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I got up early this morning to watch sunrise over the lake. It was quite a beautiful sight; the surface of the lake was glass-smooth, and the mountains were completely mirrored in it. The glacier above the lake is the Victoria glacier.
We drove back to Calgary and turned in the car. Tom went off in search of approach plates (futile search) while I did the pre-flight and got everyone ready to go again. After a rather long wait, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police car drove up, with Tom inside. No, they really don't incarcerate pilots who don't have approach plates. It seems that he walked too close to an empty hangar -- empty except for a nesting hawk, that is. She mounted an all-out attack on him and left a two-inch long gash in the top of his head! We did find out later that Canadian approach plates must be ordered -- no waltzing into your local FBO and buying them as needed.
We landed at Edmonton Municipal airport -- the downtown field -- for a talk with their excellent weather and flight service facilities. In Canada it is mandatory to file a flight plan for any flight more than 25 miles from the airport. Also, alternates must be filed for all IFR flight plans.
Consolidation hasn't afflicted the Canadian FSS system. Every airport, with the exception of emergency strips, appears to have its FSS. VFR pilots as well as IFR pilots are expected to give position reports when over each enroute FSS. There is also a common "enroute" frequency, 126.7, used for communicating with FSS when between airports. They are extremely helpful in providing weather information and generally being of assistance. At the uncontrolled fields, the FSS acts almost like an unofficial tower, providing traffic and airport advisories.
We reached Dawson Creek without incident. Dawson Creek is the official "mile 0" of the Alaska Highway. A large sign commemorates the "mile 0", so of course we must go have our picture taken in front of it.
Tomorrow will be a long day.
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Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 030209