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News and Updates

Ron Cooper passes.

A dear friend and fellow aviator, Ronald (Ron) Ellwood Cooper

June 5, 1942 - January 20, 2013

We shall miss him

On This page:

Minutes for the 47th Annual General Meeting

Notice for Fly-In Breakfast

One of Stanley's Supporters -The County of East hats

Yellowknife or Bust 2012
(a.k.a. Rick and Paul's Excellent Adventure)

by Rick Young


Stanley Sport Aviation's

47th Annual General Meeting

January 26, 2013

7:00 P.M.

Beaverbank Lyons Club

P. O. Box 401
Dartmouth, N. S., B2Y 3Y5


Meeting Location - Beaver Bank Lions Club
Meeting Date - January 26, 2013
Call to Order - 1930

Directors and Executive in Attendance-

President Kevin Layden
Vice-President Brian Chappell
Secretary Norma Chappell
Airport Manager Bob Poirier
Fly-In Chairman Phil Chatterton
Fuel Accounts Rodney MacDougall
Membership Trudy Chatterton
Newsletter Don MacLeod
Safety Officer Sean Whitehead
Social Events Cindy Poirier
Special Events Lynda Layden


Treasurer Keith Landra

There were 32 Members in attendance.

Minutes of the 46th AGM were distributed and read. Secretary Norma asked for acceptance of the minutes as presented. Seconded by Phil Chatterton. Motion approved. There was no business arising from the minutes.

President Kevin welcomed all members that were attending and thanked Keith and Sean, the two Directors whose terms are completed and will not be re-offering.


PRESIDENT'S REPORT 2012 - Kevin Layden

It has been an interesting two year term as President. I have been a Director in various positions for many years but this was my first time as President. The biggest challenge was when the Tax
Assessor decided to pay Stanley a visit. They haven't been around for years and got very excited when they discovered all the new construction.
Most of you were not involved in this process so I will give you a brief explanation of what happened.
The Assessor over valued every building by many times it's value. SSA received the tax bill for
everything and it was huge. I then had to determine how much of the bill belonged to SSA and how
much each Hangar owner owed. Jack Neima met with the Assessors in Truro and got them back to the
Airport to show them the true dollar value of each building. They then did something they first said they would not do, they did a re-assessment and issued a bill that was about half the original.
Rick Young is now working with them to get a tax exemption. Thanks to Larry Wamback and a few other dedicated members we now have a first class shower in the Hilton. The washrooms were also spruced up a little. The next project is to tidy up the bunk room. DNR insisted we clean up the mess Bluenose Soaring Club left. Rodney MacDougall and Bob Poirier went to work on that project.
DNR is responsible for their Clubhouse and the other remaining buildings but indicated that nothing will be done anytime soon. There was a time when we had to beg members to show up for work parties. This is no longer the case. All of the work parties went very well with more than enough workers to tackle the projects Bob had lined up. thanks to a few dedicated and talented members and Directors Stanley Sport Aviation and Stanley Airport is in fantastic physical and financial shape.
Stanley Airport is no longer a weekend destination. Many of our members are now there during the week and also during the Winter. With many Airports dead or dying it is nice to see Stanley growing and getting better every year.
There are two Aircraft under construction at Stanley Airport. Paul Tuttle is building an RV8 using modern methods of Aluminium and rivets. It has a state of the art glass instrument panel. Don Ledger is
building a Super Emeraude the traditional way using wood and fabric. The instrument panel will
have the standard engine and navigation instruments we are all familiar with.

Kevin Layden


"As many already know, this is my final year as Treasurer of Stanley Sport Aviation. Year two went as smooth as year one, thanks to a fantastic membership!
For 2012 we were able to bring in more than we spent, building a solid contingency fund should financial surprises arise. Nevertheless, we continue to improve our airport, such as the excellent improvements to the Stanley Hilton. And I want to thank the many generous donors to our association; those that donate valuable money and/or valuable time!
The club's finances are healthy, and we head into 2013 with a realistic budget that supports our Strategic Plan.
Thanks to everyone for your support, and I wish the new Treasurer a great term serving SSA.

Keith Landra


January 26, 2013 By-Laws update;
Brian I. Chappell, Vice-President, Stanley Sport Association Assoc.

