Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

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skybaron
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Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by skybaron » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:37 pm

What would some of you consider to be the toughest areas to operate on floats in Canada? And, maybe even a why..

Some good contenders out there, especially if operating sans GPS :

1.North ON/Man/Sask - featureless terrain, and thousands of lakes which all start to look like each other after a while.

2.BC - coastal weather, terrain, tides

3.NWT/Yukon - unreliable compass, terrain
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by beechnut » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:31 pm

All of them if you don't use your brain
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Rowdy » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:34 pm

BC's North and central coast. Brutal wx, big tides, interesting local phenomenon, big hills, sparsely settled.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Rudder Bug » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:35 pm

beechnut wrote:All of them if you don't use your brain
I don't know if you've tried them all but so far to me, your answer is the winner. Sorry Rowdy!

:mrgreen:

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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by tca » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:23 pm

skybaron wrote: Some good contenders out there, especially if operating sans GPS :
Come on folks, it's 2011!!!! If any commercial operators are operating without GPS they deserve to be shot! You don't need a $15000 GNS530, but everyone should at least have a handheld gps unit! Anybody who's too cheap to properly outfit their aircraft is probably skimping in other important areas too!
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Cat Driver » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:37 pm

One of the most important things a GPS gives you is actual ground speed at any given time...information that is worth its weight in gold.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by DHCdriver » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:37 pm

Flew Ontario and Manitoba all my career, but I'll have to say that west coast looks pretty challenging on those crappy low weather days. Hats off to you guys that do it everyday. DHCdriver.

P.S: Get a Garmin 396/496, they are great GPS's and they look good in the beaver. :)
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Castorero » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:02 am

Cat Driver wrote:One of the most important things a GPS gives you is actual ground speed at any given time...information that is worth its weight in gold.
An expensive speedometer on some days, to be sure, but using it for anything else in poor weather, especially in the mountanous interior of BC, it is the instrument that will take you "directly" to a gravesite.

"Eyes outside and map on your lap" should be flashing on the GPS screen on those days.

I remember fueling on a beastly day in Northwest BC a few years ago, when three guys decided to continue their GPS flight to Dease Lake and beyond, ending their flight on the first rocks in their direct flight path.

There are days when you have to stop and ask yourself if the weather might kill you if you continue your flight, and if the answer is even a weak yes, then save your ass and park it or turn around, no matter how well you think you "know" the area, or the belief that you are the only pilot you know, that can fly in this stuff.

Of course, East of the Rockies, where the only hazard to navigation all the way to Newfoundland is the CN Tower, a GPS is indeed very useful, even in poor weather

There but for the Grace of God...
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by foundpilot » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:13 am

Castorero wrote:
Cat Driver wrote:One of the most important things a GPS gives you is actual ground speed at any given time...information that is worth its weight in gold.
An expensive speedometer on some days to be sure, but to use it for anything else in poor weather, especially in the interior of BC, it is the instrument that will take you "directly" to the site of your grave.

"Eyes outside and map on your lap" should be flashing from the GPS screen on those days.

I remember fueling on a beastly day in Northwest BC a few years ago, when three guys decided to continue their GPS VFR flight to Dease Lake and beyond, ending their flight on the first rocks in their direct flight path.

There are days when you have to stop and ask yourself if the weather could kill you if you continue you flight, and if the answer is even a weak yes, then park it or turn around, no matter how well you "know" the area, or the fact that you are the only pilot you know, that can fly in this stuff.

There but for the Grace of God...
Amen!
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by skybaron » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:22 am

Castorero wrote: "Eyes outside and map on your lap" should be flashing from the GPS screen
Agreed.

