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Pilot Report - 12 Hrs In One Weekend (380+ Pics)  
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 23437 times:

12 hours of flying in one weekend

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I’ve posted a report on Airliners.net so here I am with my newest trip report. It took me quite a while to write it, especially since I wrote it twice. Once in Romanian (for the “Romanian Spotters” webpage) and now in English, for Airliners.net. True, I’m just translating it (so if you find some blabber in Romanian, just ignore it)but it still takes time, so please take the time to read and enjoy the photos. [b]Comments and feedback are very much appreciated



The first weekend in May was one of the busiest weekends I’ve ever had when it comes to flying. In total I flew more than 12 hours, 10 of which as pilot and the rest as a passenger on WestJet Airlines.

Last time I flew this much was when I had to do my 300 nm cross country for my CPL. Anyway, so why the craziness? Well, long story made short: in February of this year, I moved from Calgary to Vancouver, British Columbia. I still had some money left on account with my previous school and had to use that up.

A few things had to happen in order for me to be able to go back to Calgary and use the credit:

1. Good weather in Calgary (and wherever I would have to fly to)
2. The airplane had to be available
3. I would have to find an inexpensive flight to Calgary

For those of you who don’t know this, Calgary is about 1000 km from Vancouver by road and about 700 km by air, on the East side of the Rocky Mountains.

On April 30th, I received an e-mail from WestJet with some really nice offers. “One way, $29.00 (€18.50)”, from Abbotsford to Calgary. Abbotsford is a small town about 30 km outside Metro Vancouver. Calgary flies both to Abbotsford and to Vancouver International. I quickly checked the weather and called the school, which happened to have the DA40 free the entire weekend. I quickly booked the flights and after taxes and a small credit refund I had on file with WJ, I ended up paying about $97.00 (€62.00) for the entire flight. I also called my good friend (and at one point my old instructor) Andrew and checked to see if he wanted to come along for the ride. Andrew flew with me for my night-rating and many other times as “a passenger”. It’s always nice to have him along. You can’t turn down free training lessons and PIC at the same time. It turns out that he had the weekend off from flying the PC-12 for a Calgary company and decided to come along with me for the trip on the condition we bring his girlfriend. Of course… that was no problem.

Thursday night I packed my bags and went to a Friend’s house to borrow his Tokina 12-24 mm, since I don’t have one wide angle lens to use with my Nikon D50.

Originally I planed to go to Yellowstone National Park, but weather ruled that option out, so I flew as follows:

Friday: Abbotsford – Calgary (as a passenger on WestJet)
Saturday: High River – Great Falls – Calgary International Airport – High River
Sunday: High River – Drumheller – Sundre – Calgary Springbank Airport – High River
Monday: Calgary – Abbotsford (as a passenger on WestJet)


Flight #1
Date: Friday May 2nd, 2008
Depart Abbotsford (YXX): 19:45
Arrive Calgary (YYC): 21:54 (Calgary is + 1 hour from Abbotsford)
Flight Time: 1 h & 9 min.
Airline / flight number: WestJet Airlines #36
Equipment: Boeing 737-6CT
Registration: C-GBWS
Seat: 19A

Friday evening around 18:00 I left for the airport. I stopped at the bank and exchanged some money with the Queen on them for some with President Jackson on it, so I could use it down in the U.S. I didn’t take much, cause I would rather use my visa then pay it back, since I get all these nice points for travel. I think I have enough points to fly to Europe now. Nice!

Around 19:00 I arrived at the airport and I parked my car in the “Long Term parking, after I headed directly to the terminal. Once inside I noticed that I was the last one at the check-in counter. I had time though, the plane just landed from Calgary so I wasn’t in a huge rush or anything. Abbotsford airport is really small, so I had plenty of time. I walked about 20 meters to the security check in and 30 seconds later, I was at the gate waiting to board the 737.

