Monday, February 12, 2007



A month or so ago I went to Winnipeg for a week. It was basically the beginning of the actual winter weather for Winnipeg so I was met by -26 Celsius and a 20 knot wind upon arrival.

The above picture was taken as we were on final for Runway 31 in Winnipeg. Looking out at this area saddens me. Just this side of the river is a set of railroad tracks. It was somewhere in that area that a fellow pilot's life was ended suddenly on October 6th 2005. It was a Cessna 208B Caravan doing a FedEx cargo run from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay. The pilot departed Winnipeg and about 5 minutes later was unable to maintain altitude and crashed on the tracks by confusion corner right downtown. I remember that morning waking up and reading about it and felt ill as I knew the person that regularly did that run. I later found out that day that he was on holidays and the other pilot had come to cover for him.

I went and checked the weather in Winnipeg as per the GFA to see what she was up against. The GFA was calling for moderate icing just east of Winnipeg from the freezing level (surface) to 14,000 feet I believe. After the accident Environment Canada put out aftercasts which included areas of freezing rain by Winnipeg. I have them saved on my old computer and will post them when I get it going again.

The Caravan is certified for icing but is well know as an underpowered machine in those scenarios and should be used only to transit through icing and not fly continuously through it. But also lots of times the forecast calls for no icing and you might encounter the worst icing ever so it's not written in stone what the actual conditions will be.

Later into the investigation they found that the aircraft was over the maximum icing take off weight by 500 pounds because of mis calculated cargo weights. Having flown the Caravan in ice with a load on it can put you between a rock and a really hard place. Usually you cruise at an indicated speed of 140ish. Minimum icing speed back then was 105. You pack a little ice on and your down to 120 easy and then usually your only option is to descend. Now they have made 120 the minimum icing speed as 105 was too low. I tried to climb through ice empty to 10,000 feet and ended up having to descend as I couldn't out climb it. The Caravan is a great airplane but personally I preferred to fly it out of cloud that contains ice.

Rest in Peace.

Downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg is the first large prairie town you run into after leaving Ontario. The Great Plains according to the Tragically Hip begin at the 100th meridian (around Brandon Manitoba 2 hours east) but it pretty much starts around Winnipeg.

Cold is all that comes to mind when you see the exhaust from all the boilers in the office buildings ! The coldest I have experienced in Winnipeg was -45 ambient 3 years ago. I was based here for a short while and of course it had to be the coldest time of the winter! At the apartment we were staying at I went to the basement to do laundry. It was freezing in the laundry room and I couldn't figure out why. Felt like someone had left a door open and the wind was blowing through. Well after my wash load was done I opened a dryer to put my clothes in. Wind almost blew the door open and it was freekin freezing. So I found the dryer that had the least amount of cold air coming through and put my clothes in. I came back an hour later and heard a weird noise sounding like as if I put a pair of shoes in the dryer. When I saw my clothes going around in the dryer they were completely frozen in a huge ball. So I wanted to tell the manager so I brought up a few shirts which were really frozen. I asked for my money back and she asked why...I then proceeded to drop my clothes on the counter and she was pretty amazed and quickly gave me my 2 bucks back. I guess the dryer vents were on the north side of the building and the 20 knot wind was blowing straight down the pipes and none of the dryers could overcome the cold dense air flowing into the pipes to create any heat in the dryer. Like really...where does that happen besides Winnipeg :)

This picture might be one of the last of this stadium. This is where the Winnipeg Blue Bombers play. They are going to be tearing it down and building a bigger one in the next few years I believe. You have to be a die hard fan to go watch a game in late fall here if the weather is the way it normally is. Also Winnipeg has major mosquito infestations in the summer too. Sounds like a great place doesn't it :)

Many friends of mine from my old work place now work either at Calm Air (left) or Perimeter (right). The Calm Air hangar is brand new and looks very nice and has a nice new reception area. Perimeter's office is well.....perfectly suited for where they fly :) My friend Binder my take offense to my negative overview of Winnipeg but he has to because he lives there :) Also Winni the Pooh was named after Winnipeg (well the name of the bear in a London Zoo was named Winnipeg) so there is a positive side :)

1 comment:

Binder said...

Winnipeggers have thick skin, and not just from the cold. Say what you will about us, we're secure in our city-hood. And besides, it's a dry cold :)