Most of Stanley Sport Aviation Association (SSA) by-laws have never been updated since created December 22, 1970 by the law firm Stewart, MacKeen & Covert so it's time to update some outdated items. Original by-law will be pasted on this page and proposed change below it, these changes will be voted on at the 47th SSA Annual general Meeting January 26th, 2013.

Two revisions have been made to the by-laws since 1970.
1. February 12, 1985 - Change of Name from 'Dartmouth Experimental Aircraft Association'.
2. October 29, 1985 - Special Resolution re membership categories.

By-Law Number:
Membership Section

14 - The annual dues are payable at the end of October for the forthcoming year.
Change to: - The annual dues are payable at the end of December for the forthcoming year.

Meetings Section

19 - The general meeting of the Society shall be the annual meeting and held in the month of October at such time and place as may be determined by the directors.
Change to: - The general meeting of the Society shall be the Annual General Meeting and held with-in 60 days of the end of December at such time and place as may be determined by the directors.

21 - Notice of the time, place and purpose of the meetings shall be given by the Secretary-Treasurer to all members at least two days prior to each meeting.
Change to: - Notice of the time, place and purpose of the meetings shall be given by the Secretary to all members at least two weeks prior to each meeting.

Officers Section

37 - The officers shall be elected at the annual general meeting held in October of each year and shall hold office from immediately following - the annual meeting at which they are elected until the end of the annual meeting in the following year at which the new officers are elected.
Change to: - The officers shall be elected at the annual general meeting held as scheduled in by-law # 19 of each year and shall hold office from immediately following the annual meeting at which they are elected until the end of the annual meeting in two years at which the new officers are elected.

Directors Section

50 - Should any casual vacancy occur among the six Directors elected from the general senior membership, an interim election may be held at a special meeting to fill the vacancy for the balance of the Society year.
Change to: - Should any casual vacancy occur among the Directors elected from the voting full member membership, an interim election may be held if the vacancy occurs during the first year of the two year term at a special meeting to fill the vacancy for the balance of the Society year. If the vacancy occurs during the second year of the two year term the directors may elect to not fill the position or appoint a full member to complete the term.

61 - The directors may not make any single expenditure on behalf of the society in excess of the amount of five hundred dollars ($500.00) without previously obtaining the consent of the general membership.
Change to: - The board members (no one director or executive but with agreement of the majority of the board) may not make any single expenditure on behalf of the society in excess of the amount of two thousand dollars ($2000.00) without previously obtaining the consent of the general membership. This will be for an extreme situation for something not already approved by the general membership in the annual budget.

Audit of Account Section

68 - The society shall at each annual general meeting in October appoint an Auditor or auditors to hold office until the next annual general meeting in October.
Change to: - The society shall at each annual general meeting elect a treasurer to hold office until the next annual general meeting. At the discretion of the directors an independent audit of the elected treasure's book keeping may be conducted.

Approval for the updates noted above will be sought by the general membership at the AGM to be held January 26th, 2013.
These 1970 by-laws still require some updating and fine tuning which will be done a few at a time at upcoming AGM's

Brian I Chappell
Stanley Sport Aviation Association (SSA)

Voting results at the 47th AGM held January 26, 2013.
In Favour - __32_
Against - ___0_
Abstained - ___0_


____________________ Note: - Signed copies sent to NS Registry of Joint Stock Companies, as required
Kevin Layden
President SSA by the Societies Act.

Norma Chappell
Secretary SSA

SECRETARY - Norma Chappell -

The Joint Stock Companies wil be updated with these minutes, financial reports and list of the executive.


Last year was very good in terms of projects finished . Participation was excellent and this type of activity certainly only helps with the work load .
We were successful completing several projects that where time consuming . We had a very good turnout for the cleanup weekend which usually falls on the weekend before the fly in breakfast .The Hilton got a new bathroom , which I understand the ladies are very pleased with , we applied some siding on the painted units primarily #2 hanger and that project will continue into this coming year .
Several of our members took on the project of demolition of the old T hangers , as requested by DNR . The debris was removed and disposed of . DNR where pleased with the speed at which we moved on this ,they are pleased with the result . I am grateful that some of our members have the time and equipment to complete these major projects as it would consume us otherwise . We had a very good turn out for the lumberjack weekend , all runways where cleaned up and should now be safe at approaches . There is some very good fire wood laying at the approaches that we may be able to use this year . Perhaps a chainsaw weekend to cut and collect some for the clubhouse . Thanks to all who helped in one way or another .

