cessna 172
based at Langley, and the owner pilot was none other than
Tim Cole from COPA who was on his way home from PEI
At 22:30z we passed the Jasper (Restricted) airfield
where turbine waterbombers waited for the call to
Clear of the mountains we took a
shallow angle to reintercept Highway 16 into the Edmonton
A groundspeed check was done between a position south of
Edson at 23:11z and Loche Mist Farms at 23:35z giving a
groundspeed of 96 knots... Do I really need a GPS? It
stayed in its case, it had a limited amount of charging
at Valemount and I wanted to preserve it.
We were at 4,500 feet over
Wabamun Lake and needed to contact Edmonton Terminal on
119.5... The airspace was approaching fast and the
frequency was busy... Oh dear we're going to have to turn
Just in time the Terminal controller responded,
"...Squawk 4551 and you're cleared into the
Soon we contacted Edmonton City
Centre and were give a left base join to 30, "number
one, keep it in tight". There was an aeroplane on an
IFR approach and he became number two in favour of the
We landed at 00:13z after 2hours 22min in the air, and
taxied to the Shell FBO where 77 litres of 100LL was
There's a certain resignation at
this historic old aerodrome as it will be closed on 15th
November and all businesses will be shifted elsewhere.
It's a great shame, as aerodromes are open spaces but
financial considerations mean that open spaces must be
filled with building developments. This is a Canadian
city, and Canadian cities are losing their souls to
homogenous rectangular blocks of same-same architecture
for people to be forced to live in wooden boxes and shop
at large cubic buildings without soul.
The future for people living in Canadian cities, and
perhaps all North American cities will be one of
sameness, everyone same same, living same same,
conforming same same!
We walked across the road
without being clobbered by a pickup truck and booked into
the French themed Chateau Louis Hotel.
Ted set to work on his i-Phone and i-Pad to find a place
to eat... He came up with a good possibility and we took
a taxi across Edmonton to the University area where in a
character industrial building there was a restaurant
serving South African South Asian food. There was a
buffet, and it was excellent, I was soon over filled as I
will always eat what I take on my plate, and everything
looked yummy yummy... I followed up with a chocolate
cheese cake and nearly exploded.