We were supposed to go to Yellowknife last night, but by the time the landing gear was sorted out there was some bad weather building south of Great Slave Lake. Embedded thunderstorms at night. Yay. We spent the night in the south and then flew north in the morning. It was my coworker's leg so I did paperwork and looked out the window while she flew.
The weather wasn't great, so we were fairly low level over all the little towns. It's funny to see all the straight lines on the prairies, with neatly arranged towns, each with its own church, even when the towns are only a few kilometres apart. I know most of these churches date back to when everyone walked or drove the team to church, and that they are a source of community pride. I wonder how many bake sales and work bees they all represent.
We pass over the transition between agricultural land and the north. It's quite abrupt. There's a last wheat field. I'm just thinking it when my coworker says it. "I guess we're in the north now." I write it down in my notebook so I don't forget to blog it and then she asks me what I'm writing.
"So I don't forget things," I say, "So I can tell people about them." I read her what I wrote about the last wheat field. It's the truth. You're people.
Crossing the Great Slave Lake she picks up the ATIS and tried to call tower. It's comical that every time she tried to call, she gets stepped on, usually by the tower. They're actually issuing such rapidfire instructions that most transmissions have a "break break" in them, so the tower can address more than one airplane in one microphone press, not letting anyone get a word in edgewise. This goes on long enough that it's funny. She finally gets through and the first thing the controller want to know is if we have parking. Parking is by prior permission in Yellowknife,a and I really get the idea that if we hadn't prearranged a spot, they would have send us away. It's all arranged, thanks to my coworker, so they give us a clearance and we join downwind over the Back Bay. Heyyy, Yellowknife. It's still on a rock and a lake, but now the lake is open water and there is no snow on the rock. I'm too busy looking to remember to take pictures. Sorry!
Prelanding checks complete, we line up on final and she says something about what could go wrong now. Pilots always think that. I gesture to the airplane lining up in front of us, "It could have a gear collapse right there, at the intersection of the two runways." It doesn't, but as it's cleared for take off it seems to be moving really slowly, then I realize I have my perspective wrong. It's not a little taildragger. It's a DC-3. Welcome to Yellowknife.
In the American Midwest, each little town also has it's own church, although there are usually several of them to suit all of the various denomnations. I know of a small town locally that has a population of only about 200, it sits less than 5 miles from a city of 27,000, and it has four churches of it's own. Do Canadians have the same diversity of churches, or do all of the small town people attend the same chuch?
In Quebec the main intersection of each small town is marked by two key buildings. The Catholic church on one corner and the strip club on the other...
I got to ride on a DC-3 once. Loved every minute of it. I was born in Yellowknife too. I think I'm too late in the game to think I'll get a chance to fly one up there, but I bet new pilots were saying that twenty years ago too!
AirportRoad, They're still flying DC-3s there. I believe the airplane behind us was another DC-3. If you walked in Buffalo Joe's door with the right attitude and a bit of multi-engine bush time with good references you could probably get in the right seat of one of those things.
Jason, I'm not sure about the multiple churches thing. I've certainly been in Canadian towns that worshiped more flavours of Jesus than Jesus had disciples, but I think I'm seeing one little white church per cluster of houses in the prairies. Maybe it's Anglican in the settler towns and Catholic on the reserves. And if someone other than Jesus is your go-to guy for eternal salvation, then I'd be surprised if you didn't need to drive into the city for religious services.
exelee, that's hilarious. I need pictures.
Aviatrix I did not know YZF was PP to park. Can you land for fuel without a prior? Is it the same on the water down by Air Tindi? I was planning on going up there in the semi near future but with wheels in the floats we could go either way. I know Comox is PP to even land.
Just PPR for parking. It's in the CFS entry. You can land and fuel fine. It's not military, like YQQ, just busy. We got permission to stay on the Adlair/Summit ramp, but it cost us about $75 a night plus a plug in fee, even though we took a few thousand litres of fuel.
I assume you can land on the water anywhere you like. They don't own the water. I don't know if Tindi sells outside fuel though.
Silly question time: why do you have to pre-arrange the aircraft parking there? Is it simply that there isn't any spare space? (I would have thought that, if demand was there, they would want to expand the parking space...)
Yellowknife sounds like such an isolated little place tucked in the middle of nowhere in some far away land. Is it as lonely a place as I think it is? Do people walk around with long faces all the time?
Geekzilla, Yellowknife is actually a pretty cool (no pun intended) place - population of about 21,000 people makes it the biggest town/city in the NWT by far. It's got most of the services you'd associate with a place that size including several midrise (10-15 storey) office buildings, paved roads, and some very good restaurants. I'm not seeing any more long faces here than I would anywhere else......and no, Air Tindi does not sell outside fuel.
Yellowknife is a big lump of rock with lakes all over. There's not enough housing and not enough aircraft parking because it's all rock. You can't dig a foundation or plough a flat spot to park without dynamite. Most of the housing is mobile homes, and even the condos just sort of balance on top of the rocks.
It is remote, but most cities in Canada are at least a couple hours from the next city: it's just that YZF that couple hours is by plane. It's well served by Westjet, Air Canada, and Canadian North, so you can get out any time you want. It's cold in the winter, but most places are cold in the winter.
Post a Comment