Our trailer line is full except that we may be able to squeeze one more in if needed . As of last year we have had to get permission from DNR to add any trailers to the line.
We are completely full as far as club hangers are concerned , and I am thankful that a few hanger owners are accepting tenants which helps a great deal .
We had a few enquiries for new hangers last year , but those that enquired are waiting for our lease to be signed before committing .
This Year
In April or May we will get the water on again , usually the clubhouse first then the trailer line . In May just before the Fly-In breakfast we will have a work party to get things ready for spring. We do have a few chores to get completed this year .
The wind T will be replaced, likely with a wind sock as mother nature has taken the wind T off of its moorings . The clubhouse porch roof needs some attention as the shingles are completely worn out . We will continue our siding program on the number two hanger as funds become available , maybe we can finish it this year . Some of the plumbing in the clubhouse will get an overhaul this year and get changed to the plastic system which is not as prone to breaking as the copper. The clubhouse will get a few additional circuits as the present circuits can get overloaded during active weekends . The pump house may be rebuilt this year but I don't think there is any real requirement just yet . There are a few other projects that may be included this year but we will see where our budget takes us.

Cheers Bob


1. Accounts Receivables as of Dec. 31, 2012, $2455.37

2. Total Fuel sales in litres for 2012, 5123.52 litres ($9956.56)

3. Profit on fuel sales, $848.00

4. Inventory on hand as of Dec. 31, 2012 in litres, 3248 litres or ($6249.00)

5. Petty Cash: 2 x $2.00=$4.00
2 x .25= .50
2 x .10= .20
30 x .01= .30

6. Bank Balance as of Dec. 31, 2012, $4653.93

7. Bank charges $158.81 (receive statements electronically)

8. Expenses: $24.35 Dispensing renewal fee
$22.31 Deposit books

9. Total assets of Fuel Account, $13,358.30

Above assets do not include value of the fuel system which includes two fuel pumps, hoses, nozzles, air pump, lighting, electrical, key lock system, signage, filters, office supplies and programs, stamps, postage supplies, dyked tank and fuel pump stand etc. Estimated value in the area of at least $7500.00 perhaps more by today's prices.

Submitted by,
Rodney MacDougall
S.S.A.A. Fuel Accounts Director


A few aircraft were able to arrive in Stanley on Friday afternoon for our 41st fly-in , however many of the aircraft chose to come in Saturday and Sunday. We had the pleasure of hosting the Yellow Wings Vintage tour this year. Although we were hoping for all 4 aircraft (Harvard, Cornell, Fleet Finch and Tiger Moth) on the Maritime tour, the latter two aircraft had to leave early due to some unforeseen circumstances. As has been the recent trend, several people came to Stanley by motor home, or drove here and pitched tents for the weekend.
As usual we started the weekend with the Friday night corn boil, hosted this year by Jack and Lianne Neima. Saturday morning saw several aircraft from PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia descend into Stanley. It was quite windy with winds in the range of 15-25 knots, which made for many interesting (but safe) landings. We had many interesting activities for the visitors also, such as the forums held on Saturday and Sunday, hayrides, candy drops, the 305 hangar had many crafts, the clubhouse crew had bingo and cake walks for the ladies and children, and we had judging of the registered aircraft on the field.
The forums were well attended forums and were presented by:
" members of the Yellow Wings Vintage Tour;
" Kevin Psutka with a COPA update
" Neil Wolthers who gave a lecture on the Air Cadet movement and the flying scholarship program; and
" Jason Crowell giving a lecture on engine maintenance.

Saturday evening was our annual auction, which is always a popular event. This is an important part of our fly-in as it is an excellent fundraiser for maintenance and field upkeep. Bob and Kevin have a way of entertaining the crowd while coaxing the audience to generously support the fly-in. I would like to thank everyone who supported this event, by contributing, bidding, or both. After the auction everyone went back to the campfire for more entertainment. This year we had a large fireworks display which delighted the crowd.