My 296 has failed much more than a handful of times in the past few years, ALL failures being in marginal weather and close to high terrain. Even on crystal blue days it's failed when I was operating in and out of narrow inlets.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by cdnpilot77 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:35 am

I lost GPS signal twice this morning in clear blue with my 495 between Cambridge and Muskoka, but I feel I need to say that I think I have the most challenging float job :mrgreen: :smt040
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by GoinNowhereFast » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:20 pm

GP what? I use a MAP. :)

In seriousness, how many 180s do you think have a GPS in them? I have a hand-held hiking GPS to help me out, but the old fashoned map is what I use 99% of the time.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Rowdy » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:28 pm

Its nice to have a gps as a SECONDARY means of nav.. and the info you can add to your flight from it is fantastic.

I still rely on my map and my eyeballs though...
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by DHCdriver » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:40 pm

Lets be serious here, GPS is secondary! I know we need not forget the old map, but with all this technology at our disposal who would not use it.
GoinNowhereFast wrote:GP what? I use a MAP. :)

In seriousness, how many 180s do you think have a GPS in them? I have a hand-held hiking GPS to help me out, but the old fashoned map is what I use 99% of the time.
Every Cessna that I have flown has had one in them. I guess it depends on how cheap the guy is your working for :lol: I think it's a must these days. It's a good idea for the first year float guy to shut the thing off and learn the area he/she will working in. And once they are comfortable they know where they are if that thing quits then turn it back on. Flying in a straight line will save your company time and money in the long run, so use it if you got it. Just my 2 cents. DHCdriver
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by floatpilot » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:01 pm

The shortest distance between a and b is a straight line = big fuel savings! Doesn't matter how good you can read a map, you still won't fly direct :mrgreen:

I have not come across a 180 that did not have a gps in it either.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by cdnpilot77 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:08 pm

floatpilot wrote:I have not come across a 180 that did not have a gps in it either.
180 at Derry Air - Gogama Ontario...pilot supplied GPS if you wanted to have one in it, otherwise nothing.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Lost Lake » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:22 pm

Back to the topic. I have to say that for me it was the arctic. I flew one summer in Cambridge Bay, which I think is the most northern float operation in Canada. Forget the compass, it just points at the ground. Long sectors, with high winds, low viz (lots of sea fog, snow squalls etc.), nasty shallow lakes, tidal flows, no docks. No-one else around to get weather on route or at destination. Didn't have to land on the ocean but I sure had to pucker up on some flights. (And the GPS worked everytime). Ungava Bay is a close second!
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by nutbutter » Wed May 18, 2011 10:10 am

Lost Lake wrote:Back to the topic. I have to say that for me it was the arctic. I flew one summer in Cambridge Bay, which I think is the most northern float operation in Canada. Forget the compass, it just points at the ground. Long sectors, with high winds, low viz (lots of sea fog, snow squalls etc.), nasty shallow lakes, tidal flows, no docks. No-one else around to get weather on route or at destination. Didn't have to land on the ocean but I sure had to pucker up on some flights. (And the GPS worked everytime). Ungava Bay is a close second!
I would have to agree, I suppose you flew the beaver at adlair doing fish haul? I'm not sure there is a more challenging job out there than that, and from what I remember, the pay was shit. There isn't anywhere to hide in the barrens. The isolation up there is unreal.
On the other hand, I've also got a fair bit of respect for the guys on the West Coast, they see some pretty gnarly shit on a consistent basis.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by beaverbob » Wed May 18, 2011 8:33 pm

I have to say that the prairie provinces. Since my eyes are not as good as a few years ago, I have trouble reading the elevators. :smt040
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by iflyforpie » Thu May 19, 2011 8:54 am

beaverbob wrote:I have to say that the prairie provinces. Since my eyes are not as good as a few years ago, I have trouble reading the elevators. :smt040



I remember hearing a story from the BCATP, where student pilots from Britain would be roaming the prairies in Cornells or Tigermoths and could easily get lost due to the monotony of the plains. One solution was of course to fly to the nearest grain elevator and read the name of the town on the side and then check the map to get a heading back to base.

One unfortunate pilot wound up in a wheat field after running out of fuel and when de-briefed, he explained to his c/o that he got lost and was trying to use the names on the side of the grain elevators: "....but every town was named Paterson!"

