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Arctic Foxtrot

Aviation brings people together. In 2017, when Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, aviation unites the country by bringing the technology and inspiration of airshows to the most remote areas of the country - where people have never seen anything like this in their lives. With 97 airshows North of the 60th parallel, EVERYBODY will have a chance to celebrate Canada's 150. Official website: https://caat2017.com. This is a blog of Anna Serbinenko, the only Canadian female aerobatic performer, embarking on this one-in-a-lifetime journey.

Day 19 and 20. On the way home

  It is a very sad day, because Anna Sky Dancer is completing her first part of the Canadian Arctic Aviation tour, phase 1 (Western part). I may rejoin the Tour in the Phase 2, on the East Coast of Canada. This part is still in the planning stage at this time. But for now, it’s time to go home soon. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I missed home, family and team of the flight school. I met many new friends here up North, and I know that I will be back here. I tried not to make it too hard, and “rip off the band-aid”: a few hugs to the team and the Fort Smith welcoming ground crew, and I was on my way to Fairview, AB. 

The trip was scenic, but it was more and more “civilized” scenic. More groomed fields, more towns, bigger and bigger every time.

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Day 17 and 18. Yellowknife and Fort Smith

  We have quite a big road map for today – half a dozen wheels-up airshows for communities around Yellowknife. Ken Fowler with the Rocket and Jim Hrymack with the Harvard faster and longer-range planes) take the Eastern route, Ross Granley with the Yak 155, Tanya with the Nanchang and myself with the citabria go North.  

Until about 10 years ago, Nanchang was the primary Chinese military trainer aircraft. It looks like a fairly old warbird, but this one was built only in 1983. They are robust and capable, but were intentionally designed with small fuel tanks: so that the Chinese student pilots would run out of fuel and crash within the Chinese borders before they get a chance to defect. So we are now sure that Tanya will not leave the CAAT for the same reason :)

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Day 15 and 16. Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Yellowknife

  We had a long day ahead of us: transit to Fort Simpson with several wheels-up airshows, visiting the school, flying Fort Simpson airshow, and then another transit – to Yellowknife. But we were on the other hand looking forward to sleeping in the next day. 

Nancy mentioned that since the beginning of the trip, she was riding nothing else but a twin otter, so I offered the citabria ride.

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Day 13 and 14. Fort Good Hope to Norman Wells, NWT

 In Wilfred’s B&B in Fort Good Hope, we started the day by cooking our breakfast with whatever we found in the fridge. Then went to meet the local school kids. The principal explained that they would have classes today as usual, just they will “take the class to the airshow”. I wished my school principal was that cool back then! 

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Day 12. Tuktoyaktuk. Fort Good Hope

  I woke up in the anticipation of a very cold water event (swimming in the Arctic ocean), and even right away put the bathing suit on under my flight suit. The weather decided for us differently though. The morning started with low overcast in Inuvik, and IFR ceilings and snow in Tuktoyaktuk. 

Having the unexpected waiting time, we decided to maximize on touristic activities before departure and checkout the local cuisine. The local most recommended place, Alestine’s, is cooking on a school bus on the front yard, and serve in an authentic looking cafeteria.  

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