Friday, April 27, 2007


9 Years ago this past February I set out for Kelowna, BC. Here pictured is Kelowna from 25,000 feet as we pass about 10 miles to the south. This is March and already it looks like summer in the sunny Okanagan. I lived about half way down the picture when I first moved here and for 2 months that first summer I got to house sit a gorgeous house right on the water. It could be 35 degrees a few streets over but along the water it would be about 5 degrees cooler and with the breeze it was the perfect spot to be. Back then that house would go for over a million and with the way things are today I believe it is worth close to 2!!

The Kelowna "International" Airport...International Airport to me means 747's and flights that took 3/4 of a day to get there...back when it got it's international airport status the only scheduled "international" flights where on Horizon to Seattle. Horizon had higher landing minima then most Canadian carriers so the joke at the airport was that miracles happen every day...4 flights daily to Seattle on Horizon :) I loved the Dash 8-200 though for it's power and newer avionics including the HUD (heads up display) compared to AirBC's newer airframes but old school avionics and Canadian Regionals old clapped out airframes with newer EFIS.

I sat jumpseat many times on a Dash 8 and it was always my goal to fly one. I now fly a single engine, single pilot airplane that performs better then the Dash 8-100 (minus carrying 35 people :) so I am basically set. The typical comment nowadays is.."When are you going on the jet?" (my company flies Citation Excels). I am supper fortunate to have the ability to go and fly one if I wanted to but to me being home more regularly and having more money means more to me then flying another 180 knots faster and 13,000 feet higher. I now see corporate aircraft as machines capable of taking me on the road for 12 days or more at a time and I can see that in time that would wear thin. I used to think the Gulfstream 5 would be a sweet airplane to fly....that thing can fly for 15 hours and today I don't want any part of that type of flying :)

I knew that I had found my niche when I first started flying the PC-12. It allowed me to climb up into the flight levels and cruise at FL280, 260 knots, and fly 1100 miles with plenty of reserves. It also allows me to fly into 2500 foot runways and even grass or gravel, and still take off and go up in the upper atmosphere. Personally my camera has issues focusing on the ground from 25,000 feet so why would I want to fly any higher ? :) It also is cheap to operate so for me to fly it home empty does not cost the company as much as it would to send a jet home empty so I have the opportunity of not sitting somewhere for weeks on end.

Also some people ask when are you going to WestJet or Air Canada...I currently don't have the type of time either carrier is looking for (I have mostly single engine turbine PIC) but I don't want to have to fly to Calgary, Ottawa,Toronto or anywhere else 10 times in a week, or worry about my seniority number when the times get difficult or worry about having to transfer...

Basically what I am getting at is that to each their own and I am happy the PC12 suits all of my needs and look forward to a career filled with experiences gained flying it.

Runway 34/16 (formerly 33/15 in my day). This is where my whole career started...from the ground up literally :) So many great people I know today is because of this airport.

Big White Ski Hill...we were headed straight for it so I decided to get a nice aerial shot and banked the airplane as we flew over top at 25,000 feet. Pretty large hill and I remember the days flying around it in the 172 right at the same altitude ! Same great sight but just bigger in the 172 :) This is one of the advantages of living in the Okanagan (IE Kelowna), there are ski hills and golf courses all within a 45 minute drive and you can use both most of the time in the winter !

On the descent into Calgary via the Opale arrival from the south west. These are the last few mountains in the Rockies before it goes into the foothills and eventually the prairies. They are so defined here opposed to the rounded out mountains of the interior but they all have their own beauty.

1 comment:

k said...

I really enjoyed this post! :)