My luggage: Laptop, aviation maps, books, camera and my headset

Abbotsford Terminal

Check-in counter

While I waited I also bought a sandwich and a bottle of juice. I was starving and there are no meals on these flights. I also called Andrew and confirmed that he’d come pick me up from YYC. Even though the seating on the 737 is 3 and 3, I was lucky enough to have the middle seat empty which means I didn’t have to cram up against anyone. On the isle seat sat a nice gentleman in his early 40s who was returning home after a business trip in Vancover. We sparked up a conversation about photography and aviation. He had taken flying lessons before, but never ended up getting a license.

Our plane arrives at the gate, C-GBWS a Boeing 737-600


A picture from seat 19A

Not long after boarding the pilots started up the engines and we taxied to runway 07. We were rolling for take-off in no time and the small 737 climbed up like a bat out of hell. Quite the performance, which is good considering all the terrain around Abbotsford. We quickly ascended through the clouds and there wasn’t much to see.

Runway 07:


Take off:






The flight attendants started the onboard service and I had a coke with ice and I watched the live hockey game between Dallas and San Jose Sharks. It was live on TSN (The Sports Network). I love watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, even though my team (Calgary Flames) was out by then. Gotta love the live TV on WestJet planes

Over the clouds:

Me… Okay okay, I fly Diamond Aircraft but come on, what pilot in the Western world hasn’t flown a Cessna?

Hockey game on TSN

I took a few more photos and not long after the engines reduced the thrust and we started to descend into Calgary. Outside, light quickly diminished and it became harder and hard to take descent photos, especially when we had a bit of a light chop. We had a rather hard landing on runway 10 but I’ve seen worse… and I’ve done worse…

Over the Rockies



Cabin of WestJet’s 737-600

Getting darker

Weird photo, but I like it




After landing we taxied to the terminal and once everyone left the aircraft I asked the captain if I could take some photos of the flight-deck. He saw my Cessna shirt and asked me if I’ve piloted a Cessna before. I said that I have about 12 hours logged in 172s and the rest are all in Diamond Aircraft and Piper (about 30+). After deplaning I grabbed my luggage from the carrousel and met up with Andrew and his girlfriend Amy.

British Airways, Boeing 777 arrived from London-Heathrow

At the gate

Sorry for the poor quality, but I didn’t have much time to take these pics:

With flash

No flash

D-Wing at Calgary International, mostly used by WestJet.


Andrew drove me to my friend CJ’s house and left right away. It was already 10:30pm and we had to be up really early the next day. I had a brief chat with my friend and then went to bed.

Flight #2
Date: Saturday May 3rd, 2008
Departure Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4)
Arrival Airport: Great Falls, Montana (KGTF)
Flight Time: 1.9 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC
Seat: “Left seat”  Wink With Andrew as my co-pilot and Amy as our trusted photographer when we were busy flying the plane.

The next morning I woke up at 6:30 am and I quickly jumped in the shower and got ready after which I went outside to wait for Andrew. A few minutes later he showed up and the three of us headed to High-River, Alberta, a small town about 60 km outside of Calgary. Originally the school I trained with was at Calgary International Airport, but due to high operating costs and a ridiculous landing fee, they had to relocate to High-River, but that was after I left. Landing fees went from about $20.00 (€12.84) when I started training to $40.00 (€25.68) at the moment. That’s just crazy.

In front of my friend’s house (actually I used to live there too for about 8 months, before I moved to Vancouver)

Andrew turning his Jeep around.

Anyway, we arrived in High-River and looked for a Tim Hortons to have some breakfast. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the iconic Canadian “fast food” joint which sells donuts, bagles, and mediocre coffee (I know I know, Canadians love it, but I used to love my Starbucks more I no longer drink coffee). Something along the lines of Dunkin Donuts in the US. Anyway, to our surprise there wasn’t one. What? No Timmy’s in High-River? Wow… that’s unheard of. There seems to be one at every corner in Calgary. Well we ended up going to eat at McDonalds (yuck). It was the only thing open at that hour and it was better than flying on an empty stomach. By the time we arrived at the airport, it was already 8:30am.

