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Pilot Report - "Bush Flying" 2 Of 2 (Lots Of Pics)  
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1586 posts, RR: 8
Posted (9 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 12252 times:

Part 2 of 2

Hello everyone,

I should start by apologizing for not being able to complete the report sooner (as I have promised), however a few business trips, hectic school schedule (studying for my CPL written exam) and of course, various other activities have kept me busier than expected.

This trip report is Part 2 of 2 of my commercial “300nm X-Country” trip. If you haven’t read Part 1 of 2 please go to the following link:

Pilot Report - "Bush Flying" 1 Of 2 (pics) (by Vio Jul 14 2006 in Trip Reports)

The first four legs (see below) I have covered in the first report, which also brought me to my final destination Fort St. John B.C.

Leg #1 Calgary International (CYYC) – Edmonton City Centre (CYXD)
Leg #2* Edmonton City Centre (CYXD) – Slave Lake, Alberta (CYZH)
Leg #3 Slave Lake, Alberta (CYZH) – Peace River, Alberta (CYPE)
Leg #4 Peace River, Alberta (CYPE) – Fort St. John, BC (CYXJ)

This report will cover my return trip to Calgary, consisting of the following legs:

Leg #5 Fort St. John, BC (CYXJ) – Grand Prairie, Alberta (CYQU)
Leg #6 Grand Prairie, Alberta (CYQU) – Edmonton City Centre (CYXD)
Leg #7 Edmonton City Centre (CYXD) – Calgary International (CYYC)

Enjoy the reading…

When we left off in our previous report, The Dutch Elvis (Trevor) and myself left the ramp at Fort St. John Airport in search for a way to our hotel. For those of you who are familiar with Fort St. John, the airport is outside of town, so it would be ideal to have some mode of transportation. After finding out that the price to rent an economy car from inside the terminal is quadruple the price of a rental at LAX (Yes, Los Angeles International Airport), we opted to hire a taxi to bring us downtown. Coincidence has it that we’ve met two very nice Air Canada Jazz workers, getting off their shift, who offered to drive us downtown free of charge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Canadians are really hospitable and nice people.

After checking into our hotel room we decided that it was time to rest. It has been a long hot day and the air conditioned hotel room was a welcomed relief. I’m sure you’re all aware of the standard “in room” entertainment that hotels offer… in other words, they are “less than ideal”. TBS seemed like the best choice for that afternoon. There’s nothing like spending 4 hours watching a 90 minute movie.

After relaxing a few hours, we headed out for dinner. The reception staff recommended and Irish pub which was about 30 min (walk) away from our hotel. I personally needed the exercise, so I didn’t mind. Trevor didn’t seem to mind either.
After dinner we hired a cab and in less than 5 minutes, we were back at our hotel. I opted to go to bed, since I knew I’d be up around 3:00am. The Dutch Elvis watched TV but then decided to leave and see what Ft. St. John has to offer.

Monday - July 3rd 2006

I woke up at 3:30am and to my surprise, my buddy was nowhere to be seen. “Oh Crap. Now I’ll have to go fish him out of some ditch” I thought to myself. I had a long day ahead of me. I had to fly from Ft. St. John all the way to Calgary, because the next morning, I was expected to be at work. I couldn’t afford not to show up.

I did my morning routine and ironed my shirt, when I hear someone calling my name… from outside the hotel. I glanced out the window and the break of dawn was coming up. Trevor was walking across the street with his guitar in hand. “Thank God”. It turns out that he went back to the Irish Pub, where he played and sang a few tunes in return for some pints. To my relief he wasn’t drunk but he was awfully tired. That’s what you get for not sleeping.

Leg #5 Fort St. John, BC (CYXJ) – Grand Prairie, Alberta (CYQU)

After we packed up, we took a cab to the airport. We arrived there, completed my walk-around, weather brief and flight planning and at 12:15(Z), we lifted off. It didn’t take Trevor long enough to fall asleep. The sun was coming up and the scenery was amazing, with the exception of reduced visibility due to forest fires. That wasn’t an issue for us, because they were way South of our track.

Sunrise after take-off from Ft. St. John, BC

Reduced visibility due to smoke from forest fires

Leveled off at 5500’ cruising to Grand Prairie, Alberta

The right side of the panel with the Garmin 530/430 GPS, autopilot, transponder, fuel gauge & engine instruments.

Colorful scenery as we head toward YQU

With autopilot engaged, I have a few moments to snap some shots. With the tie on, I almost look like a real pilot. *LOL* Though I have to do something about that hair.

How many people do you know that will sleep on a single engine aircraft?


