Fred Scott, Jr.
(434) 295-4188


I really don't much like having strange pilots in my cockpit. Most of the time, I fly by myself and have never been trained to fly crew, and a "helpful" pilot twisting and turning radios can be a real distraction. Mandy was so different, but no pushover; she's a quiet, competent aviator, and whoever flies the line with her will love doing so. We spent quite some time on the preflight brief talking about who would do what and we agreed that any time either of us was uncomfortable about anything, we would speak up with no "It's my airplane" response allowed from me, thirty years older than she. It seemed to work well, and I, for one, really enjoyed the flight far more because she was along.

So, Mandy went with me (...and she brought her boyfriend, Tobie Comtois, don't you just HATE it when that happens?!! ). Tobie brought his camera, though, and we appreciate the use of his images. We three left Goose Bay at 2PM to cover 1050 statute miles before dark. We headed, at low power settings to extend our range, true north out of Goose about 100 miles to intercept to the seacoast near Hopedale and then we wandered, just looking around, along the rugged coastline almost to the northern tip of Labrador at 2000MSL down to 500MSL over the Labrador Sea pack ice, searching for polar bears (we saw none, but I'll bet they saw us).

The first hour or two was similar to the southeastern Labrador coastal terrain I had flown over the day before, and then it began to get more rugged. We were over the water, just off the coast, with tiny barrier islands underneath while on our left the cliffs of the Torngat range began to ascend from the sea. Mandy and I talked - as pilots do - about where to put the Baron down if we needed to and kept a "How goes it?" log of notes, times, etc. on the sectional chart. I haven't flown pilotage in years and it was great to do so again. In the background, the KLN94 GPS navigator was calculating fuel burn from the JPI EDM760 engine monitor and giving us backup range and endurance numbers. On one occasion, we did not like the results, so we set "Endurance" into the GPS and reduced power to get the endurance and reserves we were more comfortable with.

Then, being only 100 miles or so from the northernmost tip of Labrador, well north of the village of Nain and near the Hebron Mission established by the Moravians in 1782, we flew just east of a small US radar station and its adjacent short gravel runway sitting high on the seaside cliffs of the Ugjuktok Fjiord above our left wing. We had descended to about 500 feet above the pack ice and were skimming the sea, with the rubble of broken pack ice streaming below us. As the seawater was "slick calm," we looked for the wakes of swimming whales and hoping..... with really good visibility, we searched for a wide-angle wake from a slowly swimming polar bear, but no such luck.

A low pressure system centered over Frobisher Bay (several hundred miles to our north, but the weather beginning to show its presence to us) had made us decide to turn west over the rugged ridges to Kuujjuag on the southern shore of Ungava Bay in far northern Quebec.

A huge fjiord - the Nachvak - headed west into the mountains then turned south into a blind canyon, so we chatted how best to fly into it. The quick answer was "Never fly up a canyon that you do not know" so we trimmed the nose up and slowly ascended at economy power to the mountaintops, levelling just under the stable and level cloud bases, watching the fjiord well below.

The flight from the coast to Kuujjuaq was at the ridgetops and through or above the huge Korok River canyon running mostly east-west through the Torngat range and draining into the bay to the west. Still playing "Where do we land now?" we spotted a number of uncharted landing strips, mostly quite short, but perfectly acceptable for landing if we needed to. Several had floatplanes sitting at a dock nearby, as it was salmon fishing season. But, getting a Baron back out again may have been another thing altogether!

We arrived at Kuujjuaq on a nice paved runway with a VORTAC on the field, where I paid CAN$800 to fill up the Baron after a 4:30 leg. I'm not complaining, though, as I was happy to have the fuel. We took a few pictures and talked to several visitors who were waiting, with their Inuit fishing guides, for their airline flight to arrive to take them and their salmon catch back to the States. Then it was two more hours southeasterly back to Goose.

Neither Tobie, Mandy or I will ever be the same. What a flight! A beautiful day, mostly calm over the water, but blowing 20-30 knots in the mountains. The Torngat Mountains were rugged, the glaciers cold-looking, and a nasty place to have to put a plane down, but the sweet little engines kept on purring and it was glorious.... good golly, it was beautiful.... and so, so desolate. It's the kind of place that makes a pilot appreciate his maintenance team. I was glad I had a pack, rifle, and survival gear - which I know how to use - but I'm even happier that it stayed in the plane.

The following day, after warm "Farewells" to Mandy and Tobie, on the way back to Virginia from Goose Bay, I had to have another look at Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park, so we filed Goose direct Deer Lake, which took us over this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site, seen here, then via Cape Breton to Sydney, Nova Scotia for fuel. There I met two Georgians headed north in their Machen Aerostar who needed the same advice I had been given by others a week before, so Jim, Jamie and I had lunch ... (in a fast food place that offered fingerbowls after our meal! Are Canadians civilized or what?)....and we talked piloting; I passed on to them my Canadian Airport directory, and I continued through Bangor to dinner with my walking friends in New Hampshire.

Throughout the entire trip, everyone was utterly kind and welcoming, beginning with the US and Canadian Customs officers who helped me with the rifle permit, Canadian Flight Service Station employees, and pilots who had "been there" before recommending survival gear.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat. It was spectacular

Click to go BACK to the beginning of the trip.

or Click here for Travel videos (QuickTime movies):
Many of these images were taken from the aircraft.

Pilots will be interested in a few tips:
It is nearly imposssible to purchase charts at Canadian FBO's or flight schools.
Carry survival gear and know how to use it. See: Doug Ritter's excellent survival gear website
Take a Canadian Airport directory. The directory has tons of important information, and excellent sketches of even the smallest airports. Also see Acukwik for Canadian airport info.
Study carefully the Canadian AIM - Aeronautical Information Manual for operational info. such as:
Before taxiiing anywhere, broadcast your intention to do so on the appropriate Flight Service frequency. At airports served by FSS you need to do this, yet you do NOT need permission to takeoff, unless there is a full-blown control tower operating.
Read the rules about operating in uncontrolled airspace.
There is LOTS of it. See the Regulations. If IFR in uncontrolled airspace, you may deviate heading and altitude at will, yet you must be BACK AT your assigned altitude when re-entering controlled airspace. Generally, up north, monitor 126.7 all the time, and occasionally give a position report and your intentions. You may not get an answer, but someone may be listening.
Start making the MANDATORY calls when approaching an airport: 20 or so miles out with your intended runway, entering the circuit (traffic pattern), turning base, and turning final. Around Canadian airports they have mandatory frequencies with rules about how to use them.

For help, call: Transport Canada's Civil Aviation Communications Centre (800) 305-2059.

See link to Transport Canada Civil Aviation home page

Canadian Aeronautics Act, Canadian Aviation Regulations and related safety Standards

The regulations can also be located from the Transport Canada Civil Aviation home page by following the link found on the lower left side of the screen, under the "Fast Lane" box.

General flight safety information published by Transport Canada's System Safety Branch

Canada Customs: See CANPASS Private and Corporate Air Programs

Canadian Aeronautical Publications:
For current list of Dealers, see: Natural Resources Canada Aeronautical and Technical Services
Phone in Canada toll free (800) 465-6277
Phone from elsewhere (613) 952-7000

American Distribution of Canadian Publications:
Sporty's Pilot Shop Toll-Free(US only): (800) 543-8633
Clermont County Airport
Batavia, OH 45103
Tel: (513) 735-9100 Fax: (513) 735-9200

The US FAA home page

The US National Aeronautics and Space Adm. Aviation Safety Reporting System

While you are here, have a look at our horse teams, and carriages, or take a tour of our farm in central Virginia.

Any questions?
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