Sunday was a better day-weather wise as the winds had died down and a lot of flying took place during the day. The Air Cadet Regional Gliding School bought an L-19 aircraft and a glider to Stanley for the day. They offered rides to anyone who wanted one - "FREE OF CHARGE"!! After a day full of activities some of the visitors headed for their home airport.
In the evening the awards ceremony took place at the clubhouse with several people present. The prize winners were:
" Farthest Distance Flown - Fletcher Wade (Comox, BC)
" Best Ultralight - Larry Wamback (Stanley)
" Hodgson Cup (Best Amateur Built Aircraft) - Don Hache C-FTNU (Richibucto, NB)
" Best Antique Classic Aircraft - J3 Cub - Jack Neima (Stanley)
" Best Production Aircraft (Certified) PA-40 Ron Cooper (Digby)
" Best Production Aircraft (Owner Maintained) Steve Eastwick C-120 (Havelock)
" Stanley Cup (Best Overall) - Fletcher Wade (Comox, BC)
" The "Booby Prize" - This prize is awarded for lighthearted fun by members of the "Tower" crew who observe humorous antics about the airfield. It will not be awarded for any dangerous activity. Our recipients this year were Stanley's stalwart aircrew of Jack "the Ace" Neima and Kevin "deadeye" Layden. They flew a carpet bombing attack down the flight line dropping edible bomblets on the visiting aircraft.

After awards presentation several people went to the clubhouse to watch a video of "Paul the Painter" trip to Oshkosh. After that all most people went to the campfire site for some more R & R.

During the fly-in weekend cadets from Windsor and Milford were invited to participate in the fly-in by helping park cars and set up a cadet display. The Windsor cadets did not participate, but the Milford cadets were there on Sunday. The cadets thoroughly enjoyed themselves and volunteered to do both days the following year. The Windsor cadets now have a new commanding officer, so we should give them the opportunity the participate again next year as they are the closest cadet unit to our airport.

As we all know, fly-ins don't just happen. Many thanks have to go out to all the people who volunteered their time to make the fly-in a success. Some of the volunteers took vacation time the week before the fly-in to ensure all the work would be done on time while other volunteers came from other airports to donate their time. Without their generosity the workload would increase significantly.
I would like to thank all the businesses that donated items to Stanley also. Their kind donations help at the auction and also as door prizes. Also, thanks goes out to the people who donated items to 305 Hangar and the auction; also to the people who spent many hours working in the hangars, registration booth or at the clubhouse.
As we do each year, we look forward to our next fly-in where we can once again extend our hospitality, see old acquaintances, meet new friends, and tell a few stories.

Respectfully submitted,

Phil Chatterton
Fly-In Chairman


Well 2012 was another busy year for Stanley Sport Aviation, with 6 new people joining our organization.

A membership renewal notice was put in the fall newsletter, plus on January 3rd, 2013 we e-mailed 45 notices to help cut down on the expensive mailing by Canada Postal service. I only had to mail out 2 notices.

We have a grand total of 106 members including 8 Honorary Lifetime members, but as of today's date only 35 members have paid their 2013 membership dues! One of last year's members, Damien O'Keefe has moved on to the Debert Flight Centre.

Unfortunately, one of our Honorary Lifetime members - Donnie MacDermid from Margaree Valley, Cape Breton passed away on November 12th, 2012. On January 20th, 3013 another longtime member and supporter of Stanley Sport Aviation, Ron Cooper from Digby, also passed away. Hopefully 2013 will be a better year for us.

Respectfully submitted,

Trudy Chatterton
Membership Director


This year ended with 3 newsletters, my thanks to Paul Tuttle and Rick Young for their stories.
As always, it is the membership newsletter and your participation is needed to make it work. There are many stories out there and all you need to do is put it down on paper and I'll make sure it is printed

Respectfully submitted,

Don McLeod
Newsletter Director


No report


Christmas Party

The Christmas Party was held on November 24th. Several people arrived on Friday night and Cindy Poirier was a great help getting the Club House ready. There were 34 adults and 17 children in attendance. Saturday morning Bob hooked the trailer up to the Tractor and a few adults and kids went on a Christmas Tree hunt. The weather was warm, the skies were overcast with fog and drizzle but it did not stop the kids from finding the perfect tree.