Rig site in Northern Alberta

VNC Map – See Grand Prairie on the bottom right hand corner

Lake along the way

Pilot’s eye view of what’s ahead.

Approaching Grand Prairie. I awoke Trevor by this point and entrusted him with photo-taking

Performing a 360 degree turn to descend @ YQU. I misjudged my altitude and ended up a little higher than I wanted.

At 19:05(Z) we touched down at YQU, however I can’t recall what runway we landed on. A WestJet 737 was waiting for us to clear the active, so they can begin their trip to back to Calgary. I thanked the pilots for being patient with us while we slowly taxied off the runway. Below you can see it on its take-off roll.

Control tower at YQU

Grand Prairie Radio controller guided us to the Esso station, however to our surprise, they were closed at that time. I called them and I was told that a fee would be charged extra for the service “outside their normal operating” schedule. To my luck, Shell was open for business and more than happy to sell us fuel. Here you can see C-FNAC getting tended by the extremely polite and helpful staff. Trevor is back asleep.

These next two airplanes were getting ready for their next leg. I’ve had a brief discussion with the pilots and it turns out, the gentleman/owner of the float plane was a retired American Airlines captain. He was returning with his wife (and the other couple with the airplane) from Alaska, on their way to Chicago. What a trip that must’ve been.

Leg #6 Grand Prairie, Alberta (CYQU) – Edmonton City Centre (CYXD)

After being refueled and completed all the paperwork/duties, I woke up Dutchie, started up FNAC and taxied out to the active runway. At 14:55(Z), I was off YQU and on our way to Edmonton City Centre, via Whitecourt.

Grand Prairie Airport after take-off

Cruising toward YXD @ 7500’.

Highway 43 can be seen below us as we neared Whitecourt

Right side view. Mr. Trevor was once again asleep.

Flying North of Whitecourt airport

Athabasca River providing good VFR reference points

Again… with A/P engaged I have time to take random pictures. The visibility from the DA40 is awesome.

Started our descend into YXD. By this time we were under the guidance of Edmonton Terminal.

Edmonton Terminal instructed us to descend to 5000’. DA40’s autopilot.

In preparation for landing, I awoke Mr. Trevor up and once again, tasked him with photo taking.

Passing North of Villeneuve Airport, just West of the city of Edmonton.

The city of Edmonton below us.

Turning final for RWY 16 at YXD.

Short final RWY 16 at YXD. We touched down at 16:41(Z)

Edmonton downtown core seen from the airport. I wish I had a better camera that would represent it better.

After landing at YXD, I taxied to the ESSO FBO, where I dropped my friend off. It was a good trip for him, however I was a little disappointed that he slept through both return legs.

After getting fueled up, etc I hopped back into FNAC and taxied out to the active runway, beginning my final leg of my “300nm x-country” trip.

YXD Ramp

Leg #7 Edmonton City Centre (CYXD) – Calgary International (CYYC)

After takeoff from YXD at 18:05(Z), I climbed to 5500 and was handed over to Edmonton Terminal. The controllers guided me West of downtown and eventually flying just west of Edmonton International (which is South of the city).

Edmonton downtown, as seen just off my left wing.

Edmonton International Airport seen from 5500’. The controllers brought me just West of the airport, and eventually right over the main terminal

The main terminal at CYEG. A few 737s an A320, Dash 8… etc.

Highway #2, near Leduc. My flight-plan would have me follow the highway all the way to Red Deer and eventually to Calgary

Cleared of YEG’s airspace, flying toward Red Deer

Being “up there” by yourself is a very exciting feeling. Check out FNAC’s leather seats. Very nice and comfortable.

“Hands free” flying. A/P on, holding @ 5500’.

More self photos (One my think I’m in love with myself… that’s partly true… but only when I’m flying… how shallow…LOL.. j/k)

Flying along toward Red Deer, Alberta



View out the right side/rear passenger window. Like I’ve said before: excellent view

Flying over Red Deer, Alberta. That’s about the ½ way point.

Red Deer Airport seen just NW of my position. I ended up East of Highway 2, to avoid Innisfail’s 5nm restriction.


Only in Canada… straight road… as long as the eye can see. Highway #2, around Innisfail.


The rest of the flight was very uneventful and relaxing. It gave me the opportunity to snap a few more shots, as I approached YYC’s airspace.





Just before I contacted Calgary Terminal on 119.4 it was time for me to put my camera away. I was vectored West of Highway 2 and cleared left base for runway 07. With a slight cross-wind, I touched down at YYC at 19:35(Z). I was authorized to cross RWY 16 and make a right turn on Charlie Taxiway, which brought me to the South East Ramp, where our school is located. This concluded the longest trip of my career. (For now).

