Jim Cole (one of our Senior Partners) and his wife Gloria are taking a trip to Alaska in their airplane.
Jim is traveling with Tom Inglis and his wife Ann from Wingham ON, heading for the COPA convention in Dawson Creek and joining host Bram Tilroe on an Alaska Highway flight to Fairbanks. According to Bram there are 40 aircraft and 78 people registered to make the trip sponsored by COPA.
Throughout the trip Jim will be communicating to us all through this blog.
It should be a great adventure.
This part of the blog shows the first few days of the Trip
Press Here to see more recent photos of the Journey.
Still gentle, but pretty.
The Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson. Still surprisingly gentle and manicured.
Fort St. John
We over flew Fort St. John which was only about 40 NM up the highway from Dawson Creek
A few of the planes on the Alaska Highway Trip
There’s 27 planes here so far, who are part of the group heading up the Alaska Highway – with Bram Tilroe. Briefing is at 4PM.
Even a luggage cart on the ground!
This is half our luggage from the 2 Rebels, the camping gear is still stored. Feels great to be here and I’m getting pretty excited about the next phase of our flight. We’re going to be airborne about 6:30am on Sunday morning for a trip to Watson Lake about 400 NM north west just inside the Yukon. It will be our first camping of the trip. Saturday we have a couple of COPA seminars, Alaska Highway briefing, and steak dinner and dance. Should be fun!
Turning Final for 06 Dawson Creek
Gloria is now with me so it’s now safer to get airport shots. It’s exciting to be here.
Dawson Creek from the air
Mile ‘One’ of the Alaska Highway! The good news is that the weather is improving for our departure Sunday morning.
Dawson Creek for the COPA convention
Dawson Creek, we had to wait for a Dash 8 to land – the wind was 02 at 5 knots, but the Dash 8 took 24 so we waited for him to exit the runway and did a right base for 06.
Grand Prairie Road into Grand Prairie, I was surprised by the farming this far north and as Gloria said, “Now you know why it’s called Grand Prairie”! Pretty country. We did have to fly around some CB’s on the way.
Smoky River in Alberta
Left Edmonton about noon on Friday for Dawson Creek, with our favourite gals on board. The Smoky river, south east of Grand Prairie was muddy but nearly as high as the ones in southern Alberta.
16a - So inspiring!
Another shot between Brandon and Yorkton.
14a - Another Great View of the Prairies
I just love the lines and shapes
In Good Company
The Rebel was welcome inside Executive Flight Centre’s hangar in Edmonton. We’re getting ready to fly to Dawson Creek.
Executive Flight Centre Welcome
They made us feel like some of the “Big Boys! We had many helping hands to help us put the Rebels away for a couple of days in one of their hangars.
It’s a very busy place for private operators servicing the north with 30 to 40 scheduled flights per day. Very impressive.
Controller Says Descend-Now!
On the instructions of the controller we dove for the button so we could give space to the larger traffic at Edmonton International. 02/200 was closed so there was only 12/22 available for all traffic, small and large.
Landed at Edmonton International
We circled for about 15 minutes north of the airport while we waited for a landing spot, without being too close, to the 737 and Dash 8 traffic.
22 - We picked North Battleford because it was about 1/2 way to Edmonton and had 24 hour fuel
On final for 06 at North Battleford SK. Lots of aerial spraying and 24 hour fuel.
21 - Flying around another shower, just outside North Battleford SK
You can see Tom in the upper right. North Battleford is just behind the showers.
20 - Had to share this early morning picture of the Yorkton airport facilities.
Yorkton SK. Lounge and washrooms.
19 - Yorkton SK. We had wheels up at 5:50 am so we could beat the weather to Edmonton
Leading Edge Aviation in Yorkton were again very helpful.
A couple of phone calls and there was a crew car available to us so we stayed the night. You have to love the aviation community!
18 - More great landscape
I was flying low and it reminded me of an IMAX movie, as the landscape rolled under our wings.
The only thing missing was the music!
17 - Interesting landscape between Brandon and Yorkton SK.
I really don’t know what all the shapes are? Does anyone?
16 - We landed in Brandon at 17:05.
It was great that the guys from the Brandon Flying Club stayed to give us fuel and open their facilities to us.
Very friendly and helpful! They had a crew car that we could use but we still wanted to get to Yorkton for the night.
15 - Flying south of Winnipeg on the way to Brandon
Some people think the prairies are boring…but as you can see some of the shapes are great!
14 - The two Rebels resting at Piney
The weather is gradually getting better as we go. Still a little bumpy but no more showers.
Next stop Brandon.
13 Piney is very unique. You land and go to the Customs office depending on which direction your'e flying..
The runway is half in Canada and half in the US.
12 - It's getting better the closer we get to Canada
I was flying along with the window open and as Tom said on the radio “Have I told you how happy I am to be here today!” Just great!
11 - what a great contrast
Still northern Minnesota, straight road, railroad, with another shower in the distance
10 still had to fly around some isolated showers on the way to Piney
Isolated thunderstorm in northern Minnesota, it was a little rough but still beautiful.
09 - Flying northwest from McGregor to Piney MN
An almost perfectly round lake, you can only think that it might have been a meteorite.
08 - McGregor MN - 24hour Mogas, access to the lounge, crew car, and great lunch downtown.
Crew car with Tom adding some Mogas in the BG
You know it’s an amazing community when you can phone ahead and get this type of ground support and access without ever seeing anyone.
07 - Iron Mountain showing it's colors through the fog
Just east of Ashland WI.
06 - Heading west from Houghton with McGregor
South shore of Lake Superior Tom looks good!
05 - a very quiet downtown Houghton MI
Rained after we landed.
04 - Moved on to Houghton MI, great place, friendly staff, hotel picked us up.
Houghton MI, great town and we think worth visiting again. You can see the weather in the distance.
Big copper mining area as early as 1750’s
03 - We put down in Garaga MI, to wait for weather
Small grass strip 40NM south of the shore of Superior. There was no services or support so we moved on.
02 - South of Lake Superior en route to Ashland WI.
It looks like we are going to be in for some weather.
Flight monitoring in Minni was very helpful with updates.
01 - we left Sault Ste Marie on Sunday afternoon to head along the south shore of Lake Superior
CYAM airport. Nice facilities but not much support for the small plane pilot and a $40 cab ride from downtown. Cheaper to rent a car.
But a short hop to Sanderson field to clear US customs.