Seafood chowder was served at 12:30. At one PM Gail Ledger did crafts with the kids. Gail picked up the supplies and did a great job of putting on this event. Adrian Bent performed his ever popular fantastic magic show at 2 o'clock. Santa and his Elf arrived at 3 PM with gifts for everyone.
Helen Barkhouse arrived with locally knitted mittens for every child. A potluck supper was served at 5 o'clock and there was a great variety of delicious food.

We showed the two traditional Christmas movies after supper was cleaned up. 16 people stayed overnight. Sunday morning there were 13 people in the Club House for breakfast. Stanley members went the extra mile this year for the Food Bank. Jim and Susan Ward had a large box of supplies to take with them to the local Stanley area Food Bank.

Despite the weather Trevor Johnson, his wife and daughter brought their trailer and Stephane
Thibert and his wife drove their motor home to Stanley for the Party. For various reasons not all members were able to attend this event. Audrey Binder, Larry Wamback, Janet Bright, and Tom Forsyth dropped off food but couldn't stay for the festivities.

I would like to thank everyone who helped in the kitchen with food preparation and clean-up.

Lynda Layden


Fly In Breakfast:

This year we had a very successful Fly In breakfast. We served a total of 235 people over the weekend.
I would like to thank the following sponsors for their donations which helped to make this event so successful. Sobeys, Superstore, Joan Mansfield, THI Construction, Danny Awalt, Ernie Mclean.

And of course all the cooks in the kitchen, made everything go so smooth.

Annual Labor Day Fly In:
305 Hanger

On Thursday night when I arrived to start getting ready in the 305 hanger there were little elves already there in the hanger with tables organized and ready to go. You don't know how much I appreciated that. It sure took a big load off of me.

Thanks to all those who helped in the 305 hanger, and events in the Club house. No matter how big or small the jobs are without your help these events would be impossible without you.

Bingo went over well. Cake walk and cupcake walk is always a big thing. (Thanks to all would donated the cakes and cupcakes) we received enough to have this event for two days and every child and adult who participated got something.

If you were around when we had the candy drop, I think just seeing how excited the kids were will speak for itself. Thanks to Jack and his bombardier Kevin for making this event happen.

We had a Jelly Bean guess and the winner was Samantha Layden with a guess of 236 jelly beans

Bake table (let's just say we have a lot of people out there with a sweet tooth) just about everything sold on Saturday. Thanks to all the happy bakers.

Thanks to Keith Landra for setting up the flight simulator and for manning it.

This year we had some new recruits helping at the fish pond. Thanks to Jett and Jared Crowell and Kristen and Samantha Layden. I hope to see you there next year.

We had two 50/50 draws one on Saturday (Gail Ledger won) and one on Sunday (Paul Tuttle won)

Thanks again to everyone for all the support you given me for these events.
Cindy Poirier
Special Event Director


1 There was some discussion about raising the price of the Fly-In Breakfast to $8.00 per person. As there was no agreement on this it will be discussed at the next Director's Meeting.
2 Budget - As there was no discussion on the new Budget, Brian Chappell made a motion to accept the Budget as presented, seconded by Don Ledger. Approved.

3 Brian had presented the changes to the By-Laws in his report and he made a motion to accept the changes, seconded by Don McLeod.

4 Motion by Brian Chappell to accept the actions of the Executive and Directors, seconded by Rick Young. Approved.
5 Jim Ward has been gathering some Stanley Airport Memorabilia that he will donate to Stanley.


Jim Ward as Chairman of the Nominations took over the meeting to conduct this years elections which saw one Executive Position up for election, which was Treasurer.

As Keith Landra was not re-offering there was one nomination for Treasurer which was Rick Young, Jim asked three times for nominations from the floor, there being none Rick was acclaimed as Treasurer.

There were four Directors that were finishing their terms, Bob Poirier, Rodney MacDougall, Phil Chatterton and Sean Whitehead. The following names were put forward for Directors - Bob Poirier, Rodney MacDougall, Phil Chatterton, and Don Ledger. Jim asked three times for nominations from the floor, there being one the following were acclaimed as Directors. The positions to be determined at the next Director's Meeting. Positions will then be posted and members advised.

The meeting was adjourned at 2045.

