Last updated 2022-07-04
An ‘interesting’ day. Review of weather for the 24th (the ‘official start of the planned commemorative legs) looked like getting out of YPA in the morning was going to be difficult, if at all possible. I therefore elected to depart today and position to Yorkton (YQV), so as to at least arrive Winnipeg on the anniversary date. As it happened, Kevin Elwood (of DH Canada / Viking) was ferrying an aircraft eastwards and was staging through Yorkton … stranger things have happened.
Since YPA has no 100LL I needed to upload some in order to make Yorkton. The plan was to top-off at Birch Hills (CJD3), some 16 nm down0route and 4 nm off-track. I set off in lovely conditions – low cloud about 5 nm to the right of track (SW), clear ahead, and low clud at least 10 nm left of track (NE). However, the low bases to the SW had become low scud and a turn towards JD3 soon proved to be a bad choice. There was another field about 6 nm the other side of track, now my new destination (plus I had fuel to return to YPA – oh no, its just gone IFR). Heading NE for Melfort / Miller Field (CJZ3), the lovely clear weather I’d anticipated was too getting low and indeterminate. Down to a couple of hundred feet agl I carefully surveyed a road as my likely landing point, though I thought I had the airfield in sight about a mile away. And I had – I made directly for the numbers at about a 110 degree offset, pulled the power and killed excess speed with a ‘generous’ slip and made the sweetest landing for days! The ceiling went to the surface just about another mile further ahead.
An interesting start to the day. I almost felt cheated that I hadn’t had to land on the road, that would have mirrored the original team’s experience and made me a true aviator of Canada, but … at least I had fuel available, no-one hurt, nothing bent.
Two hours later I was airborne into clearing skies after an interesting stop: the airfield manager was from Cambridge (yes – the one near Duxford) and the airfield had once hosted Halifaxes during WWII.
Heading directly for Yorkton I landed on the gravel runway 31, which gave the place an outback feel … though 04-22 is a very decent hard surface. Kevin and I had an interesting phone conversation, each saying “No, I’m at the fuel pumps and I don’t see you” until we realised that there were two sets of pumps with hangars in between!
Yorkton is home to three other Chipmunks, two of which were on the field, a stock RCAF example in the form of 18047 and another British-built one, C-GDNK, which was a very interesting and unique (if not peculiar) SuperMunk, and actually no longer a Chipmunk, now a ‘DK (Dave Kubassek) Cooper Hawk’. This is used by Miccar Aerial, a crop-spraying and ag training company which uses the ‘Hawk’ for ag-pilot tail wheel conversions and spray training.
The Miccar guys were great and offered me (well, WP833) hangarage for the night. Some hours later, in my hotel in the town, a massive hail storm left +1cm hail stones piling up on street sides and washing into fields, damaging trucks and properties. Boy did I feel good that 833 was hangared!
What I hoped would be only one night in the Holiday Inn Express became three … but at least I wasn’t in Schefferville!
Stats: 2.4 hrs logged, 2.1 hrs flown, 208 nm track.