C-FNAC resting after arriving back home.

I think I am very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. I have achieved what few of us on this planet have the chance or luxury to do. I’ve learned a lot from this trip and I’m looking forward to completing my commercial license, multi engine and instrument rating. I know I have a long road ahead of me and so many things to learn, however I’m 100% sure that all my hard work and sacrifices will one day pay off. I just pray to God to give me health and to keep an eye out for me (and everyone else) when we’re up there. The rest… I shall take care of myself.

One day I hope to fly the big birds… but till then, I will enjoy the road that will take me there. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I apologize for not being more descriptive, but it has been two months since I’ve done this trip and some facts were lost. Please feel free to ask questions, comment or critique…

Vio Ludusan
Calgary, Alberta

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2131 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12174 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures!!!


I love to fly!
User currently offlineArmitageShanks From Costa Rica, joined Dec 2003, 3930 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 12063 times:

Great report. I love flying the diamonds. They get up and go!

Oh, and if you land on concrete runways its not bush flying, hehe.

User currently offlineBoeingOnFinal From Norway, joined Apr 2006, 476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 11993 times:

Awsome trip report! Now I did not find any info on either you filed a IFR report on the trip on advance, or if you flew VFR? You probably fly IFR because you are in that hight, but I am clueless on how this works. If you fly IFR, do you have to file a plan on beforehand? In that case, where and how is this done?

User currently offlineJafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 11977 times:

Pt 2 was well worth waiting for, my brother has a UK PPL and I have sent him the link, he isn't an a.netter but he will this very minute have read your TR, booked a Cessna and be driving to Shoreham at full speed!!!

Keep up the good work!

User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1586 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11899 times:

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 3):
Awsome trip report! Now I did not find any info on either you filed a IFR report on the trip on advance, or if you flew VFR? You probably fly IFR because you are in that hight, but I am clueless on how this works. If you fly IFR, do you have to file a plan on beforehand? In that case, where and how is this done?

Hi BoeingOnFinal,
Actually the entire trip was performed under VFR.

The altitude I must choose has to comply with the VFR Cruising Altitudes:
Magnetic Courses 3000'AGL to 18000' MSL (FL180)

0 to 179 (degrees) Inclussive = Odd Thousands + 500 feet (3500,5500,etc)
180 to 359 (degrees) Inclusive = Even Thousands + 500 feet (4500, 6500, etc)

Now what makes me select 6500 instead of 4500? Well, a few things, such as MOCA (minimum obstacle clearance altitude), upper winds, aircraft performance, etc.

After planning, all my VFR flight plans were filed individually before each leg, with Edmonton Flight Services, by calling their tool free number from my cell phone.

I hope that answered your question.


Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 4):
Pt 2 was well worth waiting for

Thanks mate. Sorry it took so long, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I half assed the text this time and spent more time on photos.


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 18 hours ago) and read 11778 times:

Great report and pics!!! nice to see some runways from the pilot's eye view. Too bad you aren,t closer to PA in the US, I would be a passenger anytime and I wouldn't fall asleep  Cool Wonderful views of the countryside; as an "ignorant"American I thought civilization pretty much ended N. of the Trans- Canada highway lol. Hope you can do somemore of these. PS, If you want to see more very straight highways come down to W. Texas, Kansas or Nebraska.

too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently onlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7233 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 15 hours ago) and read 11743 times:

Great report and some awsome pics there. Thanks for sharing

User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12323 posts, RR: 32
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11633 times:

Great report. But...damn you! Now I wanna start flying again, but can't afford it...lol  Smile I wish I had the money to fly!

Quoting Vio (Reply 5):
by calling their tool free number from my cell phone.

No tools working there in other words?  Wink

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
User currently offlineThepilot From Canada, joined Jan 2010, 5 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11595 times:

Great report and photos! I just got certified in the Diamond DA20 and the Diamond DA40. Great planes! Although my dad and I are both very big and don't fit horribly well. Keep up the good work!

From YVR
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1586 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 11538 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 8):
No tools working there in other words?

Damn it! ... Toll free... Hey, English isn't my first language, though I should've known that. Honest mistake really.

P.S. Find a rich girlfriend  Smile how do you think I do it?


Quoting Thepilot (Reply 9):
Although my dad and I are both very big and don't fit horribly well. Keep up the good work!

The DA20 is very small. I'm only 5'9" / 170 lbs and I don't feel that comfortable in it either. The DA40 is a little better.

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
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