Minutes by:
Norma Chappell

Executive and Director's positions as per the first Director's Meeting after the AGM-


President Kevin Layden (902) 462-5813
Vice President Brian Chappell (902) 835-4843
Treasurer Rick Young (902) 483-2976
Secretary Norma Chappell (902) 835-4843


Airport Manager Bob Poirier (902)889-3040
Fly-in Chairman Phil Chatterton (902) 462-8668
Fuel Accounts Rodney MacDougall (902) 864-2321
Membership Trudy Chatterton (902) 462-8668
Newsletter Editor Don Mcleod (902) 742-9365
Safety Officer Don Ledger (902) 832-1962
Social Events Lynda Layden (902)462-5813
Special Events Cindy Poirier (902) 889-3040


SSA's Annual

Fly-In Breakfast

May 18 & 19

(Victoria Day Weekend)


Details to follow...(see also the Fly-Ins page)


For more information including the Windsock or the Stanley Fly-In pages please click on the banners on the home page.

P. O. Box 401
Dartmouth, N. S., B2Y 3Y5


Latest News

Home of the Worlds Highest Tides

Stanley Sort Aviation Association (SSAA)recently received a grant from the Municipality of East Hants under the East Hants Municipal Grants Program. Stanley Sport Aviation Association would like to thank East Hants for its support and the municipality's recognition of Stanley's value to the Municipality of East Hants both as a tourist attraction and as a provider of employment as well as the user of services and materials and its contribution as a taxpayer.

SSAA is frequently visited by pilots from this and other municipalities in Nova Scotia, the other Maritime provinces as well as Quebec, Ontario and northeastern United States. Pilots and their airplanes from as far west as British Columbia and Texas as well as Louisana have flown into Stanley Airfield to participate in our Labour Day Weekend Annual Fly-In. The Annual Stanley Fly-In is a recognized aviation event in Canada known across this country and in the United States.

2013 will see the celebration of the 42nd Annual Fly-In at Stanley.

2012 Yearly Notes


Yellowknife or Bust 2012
(a.k.a. Rick and Paul's Excellent Adventure)

by Rick Young

5,680.3 NM, 59.9 hours airtime and 28 legs to 26 different airports over 14 days between July 9 and July 22, 2012.

It was a once in a lifetime adventure.

It all started in December 2011 when Air1 Insurance sent me a discount coupon for John Lovelace's Century Flight Club 2012 Yellowknife Adventure. Now, in case the name doesn't spark any memories, John was the host of the "Wings Over Canada" TV series a few years back, and he organized the 100 plane Cross Canada Adventure in 2009 to mark the centennial of powered flight in Canada. Well, this Century Flight Club has kept going and each year they organize the route, activities and accommodations and about 100 aircraft and crew strike out for some destination a person wouldn't normally fly to by their lonesome.
The idea intrigued me, but I was a bit leery about being the sole (relatively low time) pilot on such a journey. An e-mail to my former flight instructor at Debert, Paul Gamble, had that concern resolved in no time - no hesitation at all, he was in! (And my wife, Jody, was relieved that she was off the hook for the trip!)
And so it was that I picked Paul up in Debert after kissing my wife and dog goodbye at Stanley on the afternoon of July 9.

Paul Gamble and Rick Young


Rocky Start

Our first fuel stop that afternoon was Fredericton. Headwinds made it impractical to proceed to our first planned stop in St. Georges, PQ. Paul was flying and upon reducing power for our descent, the engine started running rough. We re-fueled and did a run up/magneto check with no joy. The folks at Capital Airways had someone coming in that night, so we tied down and headed to the Amsterdam Inn. Next morning, we learned that we had a stuck exhaust valve…not the sort of news you want at the commencement of an epic flight! Despite having to pull the cylinder and run it into an engine shop in town, Jerry Waugh and the lads had us back in the air by 4:00 pm that afternoon and on our way to Quebec City. (My wallet was a bit lighter so even in high density altitude conditions the plane seemed to climb a bit better.)
Now, we were supposed to meet up with the Eastern tour group in Elliot Lake, Ontario, that evening. Needless to say, that wasn't going to happen. So, after a brief stay in La Belle Province (we arrived about 7:00 pm and left at 05:30 the next morning), we were on our way.
The headwinds continued to impede our progress, making ground speeds of much over 70 knots impossible. However, after 10.5 long, long hours in the air we managed to catch up with the group in Thunder Bay, going via Val D'or, PQ and Chapleau, ON. Bed felt good that night, but we were with the group and back on schedule.

