Leg One Thursday March 11, 2021
Kinda funny that I would kick this little adventure off on the one year anniversary of our province’s Covid state of emergency and the day all my flying to reduce to a trickle.
We start off in CYYT St. John’s, Newfoundland, where I lived for the first 28 years of my life. Flew a Shorts 360 and a Dash-8 for Air Labrador based here. It has some of the worst weather in the world. Not uncommon to be blowing over 50kts with 1/4sm in fog.
The day I departed was nice, sunny skies, -3C and a blustery wind out of the northwest. Departed off RWY29 and headed for Gander CYQX.
It was a bumpy departure but once up to 4500ft it was fairly smooth. The sky quickly turned overcast as there was a system moving in from the west bringing a snow/rain mix. I knew I could get to YQX for lunch and over to the CYJT on the west coast before it got too bad. CYQX was reporting winds 251 at 34kts, landing on RWY21, which worked out fine. The fine folks at Irving Aviation marshalled me in to the FBO and I topped off the Piper with fuel, and helped myself to the freezer full of Haagen Daz ice cream bars. They are known for their ice cream at the FBO.
The 107nm leg took me 1.3 air time.
I could spend hours talking about the history of aviation in CYQX, from it being a crucial trans Atlantic refueling stop before the jet era to more recently during the 9/11 events. Google is your friend, go look it up. It’s worth it.
After eating too much ice cream I crawled back into the mighty Arrow took off and headed for Stephenville CYJT on Newfoundland’s west coast. I was staging myself for the next days trip across the Gulf of Lawrence to Nova Scotia.
I climbed up to 4500ft into a strong headwind, the mighty Archer setting a blistering groundspeed of 71kts. Moving at the speed of smell. You know it’s bad when cars are passing you on the highway below.
Before too long I was bouncing my way in decent to RWY27 in CYJT, the former US Air Force Base Harmon Field, built in 1941. I’ve spent many a night in Stephenville on layovers. It can be a bit of a party town, much like any community in Newfoundland.
I had my first issue with the old Piper, selected gear down…and nothing happened. Weird. Tried again…nadda, nothing, didn’t even try to move. Quick scan around the cockpit, what does my wandering eye see, a popped CB. Reset the breaker, viola the gear is now down with 3 twinkling green lights. Just Flight programmers, you are a cheeky bunch. Keeping this old guy on his toes.
Winds were gusty here too, pretty much down the runway at 25kts, so I managed to get the old girl on without too much trouble. Taxied to the main terminal and shut down. I chocked and tied down the bird, checked in with the Commissionaire and walked over to the Acadian Hotel across the street. Time for supper and a couple of pints.
Flight time was 1.4
Forecast for tomorrow morning isn’t great but it’s suppose to improve. I may go IFR out of here to get me to better wx in Nova Scotia.