Jump to content

Cross Canada Helo Trips

Recommended Posts

Yes another post my me....couldn't help myself. Last summer at the height of the fires when so many of you were working your little Jesus Nuts off I had to drive a Sea King from Victoria to Shearwater.


We did several stops as one can imagine, fought insane headwinds crossing the prairies, yup goin' east into wind, go figure and we broke down in Sudbury for what seemed like years. This past week or so we've had another machine trying to make her way out west, I believe it may have finally left North Bay but it was stuck there for days.


Anyhow, since then I have discussed at great length with the other pilots here about "where" we should plan our stops when we fly these east-west or west-east airframe rotations.


We've had great help from so many folks along the way. I can't say enough for the guys at Bearskin in YQT and the MNR folks in Sudbury, oh my gosh were you guys patient and generous.


My point to this is that most of the drivers I know here in Shearwater (5 days and counting) have no idea where is a good place to stop and they all avoid stopping at military bases just because we've been to them so darn often.


Considering how big the Sea King is, who out there can handle us on their ramp if we drop in? Personally I drive it like a helicopter, most pilots who know nothing other than Maritime Helicopter ops drive this thing like a King Air and never stop at heliports but I sure as heck would. Now that I am heading off to Portage and I will driving the Jet Box, I'd love to hear from owners and operators out there.


So if I'm driving a helicopter so kindly provided by the Canadian tax system (I pay plenty of taxes too), who's got a ramp with jet juice? Are we welcome to stop in and how much notice if any would you prefer to have. Give us your phone numbers, frequencies, ramp limits etc....I will post replies in our military pilots forum for all helo drivers to see and on my personal web site. If you are open for business please let us know, I personally would much prefer to stop into a heliport whether or not it's co-located with an airport where plank machines fly out of.


Looking forward to hearing from those who know that to hover truly is divine. :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm. At the height of the fires, huh? If you went through Golden BC around the last week of August (I could get the exact date somewhere...), and hot-refuelled, then 407 Driver, SWMBO and I watched you from the Alpine Helicopters ramp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes that was me (side number 12428, callsign Talon 28). The other pilot I was with was trying to set some kind of speed record crossing the country and wouldn't shut down anywhere. (Young guys eh....like the young bull and the old bull story) It was only later that I clued in that I should have used this forum to ask the question I asked above. Had I done so, I would have met you guys online here before the trip and I would have gotten out my seat at least to go over and say hi. I remember there was a real bright 206 on the ramp and a chinook had just landed in town just ahead of us. Where is the Alpine ramp anyhow, is it at the airport? I was getting a little annoyed, I had been in the saddle since Kamloops and we never shut down till Springbank.


We figured out later that the other pilot was driving to make it to Sudbury to go to some party with his sister and her lawyer husband. The rest of the crew and I were a little steamed, several of us had hoped to go via Edmonton and visit family and friends but we drove on for buddy to make it to his "evening". We broke down in Sudbury for 5 days! I was finally swapped out with another pilot because I had to get back to Shearwater in time to get on a plane for Winnipeg for a course. Yeah don't try to figure it out either, drove me nuts. The rest of the guys carried on and yes R22, they got stuck in YHZ for weather.


It was this trip that began all the conversations about where to stop etc... When I flew Twin Hueys 20 years ago we would stop anywhere we found a helo ramp. Always had a blast and always got great support. These days these young guys just can't believe you can do that. They won't even land the Sea King in a confined area because it's not a prepared surface???!!!??? I just figured we could have landed at so many heliports so long as we didn't interfere with their ops.


CTD was that during your road trip?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Easy there 407, down weapons. I seem to remember a rainbow-coloured L in the next hangar over. I don't think he saw the rocket - we had it back in the barn by then in case any spies came through.


V-R, yes, it was in the early days of the wonderful western tour. Ahhh, memories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vortex Ring


"Anyhow, since then I have discussed at great length with the other pilots here about "where" we should plan our stops when we fly these east-west or west-east airframe rotations. "


For some of us, the route is fairly defined due to fuel considerations. Not sure how much range you have in the Sea King, but from just under 2 hours (205) to 2 one half hours (204) depending on how close to the "low fuel" light you're comfortable with!


From east to west it goes pretty much as follows:


Dryden - Kenora - Brandon - Yorkton - Saskatoon - Lloydminister - Edmonton - Edson - Valemount and Kamloops/Prince George depending on where you are going. Everyone but Valemount should be good. Valemount (Yellowhead Helicopters) has fair amount of "loose soil" type of stuff not suitable for taxing or high power hovering! Depending on how long you like to hover before landing, too I guess. Definitely would require phone call before hand!


The other east route:


Dryden - Kenora - Brandon - Regina -(if you have favorable winds!) - Swift Current - Medicine Hat - SpringBank/Calgary - Cranbrook/Nelson area - Grand Forks (Think they still have jet fuel) and on to Vancouver.


All places in the CFS of course and have always been treated good at all places.


Lots of fun till the winds doesn’t cooperate in some of the places the "pucker factor" starts as you don't have a lot of alternatives. (I can explain getting lost, but not running out of fuel!!)


Most of the places can handle you as they are on an airport, and if you time it right, you toto can become a member of the “Great Canadian Air Race” as we all try to be first at the fire….

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Skids, those are some of the places I have been too as well. The ones at the airports are easy enough but we seem to always park up at terminals when I would prefer to seek out the rotor operators and park with them rather than chat with all the plank drivers passing through.


And FA, East is all relative eh......before I had lived out "east" I used to think that going to ON was east too... :D Now that I'm going back west, I'll start talking about out east again and I will once again be referring to ON... :P


And 407 I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but I certainly would have recognized your 407. CTD is correct, it was either a 206 or 206L and it was painted like a rainbow....pretty sure now. You gotta remember if you saw my sleek grey Sea Beast that I was parked facing north while we refuelled and we took out to the west so I must admit I don't recall your building at the south end. But knowing who you guys are now I'll drop in next time I'm in YGE to check out that incredible four-bladed chariot :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...