The Adventure Begins

Having never been on a long distance, organized tour before, neither Paul nor I really knew what to expect. Well, expect great things! We got to meet about 20 other crews that night at supper, and not a pretentious SOB in the house! A few folks were better healed than others, but you'd never know it - just a great collection of average aviation aficionados who love to fly whatever they can afford to and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals, and wanted to see the North! First timers like us were in the minority as most of the participants were on at least their second or third trip with The Club.
The first stop was to be Brandon, with fuel stops at Dryden and Steinbach North. Century Flight had fuel discounts arranged at designated stops along the way. However, Steinbach North gives a whole new meaning to "Self-Serve". You pump your own avgas (relatively normal), but you have to follow directions to learn to take the meter readings, fill out the fuel log, calculate the total, then fill out your own credit card slip and run it through a manual imprinter, dropping their copies in a slotted box! However, at $1.71 per litre, taxes in, it's worth it! The close to +40 C humidex that day made getting that cheap gas back into the air rather challenging on their short strip, but with no metal bent we were on our way. The tourist bureau in Brandon had freebies and transportation arranged for us, so we settled into another evening of camaraderie.
Smoke 'Em if You've Got 'Em
Now, normally when you plan a trip across most of the continent, weather is going to be an issue on just about any given day. Not so on this junket. However, smoke from a number of raging forest fires in the northern Prairies and Ontario was about to become an issue. By the time we arrived in Saskatoon, visibility was starting to drop and crews were frantically trying to figure out how to get around it to Edmonton. We went south to Red Deer, others went to North Battleford/Yorkton. After consulting with some of the organizers already in Edmonton, we decided to give it a try. It was pretty close to minimums, but we made it to Edmonton City Centre on the evening of July 13, in plenty of time for the big pig roast on the 14th. Those who went north did not, which was not a big issue since the Eastern Group were arriving a day earlier than the Western folks anyway.
The Western folks and the remnants of the Eastern group caught up on the 14th. The plan was to head out to Yellowknife on the 15th. That's when the first weather delay hit - it was torrential downpour all day and didn't clear out until about 7:00 am on the 16th. We were able to take in the West Edmonton Mall, visit the Aviation Museum just up the street and get our laundry done during the two days there, so all in all, time well spent.
North of 60
Bright and early on the 16th, after the daily briefing and breakfast (do not expect to sleep in on these tours), everyone headed to the airport to retrieve their planes from the soggy ground (one Maule from California would have been better situated had it been on floats). The original intent was to have about half the planes take a westerly route via Slave Lake, High Level and Hay River to Yellowknife, while the easterly route would go to Fort McMurray and Fort Smith. Smoke meant that non-IFR had to follow the eastern route.
It becomes apparent in a hurry that a hundred extra planes in the area can cause some "challenges" for Air Traffic Control. Besides getting out of Edmonton, with as many as 20 extra aircraft in the circuit at any given time, the NavCan folks in McMurray and Smith had their hands full, as did Yellowknife when everyone converged! They rose to the challenge, but it certainly gives some credence to the old saying "Time to spare - go by air!"
Speaking of Fort Smith, I got to meet my first "Ice Pilots" personality there while re-fueling! Scott Blue is now flying CL215 water bombers out of here, so we had a great yarn and I managed to capture this shot…and no, I'm not that short! (Just in case there's any doubt, he's also one hell of a nice guy!)

Rick Young and Scott Blue

Anyway. smoke be damned, we were on our way to Great Slave Lake and The North! Here's a shot of Preble Island…now you know what I meant by smoke and why there haven't been many aerial photos thus far.

Smoke Haze from Forest Fire Greets the pilots as they approach Yellow Knife

Yellowknife at Last - Where the Buffalo (Air) Roam

If you've never been there, north of 60 is an experience and Yellowknife is the epitome of that experience. It was and still is a gold and diamond town, and despite only being around 20,000 in population, it has all the modern conveniences…like Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire! But for general aviation nuts, it's like coming home. Bush planes built the north, and they continue to allow it to exist. So while it looks like most other cities on approach…
it has a few things other places do not!


