La Grande-1, Canada
Maybe around 1,220 miles to Oshkosh.
La Grande-1, Canada
Day 41. 01/Aug/2014 Puvirnituq to Le Grande Riviere 386 miles 4:16 hrs
Maybe around 1,220 miles to Oshkosh. Day score 10.
I woke up to see an amazing view. My little room’s little window looked out across the mouth of the river and close enough to see the dogs onDog Island. Blue and sunny skies. Everything had cleared through.
I walked out at 7am. Comfy boots. And headed for the airfield. Once there I called the 1 866 wxbrief number to file my flight plan to Le Grande. I was number 8 inline and waited 20 minutes. The sun was out and maybe everyone wanted to fly? But after talking to the guy eventually, I realised why it may have taken some time. He ran through the NOTAMS with me. Notice to Airmen. He said there was one particular to me. There was a ship in the Puvirnituq River offloading fuel oil. I told him I had seen that. Next was the weather brief. He predicted clear skies but some coastal fog around the town of Kuujjuarapik, but further in land and effecting Le Grande, where thunderstorm later in the day. Ok, I thanked him and thought I better get there sooner than later.
Ok, with this done I went up and thanked the tower guy. He was a lovely old Inuit chap, as happy and polite as possible.
Itzy was still wet but came very clean considering all the dust on arrival. I climbed in and started up the engine. The runway was clear and there was no wind so I took off down runway 01. I climbed out turning left over the Hudson Bay and looked back on Puvirnituq. I was there maybe a day longer than hoped, but it had been wonderful and at least I now knew where I was going and what I was doing, so definitely not wasted time.
Still no where to land but dead flat for the first hour. Just rock and lakes. Direct route took me in land but the Hudson Bay comes in a curve some 40 miles inland and then I was along the coast again. This was good and I followed the coast as there were little beaches every 5 miles or so. I could land on any of them. The ground began to rise and fall a little and large water falls fed from yesterdays rain were pretty spectacular, but no one gets to see them unless in a plane, because there are still no roads or any civilisation. That looked like a valley of little bushes or trees. A little green amongst the ice smooth polished rocks and lakes. This was the tree line beginning. Hum, there was a road and the little town of Kuujjuarapik. But now was fog coming off the Hudson Bay area, but that was ok as I needed to head in land. In land there were heavy rain storms and wow, lightening striking the ground. Hum. Now I’m flying with fog on the Stbd wing and thunder clouds on the port wing tip. But I will admit, on route was clear and I had a good tailwind again.
A mass of thunderstorms had grown into one big line of them and I wasn’t going in there. Now just 20 miles from Le Grande I could hear him clearly and he warned of thunderstorms to the northwest, heading south. Ok, it was dark and now raining as I turned behind the thunder clouds flashing away and crackling on the radio, but there were the runway lights and a storm line not 1 mile to the north. Do I wait for it to pass? I have 3 hours of fuel still onboard, or do I dive in. Better just dive in and sit it out. I landed and taxied in requesting fuel and was directed to the Avgas pumps. It started chucking it down, but some guy turned up at my wing. I asked if we could wait till it stopped raining, he replied that it would never stop raining! Good point and I climbed out. His name was Rene, I remember because his name was on the pay slip and we pumped 50 litres of Avgas into the main tank and 15 more into the reserve tank, just to slosh out any remaining car fuel I had got from Iqaluit and Puvirnituq. In his little shack he explained about the power always going off. There was one of the biggest Hydro electric dams in the world just 20 miles down the road. Supplying most of the Canada and the rest to America and even though they were only 20 miles away, flying hydro plant employees in and out of the airfield, with the main highway running just outside the airport, they never had a reliable electric supply. I laughed and joked with him and bought some more oil, before running up to the main terminal building as there was a small $10 landing fee to pay. I didn’t have any Canadian money but the accepted $10 USD instead. I asked if they had closed my flight plan and they confirmed. I tried to speak my Schoolboy French as they obviously all were French speakers, but it was not so good. I asked if they had maps I could buy as I didn’t have the final one before America. They did not. Ok…
There was an Air Inuit maintenance hangar finally at the top of the pan and I ran to its open doors through the rain. Inside there were two guys. A licensed engineer and young lad just preparing for his exams. As soon as I broke the ice explaining I was a British licensed engineer and we talked shop a little and went on about the wows of our governing bodies, everything was cool. They showed me around and outside was an old British 748. The last one they had apparently. They had four but they lost three to corrosion. I asked why they were still operating them as they must be 60 years old and antiquated. The reason was because they had a massive rear cargo door. Ok.
I helped them bring it in out of the rain. It was highly polished and cherished. I asked if they had any maps and they hunted around the bins and pilot bags until the one I was missing was found. Out of date, but better than nothing and only just out of date. They couldn’t close the door because they had a phase out in the power lines and cursed the electric company as well. I thanked them and returned to the terminal as the sun was visible now to the north.
About another hour though of watching passengers come and go. They had to get their own luggage of the tractor trailer that brought it from the plane because the baggage conveyor belt wouldn’t run as it was also missing a phase of power.
I phoned up the flight planning number and filed for Kapuskasing. This was fine but the guy warned of thunderstorms in the vicinity. I sort of new that already.