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Pilot Report - Over The Canadian Rockies (70+pics)  
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 8416 times:

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I wrote my last trip report so I decided to enlighten you with another one. I fly very often, both as passenger and as pilot, so I could probably write a trip report about every flight, however as much as I enjoy it, I do have a life and I’m sure you folks can only read so many YYC-YWG flights on WJ.

This trip report will cover my flight that took place on Saturday May 26th 2007 from Calgary AB to Canmore AB, which is located about 100 km West of Calgary, shortly after you enter the Rocky Mountains (from the East).

Banff National park starts at Canmore as well so if you ever have the chance to visit here, I highly recommend it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you’ll find plenty of things to do year round. Banff, Canmore, & Lake Louise are quite popular with the Europeans, Japanese, Aussies, etc. and there are dozens of flights to YYC from many European countries bringing a lot of tourists here to enjoy the magnificent Canadian Rockies. So how is that for a little advertisement?

Now back to my trip report…

On today’s flight, I was the pilot in command, with my friend Andrew as my co-pilot, flying a Diamond Star DA40, reg. C-FNAC. Some of you may have seen my previous trip reports so you’ll know which aircraft I’m talking about. She’s a lot of fun to fly and some of you here who have flown her will attest to that.

The photo below was taken last year, but I wanted to include it here so you can see the aircraft.


Our only passenger this day was my little Finnish friend Anne from Järvenpää, Finland. She came here for a two week vacation, so what better way to entertain her than to take her for a flight over the Alberta Rockies?

Andrew is also a certified flight instructor (and was my instructor for my night rating) so as you’ll see here he took control of the airplane for portions of the flight to let us enjoy the view and take some pictures. The camera we used today was a Nikon D50 and the lens a Nikkor fisheye lens. This is the reason some pictures seem to be distorted a bit. All three of use took turns taking photos and I’d like to note that we are just amateur photographers, and we’re still trying to figure out what settings to use. However I hope you enjoy them just the way they are.

After taking care of some pre-flight tasks (fueling up the plane, walk around, weight and balance, document checks, weather checks, notams, flight planning, etc.) the three of us hopped into the DA40 and strapped in.

While I was doing the pre-flight inspection, I saw a private L-39 taxi to the hangar. It belongs to a gentleman here in town and it shares a hangar with some of our school airplanes. It must be a rush to fly that.


After the passenger briefing I started the engine and completed the required checks and radioed “Clearance Delivery” with the ATIS, to get our squawk code. Shortly after it was “Ground” on 121.9 and obtain our taxi clearance to the holding bay of runway 34 for our run-up.

Taxiing from our ramp to the 34 holding bay for run-up


This was the 2200Z METAR. By the time we departed it changed slightly, but this was the last one I actually had printed. Of course, before contacting Clearance Delivery we got the latest one.

METAR CYYC 262200Z 14005KT 40SM FEW070 FEW150 BKN250 19/00 A2987 RMK CU1AC1CS0 SLP128=

The runways in use were 16 and 10. Calgary’s third runway and the smallest one (07-25) was closed due to construction/maintenance, as well as portions of taxiway Charlie. In the distance I could see a lot of construction equipment and men working in the area I just specified, therefore the ATC instructions were a little different than normal. Usually we taxi North on Charlie ‘till Uniform, but this time it was a little different. After run-up, instructions from Ground was to cross RWY 16 (at the 34 threshold), taxi North on Alpha, cross 07 and turn right on Uniform taxiway and hold short of 16.

Taxiing on Alpha taxiway, passing the Esso Ramp


We barely got to taxiway Uniform when Tower told us to taxi to position on runway 16. Five seconds later: “November Alpha Charlie, heading two five zero degrees after take-off, not above four thousand five hundred, wind (??), from Uniform, cleared for take-off, runway one six”.

Lining up in position on runway 16


I applied full power, accelerated to the required speed and rotated, climbing with T/O flaps, maintaining runway heading. At 500 feet AGL I turned gently to a heading of 250 then flaps went up, fuel pump off, landing lights off…etc.

Accelerating toward our Vr speed


Lifting off the runway… (Picture taken from the back seat, by Anne)


Men/Women & machinery at, work on Charlie taxiway.


Climb away… Runway 07-25 visible just behind the wing…


Esso Ramp and McKnight Blvd. can be seen out the rear right window.


Around 4300 feet Tower came on again “November Alpha Charlie, contact Calgary Terminal now, on 119.4, see you in a bit” Calgary Terminal cleared us for the short city tour, keeping us West of McLeod Trail and South of the Trans Canada Highway. Basically we had the entire South-West quadrant of the city to ourselves. I steered the DA40 toward the downtown core.

