The need to fly

Thailand is a great place to spend a life, England is a place for my heart too, but one has to fly.
It's now not possible for me to fly in Thailand, and England is proving to be a difficult proposition too, and so I must return to Canada to practice my art.
British Columbia is not a place I can live... I have just worked hard for several weeks, and at the end of this I would barely scrape by! It's not a place a flying instructor can survive if this is the only source of income.
So no one place has all the life aspects the Michael needs.

These past years I have determined that this life is not about money, not about having stability, nothing seems to work for me for long, it is very disturbing at times, but one thing I seem to be able to do is to travel, to have experiences, and to share these with you on this website.

6th July 2018
The long trek began with a 100 Baht Sorng Taew ride to Chiang Mai Airport where I caught Cathay Dragon to Hong Kong.
The departure of CX888 from Hong Kong would be at 00:30 the next morning, arriving at 20:45 today.

Octopus Card in hand I took the Airport Express train to Kowloon. This took HK$110 off my card which was quite lean on funds and so I had to find a cash machine, take out some cash, and load it again.
I get about Hong Kong easily, like a local.
I walked about in Kowloon, and then took the underground to Central and walked there... Stopped for some noodles, and then took the Star Ferry back to Kowloon.
At 8pm there's a city buildings light show to be viewed from the Kowloon side.
Rather than take the Airport Express back, I took the Tung Chung line to Tung Chung, and caught the S1 bus to the airport. This cost me HK$25.70 in total, somewhat more economical than the HK110 Airport Express cost.
At Tung Chung I went into the supermarket and bought a towel. I had a change of shirt, and was cognisant of the amount of sweating I had done walking about humid Hong Kong. I needed a wash.

I am to spend some time flying this Tomahawk

There were the following tasks to be completed on this trip:
1. Tailwheel training and seaplane ratings in the Volmer Sportsman
2. Train Marilyne to get her solo in a Diamond DA20-C1
3. Give the Chipmunk an airing
4. Finish James's Night Rating training
5. Check Gavin and Marcia out in their Bellanca

With effort, nearly all the above was achieved.
The first task was the reason I paid extra and booked my flight to Vancouver sooner than I would have given the choice. Training was to commence 9th July, but the aeroplane had snags and so this was delayed. I could have bought a cheaper ticket with a little more lead time.
Remember this, I will always do my best for my customers, but sometimes, often perhaps, this costs me more... Oh well, I have found that in this life I often have enough money, and only enough. Enough to worry...
'Stop worrying Michael, get on with it'.

7th July
Saturday afternoon flight to Langley in the Tomahawk with Alice... Meet up with everyone there, and check in on the Chipmunk.

Up in the Chipmunk over Glen Valley. Picture by Alice Chan

8th July
Delta Heritage Air Park breakfast... It was a mistake to wait for Alice to arise in the morning... There followed a discussion on FB about a woman's need for more sleep than a man. Interesting stuff, but there must be a limit.
Never mind, I made it to the breakfast, late, but in time to meet a few people. I was reliant on Alice in her Mini for tansportation.
In the afternoon I took Alice for a spin in the Chipmunk and then had a flight with Bill in his Volmer Sportsman. This Volmer is much more refined than the Volmer I would fly later from Boundary Bay.

Bill's refined Volmer Sportsman

9th July
I am loaned a Toyota Corolla, now I had transport to once again experience the frustration of my World's worst roads.
Red lights every 500 metres, I hate them with a passion, as I hate anything that detracts from the efficiency of doing things.

12th July
Trips to Canada seem to start slowly... If it wasn't for a cracked aileron hinge I should have been into doing the Volmer training from Boundary Bay...
Oh well, three days of no flying, and I begin to wonder whether I can achieve the financial gains on this trip to justify me being here. Of course there is the need to fly, to practice my art, so I have had some success in this.
So here we are on Thursday and so up Ted and I go for a flight to Qualicum Beach in the Chipmunk.
Kamloops Flight Service told me that there was no fuel at Qualicum when I filed my flight plan, but there was by the time we arrived.
An excellent lunch was had in the airport restaurant.
Met Jon there too, he is the Chief Pilot for KD Air which operates a couple of Navajos, and a Cherokee Six. He reminded me that I gave him his first job after he achieved his Instructor Rating.

Pitt Meadows

13th July
Up in the Chipmunk again. This time to do airwork and spinning in the Pitt Lake practice area. There was a spin and a barrel roll or three involved in the airwork too.
We stopped at Pitt Meadows for lunch, they do a good soup and sandwich special there.
It was an opportunity for me to meet old friends there too.
Returning to Langley involved a right ninety degree turn... As is customary, a good lookout, no one close, and up we go, left quarter roll, and complete a Quarter Upward Cloverleaf to end up precisely on heading... This witnessed by a passing Cessna 172, whereupon a comment was made. No conflict, but it's not something they see too often.

