Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Flying at its best!

At last a trip!  
It was time for the grandkiddies to return home after 3 weeks of idyllic summer activities. The choice?  8 hours on the road with ferry line-ups and camper traffic on the TransCanada, OR 2 hours in the air. Yes, that was the flying time, actually 1 hour 50 minutes direct Nakusp to Calgary/Springbank.  
We did a one day round trip, circle route. With the drive to and from Nakusp, the walkaround and loading, the fuel and lunch stop in Springbank, the shutdown and hangaring, the grocery shopping on the way home, we were gone from the house for 9 hours.
Supervising the walkaround
It was a glorious, perfect blue sky day! We started and finished early to beat the thermals and bumpy air that build up during daytime heating. Our route and accompanying photos are displayed in this Spot Adventure link:
As well as functioning as an emergency beacon, SPOT takes GPS readings every 10 minutes, and records these as tracking points. The route that you see is actual, not drawn. If you are following the blog, please motor around in the Spot Adventure site and become familiar with its features - the zoom and drag; map vs. satellite background; larger view of photos by clicking on the photo strip. I like this format, and couldn't possibly do a better job of trip summary.
Castle Mountain, 8,500 feet
Photo of the day is Castle Mountain, a site that never fails to impress. Imposing by road, it is majestic by air.
This amazing structure was a fine tribute to General Eisenhower during the 33 years it bore his name, but let's face it, "castle" fits!
Speed train in Albert Canyon
Finally, a train photo for Jay, along with the observation that it is a good time to hold CP shares. For the first time in years the rail yard in Field was empty, which means the rolling stock is hauling freight.  Hunter Harrison is not wasting any time turning around our national railway.


  1. Spectacular scenery!!
    Yup, CP is up $10 over the last 30 days!!
    Perhaps a touch and go at the Banff air field next time?


    1. Your question about Banff reminds me of a conversation I had with Grandpa Vincent in the last years of his life. He wondered if we could land on the Victoria Golf Course. I replied, "Sure, if we don't mind being arrested!". Pretty much the same applies to the Banff airstrip. Under Parks Canada regulations, it is available for emergencies only, and even then you need permission for take-off. I suppose we could duct tape over our registration for a quick touch and go, but that adventure is not on my bucket list!

  2. Julie Castellani22 August 2012 at 21:47

    Great photos, Jill! I would not think that they were taken with your old Sony point and shoot camera.
    It still has some life left in it.

    And I'm not sure how reliable the every 10 minutes SPOT recordings are since it seems to cluster some readings then space them out but its neat to see the aerial tracking nonetheless.


    1. I realize from your comment, Julie, that I was not very clear about SPOT tracking. Tracking cookies are used by the program to draw the route line, but do not appear on the map. The flags you are looking at represent the location I took the photo. I had to physically pin them onto the map - annoying because the old SPOT Adventure meshed the time stamps on the photo jpegs with the time on the GPS recordings, and the pinning was done automatically. In addition, in order to get the slide show to run chronologically, I had to load and pin photos in reverse order of the trip. Argghhhhh! The SPOT techies are tired of my suggestions on how to make the program user-friendly.
      The jury is still out on SPOT's reliability. SPOT drops a cookie every 10 minutes, but it may not be picked up by the satellite. If it is missed, the program simply joins the dots it has. We should have had 36 tracking points for the length of time SPOT was activated this trip. Instead, we had 25 - about 70% success. If you scroll in really close in the Canmore area, it appears that we flew through the foothills on our way to Springbank (not possible at our altitude). In fact, we flew overhead Canmore both ways. Clearly some tracking points were missing there. We are still experimenting with location in the plane, but centred on the wind screen (seen in the landing Springbank photo) seems to work best.
      Glad you wondered about this. The old teacher in me knows that if one person asks a question at least 10 others would like to.