Heading West climbing to 4500 feet. downtown Calgary can be seen to the left


Flying South, toward downtown. The freeway can be seen to our left




Downtown Calgary. I like the effect the fisheye lense creates


South West Calgary


Glenmore Reservoir


Back near downtown






Andrew was flying from the right seat while I snapped some shots of downtown














We flew from downtown toward Chinook Centre (mall) then turned over Glenmore Reservoir, coming back toward downtown. Andrew took over the controls for a bit so we can take some photos and also give Anne a brief verbal description of what was below us. Once that was over we started heading toward Brag-Creek and then to Canmore.

Flying toward Brag-Creek. Me at the controls


Climbing over the mountains in Kananaskis Country. Andrew at the controls


We were handed over to Springbank Tower and climbed from 5000’ to 6500’. Once over Bragg Creek, we climbed up toward 8500’ to clear the mountains below us. I took control while leaving the Calgary area, however around Bragg-Creek, I had Andrew fly us toward Kananaskis Country, because he knows the area way better and I wanted to take more pictures / enjoy the scenery.

You can see how high some of these mountains are. Pretty impressive view






Andrew, Anne and Me (giving the thumbs up for a cool flight)


Anne enjoying the view and of course, all the room she needs . Better than first class


More amazing views…




We flew very close to the Nakiska Ski Resort, where the 1988 Olympics were held for the downhill skiing competitions. (That fact needs to be confirmed, but I’m pretty sure that’s where they held it), after which we proceeded toward Canmore. Once in the Canmore area, we tuned to the appropriate frequency and made our position reports. Canmore doesn’t have an airfield, however it does have a heliport and there is frequent traffic of helicopters around the area. We did see a chopper cruise very low above the town, but it was of no concern to us. He was way out of our way. We continued a little more West until we crossed into Banff National Park, then turned around and started heading toward Calgary, this time though, following the Trans Canada Highway. Andrew flew most of the time while in the Canmore area, however as we exited the mountains, I took control and flew the remainder of the flight.

Heading toward Canmore














The town of Canmore, Alberta




Andrew and I checking the map






Heading back to Calgary




Anne checking out the view… Must’ve been quite captivating


Exiting the mountains…


With me at the controls again, we headed back flying along Trans Canada Highway, flying toward Springbank.




Leaving the Rockies behind us…


Back in CYBW’s airspace (Springbank), we were cleared to 5500, then to 5000 and followed the “Banff Coach procedure” to enter CYYC’s terminal airspace. We were cleared right base for runway 16, so I took a NE heading and flew over Country Hills and NorthWest Calgary.

Over Springbank, heading toward YYC


North-West Country Hills








Andrew tuned the ILS for 16 and we used it as a reference while maintaining VFR at all times. An Air Canada A330 (headed to either Frankfurt or London Heathrow) was holding short for us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It really makes a difference flying to and from a big airport. The landing fees we have to pay are worth it. It’s a great feeling to see a heavy hold short for you, plus the experience you get here at YYC is fantastic. I wonder what those A330 pilots were thinking seeing our little single engine landing right in front of them.

Approaching Runway 16 at Calgary International


Short final, runway 16…


Air Canada’s A330 holding short for us…



I have to say I touched down pretty smoothly and got a nice compliment from the girl in the back “Nice landing Vio.”… yeah I know… show off… Hey, I take pride in good landings. Tower told us to keep our speed up a little and exit on runway 07, then contact Ground. We did just that and ended up taxiing right by the hard working men and women who were fixing up the taxiway. I waved to one of them and got a wave back.

After touchdown on runway 16




After obtaining clearance from the Ground controller, we taxied Charlie the rest of the way to our ramp on the South-East side of the airport. Just as we shut down the engine, the Air Canada A330 lifted up toward the sky, starting her long flight across the pond to Europe.

Taxiing on Charlie taxiway toward the South East Ramp




Air Canada’s A330 taking off 16


With a total hobs of 1.5 hours and 1.3 hours in the air, I have to say this was a very enjoyable flight. A little turbulent in the mountains, but that’s something to expect. I love flying the DA40 and I love flying around Calgary. The scenery is breathtaking and flying wise… it’s never a dull moment. Plenty of things to keep you busy, especially coming in to land at CYYC.

… some photos of our little bird






I hope you enjoyed my trip report and the photos. Please leave a comment (or questions) and let me know what you think. I’ve put quite a bit of effort in this report, so even a few lines would be appreciated.

My next trip report will be of my upcoming trip to Boston, however this time, I’ll be just a passenger flying with Air Canada, via Toronto (outbound) and Montreal (return). Thanks again everyone.


P.S. Below, I’ve included some photos of Canmore, Alberta. They were taken by me about a month ago. This is just to give you an idea of how the town looks from “below”.














Happy flying,



Vio Ludusan,
Calgary, AB, Canada


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1916 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 8301 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and photos!

767747


User currently offlinePilot320 From Croatia, joined Jun 2005, 93 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 8191 times:

hi Vio,

TR is very nice, well written and photos are great, fish-eye lens looks very useful for this kind of TRs!

once again, great report  bigthumbsup 


User currently offlinePILOTALLEN From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 656 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8173 times:

Very nice report, love the pictures of the rockies! looks like fun to fly around


Thats not flying, thats falling with style -Woody
User currently offlineSketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1776 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8166 times:

This is a fab trip report. Ive just taken my very first fkying lesson and this is the kind of view ( no mountains or anything though) I had of where I live.
Ive been flying on planes for years but flying in a small plane has really got my blood boiling to do it again

Thanks for the wicked photos


Lee



There's flying and then there's flying
User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1524 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 8003 times:

Wonderful report Vio. The Rockies are magnificent altho I don't know that a lens like that would be the one I choose.That is a spiffy little plane ya got there too!  bigthumbsup 


too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7837 times:

Nice report! The DA-40 looks like a great, clean little plane. How is it to fly?

User currently offlineNWA742 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7784 times:

Awesome report and fantastic pics. Very beautiful scenery around there.




-NWA742


User currently offlineCxtra From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7780 times:

Wow, the plane looks completely miniature from the outside but very roomy inside. Better, as you say, than domestic first! And the leather seats.. very classy. I love the pics of the Rockies.. should visit soon!  Smile


Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7580 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
Great report and photos!



Quoting Pilot320 (Reply 2):
TR is very nice



Quoting Pilot320 (Reply 2):
Very nice report



Quoting PILOTALLEN (Reply 3):
Very nice report



Quoting Sketty222 (Reply 4):
This is a fab trip report



Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 5):
Wonderful report Vio



Quoting QantasA332 (Reply 6):
Nice report



Quoting NWA742 (Reply 7):
Awesome report and fantastic pics

Thank you everyone! I appreciate the fact that you took the time to read it and comment on it. The Rockies are fantastic to fly over. I can never get tired of them.

Quoting Pilot320 (Reply 2):
fish-eye lens looks very useful for this kind of TRs!



Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 5):
don't know that a lens like that would be the one I choose

LOL... As you can see guys, it's a matter of prefference, and I agree with both of you. Certain shots are nice with the fisheye, but a regular lense sometimes would work better. Big grin

Quoting Cxtra (Reply 8):
plane looks completely miniature from the outside but very roomy inside

You know what, it really is a comfortable plane, but not as comfortable as it looks.  Smile The seats are a little hard on your back after flying 2 or 3 hours, but then again, I haven't flown a type yet where it was "super" comfy. One day, when I get to fly the big Bus or Boeings, we'll see how those seats are... for now, I'll take what I can have  Smile



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7551 times:

Fantastic photos, I love the mountains and hope to get a chance to visit Canada in the near future, looks like a wonderful country to me.

User currently offlineEasyHoliday From Indonesia, joined Jan 2006, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 7482 times:

Thanks for sharing the trip report and pictures. The Canadian Rockies trully are magnificent.

Quoting Vio (Thread starter):
quite popular with the Europeans, Japanese, Aussies, etc. and there are dozens of flights to YYC from many European countries bringing a lot of tourists here to enjoy the magnificent Canadian Rockies. So how is that for a little advertisement?

Please include Indonesian on that list  Smile I've been there 3 times for the last 2 years. Lake Louise is my favourite place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Steven


User currently offlineInfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1447 posts, RR: 33
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 7470 times:

Wow, wow wow! What an experience and what great photos!


"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineMSYYZ From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 7393 times:

Very nice pics indeed , thanks Vio for sharing them with us .


A346,A343,A342,A332,A333,A310,A300,AB6,A319,A320,A321,B741,B744,B777,B767,B732,B735,B727,B707,B757,MD80,F-70,E-170,B738
User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 7337 times:

Great work. Beautiful area to fly over it looks like.

Hopefully when I get a new camera soon I can write something up for some XC's I have planned in the next few months in a Seminole.


User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 7139 times:

Quoting EasyHoliday (Reply 11):
Please include Indonesian on that list

I shall do that! Actually I met people from EVERYWHERE here. I think Canada's fairly cheap compared to some other places (ie: Norway), though Norway is a beautiful country as well.

Quoting Infodesk (Reply 12):
Wow, wow wow! What an experience and what great photos!

