Thursday, August 5, 2021

Up in Smoke, ..again!


One might think, "..what's the big deal, couple of trees on fire!" and looking at this photo beside here from the Canim Lake Fire taken on July 05, 2021 I'd tend to agree somewhat. But as usual, it's easy to get hung up on the snippet that either sensationalizes or diminishes on the whole story all subject to the agenda that is being driven by mass media and it's daily dose of woke hype and hypocritical BS. Did I just type that? 

In a world where we are being ever so overfilled by by GB's of information it has become harder and harder to filter of what is real and what is really overhyped. Well let me tell you, the fact that we are loosing forest lands at an unprecedented rate is no overstatement. What is going on? Climate Change? Warming Planet? ..coming out of an Ice Age? Maybe the mere fact that for years the forest industry,  its multi-national benefactors and governments alike been more concerned on Forest Revenue than Forest Health? I guess it is the sum of all and depending which side of the aisle your'e on, the weighting of the facts drastically changes. Fact remains, it's happening all over the globe. Beam me up Scottie! 

Our latest video is up, check it out below; 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

New Movies are up!

     Isn't it great to have Teenage kids? How would we old timers ever make it in this new century without their helping hand and advise navigating through all the social media, on line shopping, dating, name it. While my kids have left their teenage for the tweenage years I have found that their assistance in everything cybernetics is ever more appreciated. So big "Thanks" to my son Koby for telling me how to upload these last two movies after many frustrating hours trying to get iMovie to ..JUST DO IT! 

    Well, iMovie didn't and I have finally have come out of my YouTuber depression and attempted these new "Tweenager-Ways". IT WORKED, ..who says you can't teach an old Super 8 Monkey new tricks :-)) 

                                                                           Winter 2021

Spring 2021

Flying the Classics!

 One of the many questions that I get asked from prospective students is: "Can I fly a real airplane with an ULPP?" Needless to say this causes always a grin on my my face and the standard answer, mean a REAL airplane like a BushCaddy or a Kitfox, or a REAL airplane like a Cessna or Piper?  So before we delve to deeply into looking at these REAL "factory aircraft" lets take a peek of our current regulations the CAR's in particular the Ultra-light Aeroplane Transition Strategy section 2.1.3 where is states as follows; aeroplane having no more than two seats, designed and manufactured to have a maximum take-off weight of 544 kilograms and a stall speed in the landing configuration (Vso) of 39 knots (45 mph) or less indicated airspeed at the maximum take-off weight. Now those 544KG's = 1200Lbs, just to make it more confusing. The Key wording here is maximum take-off weight also referred to commonly as the MTOW and the definition can be found in the Ultralight Transition Strategy and reads as follows: 

"Maximum take-off weight" means the total weight, resting on the surface of the earth installed equipment and appliances and, if installed, floats and a ballistic recovery system; 

It is not to be confused with: Maximum permissible take-off weight means the maximum take-off weight for an aircraft as authorized by the state of registry of the aircraft or as provided for in the aircraft type certificate; 


MCTOW or maximum certificated take-off weight means the weight identified as such in the type certificate of an aircraft; (MMHDoumasse maximale homologuée au décollage )

Now, lets take a quick look in which classic aircraft you may meet these parameters with your ULPP. This is based on the restrictions of your permit to fly SOLO in the aircraft and an average weight of a 200lbs pilot and some fuel. As in my previous posts I have * the aircraft I have either owned or flown in the past. But before we go any further, remember that many of these classic aircrafts, frames, tubes, spars, etc. are going on 80 years of age. The tooth of time has been gnawing away, no doubt, and most likely in places where inspection(s) are almost impossible. But never they less here are the more common models with a serious caveat of "Buyer be aware!".  

Taylorcraft - The BC-12D came standard with the Continental 0-65, was a side by side model and performed beautifully. My friend and fellow aviator Hans H. flew his from BC to Patagonia, up the East coast of South America, island hopped his way into Florida, up into Nunavut, Greenland and back to BC. All on 65hp. And 2 summers ago and almost 3 engines later, took it for another camping trip into the Yukon. For a big boy, they are a bit crammed inside, but no worse than a Kitfox 2 or Avid MK4. In their original version they will fit the category nicely with an average empty weight at approximately 860 lbs.   

Piper J3 - Derived from the Taylor Cub, yup you read it right! Mr. Taylor also designed the Cub and after a falling out with Mr. Piper it became the best known yardstick that every other LSA, Ultralight, Experimental, STOL or GA is compared to. While I have a bit of J5, PA18, time I have yet to shoe-horn myself into a J3 and see if all these claims, some rather outlandish, are actually true. It is also one of the most copied aircraft out there and these days I'd recommend to start with a fresh airframe from one of the numerous manufactures or plans providers.  Empty weight on the original came in at 765 lbs, so nicely in the Category. Drawback to the Taylorcraft, it's tandem, it's slower, but it packs a load and does so reliably into most every backcountry strip, and as long as you don't mind to fly from the backseat. 

Piper PA-15 Vagabond*- In my opinion a very much overlooked aircraft. Vagabonds have pizzazz, they are a great bird with a C-85-8 or preferably -12 which includes an electric starter. Hop up the engine to a tweaked 0-200, add some big tires and you're in for some great backcountry fun. Originally designed as a trainer (and competition to the Taylorcraft) it does that just fine. While not a worst Taildragger out there, it being short coupled does make for some interesting roll outs (..right, Rob? 😬😂), but it gives you nimble toes. There is also no Flaps to deal with, so bank it over into a sideslip and you'll sink in beyond those tall trees just fine. They are big enough for a weekend trip with full fuel and gear with an original 620 lbs empty and an 1100 lbs gross. They are great on skis, but with the shorter wings wouldn't make much of a floatplane, get a J3 if you're a wheels, skis, floats seasonal operator. 

