Trip 063 - August of 2013

Boundary Bay to Port Hardy

Flight in a Cessna 172

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We used to fly a Cessna 172 recreationally out of Boundary Bay airport (CZBB) located in Delta, British Columbia. Here is a story about our most memorable flight from Boundary Bay to Port Hardy (CYZT) via Sechelt (CAP3), which took place in August of 2013. Port Hardy is located in the North of Vancouver Island.

22. The rain cloud was a small one, and, soon, there was yet another nice view.


Flying Above Islands Near Port Hardy British Columbia Canada

23. But not for long. The cloud hanging right in front was bad enough, but ahead it looked like the ceiling dropped all the way to the water. At this point we were thinking about turning back, despite flying for nearly two hours to get so close to Port Hardy. However, remembering that visibility at the airport was eight miles, we decided to fly around this cloud on the right side, away from the mountains.


Low visibility VFR flying near Port Hardy BC Canada

24. This turned out to be the right decision, and Port Hardy airport appeared on the horizon. By the way, the forecast was for the ceiling not lower than 3,000 feet. But water, mountains, and lots of moisture in the air resulted in unpredictable conditions.


Approaching Port Hardy Airport BC Canada

25. At the end of the runway after the touchdown, turning toward the parking area at the other end of the apron.


After landing in Port Hardy Airport (CYZT)

26. Now looking back from the parking area. The airplane taking off is Pacific Coastal Airlines turboprop, the only airline with regular service to Port Hardy. Pacific Coastal flies to Port Hardy from Vancouver, and, on some flights, continues on to Bella Bella.


Port Hardy Airport Seen from the Apron

27. Here is our Cessna 172 parked in Port Hardy. We burned more than half of our fuel (the tanks hold 40 gallons), so it was definitely a good idea to refuel. On the photo above you can see the service station on the left side. All you need to do is go inside, tell the serviceman what kind of fuel you need, and they dispatch a truck to your plane.


Cessna 172 at Port Hardy Airport (CYZT) Apron

28. Fuel truck refuelling our Cessna. After that, you go back into their office and pay for the fuel. Credit cards are accepted. If you want to refuel after business hours (8 AM to 8 PM, if we recall correctly), there is an extra $100 charge, as someone would have to come from home to help you out.


Fuelling Cessna 172 at Port Hardy Airport (CYZT) British Columbia Canada

29. Alright, the tanks are full, time to take off and fly home.


Taking off CYZT Port Hardy Runway 07

30. Good-bye, Port Hardy!


After Takeoff from Port Hardy (CYZT) British Columbia Canada

31. Beautiful views again. Looks like the weather had improved. It's good to be going home.


Flying Above Queen Charlotte Strait British Columbia Canada

32. But wait, what's this ahead?


Decreasing Visibility VFR Flying Queen Charlotte Strait BC Canada

33. No doubt about it - the ceilings dropped right to the water about fifteen minutes after we left Port Hardy. There are mountains to the right, and there is a vast empty space to the left.


Low Visibility Flying VFR Queen Charlotte Strait BC Canada

34. We definitely did not want to wait until the clouds went away, as it was anyone's guess whether the way back to Port Hardy would remain clear. So, we descended to about a thousand feet, and made a circle above a tug, which could also be seen on the photo above (white arrow pointing to it). Still, we could not see through the cloud, and were definitely not going to fly through it, as it's illegal without an instrument rating and an IFR flight plan, and, with mountains nearby, just plain wrong. So, we turned around and headed back to Port Hardy.


Tugboat Towing a Barge in Queen Charlotte Strait British Columbia Canada

35. Looks like it was a good decision not to circle for too long, as the weather started to deteriorate on the way back too.

36. But, on the positive side, snapped this photo of a helipad, a lighthouse, and a few houses on a small island.


Lighthouse on an Island in Queen Charlotte Strait BC Canada

37. Port Hardy airport looked more familiar now.


Cessna 172 Final Leg Landing at Port Hardy (CYZT) Airport BC Canada

38. Missed us? Missed you too.


After Landing at CYZT

39. Back at our parking spot. A business jet has recently arrived.


CYZT View from Apron

40. N341K is a Learjet 45, belonging to Kiewit corporation.


Learjet 45 (Kiewit Corp) at Port Hardy Airport (CYZT) British Columbia Canada

41. Pacific Coastal Turboprop arrived as well.


Pacific Coastal Turboprop at CYZT

42. C-GPCQ is a Saab340a. Yes, Saab makes airplanes too, surprisingly.


Pacific Coastal Saab340a at Port Hardy Airport (CYZT) BC Canada

Our Trip Report Continues on Page 3.

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