14th July
It has become the custom for me to keep my seaplane rating valid by doing a flight in the Maule with Mark who is very kind. He's a true enthusiast.
Using the mountainsides beside Alouette Lake and then up the valley to Thomas Lake we climbed economically with 21" manifold pressure to 4,000 feet.
I tend not to want to use climb power when the mountainsides are able to provide lift.

Glacier Air's Citabria

15th July
The Sea To Sky Highway to Squamish is a nice drive, but to get there I had to cross Vancouver.
There was a long lineup to cross the Lions Gate Bridge and it occurred to me that there are onle a few ways to get out of Vancouver, this being the only north route, and just one lane.
There are no motorways in Vancouver, and only two highways... Some roads are called highways but have traffic lights, and that disqualifies them.

First order of business on arrival in Squamish is to stop off for buns, cookies, and the all important milk for the second order of business: making the tea!
Then it was up with Colette in the 7GCBC Citabria (for some reason this aeroplane has been labeled as a Scout).
Glacier Air has two new instructors and both need tailwheel checkouts in the Citabria and so I flew with one of them, Jesse, for ten circuits as well.

16th July
The Bellanca 14-19 Cruisemaster is a very nice aeroplane.
And so it was I arrived at Boundary Bay to go flying with Gavin... It wasn't to be however as the pan was filled with Cessnas jostling for position in the runup area, then for takeoff, and then to fill the air with wide circuits and flooded practice areas... Not to Gavin's taste for a training flight in his new aeroplane. So scrap that idea today, let's try for earlier in a morning.

In the afternoon I did my first flight with Marilyne in the DA20-C1.
We went to the Pitt Lake practice area to do some airwork before taking a break at Pitt Meadows. It had been ten months since her last lesson in this aeroplane
During Marilyne's previous training, some 15 hours, she had not done a landing, and so she had developed a concern about this aspect of flying! Before we departed Pitt Meadows we did 7 circuits to build her confidence.

17th July
Now I begin to get busy!
The morning began with engine start at 07:27, before the Cessna horde plagued the air.
The IO-470 eninge is not easy to start in the Cruisemaster, and a specific scheme has been developed to do this. Depart from what has been written and she won't go, she's like a choosey cat with her food.
What a pleasure it is to fly this aeroplane, it has well harmonised and light controls. Stall clean was 65 MPH IAS, and around 55 MPH IAS with full flap and gear down, but without a break.
The previous aeroplane owned by Gavin and Marcia was a Fleet Canuck... The learning required in this new aeroplane was 'Arrival Planning', using small power changes, rates of descent, and speed reductions to arrive at the destination at the right altitude and speed to join the other traffic. You think ahead, and arrange your arrival to avoid sudden power and speed changes, and rapid descents.
we slid into the circuit at Abbotsford for four touch and goes...
The trim stopped working and so the aeroplane was suddenly nose heavy, but this was easy to overcome. We flew back to Boundary Bay where Doug Wilson could repair the trimming system. We were lucky as we did not go into high cruise for the journey back and avoided flutter which is possible with a free trim tab.
As for landing, I assessed the aspect of the undercarriage, size of the wings, etc. This is similar to the Chipmunk and so I expected the Cruisemaster to land as easily, and it was.

In the afternoon training continued with Marilyne in the Diamond, this time we flew 8 circuits at Abbotsford, and then dropped into Langley for a break
After a piece of pie we departed again, this time into the Pitt Lake practice area to do steep turns, stalls, and spins before returning to Boundary Bay.

18th July
Nice easy run to Texada Island with Daryl in the Tomahawk.

We were shown the Luton Minor, famous for crossing the Rockie Mountains

Someone should buy this economical fun little aeroplane

Gillies Bay Airfield has several loaner bicycles for you to ride into town on.
It's an easy ride, downhill all the way. The Raven Restaurant is very nice with a good menu... We stuck to pud.
The ride back was something else. Not so easy, and I had to get off my bike a couple of times.

19th July
It's not widely known that I was once involved in aircraft maintenance, and I have experience recovering aeroplanes in fabric.
In Canada where most people in the aviation industry know more than I do about these things I have never felt it appropriate to tell anyone what I have done in this life.
And so trepidation was shown by Ryan as I opened up the fabric on the Volmer and we did the minimum damage in order to remove the cracked aileron hinge and replace it.

