Flight uses fishing excuse to fly west

Participating aircraft and crews: C-175 C-FLBQ Bob and Gerri Little; Comanche 180 C-FUSS Doug Wier and Martin Johnston; C-172 with conversion to 210 HP C-FOQZ Ed Storch and Darwin Girdauckis all from Lloydminster, Sask; Grumman Cheetah C-GFGA Grant Sherbeth and Kelly of Alberta.

By Ed Storch



One of 900 fantastic Vista’s
greeted us en route to Sechelt.

Doug Wier and C-FUSS.

Martin Johnston,
"looks like a keeper."

Last summer three aircraft left Lloydminster, Sask. for Sechelt, B.C. The first leg was to Jasper Hinton (CEC4), time 2.2 hours, sky clear. Fuel price $1.54/Litre. From there we filed direct to Kamloops (CYKA), time 1.7 hours, sky clear, with a five knot headwind.

En route we diverted to see "Ramparts" - a visual wonder. Mount Robson was fully visible in all its splendour. Locals tell us Robson is seldom fully visible. A real treat. Glaciers, emerald lakes, rocky slopes, remote valleys, a visual excess on all sides. Words fail to do justice to the majestic Canadian Rockies.

We call ourselves "Lloydminster Eagle Flight" with the lead aircraft designated Eagle Beak. Next in line is Eagle Belly and last is Eagle Tail feathers.

It was hot at Kamloops, but the staff was helpful - fuel was $1.50/Litre.

After lunch and resetting our watches to local time we file for our final destination, Sechelt B.C. via (CAP3) Pemberton. Time 1.5 hours, with more clear sky and light winds.

In the West we expected good visibility - after all we’re from the land of the "big sky." But 5.3 actual hours of flight mostly West with CAUV is exceptional.

Sechelt is North of Vancouver on the Georgia Straight. We all landed safely and tied up in the visitor area ($5 per night). A van rented by Bob is waiting. We load the baggage and off to Pender Harbour Historic Hotel – it’s old, but clean.

After registering we tour Sunshine Coast Resorts then we checked out the Sea Otter, a 32 foot charter boat owned and run by Fred Baldwin.

Grant and Kelly Sherbeth were late leaving Alberta, but called as they were leaving Kamloops. I stranded five fliers to beach walk while I drove to Sechelt Airport to pick them up.

Later, after getting all eight of us loaded, we checked out the beer at the Grass Hopper Pub in the Pender Hotel - yes they have Guinness

On Monday five of us take bag lunches and go fishing, the other three played a round of golf.

The golfers showed good sense and came fishing the next day. We fished for cod in the afternoon and caught several ling- rock - and green cod. Grant caught the largest and most fish since his mud shark was pregnant.

The plan for our return flight was to fly direct Cranbrook or Kamloops, but was put on hold due to low ceilings.

We then decided Chilliwack was possible but exposed us to various interesting experiences getting transponder clearances - or not.

Flying over Vancouver at 1,000 feet was tense for all but Bob. Chilliwack Airport at 35 feet ASL was a welcome sight. FUSS had a partial flight instrument failure but caught up to Eagle flight by noon.

Grant and Kelly went Golden to Kamloops and reported to us of acceptable and improving ceilings. So Eagle flight elected to go Golden to Kamloops via the Fraiser River. Rising cloud bases allowed us to fly direct the last 40 miles.

No ceiling and storms to the East convinced us to overnight in Kamloops. Next day back to Jasper Hinton via Blue River, again sensory overload.

Our thanks to all the weather briefers for their timely local knowledge that kept us prairie boys safe. Back home in Lloydminster we unloaded and told all the other club members and anyone else who would listen, what they missed.

The Sunshine Coast impressed us so much some of us are checking real-estate and job possibilities.