The days are getting shorter and the time change didn’t help our trip into Canada. There are several steps you have to do in order to leave the US and head into Canada, though I found out from past experience this leg is more lenient that going the other way around. Our plan was to land in Prince Rupert to “go through customs” which entails making a phone call and that’s it, and then stop in Bella Bella for the night. We got a late start that day leaving Ketchikan shockingly enough.
The views leaving Ketchikan did not disappoint once again, but having to pack up, catch the ferry back to the airport, look at weather and file all the paperwork to fly international, left us with very little daylight for the next leg. Unfortunately, we only had an hour before darkness came, and we still had to stop at Prince Rupert because that is the port of entry for Canada.
At lest the weather forecast looked favorable, with clear skies all the way south. Our stop in Bella Bella for fuel and to spend the night never happened because there are no runway lights there. Yes, my mistake doing flight planning overlooked that little detail. Seemed like all our ducks were in a row but hey, flying is always a learning experience!
We had two options, turn back to Ketchikan (no avgas in Prince Rupert) or keep going all the way to Port Hardy on the north end of Vancouver Island. The flight would be a bit over two hours and most of it in the dark, but we’re hugging shoreline the whole time and there’s lights and fuel in our new destination. It turned out to be a beautiful flight under the stars, and of course Jon never fails to keep the both of us entertained the whole time…
We were unable to get any weather updates during flight as neither of us had reception and our GDL was also lacking of any signal. Once we got close enough to get the ATIS at CYZT we realized there was low level fog covering the entire area over the airport for a few miles. Ceilings overcast at 400 they said. We called up and got a pop up IFR approach from Vancouver Center for the ILS 11. Luckily we popped out of the clouds at about 1000 feet and low and behold we are on final approach into a brightly lit beautiful runway surrounded by darkness. We got in pretty late and barely were able to find people we could book the airport hotel from. They felt sorry for us and let us have some of the breakfast food they had for the morning. Instant oatmeal with cold milk never tasted better. It’s the little things 🙂
Quite an adventure! The little things indeed! Thanks for sharing, and the honesty! Some of the people online aren’t as forthcoming when it comes to making mistakes, but in general, the aviation community as a whole is very transparent and willing to share their mistakes in an effort to help others.
Kudos to Jon! Flowers can make anything better!