Why thank you. That means a lot coming from you. You've got some awesome pics too in your reports.

Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 14):
Hopefully when I get a new camera soon I can write something up for some XC's I have planned in the next few months in a Seminole.

 Wow! Ooooh! Please do!!! I'd love to see that!



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7111 times:

Fantastic. When is the best time to visit?

User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7108 times:

Quoting Semsem (Reply 16):
Fantastic. When is the best time to visit?

Well that would totally depend on what you'd like to do. If you're a winter sports enthusiast, then March / April is probably the best time. December is a little crowded and Jan. / Feb. is just bloody cold. If summer's your thing, then July is by far the best month. Very little rain, Calgary Stampede is in full swing, so there will be lots of things to do and see.

Cheers,

Vio



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineInfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1447 posts, RR: 33
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7061 times:

Quoting Vio (Reply 15):
You've got some awesome pics too in your reports

Thanks for the compliment, but they are nothing compared to the ones you've posted!



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6808 times:

Quoting Infodesk (Reply 18):
but they are nothing compared to the ones you've posted!

Aww now I'm blushing  Smile ... Next time you come to Canada I owe you a flight  Smile



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6759 times:

Great trip report, one that makes me jealous of your pilot's license!

User currently offlineA320ajm From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6554 times:

I would feel a bit nervous flying over mountains. If you looe power there would be nowhere to land the plane on a flat surface e.g. a field. I really like the sceary because i like to hike in the Lake Distrit (a bit of an anti-climax compared to the rockie). There are some really good photos there.
Thanks for the cool photos
A320ajm



If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
User currently offlineBoeingOnFinal From Norway, joined Apr 2006, 476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6545 times:

Awsome trip report Vio! I love everyone you've ever posted. And you are right, Norway is expensive! I am currently at 43,5 hours (only 1,5 more hours and I can take my Skill Test and move on with the education!), and I have paid $12,700 so far. But it is worth it, at least so far.

How do you experience flying after you got each individual certificate? Did the rate of fun, eagerness to learn and to get experience rise or sink?

And also, how was the mechanical turbulence over the Rockies? I assume it can be quite bumpy if the winds reach 10-20 KT or more?



norwegianpilot.blogspot.com
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1401 posts, RR: 10
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 6509 times:

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 20):
that makes me jealous of your pilot's license!

Awww. I'm sorry to hear that, but getting one isn't so hard, especially if you have the passion and a little-bit of money.I hope that you'll be able to get a PPL as well (I say that because some face challenges such as, bad eyesight, etc.) Thanks for the comment

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 21):
I would feel a bit nervous flying over mountains. If you looe power there would be nowhere to land the plane on a flat surface e.g. a field

Flying in the mountains does require extra attention and generally speaking it is a little more dangerous. There are also VFR routes assigned and we try to fly near roads/highways. THey're much better than trying to land on a wooded mountain slope  Smile

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 21):
There are some really good photos there.

Thank you.  Smile

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 22):
Awsome trip report Vio! I love everyone you've ever posted.

Hey thanks a bunch. I aprreciate that and it's because of people you I keep writing them. They do take up a lot of time.
... and you're right, the money is well worth the reward you get at the end. No doubt about it. Keep up the good work!

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 22):
How do you experience flying after you got each individual certificate? Did the rate of fun, eagerness to learn and to get experience rise or sink?

Well I remember that when i first started flying, I would be so eager to go up. Any occasion. I'd wait 5 days thinking "Oh man, I can't wait to go flying this weekend". It's not like that anymore. Back in the day, I'd be very dissapointed if the weather was bad and we couldn't go up. Now it's more like "Oh well... "

I have about 190 hours and working on my IFR / Multi Now and those are fun as well. Learnig new things is just awesome, but you see very quickly that commercial students are a bit more serious about it. It's no longer about "Hey, I can't wait to take my friends up", but rather, "What do I need to know and how good do I have to be in order to be considered for a job". So I guess overall, the attitude is more business like.

I know a lot of people which aviation is "their life" and that's all they think about. I have many things in life that make me happy and most of them are not related to avation at all. Yesterday I was talking to one of my co-workers who's a captain on a King-Air and he said "It's funny to hear all the new students say 'Oh man, you're so lucky you get to fly to Medicine Hat or Red Deer (small cities in Alberta)' but what they don't know is that you've been there 20 times this week. It gets boring sometimes"

Anyway, I'm rambling on. I noticed that the "eagerness" has decreased over time, but overall it's still good, otherwise I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. Now I'm more focused on being a good pilot rather than having fun, but there are days (such as the one in this report) when it's just nice to take her out for a spin in the mountains.



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
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