Back to BC

I dropped the American Airlines flight from Chicago and instead took Delta Airlines to Seattle and then to Vancouver.
The intent was to finish off the time in the Cessna 170A and to complete some other tasks... Alas the Cessna 170A went 'tech' and so was grounded.

Nevertheless there was other flying to be done and this began with a solo flight in the Chipmunk.
I enjoyed myself by flying up around the Golden Ears, over Widgeon Lake, two circuits and landings at Pitt Meadows, a touch and go at Boundary Bay, and then back into Langley.
It's unusual for me to fly alone, but there was no-one around to come with me.

Texada Island, Gillies Bay Fly-In, 30th July 2023.

I suggested to Alice and to Rory that we go to the Texada Fly-In for breakfast and that we meet at Boundary Bay at 08:00.
I arrived there before 08:00 and had the Tomahawk out and fueled in preparation for our early departure... But, I would have to wait another ninety minutes as people do not want to get out of bed in the mornings.

Alice was PIC for this day's flying and I was her passenger.
We flew the Tomahawk past Vancouver along the north shore and then circled over Gibsons to wait for the Cardinal to catch up.
Then we intercepted it to allow William Bird to focus his camera on us to take dozens of pictures.

The Fly-In was well attended and we met up with many familiar faces.
I had a cheese burger and a few chips, and was glad I had had my porridge earlier in the morning.
Last year I looked at a Luton Minor that was for sale for $10,000 CAD; it's still there.

Next stop was to be Squamish and so we flew a straight line though the mountains.

Wildlife is a feature of Squamish, watch for deer and bears.

It was good to catch up with people at Squamish, and then we took off to climb and pass through the Indian Arm valley into the Lower Mainland.

Cessna 185

Mike had emailed me to ask if I could do a recurrency flight with him to satisfy an insurance requirement... I told him I couldn't as I wouldn't be in BC for a while, but you never know, unexpectedly here I was back in BC and able to do it.

One of the problems with floatplanes, especially those with amphibious floats, is that the fitment of these moves the Centre of Gravity (CG) forwards.
At the Cessna 185's empty weight the CG is well placed within the limits but then the graph has an angle backwards above a certain weight. I asked Mike to do a weight and balance calculation based on the two of us and the fuel on board... We would be well below the maximum takeoff weight but how about the CG position?
It was well forward of the forward limit; the aeroplane was too nose heavy.
This was something that caught me out a few years ago in a Cessna 206 on amphibs when I flared above the Fraser River and ran out of elevator... I had to add power to alight upon the water. Lesson learned.
The Stinson 108 on straight floats was likewise nose heavy and submarined its floats when another pilot went to fly it... I had it weighed and ballasted, (eventually 10lbs on the tailspring) and this became a favourite floatplane.
We added a 20 litre petrol can full of water (44lbs) to the rear baggage bay of the Cessna 185, and this brought the CG comfortably within the limits.
This improved the flying characteristics... The water will stay there until passengers are carried when you can tip the water out as necessary.

Pitt River

For a recurrency flight I like to assess a pilots abilities, and then aim to improve them.
We alighted on the Pitt River and on the takeoff the nose was raised in the manner of a lower powered Cessna 172. You actually do not have to do this in the higher powered C185 unless you are loaded to Maximum TakeOff Weight or above. The Cessna 185 will come up on the step easily at normal weights.
So later we modified the takeoff on Pitt Lake.

Up above the north end of Pitt Lake we practiced and perfected steep turns and did a few stalls, then it was time to do a PFL (Practice Forced 'Landing').
If you have an engine failure in a draggy seaplane requiring a glide descent to the water, you must add a few knots above 'Best Glide' to your airspeed. This extra speed (10 kts or more) will allow you to flare above the water, a bit higher than normal, and then gently descend to the surface as the speed reduces.
It's important that you do not fly into to water, nor flare above the water at normal approach speed and then drop hard onto the surface. Height judgement above the water is not always easy, especially mirror smooth glassy water.
Most seaplane pilots approach with some power to reduce the descent rate onto the surface (similar to doing wheel landings).
A dual recurrency flight is about improving safety and so a forced approach to the water with a simulated engine failure is something to be done.

I went to Ban Chok Dee in Langley town and had a delicious Kao Soi Gai.

Youtube adventurer

Bill introduced me to Maria with whom he had been skiing in Whistler. She is an adventurer who likes to experience exciting things such as jumping out of a serviceable aeroplane, kite surfing, skiing, motorcycling etc. This time it would be gentle aerobatics in the Chipmunk.
So it was out of the Cessna 185 and into the Chipmunk to fly through the Golden Ears and then loop and roll back down again. We visited Widgeon Lake and then ended with a quarter upward cloverleaf.

Landing straight is still a problem in the Volmer so I said 'deliberately land it with the nose to the right', and this produced a straight touchdown.
Sometimes you have to ask someone to do something wrong to correct an error.

I was now tired, but Gary asked me to accompany him to Victoria. It's difficult to find passengers sometimes and so even me will be invited.
Gary inherited the Cherokee from his (and mine) father a few years ago and has maintained it well over the years.

It was important that I get Ted up in his Chipmunk, and I booked my return flight based on doing this first.
We wended our way to Harrison Lake and then into Chilliwack.

We should have dropped in to Rowena's-Sandpiper Golf Course.
It took an hour to food to arrive at Chilliwack, there is a whole new staff in the restaurant, and it is not what it used to be. Then we were stunned to find out that it closes at 15:00 whereas it was 19:00 previously.
Our server was apologetic.

The next morning I flew on WestJet to Calgary in a Boeing 737-800.
Looking across to the next gate there was a 737 Max 8. They'd diplomatically left off the word 'Max' on the side, but the fat forward engines were a giveaway.
I took a picture backwards through the window to see the engine pod... We were not in a Max.
There were many forest fires to be seen in the mountains with large clouds of smoke filling the valleys and streaming over the peaks. It's disaster after disaster these days.

Calgary Airport is much better than Montreal Airport for a few hours layover.

The WestJet Boeing 787 flight to London Gatwick was also better than the previous trip on Air Transat. The crews on both WestJet flights were attentive, and had pleasant demeanours.
I watched two movies "A Good Person" which was alright, but not 'enjoyable', and a Japanese movie which restored some of my Japanese knowledge.

This morning it was 13 degrees Centigrade, and damp outside... On Friday the Calgary to Gatwick flight arrived an hour early and followed the jetstream south of Greenland. This southerly position is the same as the winter position and so brings cold low pressure areas to Britain's shores accompanied by lots of rain.

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