Virtual Horizon's fly-in
pancake breakfast took place on a weekend in August at the Seal
River Heritage Lodge in Churchill. The location was as exotic as
with beluga whale spotting, polar bears, caribou, northern bird watching, and an
archeological treasure hunt among 30,000 year old Inuit tent circles.
The story is
told as it "virtually" happened, rather than as it was
happening. Join along right from the beginning as we fly up from Nigeria to meet with our
friends in Churchill for an adventure filled weekend.
As It Happened: On Route to the
Fly-in Pancake Breakfast.
The all Canadian Turbo-Beaver as rebuilt by Viking Air in
the Turbo-Beaver pilot, and I have decided that we really need to show up
for the pancake breakfast in a truly great Canadian aircraft. So we've prepared
the Turbo-Beaver for the trip. Since there are very few floatplane facilities enroute, we
regret that we have to take the floats off and put on the wheels for the trip. We draw
straws as to who does the first wheel take-off and landing.
I get the honour. The bush
strip is only 600 feet, but no problem for the Beaver. From the changeover strip we make
the short flight to Lagos where we outfit the ferry tanks.
Installing the ferry tanks
are a chore, because all the fitting are missing. That, of course, is a ferry pilot trick
where all the fitting are custom made and removed by the pilot after delivery of the
aircraft. Although they can't take the tanks back they can leave them disabled so that
just anyone cannot be hired to ferry the aircraft next time without making a new set of
That is unless you have a
machine shop. With calipers, a tap and die set, and the machine shop tools we quickly
replace the original custom fittings using salvaged parts and one small fuel drum bung
slightly modified. The British engineer of the company doing our Beaver's maintenance is
not impressed and will not "sign off" the ferry tanks.
I argued that because it
is basically a normal flight within the certificate of maintenance we do not need to be
signed off. On our test flight I discover that the machined plug we used has only 1/2 the
flow of the original, and the engine is burning fuel faster than the fuel pumps can
deliver from the ferry tanks. I calculate that we can still complete the flight without
delay as with a worse case scenario our total burn will equal about 10 hours instead of
the planned 13 hours. If we power back for several hours during the flight the fuel pumps
can manage to catch up with the burn and we can make up the difference. I take the
responsibility to go ahead with the flight, and we depart on the scheduled hour.
After getting our military
over-flight permits for the next two countries, we head North. There will be nine
countries and seven fuel stops altogether.
Changing the Turbo-Beaver to wheels on the barge
and floating it over to the bush strip.
meantime, the pancakes are cooking. I hope you are hungry. Imagine 100% Canadian maple
syrup, blueberry compote, the world's best Canadian bacon, and fresh cold yellow butter to
top off those golden stacks of cakes.
So, gas up, check your
oil, warm up your engines, and get prepared to head for the horizon. Follow Klaus and I on
our flight over. E-mail me to tell me about your favorite fly-in breakfast.
favorite fly-in was Tofino when we camped along the West Coast's Long Beach. Louis and
myself, in an Island Air Beaver, flew in the only floatplane to show that weekend. That
night we got absolutely drowned in our tents in the pouring rain. But, the morning was
glorious, the coffee was hot, and we went on to have an unforgettably blue sky day.
First Destination Travel Dialogue. From rainforest to desert.
Second and Third Destination. North Africa to Spain and across
Fourth Destination VFR through the heart of Britain.
Fifth Destination Crossing the cold North Sea to warm by the
heat of active volcanoes.
Sixth Destination. Across the wind swept North Atlantic to the
land of Ice.
Last Gas! Navigating the Davis Strait to our last destination
fuel stop before Churchill.
Final Destination. Churchill and the Seal River Heritage Lodge.
Ringed seals and Inuit
tent rings. Polar bears and beluga whales.
We have it all! Including
Note from the Editor. Take your time reading the
travel dialogue. If you don't finish in one go, just book mark the spot and come around
again later. To browse the rest of the site for awhile longer let the attitude indicator
take you back to the home page.
Where all our flying is cross country.
John S Goulet Editor
Feel free to e-mail
with your comments.
Last modified on June 01st, 1999.