I checked the weather (METAR, TAF, GFA, UPPER WINDS, NOTAMS, etc), did the weight and balance, filled out insurance forms, checked the “Journey Log Book” and a few other things. I also fueled up the aircraft with AVGAS 100LL (Low Lead), about 20 US Gal (76 L) / tank (so 40 US Gal/ 152 L total). This would give us about 4 hours of flight time. I also had to fill out “Form 178 – Private Aircraft Enforcement System Arrival Report” from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency and fax the form to them at least one hour prior to arrival. After I talked to the Customs officer and made sure he received my fax I filed our fligh plan and headed out to board the aircraft

All this prep took about an hour but we also wasted quite some time chatting with my old co-workers and some of the new students there. By the time I started the engine it was 10:20 am. I went through the checklist, while Andrew entered our flight plan into the Garmin 530 GPS. The flight would be as follows. Take-off from High-River than off toward Vulcan, Alberta where we’d turn toward Lethbridge, then south into Cutbank, Montana and finally into Great Falls.

After the run-up I backtracked to runway 24 and took-off heading toward the West. A 180 degree turn and we climbed to our cruising altitude of 9500 ft (2900 m). Andrew worked tuned in the proper frequencies for the COM and the NAV. Once near Vulcan, Alberta, we intercepted Victor 301 airway toward YQL VOR. Even though we were flying VFR it’s never a bad idea to learn some IFR flying, especially with my IFR exam coming up soon.

Running through the check list

Backtracking on runway 24

Andrew following along

Take off, with the Rockies visible in the background

High-River Airport

Next waypoint (Lethbridge VOR). We were at 9500 ft (2900 m) with the autopilot engaged

Keho Lake, 25 miles North-West of YQG VOR

On the way to Lethbridge

City of Lethbridge, with the airport visible to the South

Once over the YQL VOR we turned slightly to the right on the flying Victor 21 toward Cutbank Montana

Toward the US border

Andrew working the Garmin 530 GPS. Notice the warning panel has the “DOOR” lights on, which means one of the doors are open. Well the door was fine, it’s just that the sensor for the back door wasn’t contacting properly with the door pin, so from time to time we’d have that warning light come on. You’ll see that on our way back to Canada that warning is no longer on.

Crossing the border into USA.

Me (with the Boeing hat), Andrew beside me, and Amy in the back seat.


Lake Francis, South of Cutbank, Montana

Pretty boring scenery…

This train was moving quite slowly… almost like a long, lazy snake

We flew over the CTB VOR then kept on Victor 21. Before entering Great Falls airspace, Andrew contacted them and we received our instructions
”Canadian Foxtrot November Alpha Charlie, you’re cleared right downwind runway 21, you’re number two following RJ traffic on final, report him in sight”.

We saw the CRJ then we followed him. After establishing on final I reduce the speed to under 108 Knots and lowered flaps. The manifold pressure stayed between 15 0 16 inches and the RPM about 2200. Before landing I moved the prop lever to the full forward position and I lowered “landing flaps”. Shortly after we touched down on runway 21. The time was 12:18 local time. Once we were off the runway, the after landing check-list was executed and we obtained taxi instructions to the US Customs building.

Red line was “us” and the blue line represents the path the path the CRJ flew.

Toward Great Falls

Aeroportul Great Falls, situat pe un “platou”. Se vede panta abrubta la inainte de pista 21

Right Base, runway 21




Once we arrived at the customs building, we waited for about 2 minutes until the officers came out. Only then, did we open the canopy and rear door. They asked for our passports, my pilot license and aircraft documentation after which a few questions regarding the purpose of our visit and time we’d be staying. While the first officer was asking the questions and checking the papers, the other one used what I believe was a scanner and walked all around the plane looking to see if we had anything hidden (I think… but I may be wrong). We exited the plane and followed them to the office where I had to pay a fee of $27.00 (€17.50) for some sticker that needs to be on the plane if it flies into the US. After we were done with customs, we had the guys from Exon fuel our plane for a nice price of $86.00 (€56.00). Gotta love the price of gas in the US. Much cheaper than in Canada.

