blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Home in the rain

I am starting to write this post in the pilots' lounge at Trois-Rivieres airport (CYRQ) where we have touched down for lunch. I ordered a poutine with chicken and peas, something I'll probably not order again. Poutine is basically chips covered with thick and salty gravy. We had a smooth and easy flight here from Grand Falls, what a pleasure. The next and final leg of our trip may not be so enjoyable as we'll be in stratus cloud for most of the way. It is raining in Ottawa with low ceilings there, the weather will stay that way for the rest of the day and night; we just have to hope that the cloud ceiling will allow us to see the runway at Gatineau in time to land there. Otherwise we'll have to try again back at Mirabel airport which is "our alternate", as they say on IFR flight plans.

Over Edmundston
We did a short-field take off at Grand Falls to avoid further damage to the shimmy dampers on their bumpy runway and then set off across the farm country on the Canadian side of the border to Edmundston where the Saint John River goes round a large bend. For a while during this morning's VFR flight we were in and out of fluffy, lowish cumuli clouds, no threat at all, and very few of them over the St. Lawrence River as we crossed it between Montmagny and the Isle d'Orleans, but around Quebec City the cloud became less broken, so Chris air-filed IFR for the rest of the way to give himself a more comfortable feeling. Because there was no turbulence, I felt comfortable all the way to the destination. We crossed the fleuve twice more beyond Quebec, seeing the big tanker ships below us; one of them had a helicopter landing pad on its deck.

While we were in Yarmouth, George had explained about the strip fields. In previous centuries French families tended to have many children, and as the tradition among farmers was to bequeath land to one's children, the available land had to be divided into many narrow pieces, one strip for each son. There are many such patterns along the cote sud of the Saint-Laurent.

Descending through rain
End of post, end of journey: our CYRQ to CYRO flight was half in fine weather, half in IMC. We knew we were flying towards the stratus layers and Chris estimated that we would go into these rain clouds just before YMX (the Mirabel VOR) which turned out to be about right. What we hadn't expected was that there would be a dramatic rise in pressure (the VSI showing a sudden difference of 1000ft, even though we were flighing smoothly and horizontally along) just about at the point where we penetrated the wet murk. No turbulence worth mentioning on this flight, although we were somewhat blown about by the southeast wind as we moved away, by request, from the approach to Gatineau towards Rockcliffe, our home airport. Clearly able to see the ground by then, we were permitted to cancel our IFR flightplan and change frequencies. It was for the best that we headed away from the approach to Gatineau because we had a fighter jet on our tail, coming in to land in preparation for the Canada Day show on Saturday. ATC managed to keep a safe distance between us and the jet, notwithstanding the difference in our speeds; those planes fly twice as fast as we do, even at their slowest.
Home ... in the rain
Having tied PTN down in the wet, we are home now, tired and very satisfied with this holiday.

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