26h SES – Whistler and Chatterbox Falls

Chatterbox Falls, landing and takeoff only in one direction and glassy water in the valley.

Sky clear, winds light and variable, temperature 26. But that’s Vancouver right? Yes, I chose the best two weeks of the year to fly in the area!

The first flight in the morning took us to the ski resort of Vancouver. Whistler lies in a gorgeous valley. As I overflew the town a Beaver took off below me on Green Lake. At this point I had to prepare for the wilderness ahead. On each leg without lakes to land on in case of emergency, I had to do my check. My eyes swiped along the panel, fuel, oil temp and pressure, primer locked, ammeter and circuit breakers, mixture, fuel both and water rudders up. My eyes went outside and I saw the water rudders in the up position and no fuel was leaking. Everything checks, good to go!

I learned many little things in the mountains. If you always know the winds your ride’s gonna be smooth. Tom taught me to see the turbulence on the leeward side of hills. On our way back Tom saw a thin layer of clouds in the valley to our right. He asked me what that meant. I told him the temperature and dew point came together. But his point was, that there was a temperature inversion. He told me to descend through it. At the same height of the clouds the air got bumpy, which meant we were descending into a different air mass. A-ha!

The second flight today was to the west again. Chatterbox Falls was one of the nicest places I’ve ever seen. I flew along a fjord and then turned into a tight valley. Since it was impossible turn in there due to terrain and trees on both sides and a mountain ahead, we had to land straight in and nail it on first attempt. You get in one way and you get out the other way! There was no wind and the water was glassy which meant to be extra careful; without waves you can’t judge your height. This approach was exciting. 🙂 Gotta show you some pictures!

Thanks Island Coastal Aviation, I had a blast.
The glassy water landing took place along the steep rock behind the airplane – the only way into and out of Chatterbox Falls.

I love flying by pilotage. Cruising along the shore, navigating by looking outside with only a chart on the yoke. That’s my style of flying.

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