Our plane being fueled

Andrew and Amy

Me, resting on the wing of the aircraft

A United Express CRJ departing, probably to Denver…

After getting our gas, we taxied to the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) where we parked the plane so we can go into town and have a bite to eat. We were also allowed to use the FBO’s courtesy car. Cool.

We ate at Chili’s Bar and Grill then we went shopping for some clothes. I bought a pair of running shoes, some pants and a hoodie for jogging. We returned to the airport about 4 hours later.

Some old birds on display:



One of my favorite fighters: The F-16



Great Falls Terminal

Back at the FBO


Flight #2
Date: Saturday May 3rd, 2008
Departure Airport: Great Falls, Montana (KGTF) )
Arrival Airport: Calgary International Airport, Alberta (CYYC)
Flight Time: 2.8 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC

After we completed our flight plan we left for home again. We took of for runway 21 and this time we flew toward the mountains. We didn’t use VORs anymore, but we used the GPS as reference, while maintaining VFR at atll times.

Taxi to runway 21. Flaps in the take-off possition

Full power, rolling down the runway. Notice no “Door” warning light

Great Falls Airport

Nice plateau

Amy reading a book… the flight was “too exciting for her”  Wink

C-FNAC flight deck


Choteau Airport

We are here: North of Choteau, Montana

Garmin 530 GPS – Between Fairfield and Starr-Browning, Montana

Garmin 530 & 430 GPS with the KAP140 Autopilot on NAV and altitude at 8500 ft. (2591 m), with a ground speed of 122 kts (226 km / h)… a bit slow Normally we cruise at 130 - 140 kts (260 km/h)

Engine instruments

Toward Starr Browning, Montana,

Nice way to cool off  Smile



Northern Montana






Started to get cloudy



Maps: VNC (VFR Navigational Chart) for Montana Alberta

Glacier National Park, Northern Montanei toward the Canadian border







After entering Canadian airspace I noticed the visibility dropping and a burning smell. Not a chemical burning smell but rather “wood”. I realized right away that we had a forest fire. There were no NOTAMS about it and it seems that nobody knew anything. We called up Edmonton FIC and we told them the location of the fire. They said they’ll contact the Rangers and have them investigated. We continued our flight North toward Calgary International

Forrest Fire. We stayed at our cruising altitude. The “close up photos are with my 70-300 mm lens.











Near Pincher Creek, Alberta



56 nautical miles from Calgary




As we got closer to Calgary, Andrew obtain ATIS information and then contacted Calgary Terminal Control which cleared us for a straight in approach for runway 34. We dialed in the ILS frequency and started our landing procedures. Even though I was using the ILS (for practice), I always maintained visual reference to the runway. The tower cleared us to land and then Ground directed us to the Canadian Customs building. (This was the reason we flew to YYC and not to CEN4, High-River… we had to clear customs). To my surprise there was nobody there (we were lat 18 minutes) so I called a number and through the telephone, I was cleared back into Canada. Cool!

Toward Calgary


Calgary’s South side


Downtown Calgary


ILS runway 34

Calgary downtown … prior to landing


75 kts, 4200 ft AGL, 450 fpm descend, and locked on ILS runway 34

Freeway toward Edmonton

The golf course between 32nd Ave and McKnight

Short final runway 34 at Calgary International



A WestJet 737 landing after us

Taxi toward Canadian Customs

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 23439 times:

Flight #4
Date: Saturday May 3rd, 2008
Departure Airport: Calgary International Airport (CYYC)
Arrival Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4)
Flight Time: 0.4 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC

While I was on the phone with the officers at Canada Customs, I had the engine running and the parking brake on. I didn’t want to stop the engine so I can go through the whole startup/run-up procedure again. Once I obtained a reference number from the customs I contacted “Clearance Delivery” on 121.3 and asked they said I can keep the same XPDR code for the flight to High-River. We taxied Alpha to runway 34 and in no time, we were up flying toward the West. Once on Terminal’s frequency, we turned South flying west of the downtown core. About 0.4 hours later, I touched down on runway 24 at High-River, where we taxied to the ramp and parked the airplane for the night.

