FERRY FLIGHT “ORDEAL”
Chris was moving up from a Sky Raider to a BushCaddy which he located in
One of the worst parts of the trip was getting out there. Chris booked us
By 10 that morning we were looking over the plane at a cold hangar in Barrhead. We had work to do to get it ready and we were not excited about doing it in -20 temperatures. We certainly picked a cold spell for the whole trip: this was typical of the temps every day. Fortunately, the owner talked his friend Rod MacDonald into making room for us in his heated hangar/shop so we were able, with his facilities, tools and assistance, to get it ready in comfort. Rod had to be one of the most helpful guys I’ve come across and he had a very dry sense of humour as well. In addition, he knew the plane well so was a great source of validation of the planes condition.
Friday morning, Nov. 29, we were fueled, packed up and ready. Rod gave me a check out and by late morning we headed east in clear skies and strong tailwinds. To see the route we followed look at:
First day heading south east towards
We soon left
At this point our ground speed was
125 (normal cruise is around 90). When we turned around to back track our
ground speed dropped to 60 and we quickly became very much less happy than we’d
been to this point. With about six hours of fuel we more irritated than
concerned. Chris suggested it would be better to head south to reduce that
headwind and pretty soon the destination became
What happened at Outlook was very typical of subsequent stops. Initially we had some concerns: there was no one around, the “terminal” building (shack) was deserted and decrepit, the town staff didn’t know who to talk to, there weren’t any visible tie downs and no source of power which we’d need for our morning pre-heat if we were to get that Rotax going.
On the ground at
A local business only a block away was more helpful and put out a call to John Stickel, a local real estate agent who had a hangar on the field. He drove out and helped us into a friends hangar which had hydro, then took us to a motel, picked us up the next morning and hung around while we waited for some pretty heavy fog to dissipate. What started out as a potentially bad situation became the positive result we had every night (even the last night which, initially looked even worse than at Outlook).
Day two started out with an unusual occurrence. While there were clear skies, some pretty dense low fog floated in and out. We thought that by the time we had the engine warmed up it might have lifted so Chris fired up the 912 to warm it up. After 10 minutes the engine began to run very rough so he shut it down wondering if the heavy fog was causing carb icing (rare on a 912). It was icing but not in the carb; the leading edges of the prop blades had a solid ¼” of ice with a tapered coating for a couple of inches back on the aft sides. None of us had ever experienced this before. We spent an hour in a local coffee shop waiting for clearer air. Below is a shot of the back side of the prop. Some of the ice has been broken off the outer 10” of the prop. That’s the icy fog in the background.
Again we headed out into a clear blue sky with temp aloft at -25.
fortunately the cabin heat was quite adequate so we had a pleasant couple of
hours heading for
Sunday morning we were packed and ready for travel and did get airborne but
weather was no better than forecast so we returned to
With the forecast not looking good
and some pressure on the home front, Chris decided to head back to NS on a
commercial flight leaving me to wait it out. By Friday Dec 6 I headed east
.Once again after a clear day, late afternoon brought low ceilings and snow as I approached the Sioux. Here the wind and cold were particularly severe and I felt badly for the attendant getting fuel although he seemed used to it.
At the Sioux I was offered two heated hangers. The first one was a mere $200/ night. I opted for the second one which was only 50. Chris also appreciated this I’m sure.
Another Chris (last name?) was quite helpful in getting me to a hotel and picking me up the next morning.
Saturday was about the coldest so far and it took some time for the cabin heat to dry the frost of the inside of the windows. 2.2 hours got me to the usual low ceilings with snow showers at Geraldton but with marginal VFR I was able to continue another 1.4 hours to Hearst. I’d called ahead to enquire about facilities at Hearst because Geraldton had only inaccessible outside tie downs. Yet again the airport manager Luke was there to let me into his heated hangar and provide a ride to a motel and then pick me up again at 7 Sunday morning. I keep marvelling at how helpful people in this game can be. I was off again at sunrise (also with frosty windows)
and 4.9 hours
later (again thanks to snacks and the “range extender”), landed at
Chris was anxious to get back with the flight so he shuttled to Toronto on Wednesday and thanks to the
airport operator, Jon Sadowski, who put the plane in the hanger the night
before, we were warmed up and ready to go and yet again in clear skies. Guess
what. By early afternoon west of
Here we were convinced our luck had changed. In addition to the cold, wind and snow, no one was around, all the private hangars were locked up, there were no tie downs. And the town staff had no one we could talk to. Chris was looking for motels on his smart phone and found a B and B and as we looked across the field we saw it on the far side. We taxied over, tied the tail to a tree and spent the night. The owner Kevin…. Loaned us his truck to get into town for a restaurant and fuel and had a generator we could use for the pre-heat next morning. Yet again everything worked out just fine.
You can guess what Thursday’s weather was: yes, clear and really cold.
Thanks to Kevin’s generator, we got off just at sunrise and after 4.1 hours
were ready to stop for a break at
Most of this leg was on top of broken but the
2.4 hours later we landed at Dayspring greeted by several of Chris’s club
buddies. After a pleasant evening with Chris and his wife I was on a plane the
next morning to return to
This is Chris (in the middle) at
So why did I say this was a ferry flight ORDEAL? A buddy of mine is a well qualified
instrument rated pilot. After the second delay in