I'm here to fly...
So let's put the maintenance aside and go for eight circuits in the Diamond as Marilyne gained more and more confidence and competence in her landings.

20th July
Ted was concerned about his spins, and so in the morning we took the Chipmunk into the Pitt Lake Practice Area to spin a few times, plus the obligatory Half Cuban, Loop etc..
Marilyne arrived at Langley with Sam in the Diamond for two sessions of circuits, first at Abbotsford, and then at Pitt Meadows where we practiced flapless landings.

Airshow arrivals taxy past, Boundary Bay 20th July

21st July
I attended the free Boundary Bay Air Show with many many other people, and then I drove into Vancouver to attend the Thai Festival.

Thais are quick to dance

Classic Thai Style

Best time to get a crowd free shot

22nd July
It's not easy to find circuit space while the weather is good as there are so many people training at this time of the year.
There is an instructor shortage as well as a commercial pilot shortage at the moment, but you would have to wonder about this with the amount of traffic around.
Today's flight with Marilyne was to Chilliwack where we were able to fly circuits with ease.
First we went into the Pitt Lake area to do some steep turns, stalls, spins and spirals (to note the differences). Pitt Lake is a lot better than the Glen Valley training area as there are fewer other aircraft about.
Chilliwack, while further away, is not so bad when you are flying a Diamond DA20 as this aeroplane is fast.

23rd July
I went to work at Glacier Air for three days, three flights today in the Citabria.
24th July
Two flights in the Citabria
25th July
Five flights in the Citabria.

Doug is a new instructor at Glacier Air and is working on his tailwheel skills.
We are on the way to pick up a Cessna 172 from maintenance at Chilliwack.

Solo in the Citabria with Doug following behind in the Cessna 172. This has been a long day.
I must drive back down the Sea to Sky, and through the maze of red light streets of Vancouver.

26th July
Flew with Daryl in the Tomahawk. Airwork and a PFL in the Pitt Lake area, stop for a late lunch at Pitt Meadows...
Late afternoon circuits with Marilyne in the DA20-C1.

27th July
Just down the road from where I was staying there was a fire in the park... This goes deep into the peat and so is not easy to put out.
Later during a break at 'home' the water bombers flew over the house on their run ins to dump water on the fire, while a Citation Jet did the directing.

In the morning I drove over to the hotel to pick Marilyne up (she's a flight attendant and so spends many nights in such places), I had been at Boundary Bay early in the morning and so I avoided the traffic problems associated with the fire.
Two lots of circuits were flown with Marilyne as her landings were improving and she was well up to solo standard during the second session. I like to see six landings without me saying anything, and I also want the student to be fresh and not fatigued when she goes first solo, so this would have to wait.

After my break at home it was time to go night flying with James in his tailwheel Cessna 150.
He flew over to Boundary Bay before dark.
We were up in the dark to do some instrument flying over the water off Point Roberts. There's no cheating over the water, and the student soon experiences the leans flying in the void.
After a session of instrument flying we did five night landings and these were satisfactory. James went solo to do two more at Boundary Bay before he flew solo back to Langley in the dark.

28th July
Ted and I did a flight from Langley to Chilliwack for four circuits, and a sandwich.
I drove back to Boundary Bay along the Number 10 Highway
Red Lights all the way... Hate it hate it hate it
Then it was time to see if Marilyne can show me six good landings... She could and so she went first solo.

Until eleven months before her first solo Marilyne had done fifteen hours and had not landed the aeroplane. This is very discouraging.
The first solo is a milestone that has a huge effect on a student's confidence, and afterwards training becomes so much more efficient. It is a very important milestone and shoul ideally be achieved within fifteen hours.

I was invited to see the fireworks in Vancouver.
A fantastic event put on to celebrate Marilyne's First Solo ;-) perhaps!

29th July
Jerome needs ten hours dual to be allowed to solo his Vagabond according to the insurance company and so I was enlisted to do an hour in this delightful economy plane this morning.
You don't go very far in this aeroplane, and so we went very local to stall it (52-53 MPH IAS), and then we did three touch and goes on 13 within the circuits flown by the long range Cessnas.
The final landing was on 25 with a backtrack to go back to Apron Three.
Oil had stained Jerome's socks and shoes, it had leaked from the tachometer cable.

The Vagabond

The next flight was with Daryl in the Tomahawk: circuits at Pitt Meadows.

And then a couple of spins in the Tomahawk over Widgeon Creek, Pitt Lake

Seiji is a freelance instructor at Boundary Bay and wanted to experience the Tomahawk spin

At the 180 degree point of a spin entry the aeroplane is inverted


I have split this update into two parts.
When you recover from the spin click here:

On to part two of this update