Take off from Calgary

Calgary Downtown

Calgary…. En-route to High-River

Calgary Downtown…




Glenmore Parkway

Calgary’s South side


Close to High-River, Alberta


Landing in High-River

Seconds from touchdown on runway 24 at High-River


The first day of flying finished. In total, I flew 5.2 hours, which isn’t too bad. After parking the plane I took care of the required paperwork and we drove back to Calgary. I got home around 10:30pm. Andrew and Amy went home and I just hung around with my buddy CJ and some friends. Around midnight or so, I went to bed. Next day would be quite busy again.

Flight #5
Date: Sunday May 4th, 2008
Departure Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4)
Arrival Airport: Calgary Springbank Airport, Alberta (CYBW) (via Drumheller & Sundre)
Flight Time: 1.9 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC
Persons onboard 2… my friend Vlad and I

I woke up around 8:00am on Sunday. I showered, changed and left with CJ to Calgary International to rent me a car. I was supposed to fly out of YYC with the first flight on Monday morning, so it only made sense to rent a car from the airport. I tried to convince CJ to come flying with me, but he declined. He’s not a very good flier and he said he’ll fly with me when I fly for Air Canada. He can wait a while till then. Anyway, I called one of my other buddies, Vlad who’s an old friend from high-school. He also took some flying lessons, but never ended up getting a pilot’s license. After picking up the car I went to Vlad’s house and picked him up. I had a crappy little Yaris, but hey it was cheap on gas, so that means more than “passenger comfort” to me.

I also met up with Vlad’s girlfriend Adina and her dad, who was visiting them from Romania. (Adina and Vlad are both Romanian, but they’ve lived here quite a while). Anyway, we left for High-River where we’d fly to Springbank (via Drumheller & Sundre). Adina and her dad would pick up vlad at Springbank airport, which is just outside of Calgary as you go toward Banff. On the way to High-River we chatted about his recent trip to Romania and what’s new and exciting with the old country… lots of things apparently, especially the insane prices.

Once we got the airport, we spent some time chit-chatting with some old colleagues and some friends. My buddy Ashely, (a British guy) was also there so it was nice to catch up on old times. While Vlad and them continued with their BS, I took care of the routine paperwork (I hate it, but hey, someone has to do it) and after fueling up the plane we were up flying. It was quite hot out and it was very turbulent. I must say, it was one of the most unpleasant flights I had. I couldn’t even put on the autopilot, that’s how much we were thrown around. It seemed to quite down a bit as we neared Springbank, but not that much.

After take-off from High-River, on our way to Drumheller, Alberta



Highway 1 – Trans Canada


Near Drumheller, Alberta




High-Way 2, going to Edmonton

Once we were near “Olds-Didsbury” airport, I had to watch out not to get into the airspace that was being used for high-altitude parachute jumps. A radius of 6 km from the airport and up to 15,000 feet (4500m) was the space to avoid. We flew around that area and made our way through Sundre, AB. I let Vlad take control for a bit. He has about 10 – 15 hours in a Piper Tomahawk, so he knows what he’s doing… at least good enough to hold heading and altitude.

Vlad flying the plane from the right seat

Toward Springbank Airport






Near Cochrane, Alberta. Lots of parasailing and hang-gliding going on here

Once over Cochrane, ATC informed us that runway 25 was in use and we were cleared “right downwind” for it. We had two C172s in front, one just about to touch down and one was on base leg. We were #3. I reduced the throttle, lowered flaps and once established on final, we received landing clearance. We taxied to the ramp and then met up with Adina and her dad. Altogether, this flight was 1.9 hours… of crappy turbulence… Good thing I have a strong stomach … LOL…

Lading at Springbank



Some pretty expensive homes




Short final, runway 25 la Springbank (CYBW)






