By DA40-180 to Toronto May 2014

7th May
I had a booking in the Citabria; cross country with Tanya from Boundary Bay - Pitt Meadows - Chilliwack and then Chilliwack - Abbotsford - Boundary Bay landing at 12:52.

Chilliwack in the morning then high over Matsqui Island (Mission) heading east in the afternoon

The weather was good and was likely to be good all the way across the mountains and into Alberta, but the next day was forecast to be deteriorating weather and so it was get out of BC now or maybe not for a while.
David Lai was along for the trip and so he flew the first legs of this trip.
The aeroplane took 139.8 litres of fuel to fill the tanks at $1.89/litre [$264.20] at the self serve pump at Boundary Bay Airport.
We took off from Boundary Bay at 23:06z (GMT) which was 16:06 PDT and climbed eastwards.

Clear of the Boundary Bay control zone I switched to Vancouver Terminal on 125.20 and requested a steady climb to 9,500 feet. Our climb took us well above the Lower Mainland traffic.
We were transfered to Vancouver Centre on 124.075 and were told to expedite our climb to 9,500 feet as a Westjet 737 was descending in the opposite direction.
Top of climb was at 23:20z and we passed overhead the opposite direction 737. True airspeed was now 134 knots, 2,200RPM/21.4", and 8.2GPH (later I would lean it even further and save another gallon per hour).

Westjet passes underneath then we enter the mountains

Overhead Penticton 00:03z, the Crows Nest Pass at 01:31z at 9,500 feet, -5C, and landed at Medicine Hat at 02:39z after 3 hours 33 minutes in the air.

We took a taxi to the Days Inn [$15] where we were too late to eat at the nearby Thai restaurant and so settled for English style pub grub at the local bar.
This sat heavily in my stomach and I did not sleep too well.

8th May
The Days Inn had a deal with the Integra Air, Medicine Hat Jet Centre and so my room cost $100.01. The taxi back to the airport cost $16.
Filling the DA40's tanks with 114.4 litres of 100LL cost $235.43 and we were set to go direct to Winnipeg St Andrews. This would be a long leg; would I last?

Takeoff from Medicine Hat was at 16:29z.
Passing Swift Current we were advised to contact Moose Jaw... Approaching the military airspace I tried several times to call Moose Jaw but was unable to get them until I was in a diversion to remain clear. Contact made, we flew south of Moose Jaw military airfield at their request and climbed to 7,500 feet.
This altitude enabled me to do a bit of street flying using the lines of cumulus clouds to find some lift to help us on our way.
We saw one BAe Hawk flying below us at an admirable rate of knots.

Fly just under the clouds and the lift that forms them gives you a boost

Bumping in the gentle turbulence I began to feel the effects more strongly and I decided that I would not survive another hour or so in the air, and so we diverted into Brandon for a pee.
The landing was at 19:54z after 3 hours 25 minutes in the air.

The purchase of a Thunder Bay VNC map took a while and so our departure from Brandon was at 20:21z flying north of Portage le Prairie (Southport) to arrive at St Andrews at 21:26 after a further 1 hour 5 minutes in the air.
We parked by Harv's Airs' busy flying school.

I do not recommend St Andrews for visitors to Winnipeg, it cost $54.90 for a taxi ride into the city. Later you'll see that Winnipeg International is a lot better choice, but that's for the return flight report.
We stayed at the Louis Riel Hotel at $129.65 a night, and walked a fair distance to the Sukhothai Thai restaurant... I do not recommend the green curry here, it was heavily peppered with black pepper and this is not Thai style at all.

One should not use pepper to spice Thai food

Walking back to the hotel in the dark

9th May
The morning in Winnipeg was brilliant, cold but clear.
There was no hurry as David's i-Pad flight planning software showed that Thunder Bay and Fort Frances were both IFR; very poor weather.
After breakfast I had a walk around the city.

Perhaps Louis Riel himself stayed here?

The taxi back to St Andrews took a different route and cost $45.
The DA40 took 128.2 litres fuel for 4 hours 30 minutes airborne, with two takeoffs and and two climbs.

While the weather was brilliant at St Andrews Fort Frances was bad.
We walked around the airfield a bit, then David had a burger, and I had a sandwich for lunch in the Harv's Air cafe.

The weather went to marginal VFR at Fort Frances and so we decided to give it a go... If all failed we'd go into Steinbach and save some money.
We took off at 20:43z... I'd intended to climb to 2,500 feet or so and cruise over at low level, but Winnipeg ATC said "cleared to climb to five thousand five hundred feet; report level". David had filed the flight plan and had told them 5,500 feet.

We cruised over the Lake of the Woods and descended on the east side where we met the weather.
I decided to head south along the edge of the weather, pick up the highway and railway and follow these into Fort Frances.
It was miserable but it was not scud running per s as we still had 800 feet between us and the ground while being clear of cloud. I flew at 80 KIAS with T/O flap selected, a better view ahead, and an easy turn around if needed..
International Falls Airport across the river from Fort Frances was reporting 330-17G22, 1,300 feet overcast, and light rain.
We landed at Fort Frances at 22:06z.

Taxi to the Copper River Inn was $12.
The food and beer was good there, and we walked some of it off afterwards.

10th May
The room rate at the Copper River Inn was $118.65.
'Took a walk down to the local Tim Hortons for a light breakfast, and then the same taxi picked us up for a $14.80 ride back to the airport where we filled the fuel tanks with 46 litres of 100LL. (1 hour 23 minutes flying) $98.24. The fueler, a pilot himself, was impressed at how little fuel was required.

The aim was to go to Sault Ste Marie but this was not to be as the weather was marginal there at best and diversions were not as enticing.
Instead we could go as far as Thunder Bay and take it from there...
We took off at 13:56z and headed over the lakes. There was still a lot of ice to see.
The weather was good all the way except for some turbulence during the last third of the journey.
We landed at Thunder Bay at 15:15z after 1 hour 19 minutes in the air and added 37.8 litres of 100LL (29 litres/hour).

Sault Ste Marie was still marginal weather so let's skip it!
We were airborne again at 16:33z and climbing out over Lake Superior to fly along the American west shore over Sault Ste Marie and all the way to Buttonville with most of the trip flown at 9,500 feet which would be well above the clouds that produce the marginal conditions.

The totaliser in this system is for 40 USG tanks, but this aeroplane has 50 USG tanks so
the 34 gallons indicated is more correct than the 19.7 remaining according to the computer.

Top of climb (9,500') was at 16:58z and at 2,200RPM - 21.2"MP, we were using 7.0 to 7.2 US gallons per hour while the groundspeed was up to 168 knots on the GPS.
We flew over Sault Ste Marie and reached the edge of the undercast at 19:18z passing Wiarton.
Toronto Buttonville warned me of the turbulence caused by the buildings upwind of the strong crosswind but I was up to the task and we landed easily enough at 19:58z after 3 hours 25 minutes in the air at the expense of 26.1 USG indicated by the G1000's fuel totaliser.

You can see the crosswind correction on the approach to Buttonville.
DA40's should be crabbed and straightened as this gusty turbulent crosswind would cause a wingtip strike doing it the slip way.

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