Descending below the tree level is impressive and somehow makes judging the flare more difficult. The runway itself is a bit bumpy, but quite ok.
2 aircraft are parked in the distance, butterflies and birds abound. The air smells of wood, the breeze is light, and the temperature perfect. Is it that I passed and moved to paradise?
Butterfly in the foreground
I walk to the other visitors, all super friendly folks. There is a small BBQ fireplace. And a billboard posting, amongst other useful infos, the rules
The vegetation is massive, and laying by the small path leading to the western beach are 2 kayaks, ready for use.
The beach is magnificent. The clean and agreeable water is an invitation I can’t refuse. Gotta ask again, am I already in paradise?
Multicoloured pebbles lay on the beach, a small selection for your eyes
And one the abundant non-venomous snakes
Had I known about North Fox Island previously… I would have left Oshkosh 2-3 days earlier to resource myself whilst camping here. Ok, next time then
Unfortunately it is now time to leave. I have filed my entry into Canada for 17:00LT, and still have to confirm my arrival to the CBP by telephone. Since there is no cell cover here, I have to make the 10 minute hop back to civilisation on Beaver Island
Beaver Island is another inviting place
Approaching it’s neat little airport
And the FBO/terminal ramp
Once refuelled, I’m put on hold for 50 (fifty) minutes on the only number provided by the Canadian CBP before being able to speak to an officer… place and time are confirmed.
I still have an hour to kill, as, once more, customs ask to land on time…
The flight to Sault Ste Marie takes 45 minutes, and is mostly spent slaloming between islands.
Another inviting (or not) strip on the next turtle shaped island
And more of the same
Finally I reach the North shore of Lake Michigan, and Sault Ste Marie and Canada come into view
The airport of CYAM
And it’s tower and terminal… excuse the wing!
After landing I’m instructed to taxi next to the tower for customs clearance. Knowing about the strict rules of US and Canadian CBP, I stay put inside YLL, and start to read a book….
1/2 hour later I call up the tower who informs me that CBP “might be stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge”…
When I now call CBP on my cell, the same message informs one of the waiting time of 50 minutes. But I now stay 1:03h on my cell phone before making contact. No, no one will come, and I’m given a clearance number. Almost 2 hours waiting, no apologies, no nothing…
Good thing I’m on vacation and still wear my
Terry is another RV builder and owner. I had previously made contact with him, and also met him during the Oshkosh week. He very kindly offered accommodation and use of his hangar and necessary tools for the by now due 100h and before crossing inspection.
He had been patiently waiting, and now marshals me to his hangar. I take off the cowls and start the inspection with the “hot items”, before we call it a day and go into town.
CYAM Sault Ste Marie – CYJN St-Jean
The rest of the inspection takes the morning and the first part of the afternoon. Especially the engine gets a thorough look at, including borescoping the cylinders. I was carrying almost all the necessary tooling with me on the trip. All is good, and YLL is pronouced fit to cross the Atlantic, again
My dilemma now is as follows: either to fly home using the shortest way, or head towards Nova Scotia, an area which I was keen to visit. It’s already late, and I decide to initially fly East to St-Jean, which is in the direction of Nova Scotia, and once there to take the decision as to the further route.
I thank Terry for his help, and bid farewell to Sault Ste Marie. The flight to St-Jean will last just short of 3 hours, and the weather ahead looks good.
Sault Ste Marie and it’s famous locks in the distance
Somewhere after having flown by Lake Nipissing…
I then transit North of capital city Ottawa before crossing the St Lawrence River, looking towards Montreal
The airport of St-Jean, with the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Once landed, YLL is secured and I walk into town…
I then spent a frustrating 3 hours looking for a room to sleep in. Nil B&B, and the only 3 hotels are fully booked. I walk, ask people, walk some more, make phone calls, all to no avail. Having walked another 5km along the river I find an auberge/motel, but again, no vacancies. Just when I start loosing my smile, the nice receptionist takes pity and asks me to wait as they are looking into a solution.
An hour of waiting later, a room has been cleared and cleaned in the motel, as employees agree on sharing another room. Phew
CYJN St-Jean – CYRJ Roberval – CYVP Kuujjuaq
Today’s early walk to the airport doesn’t really pay off, as I find the pump locked… I’m then told that the FBO person only arrives at 9am, but wait, we are Sunday, so that will rather be 10am… which is in 2 hours time.
The nice controllers in the tower invite me up to their office to kill time. We talk aviation for about an hour, and when the pump is finally set free from its lock I can refuel.
The weather outlook for Nova Scotia is not great. I’m now getting tired of always changing beds, having to chase people and hotels around, not being able to properly feed, and plainly start missing home. I therefore take the decision to head home direct, but for the 2 remaining POIs.
My heading is now northely as I pass East of Montreal, and overfly the Lac Saint-Pierre of the St Lawrence River
The airport of Roberval is located on the West shore of Lake Saint-Jean, which I reach after a flight of 1:26h
The place is quite windy, and 40 minutes later, refuelled, I take-off again northeastnorth bound.
Clouds are soon encountered, and for a while flying on top works
Later, as the clouds ahead rise, I descend to have look below them…
This works for a while. But 1/2h later, as I’m forced down on the deck, I give up, and enter reduced visibility conditions… the OAT indicates -2°C, and I observe a light accumulation of ice, but nothing to really worry about… I nevertheless start a descent into warmer air.
I then notice some weird speed indications
33kias and 171kts GS, that has to be lot of frozen tailwind
I’ve had the same symptoms on a training flight before, so know what’s in store
Did I mention that YLL’s pitot tube ain’t heated? Flying pitch/power as usual is not a problem, probably helped by the good training received in the Airbus simulator
I also have to mention that my auxiliary tank electrical transfer pump decides to pack up at this moment… it is not running anymore, and scorching hot to the feel. Time to pull the electrical cord…
About 30 minutes later the weather starts improving, and I’m flying now flying in between layers
There are still some showers around, and these give birth to multiple rainbows, giving the atmosphere an enchanting touch
I am amazed these boxes don’t use GPS data as well. This was a big issue with Aspen and Garmin, but it’s been claimed that they have done a fallback from airdata onto GPS.