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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by just curious » Thu May 19, 2011 1:36 pm

Any Ocean coast:
Labrador, tides wind fog, rocks, not as many people around to pass on wx and stuff.

The Arctic frequent durable fog

BC, low ceilings, big rocks, currents like Langara, fiords like Stewart, dock facilities managers in Vancouver.

Northwest Ontario is flat. Real flat. I think the whole thing from Fort Frances to Big Trout is 1340 feet. Might zoom up around the hill north of Pickle to 1440. Lakes are all different shapes. Maps have their names on 'em. The most challenging thing about flying floats in NWO is getting off the dock into a pilot seat.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Prairie Chicken » Thu May 19, 2011 4:38 pm

Good one Bob!

And it's really sad there are fewer and fewer of elevators still standing. It's like, they're taking out the lighthouses along the coasts .... :P
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by DHCdriver » Thu May 19, 2011 9:24 pm

There used to be an orange grain elevator south of Winnipeg and west of Stienbach years ago, you shouldn't hit that if your out that way. :smt040
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by Midnight Sun Flyer » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:16 pm

just curious wrote:Any Ocean coast:
Labrador, tides wind fog, rocks, not as many people around to pass on wx and stuff.

The Arctic frequent durable fog

BC, low ceilings, big rocks, currents like Langara, fiords like Stewart, dock facilities managers in Vancouver.

Northwest Ontario is flat. Real flat. I think the whole thing from Fort Frances to Big Trout is 1340 feet. Might zoom up around the hill north of Pickle to 1440. Lakes are all different shapes. Maps have their names on 'em. The most challenging thing about flying floats in NWO is getting off the dock into a pilot seat.
Black Tickle was fun landing on the Harbour with the wing blowing up from the south, or Nain with a North easter blowing in along with the fog and heavy seas.
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Re: Most challenging region to fly floats in Canada?

Post by skytramp2800 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:31 pm

First trip out of the circuit... a $85 on floats, up to the arctic coast, east to Hudson Bay, all across the barrens, back and forth all summer. sectionals with ..."topographical data incomplete" and a copy of "Finding the sun's true bearing" (still have it) living in a tent, and using a bucket...
Out of Prince Rupert, in March, across to the Charlottes at 100 feet, turn NOW when you see the lumber, 'cause it's higher than you are...going by Toe Hill, you know you're there when you feel the bumps... the Beaver "coughing" when you get tumbled...up and down the Grenville Channel, if not in a screaming sou'easter, then less than a mile in fog, with a little flap, and ready to pump them down if you're going to land...NOW.
Up and down the west coast of Vancouver Island in the winter, 30-40 knots out of the SE, smooth if you're a bit off shore, getting HAMMERED when you have to turn inside, only to land on glassy water, to hear the wind howling aloft. And... you have to go back outside to get home...
Bright sunny days after a weeks worth of winter gales, to see whales scratching their bellies on Rose Spit at low tide, on a Sunday Morning....landing in the middle of Grenville Channel, just you, all by yourself, sitting on the wing, waiting for the pod of Orcas to pass you by, the pod you saw on the way down to Hartley Bay. God is good...

All across the high arctic in the lovely DC-3, and the fabulous Twin Otter... ( doesn't go fast, doesn't go REALLY far, doesn't really carry a whole lot, noisy) but that sweet aeroplane will go anywhere, land on anything, on wheels, on skiis, and my absolutely most favorite in the whole wide world... on floats.. and never let you down) Spent many a night in the DeHavilland Hotel...

Never been on the east coast, and I can only imagine that it could hardly be much different.

Never did have a GPS, only sectionals, (back then) and VNC's... and a pencil, and sometimes a sun compass...and my thumb on the map... and a whiz wheel, up until...

Now?? I have three GPS's and sometimes I wonder what might happen if the boss man was to hit the switch that would turn them all off....

Oh yes.... I still have my maps, all safe and dry in my kit, just in case.
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