Just a few notes on the above:
" Mikey has lost one crap-pile of weight (he's working on a F-18 ride)
" Joe was in fine form, stopping fueling of the sched until the rampie found a replacement ground strap
" Chuck is back at Buffalo…for now anyway
" That's the Electra that had a gear-up (on one side) landing a few months back…it was fixed within two weeks
" That is me warming Joe's preferred office seat in the DC-3 sched (plus the view from the office window next to it), and Paul standing by the tail.
Apologies for the use of space if you don't follow the "Ice Pilots" on TV…but chances are you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't anyway.

Other sites worth seeing:

The Bush Pilot's Monument

Old Town as seen from the Pilot's Monument

View of the tundra between Yellowknife and Hay River WITHOUT the smoke (Hay River ended being the only fly-out during the four days there due to weather in both Fort Smith and Fort Simpson).


If you haven't been to the north, you owe it to yourself to put a trip on your bucket list, especially if you're a pilot. It doesn't get more GA friendly than this!
Homeward Bound
With 38 hours already on the "fresh" oil, a change was due before leaving Yellowknife. Taxiing to Diamond Aviation, where I'd managed to rent hangar space for a few hours to perform the maintenance, I found I could only turn in one direction…air lock in the right brake! With neither Paul nor I having tackled this dilemma before, we figured professional help was warranted before we broke something. Lesson 1 - good luck finding an AME in Yellowknife! Thankfully, Chris Bullerdick from Norland Aircraft Services was on the tour with us. One panic-stricken phone call and about 45 minutes to finish lunch later, he was there with his flying partner Fred. Ten more minutes and FPEC was ready to roll (and stop again).
We departed Yellowknife at 06:30 on the morning of July 20. First stop - Uranium City, where we found no one in attendance, no cell or internet coverage and no form of communication available! Thankfully, they are a trusting lot and the avgas pump was operational. We filled in our own log, left our registration and cell phone number and got back in the air so that we could close one flight plan and file another…this time to La Ronge. Next was Swan River, followed by Red Lake, where we had planned on stopping. One minor issue - no room at the inn (either of them). It was apparently their festival weekend. So, we saddled up again and set out to Sioux Lookout.
Next morning, we launched for Marathon - and caught up to another huge batch of forest fire smoke! If visibility on landing was not at dead minimums, it was pretty blinking close, as two others from the tour (including Chris and Fred) also found. I haven't paid that close attention to flight instruments since hood training! A few hours on the ground, visibility improved and after a bite of lunch we all went our separate ways once again.
Elliot Lake was our intended destination until we checked the CFS and discovered there are no fuel sales there on a Saturday afternoon this time of year. A minor deviation to Sudbury, followed by a short run to Pembroke finished us for another day. (Traveler's Tip - if you fly into Pembroke, which is one of the friendliest little airports I've ever visited, book a motel in Petawawa! We booked in Pembroke and it was a 30 minute cab ride from the airport! Petawawa is just a couple of minutes/miles away.)
Off bright and early Sunday morning, we stopped in St. Georges, PQ (our original intended first stop on the outbound trip) and then arrived in Debert, NS about 16:30 that afternoon, where we refueled for the last time and Paul and I parted company for the first time in two weeks. FPEC was back in her hangar and I was on the way home by 18:15 local.
The Bottom Line
Many of us, especially relatively low-time pilots like me, are somewhat timid of distances and controlled airspace. Spread your wings or you'll be sentencing yourself to the aviation equivalent of "never leaving the 'hood". If you can convince a more experienced friend to come along, you'll not only gain the confidence you need to expand your horizons - you'll probably find someone more than willing to share the expenses. Prepare, prepare, prepare - and start months in advance. Don't focus on wardrobe - think survival gear (especially if the destination is remote or includes lots or water), emergency repairs/maintenance on your own, charts/avionics, tie downs and covers - and food, snacks and water! (Protein bars were the food du jour on a couple of days.) And, most importantly, consider an organized tour. The structure, planning and camaraderie brought into the equation by experts such as John Lovelace and the Century Flight Club will significantly improve your chances of success and enjoyment, on a long journey you probably would not consider doing alone.
The 2013 trip is to Atlantic Canada - perhaps we'll see you in the group!





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