Pretty much the minute I get home from work, I'm asked for help ferrying an airplane. (That's because I check my e-mail the minute I get home from work, but don't you?) This one isn't a job, it's a freebie for the woman who brought me to Oshkosh a couple of years ago on flight passes. She has the use of a tiny little airplane, a Cessna 150, and her employer has suddenly transferred her across the country, so she wants to move the airplane from an airport near Toronto to one near Vancouver. She has a commercial licence, but not a lot of experience, and wants a companion for the trip. As soon as I've done my laundry and repacked I'm back on the road.
The parameters of the trip are that we don't take off unless we're assured of being able to land at an airport in the Air Canada system, including Air Canada Jazz, so we can get home, and we don't fly in snow or heavy rain. She's PIC because the insurance is in her name, and she's not happy flying in those conditions. Of course the weather has to be VFR, because it's a Cessna 150 with no navigation instruments. Not even an ADF. I caution her that we might not get the weather, but as airfare is not an issue, it's worth the trip even if we only get to Thunder Bay, so we go.
Toronto is on the north shore of Lake Ontario, on a peninsula between Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron. If you look at a map, Huron looks like a big lake with a smaller lake riding piggyback on it; Huron is almost divided in two by the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. Just to the west of Huron is Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The Great Lakes seem even bigger when you're in a tiny airplane. The northern shores of Huron and Superior are sparsely populated, and the airplane cruises at about 90 knots and only carries about 3.5 hours of fuel, so we have to plan the trip carefully. I'm not sure yet whether we're going to take the shortcut across Manitoulin Island or if we'll go the long way around by Sudbury. I need to get more information about weather conditions on the peninsula tomorrow.
The night before the trip we're in a hotel room in Brampton, Ontario. I deliberately brought absolutely minimal gear, not even my computer, because I thought after fuel our payload might be as little as 40 pounds. I still have to have clothes suitable for surviving overnight in the bush in Northern Ontario and clothing suitable for boarding Air Canada as a non-rev passenger. People riding for free have to pay their fare by looking good for the rest of you. I go through the aircraft documents and make sure they are all present. The weight and balance calculation is a pleasant surprise: with the two of us on board and full fuel we can still carry 91 pounds of gear. Skinny girls for the win! (I'm fairly certain I got my first flight instruction job through being a skinny girl, but I'm less sure whether that was for weight and balance or aesthetic reasons). Including our headsets, survival equipment, snacks and water and personal effects, plus the gear like spare oil, towbar, and tiedowns already in the airplane, I estimate that we'll be carrying more than eighty pounds. Things like that add up quickly. The weight and balance document is dated back in the 1970s, so I kind of suspect it isn't perfectly matched to the airplane we'll be flying, but if when you change out vacuum tubes for transistors the weight tends to go down not up, so I'm comfortable.
We sort out our baggage and a rough flight plan, hoping to get an early start. If all goes well we can reach Winnipeg in a day.
Here's a new blog I found recently, Airline Pilot Chatter, it's airline pilot day in the life stories, infrequently updated but worth checking now and again. It gives the same sort of details that I do. I liked the story of ferrying an airplane to the graveyard.