Since obtaining my PPL (private pilot license) in the summer of 2013, I’ve been looking for opportunities to get out for morning flights to enjoy the beautiful area around Vancouver. I had a friend and co-worker tell me about his recent flight to Powell River and I thought it would be a great opportunity for a morning flight before work!
This flight also marks the first time I’ve tried the aviation app ForeFlight, in conjunction with a Bad Elf GPS Pro 2200. I have to say, I am very happy with the app and GPS combo and am really looking forward to not needing to buy a new CFS every 56 days! Not to mention the flight planning portion was sped up by a factor of at least 5 having the live METARs and TAFs, distances, headings and calculated fuel burns all updated after each tap of the screen.
Flight Prep and Departure
My buddy and I arrived at the airport around 6:45 and got started right away on the walk-around, paperwork and double checking the weather. The plane was booked by a commercial student for 10:00 for his 300 nm cross-country (as a part of the requirements of a CPL), so I wanted to be wheels up not long after 7:00 to make sure the plane was back on time for him to prepare. Considering that this was my first time as PIC of the Warrior II (my total previous experience in the plane was a checkride), the flight prep went fairly smoothly and we were ready to taxi about a quarter after 7:00.
CZBB to CYPW
After requesting a Fraser Bridge departure we were cleared to hold short of taxiway Alpha for runway 12. We were wheels up at 7:34 and climbing nicely with only one passenger in the plane for 1100′ towards the Alex Fraser. We then proceeded more or less direct for Second Narrows and called up Vancouver Harbour Tower for transit through the zone enroute to Powell River. We were cleared for 2500′, then once nearing the point where the harbour opens up to the ocean, I requested a handoff to Terminal for 4500′. We received the clearance and once at 4500′, we leveled out and set power at about 75%, which gave us a nice ground speed of about 125 knots. I shot a video of the cruise at this point, which I’ve embedded at the bottom of this post.
Arriving within a few nautical miles of Powell River, I announced our position and intentions on the mandatory frequency (MF) and descended down to about 2000′ to overfly the field. We crossed the field from the upwind side and turned left downwind for 27. The circuits at CYPW are to be flown at 1400′, but the terrain is pretty varied around the area and the airfield itself is on a bit of a plateau, so by the time I turned final I realized I was pretty high. Full (40 degrees) flaps and a generous side slip later, we touched down around the 2/5th mark of the runway. I dropped the flaps back to 20 and hit full power, and moments later we were airborne again making a climbing left turn back for Vancouver.
CYPW to CZBB
After announcing clear of the airdrome, I switched back to Vancouver Terminal and continued the climb for a final cruise altitude of 5500′. In retrospect, I never was very far off the coast and our ground speed during the climb was pretty lackluster at about 80 knots, so I think in the future I would choose a cruising altitude of 3500′ instead.
Upon contacting Terminal for clearance to transit through to Second Narrows, the friendly controller asked if we were headed back for Boundary Bay. I said yes and we were immediately cleared to overfly YVR at 3500′ (4000′ a few minutes later), which gave us a nice chance to snap some cool shots of Vancouver International!
I took a couple pics off the port side as well (do people use port and starboard for airplanes or is that just a boat thing?) to capture a bit of the city too.
After passing the VFR checkpoint “VOR”, I requested frequency change to Boundary Bay and descended for a close in final, cleared direct to the threshold of 12. Wheels down at 9:34 and a total Hobbs time of 1.8, to be greeted by a happy CPL student looking forward to his whack at the Warrior.
We had some time during the cruise portion of the flight enroute to CYPW so I took a short video. Sorry about the terrible autofocus, my phone kept getting confused with the dirt and debris on the glass windows. Anyways, enjoy!
For those interested in looking at the flight data, I’ve attached the GPS logs and a report of the tracks generated by uTracks.com: