Aiming south of Sumas Mountain


Clearing conditions along the Coquihalla


Scattered clouds over the north end of Okanagan Lake
enroute to Salmon Arm

Langley to Edmonton

I'd set my alarm for 05:30... Of course this meant a largely sleepless night, but at least I woke up in time to make my porridge.

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 early!).
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 Salmon Arm.
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 6,500 feet.
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 balance.
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 hungry.
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 mission..
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 opposite way!
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 (22:05z).
At 22:30z we passed the Jasper (Restricted) airfield where turbine waterbombers waited for the call to scramble.

Clear of the mountains we took a shallow angle to reintercept Highway 16 into the Edmonton airspace.
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 soon...
Just in time the Terminal controller responded, "...Squawk 4551 and you're cleared into the zone....".

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 Chipmunk.
We landed at 00:13z after 2hours 22min in the air, and taxied to the Shell FBO where 77 litres of 100LL was added.

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.


The Chipmunk's blown canopy is not the best for photography
Many of these pictures were taken using my old Canon G5 camera
which is easier to use in manual mode and more reliable than the G11







I'd take my shoulder straps off, lean forward, slide the canopy back,
and get Ted to shift over so I could get an undistorted image


Recommended eating in Edmonton, good food, friendly owner
30 years in business
South African Castle Lager, assorted spicy and non spicy food





Fueling is by the honour system, you gain access to the hut, to the safe, to the keys,
you fill in your own Credit Card slip, and put it in the safe with the fuel pump key.





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