AB to Golden BC
Breakfast was good
at the hotel.
Ted was keen to get going to Wetaskiwin to make full use
of the day, and this would mean missing out on the
Edmonton Aviation Museum which was to open at 10am.
That was before I got into conversation with maintenance
at the Edmonton Flying Club!
In the past I had
communicated with EFC as the school's Diamond DA20-C1 had
come from there, "We could have told you all about
that aircraft" they had said the first time... This
aeroplane had a lot of troubles after we obtained it.
Like Sea Land Air, EFC have Diamond aircraft and they are
disenchanted in many ways as the London Ontario Diamond
Aircraft factory appears to be going through troubles.
They also have a Thielert powered DA42, and they do not
think that these diesel engines are ready for prime time.
All support comes from Germany, parts are expensive, and
the factory is under the delusion that shipping an engine
from Western Canada to Germany for a problem is
I too have come to this conclusion and suggested the DA42
be replaced by two Tecnam twins, but then again where do
you find Rotax engineers in Canada?
Thielert and Rotax engines need what I call "Artist
engineers" with a feel for these mechanical things.
Efficient as they might be they are more complicated than
the simple Lycoming and Continental lawn mower designs.
In England I was
not afraid of Gipsy and Blackburn engines, Hirth, Le
Rhone, etc. They were mechanical devices that a true
engineer could fix.
If your engineer dislikes the engine you give him, you
can expect trouble.
If your engineer delights in novel ideas such as
synchronising carburettors, CDI units, gearboxes, and
clutches, then Rotax engines are the best.
favourably on the Cessna 152, a crude machine by modern
Pilots look on the sleek Diamonds, but these new
aeroplanes cost more and so they gravitate to the cheap.
It's a shame as it's not progress!
I believe that flying in Canada has become too cheap,
this means older aeroplanes with old avionics and unhappy
flying instructors making the same money as twenty years
ago in an economy that has changed.
But then, with the cost of living, many Canadians do not
have sufficient disposable income.
It was now 10:00am
so we might as well visit the museum!
We would learn later that this was to turn out to have
been a good idea
The museum was definitely worth visiting as it is packed
with history. There are some pictures on here to
illustrate some of what is on display. Entry for me was
$10.50; it was less for Ted who gets the 'senior's rate'.
We departed 30 at
Blatchford Field at 17:38z (11.38 local time), turned
south towards Quensnell Bridge while climbing to 4,500
After passing the bridge we were told to call Edmonton
International Tower (118.3) who cleared us southbound via
the 20 and 30 thresholds.
The controller suddenly and urgently asked us to descend,
her radar showed us at 4,700 feet! Our altimeters don't
quite agree front and back but we were at 4,500 feet
indication on the front one, and the encoder is required
to be within 200 feet, so even then it met the tolerance.
No other controller has given us any indication that the
radar altitude was outside of the 200 foot tolerance.
There was a lot of traffic inbound to Edmonton at the
time and so perhaps because the controller did not trust
our encoded altitude we were told to turn to 090º for
several minutes prior to being turned on to 120°, and
then cleared direct to Wetaskiwin.
Most places on this
trip were either not windy or calm but Wetaskiwin had a
really good wind.
We made the calls and joined overhead to see the windsock
and use the correct runway. There was no other traffic.
Landing was at 18:14z after 36 minutes flying.
After signing in in
the terminal we wandered the hangars on that side of the
Alberta's climate allows for the preservation of a lot of
old junk which becomes treasure as time passes.
There is always a lot to discover.
A glance into one hangar showed some bits of aeroplanes
being restored, on one side was what appeared to be a
Lysander looking better than new, and in the back there
was a P39 Airacobra. Outside, the hulk of a Norseman
fuselage sat waiting for attention.
We taxied across to
the museum only to find it was closed on Mondays as of
the beginning of September... The point of this trip was
to visit the Reynolds collection and in this we were
Two ladies out for their walk chatted to us across the
gate and gave us some suggestions for where to eat
A phone call to Red Deer and there was a suggestion for
sub sandwiches there, and it's as short in time to fly
there as to go a few miles from where we were on the
Takeoff was at
19:19z and we wended our way down to Red Deer making
traffic reports to Ponoka, Lacombe, and Mustang
(Helicopters) on the way.
We joined through the overhead and turned to follow a
Cessna 172 around the circuit. Red Deer has its share of
The Cessna landed and was turning to backtrack the
runway. There was some confusion as he was deciding
whether to continue this or to exit onto runway 34 with
the Chipmunk on final... We decided to go around.
Landing was at 20:00z.
We decided to leave fueling to later as I was hungry! It
was a ten minute walk to the local General Store which is
multi role being a pub and a café at the same time.
The shop attendant - sandwich making girl was sitting
outside the quiet General Store smoking a cigarette, and
later there were others smoking outside. I suppose life
must be a bit boring and so you might as well shorten it.
Ted had a sub, I had a wrap, and I took the opportunity
to buy some bananas and granola bars as rations in case
we needed them later.
Fuel was more expensive here at $2.03/litre, and we
needed 37.6 litres to fill the tanks.
I looked at the
route to Golden with the marked VFR route beginning to
the west of Calgary, or we could go straight across,
flying up the remote Red Deer River valley to rejoin the
VFR route north of Lake Louise.
For this flight I drew a line on the map as we were
crossing the country without a road, or railway to
follow, and the river isn't straight.
Takeoff was at
22:01z heading 235° magnetic aiming for the source of
the Red Deer River at 4,500 feet.
The objective was to climb when we needed to climb for by
that time we would have burned some fuel and a lighter
aeroplane climbs better. There was no upper tailwind to
make climbing earlier an efficient proposition.
Ten miles into the mountain valley (22:57z) we reached
9,000 feet using the mountains to assist our climb.
Lift was evident in the small cumulus clouds that formed
in the rising air on the sunny sides of the mountains.
We passed north of Mount St Bride at 23:03z where I took
the picture of "The Red Deer Valley, looking
Around the corner over the Pipestone River and heading
southwestwards we picked up the TransCanada Highway and
did the U turn to north west to descend into Golden where
we landed at 23:42z, 1hour 41min, and we added 54 litres
100LL at $1.94/litre.
I went into the
little terminal to close the flightplan and met the
meteorologist lady who was sitting in an arm chair
reading a philosophy tome with her dog at her feet.
It seemed like an idyllic relaxed lifestyle she was
Outside a chap had come over to look at the Chipmunk
while Ted was fueling it.
Another chap turned up on a bicycle and helped us find
rope to tie the aeroplane down... We moved the aeroplane
to one spot, and then right across the 'apron' to another
spot besides the 'terminal' where we tied her down for
The met person told
us of where we mught stay, and where we might eat in
Golden. We decided to stay at Mary's Motel and a pickup
truck was sent out to pick us up.