I gave Adina and her father a “tour” of the airplane and offered to take them up for a quick flight. Adina will never fly, because she has a very tough time flying on commercial jetliners (I’m yet to meet a person who hates flying as much as she does…. Actually I do know someone. Some cute Swedish girl who made me drive from Spain to Stockholm, because she couldn’t get on the airplane… and she decided she can’t go as we were about to board the plane… ) .. NICE! Anyway, Vlad left with his girlfriend and future father in law, and I went to this small restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

Vlad, Adina and her dad

Control tower Springbank

C-FNAC resting on the ramp with CYBW’s tower in the background

Flight #6
Date: Sunday May 4th, 2008
Departure Airport: Calgary Springbank Airport, Alberta (CYBW)
Arrival Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4)
Flight Time: 0.7 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC
Persons onboard Just me…

By the time I got back to the aircraft the wind direction changed and the runway in use was 07. After ATIS, ground run-up and a short taxi to the active, I was off the ground heading toward High-River, via Pridis Corner a VFR call up point for the class C airspace entry/departure. I was only at 5500 feet ASL, which works out to about 1500 AGL. I got to High-River fairly fast and touched down 0.7 hours later. This whole flight I had my camera on the seat beside, me so it was easy to grab it and snap a few shots.

Waiting for take-off on runway 07

On my way to High-River
















Taxing to the ramp



Flight #6
Date: Sunday May 4th, 2008
Departure Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4)
Arrival Airport: High River, Alberta (CEN4) (local flight only… some flight training)
Flight Time: 2.4 hours
Aircraft: Diamond Star DA40-180
Registration: C-FNAC
Persons onboard Just me…

After I landed from Springbank, I had 2.4 hours left until my money “would run out. I took the opportunity since I was alone to do some circuits and upper air work, so I didn’t go anywhere. For about an hour I did circuits, then flew South of High-River and did steep turns, stalls, forced approaches, etc. About an hour later, I came back to the airport and did some more circuits. In total, I flew about 2.4 hours. I was pretty tired by the time I wrapped up my day. My buddy Mark was there and helped me park the Diamond Star. It was a bit “sad” because it would be one of the last times I’d fly C-FNAC. She has been a good plane and took good care of me, just like I tried to take good care of her. With this, I wrapped up my aviation life in Calgary and moved on to Vancouver. I fly another DA40 here, but this one is a bit newer with a G1000 flight-deck, but C-FNAC will always have a place in my heart.

Take off


Some photos I took in between exercises










Steep turn







Flying over High-River Airport, 1500 feet AGL.


Not a very nice surprise. Deer on the runway. I scared them away and they all jumped the fence. Scary if you end up hitting one.

Last landing of the day

After the last flight. Me and C-FNAC

Cockpit shot…

After I finished the paperwork I drove home and had a few beers with my friend CJ. It was quite late and early next morning I’d have to be at YYC, to fly back to Abbotsford so we called it a night early. I was absolutely exhausted. Flying really takes its toll on you.

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 23431 times:

Flight #8
Date: Monday May 5th, 2008
Depart Calgary (YYC): 8:10am
Arrive Abbotsford (YXX): 8:31am (Abbotsford is -1 hour from Calgary)
Flight Time: 1 h & 21 min.
Airline / flight number: WestJet Airlines #30
Equipment: Boeing 737-6CT
Registration: C-GWSB
Seat: 4A

Next morning I drove to the airport and dropped off the rental car at the AVIS lot. I took my bags and headed to the check-in counter. One of the guys working there was a friend of a friend so we had a brief chat. Being Monday morning, the airport was VERY busy. Lots of business travelers leaving Calgary. Security line-ups were very long and the process took a while. This is by far the worst part of flying. I got at my gate about 30 minutes prior to departure, so I went and had breakfast and took some photos around the airport. Not long after, we boarded the plane and at 8:10 am the pilots started the engines and we were on our way. After a short taxi to runway 16 and about a 10 minute wait for landing aircraft we took of toward the South. We climbed to 40,000 feet (12,192m) over the Rocky Mountains.

