Before going to bed last night I asked both the Lead Pilot and the Safety Officer what time do we gather in the morning. The uniform answer was 9.00am. It did not help, because Bud Granley was knocking on my door 8.10 wondering why am I not at the truck! I’m sure by August we will figure out our communication eventually…
Eventually, we somewhat combined the breakfast with informal pilot briefing. In a nutshell, it was “Well, the aerobatic box is about here more or less. Have fun and don’t hit anything. Who wants to go have fun first?”
Once the last performer arrived on site, our team was complete and ready to perform!
For many of us, this was the first show of the season, and we were grateful for good ceilings and calm winds. The scenery was spectacular, and having the show box in the river valley made it even more special.
That’s me, just hanging in there:
The crowd was very appreciative of the airshow. For almost all of them, it was the first airshow in their lives. Even when two planes would pass in a straight formation, it was already a wow. Many kids – and adults – came to meet us after. Several told us after the show that they wanted to become pilots. Several people from the village were praying for our safety on the trip. It was genuine, kind, excited, caring.
Several future aviators followed us back the airport, and had a closer look at the planes.
A local artist made a beautiful hair clip for me.
And the mayor presented us with their flag
We departed late afternoon, and there was probably not a person on our team who was not sad to leave.
The trip to Watson Lake not as much on the straight line as we had previous legs. Navigating between thunderstorms with lightning and cumulus granitus made our lead’s job (Ross Granley) challenging.
But the weather in Watson Lake was still sunny, and the countryside is spectacular.
We met the rest of the team, some of whom were joining us only now, because not all planes are gravel strip capable. The highlight was the sharp looking new Canada 150 paintjob of the F-18 demo. I’m looking forward to seeing them fly tomorrow!
Watson Lake has a lot of history. Before the Americans officially joined the World War II, they supported their allies a lot with equipment. Lots of it went through Watson Lake on the way to Alaska. This old looking hangar is preserved in the original version since those times. With two Russian Yaks and a Harvard from the same era, it took you back in time.
After a welcome barbecue at the airport, we headed to the hotel. Our announcer here Roy Hafeli, showed us the Sign Post Forest. Amazing thing accumulated since 1940’s when the Alaska highway was built through here – 75 years ago. Home sick soldiers would bring a sign from their home town. Dater it developed into a touristic attraction. And of course we did not miss leaving a memory of the Arctic Aviation Tour here.
Quiet evening in the storm was spent in a nice motel called “A Nice Motel”, and now we are ready to fly over Watson Lake skies!
Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour so far:
Distance flown: 983 nautical miles
Airshows flown: 1
Communities visited: 3