I haven’t been flying for nearly two months now. I’ve not even bothered to make bookings, it’s really too damn cold at the moment. Which is having interesting effects aviationwise. Last week the Density altitude at Buttonville airport was minus 3500ft! Something which I’m still struggling to get my head around the implications of.
At the kind of temperatures we are having at the moment if you don’t have a permanent block heater installed, you are looking at needing to preheat your engine for a good few hours before you even think about starting it.
Still, when I found myself with an invitation to join D and E (of takeoff speed fame) on a weekend lunch flight, I didn’t hesitate to accept. FTLF has a newly installed block heater and a full set of covers. Despite being tied down outside, she’s more than ready to cope with the winter temperatures.
The initial plan was for what I call the “South to North Run”. A few years ago Toronto City Centre Airport was renamed Toronto Billy Bishop Airport, in honour of a local aviation hero. Only Owen Sound Regional airport had kind of beaten us to it. The standing joke is that the airport has a north and south terminal, 200 Km apart.
Anyway that plan fell by the wayside as it became apparent that streamers from Georgian Bay were causing marginal conditions to the north. This is not uncommon in the winter, meteorologists call it “lake effect”, pilots call it “a pain in the ass” because conditions can change very quickly.
We poured over the chart looking for somewhere new to go. Rumour had it that London (CYXU) had a decent café, so off we headed.
I took the back seat for the trip out. FTLF doesn’t have an intercom in the back, so I sat there silent and content to watch the winter world unfold below us. As I sat there, alone with my own thoughts, I had time to contemplate many things.
· My headset actually has fairly crappy noise attenuation. I suspect that the difference with and without the headset isn’t as good as it should be. Maybe now I see why people spend thousands on ANR headsets
· The world surely is very pretty at this time of year, especially when viewed from the air.
· I really, really love flying! Even as a passenger.
· There really aren’t a lot of features out west to navigate by
· There are however, a lot of fields if you need to find one in a hurry!
I took some video of the flight which I’ll get around to doing something with eventually. It was literally handheld Go Pro stuff, so no idea how it’s going to turn out. I took one picture with my phone, just for purely show off factor.
I took this photo and texted it to my friend K with the caption “I’m in a plane”