My rented Toyota.

Check-in counters for WestJet Airlines, in Calgary

Northwest A320

Boeing 737-700.

The place where I had my breakfast

Another 737-700

Inside D-Wing



I was one of the last one to board the flight

Two 737s prepare to leave. One to Vancouver International and one to Ottawa.

View from seat 4A



Holding short on the taxiway

Take off

Runway 25 at YYC

The hangar where my old flight-school was located

Calgary (East Side)


Glenmore Reservoir, in Calgary


Flying toward the mountains

Going through the clouds


At 40,000 de feet



Over Kelowna, with live map

Once we passed over Kelowna, we started our descend. I chose not to have any cookies or drinks. I just wanted to take some nice shots. What came up was one of the most impressive views I’ve ever had from an airplane.







Chilliwack Airport, BC

Approach through the mountains





Some nice neighbourhoods









Finnal Approach




Some prison





Landing at Abbotsford

Revers thrust

Taxi to the terminal

Abbotsford Airport



After I got my bags I went directly to my car and drove home. I was pretty tired but very pleased with the 10.5 hours I accumulated in the previous days. Right now, every hour counts… Finally my dream is starting to materialize. In August I’m going to Romania to do my JAA medical then I will start my conversion courses to JAA so I can fly in Europe. I’ll sure miss Canada, but I’m looking forward to flying the big birds too.

Thank you for reading. Again, please leave a comment if you can. Feedback is much appreciated

Vancouver, Canada

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 23287 times:

Well it wasn't the Singapore Airlines A380 but what a brilliant and very interesting and thorough trip report. Very enjoyable !

Kudos !

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1737 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 23137 times:

WOW! That was by far the longest TR I've ever read and maybe one of the best!
The pictures were very nice and i also liked that you shared experiences from your personal life.

Quoting Vio (Thread starter):
At 40,000 feet

I did not know that the cruising altitude was that high on a 1h 20m flight.

Thanks for sharing...

SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineMidcon385 From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 570 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 22926 times:

Very long but very nice and interesting trip report with lots of great pics! Thanks for sharing this!


MidContinent Airlines: We Know How To Fly!
User currently offlineNWASkyking From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 22403 times:

Never seen so many pictures! Thanks for the great trip report.

User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 21652 times:

Thanks for the commments guys. Yeah, I think it's a little long. I shoud've broken it down into two parts. Next time I'll do that.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 4):
I did not know that the cruising altitude was that high on a 1h 20m flight.

Yeah, they sure do. It's pretty much up and down. If you look at the photos with the MAP, you can see we're around 40,000 ft there, around Kelowna.

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineFlyorski From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1004 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 21595 times:

Great Trip Report! I really like all the pictures, they illustrate the trip non-verbally. It was also nice to see the "pilots perspective" on these flights. Thanks for sharing.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsly believe they are free" -Goethe
User currently offlinePU752 From Uruguay, joined Mar 2005, 586 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 21479 times:

Awesome report, really enjoyed it ! .... thx for sharing it with us !

User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 21099 times:

Fantastic job! Well done. One of the very best TR's on here. What type of camera do you use?

I love the canopy on the Diamond Star DA40-180. It looks as though the cockpit feels very 'open' with the one-piece windshield. It's a great looking airplane - very slick.

User currently offlineChuckles1225 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 160 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 20897 times:

Wow, awesome trip report. I really enjoyed seeing some of the differences in Canadian aviation vs American, especially in some of your terminology (circuits instead of patterns). Just a few questions for you. First, what is a GFA? Also, why did you fly airways instead of just going direct GPS, and why go VFR instead of IRF? Finally, how much bank were you using in that steep turn?! It looks like about 80 degrees or so.

ask not what your pilot can do for you, ask what you can do for your pilot
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 20587 times:

Quoting Flyorski (Reply 8):
Great Trip Report!

