I’m excited to participate in the international Air Rally to begin at Winnipeg this July 30 to August 15, 2009. This rally attracts pilots from all over Canada and the world. Countries represented are USA, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico. 5000 nautical miles will be covered in the whole route! Like flying to Argentina and back. (See the charitable link below.) I’ve wanted to participate in this rally for several years, so this is a great time to do it. And it’s a good opportunity to celebrate 100 years of flying in Canada! ( Check the earlier posting February 23, 2009 the birthday of flight in Canada when I successfully landed on the frozen Ottawa River lost and in a blinding blizzard!)

The rally has a competitive element. Each day pilot crew is awarded 100 points per day but they must answer skill testing questions, sight unusual landmarks at strategic locations, and fly precisely. Points are deducted for mistakes. There will be spot landing tests. Imagine a landing touch down on a 100 foot strip! not easy. Bombing precision. ( not with real bombs ) ( flower bag bombs). As well there will be ground based challenges like canoe races, fishing competitions, sling shot accuracy trials. Good thing some of these tests are not fundamental to flying but they will be fun and interaction with a group of 60 or so pilots will fun. Good opportunity to make connections and extend business contacts.
The route takes us to airports all over remote parts of Canada. From Winnipeg we fly west to Fort Nelson then on to Whitehorse in Yukon territory. Next we fly east to Fort Simpson where my sister Mary Elder was born. My dad was in the military and we were posted at the DEW line telecommunications station. I’m told the only access to Fort Simpson in those days was by DC-3 aircraft and trusted dog sled! Imagine dogsled. Well I’m also told I was nearly eaten by hungry husky dogs. I believe it. I’ve still got scars to prove it! We’ll continue eastward using our dead reckoning navigational skills until we reach Rankin Inlet on the shore of Hudson Bay. I’ll guess we see some polar bears and whales on ice floes in the Bay! From there we stop into a number of small native communities sleeping in igloos until they melt further south. Wigwams will be fine from there down to Montreal. In the south portion we head east to Blanc Sablon Newfoundland. In St Pierre et Micheleon it’ll be fois gras. I’ll bet we munch on flounder and cod tongues there but I hope it’s lobsters in Summerside. It’ll be clams in Digby and I hope there will be champagne waiting when we cross the finish line in Montreal.

I’ve not been to most of the airports. But the thing is, once you visited people in a remote area there is much more chance of returning if you like the visit. Most of the towns plan to offer a special reception for the visitors. What’s more, the rally will be recorded by several international film crews for future broadcast so best foot forward! And take off the sunglasses and smile!

It is a 5000 nautical mile challenge and I’ve set a personal goal of raising $5000 dollars to help a local Ottawa women’s shelter called Cornerstone. It is a registered charity so every dollar donated will be tax deductible. So step up and donate generously; Cash or cheque will go to Cornerstone not in the fuel tank! Send your cheques to … best to call me and I’ll tell you where to send your cheque Cell 613-296-8065
I’ll keep you posted on the planning. Next I’ll have to ready the airplane for this epic journey… Who needs a paint job?

stay tuned to: Thoughtful agent in Ottawa for more…

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