Check out Tigger doing his first solo with us here.

Aeronca 7AC Champ - Now what's not to like on a Champ? About 7200 were built between 1945 and 1948. So they are plentiful out there and make a great trainer. Land-o-matic gear to grease every, well almost, every landing and a fuel sipping C65-8 like most trainers of this era. Empty weight ranges around the 740 lbs and gross is listed at 1220 lbs. Some concerns with the wooden wing spars and an occasional de-lamination of plywood doublers. But there is a good many out there, so look around, do your research and proper pre-purchase. Upgraded to a C-85, C-90 or O-200 and they make for a great all around aircraft on wheels, skis and floats. A great and slightly more affordable option to the J-3's and you get to sit up front with elbow room to spare. And that is why I like the Champ. 

Cessna 120/140  OK, now we are starting to push the limits a little bit since the Cessna's came in with a rather hefty 890 lbs empty, add the 210 lbs pilot and you'll get 16 gal of fuel into the Tanks before you run yourself out of the UL category. Stable, a nice 105mph cruise speed and YES it's a Cessna. Expect it do to exactly what it says in the manual and maybe a little bit more. Being an all metal, albeit some came with fabric wings they are a collectable classic and will hold or increase in value. While not a thought after as maybe a J3 or Taylorcraft, a little less usable in weights and loading as the PA-15, 16, or Luscombe 8a it is actually legally possible to fly it with your ULPP licence. 

Luscombe* My personal all time favourite! I've had the pleasure of owning and flying a straight 8A with a 65hp Continental for a few years. In reminiscing about KIZ I can only conclude that I have yet to fly a modern Ultralight, LSA on 65hp and get as much performance out of it as I did in the Luscombe. I have said this before and will put it here in writing, ..the ol' Boys with their slide rules are still putting some aeronautical computer engineers to the test with this classic design. Having owned a early model 172, 180, and build and rebuild several all metal homebuilts and UL's, you come to appreciate the ingenuity of the Luscombe design. Look back into the fuselage, check out the building of the tail section. Make's you wonder why not more modern designs take a lesson in forming sheet metal into strong parts. As for flying fun, par none! As for room inside, tight for two fully grown grain feed mid westerners or beef eat'n Albertans, no doubt here. As for models, the one you want is the original dual strut fabric wing version, single tank, ideally upgraded to a C-85 or 90 with no electrics and no frills of any kind. With an empty weight similar to the Cessna 120, 140 you will have to manage your load a bit more careful to remain legal. But this pretty much goes for all birds listed here in this article. 

In conclusion, we at times have simply wandered too far from the simplicity that a "basic aircraft" needs to provide. Looking over many a log books over the years and seeing what the average flight times per outings are I'd say that dead reckoning, use your watch, manage your fuel, should certainly rank higher in the curriculum than understanding your latest Garmin updates into its finest detail. I guess it's everyones choice on how just how simplistic a classic should be kept. History tells me, they've done ok for quite some time, ..flying simply, flying with just the basics that is, but can you? Dare ya, UNPLUG, enjoy the scenery! 

See you at the flight line! 

Forward and Onward in 2021

    I'd like to take this opportunity to update on the happenings here with us and what to expect for services in 2021. On a good note, we are still here, still doing the same thing even though at a much reduced level from what one might consider normal. While I'm no longer exactly sure on what "normal" was or was supposed to be, I've also never have been a huge friend of situation normal.  This to me, just signals stagnancy in some form or fashion in your life. It's some place we usually shouldn't hang around for too long as the associated boredom of situation normal is just a motivation killer in my humble opinion. So if you are looking for a back to normal way forward and onward out of this, Covid - Corona that is, ..better start looking again, adjust, adapt, get with the times and get on with what has become the NEW norms. Move along with fresh ideas or get dragged down with the masses all wanting to go back to normal. Nope, not going to happen, not on this little patch of grass in the Cariboo here.

    So how did things change for us, you might ask? Life as a whole slowed! Short 2020 ski season since we all closed early. Slow in the shop since we ended up in the first (of several) lock downs. A bit of a reprieve from the craziness during the summer month and finally drifting into a slow dark fall and winter with more shut downs and no ski season 2021 for us aging Powder Hounds. But time doesn't have to be a wasted, repair, rebuild, review, regenerate and move forward. And there is highlights such as seeing Brad taking his better than new Merlin GT back into the air in midsummer 2020. We had a great time in our shop restoring this beauty and it flies as good as it looks :-)), or at least that what he tells me. 

Brad getting ready for a flight! 

    And there is more and more Merlin's coming into the Cariboo. Good Choice! Chris in Quesnel decided to pick up an 80hp Rotax powered one and is finally enjoying flying it. 

                                                                   Chris' new toy! 

     And finally Damon from Williams Lake who went all the way to Ontario to find a homebuilt Merlin that is seeing an engine upgrade from a 582 Rotax to a Rotax Rick 670 and should be on floats come summer. Damon also just finished upgrading his ULPP to an RPP so he can introduce the next generation to the fun of backcountry flying. 

Damon doing a Test Run of the RR-670 

    Keep on keep'n on! Enjoy the upcoming re-opening and let's move forward and onward! I for one have little interest to going back to what was a normal yesteryear. Just think of the adventures ahead ;-)