Quoting PU752 (Reply 9):
Awesome report

Thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it.

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 10):
Fantastic job! Well done. One of the very best TR's on here. What type of camera do you use?

I love the canopy on the Diamond Star DA40-180. It looks as though the cockpit feels very 'open' with the one-piece windshield. It's a great looking airplane - very slick.

Thank you. I used a Nikon D50 with a Tokina lens (12-24mm). I also have a 70-300 and a fixed 50mm portrait lens.

The visibility of Diamond single engine airplanes is fantastic. I guess the drawback though is that it gets really hot during the hot & sunny summer days. I don't normally wear hats, but that day the sun was right on my face and the hat came in very very handy.


Quoting Chuckles1225 (Reply 11):
Wow, awesome trip report. I really enjoyed seeing some of the differences in Canadian aviation vs American, especially in some of your terminology (circuits instead of patterns).

I guess we do have a slightly different vocabulary when it comes to aviation, but they are very close to one another.

Quoting Chuckles1225 (Reply 11):
Just a few questions for you. First, what is a GFA?

GFA = Graphical Forcast Area.
The GFA consists of a series of temporally adjusted weather charts, each depicting the most probable meteorological conditions expected to occur below 400 Mb (24,000 ft.) over a given area at a specified time. The GFA is designed primarily to meet general aviation and regional air carrier requirements for pre-flight planning in Canada.



Quoting Chuckles1225 (Reply 11):
Also, why did you fly airways instead of just going direct GPS, and why go VFR instead of IRF?

I flew airways to practice just so I can practice navigating using the VORs, in case I will end up flying an airplane with no GPS and to work on my IFR.

We didn't fly IFR, because:
1. The aircraft is not certified for IFR flights
2. I don't have an IFR rating.

Quoting Chuckles1225 (Reply 11):
Finally, how much bank were you using in that steep turn?! It looks like about 80 degrees or so.

I think it was about that... 80 degrees. We can go up to 90 in the DA40, given that we're in the right flight envelope.

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineChuckles1225 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 160 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 20171 times:

Quoting Vio (Reply 12):
I think it was about that... 80 degrees. We can go up to 90 in the DA40, given that we're in the right flight envelope.

WOW, I didnt know that about the DA40. That looks like a lot of fun. You must need a pretty insane amount of back pressure at that angle, if its even possible to hold altitude at all.

ask not what your pilot can do for you, ask what you can do for your pilot
User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (7 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 19611 times:

That was a fantastic report Vio!!! Sorry I took so long to compliment you on it but 300+ pics is about 200 too many for my old slow comp. LOL. I finally got to see it at the Library. Great to see another A+ report. Keep them coming and take care....Rick

too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2880 posts, RR: 15
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 17655 times:

Your TRs always seem to be amazing! It seems like a good time to be on the 736 and flying on your plane too! =) Awesome!

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineDAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 16852 times:

Vio, why I am I not able to see your pics? Great report though!

User currently offlineAUSisAwesome From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 15362 times:

Uh oh! I cant see the pictures! No biggie but otherwise, great report!

User currently offlineLovetojetblue From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15333 times:


Jetblue: The official airline of Springfield! And Eventually: The official airline of Quahog, RI
User currently offlineFatmirJusufi From Albania, joined Jan 2009, 2442 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (7 years 4 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 14970 times:

Quoting Lovetojetblue (Reply 18):

Me too.  Sad

User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1583 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 14374 times:

Hi guys.

The pictures should work now! I've upgraded my other account to pro! Enjoy!!!!


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineGroup51 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days ago) and read 14000 times:

So, where's the A38....oh. Great, great photos through. International shopping, that's the life, eh?

User currently offlineAmritpal From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 12257 times:

Vio. That was the most fantastic report I read on this website. Now I would like to learn to fly. Seriously

I have flown between YVR and YXS many times. Westjet has many times reached 41000 feet altitude, though only for 5 minutes or so. Flight time used to be between 50 mins to 1 hr 10 mins.

Lost in Translation
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