Solo Flight to Midland (CYEE)

The weather in southern Ontario on Christmas eve was perfect for a flight. Destination: Midland Ontario (CYEE).

My pre-flight planning was showing a 30 min ETA. I used World Flight Planner of course. It was handy having all the NOTAMs in one place, especially when they contained runway surface conditions.

I also used NavCanadas new internet flight plan filing service. Worked very well. Much better than their old system.

I had some radio problems on the apron. This particular airplane has a flakey radio stack and I could never get COM2 to work properly. I always make sure that the radio volume is turned up, but this wasn’t the issue in this case. Switching to COM1 fixed the problem and I was able to get on my way.

The air was smooth and the visibility was more than 15 miles for sure.

Lake Effect clouds over Lake Simcoe

Just north of Barrie at 4500′ I was able to get a hold of London Radio on 126.7 to see if I could get an updated runway surface condition for the airport. As suspected it was the same one from the previous day that I had already seen (0.5 inches of loose snow).

I called up Midland Unicom and was surprised to get an answer back. Looks like the airport is open at 9am on Christmas Eve (they actually opened at 8am). I asked what the runway conditions were like and was glad to hear that there should be no problems.

I landed on runway 16 and parked my plane next to main terminal.

Terminal Building

The route back took me at 3500′. I needed to update my ETA to Buttonville. I was not able to get ahold of the London FIC. This was just over the Midland VOR (YEE). I tried the London RCO at Buttonville on 123.15, no dice either. Hmm.. I busted open my VNC to see if I can find a frequency to use. Nothing. I took a look at the CFS for airports in the area, hoping to find a hint as to what frequency I should use. Couldn’t find any.

So, I decided to try Timmins Radio. They have a RCO at Muskoka. Success! However, she said I needed to call up London Radio on 123.475. Hmm.. Never heard of that frequency before. Turns out it is the London FIC RCO at Muskoka. Dialed them up and updated my ETA.

I’m not sure why this was not located on my charts anywhere. A list of FISE frequencies can be found on the NavCanada website.

The winds were calm at Buttonville so I was given the option of runway 33 or 15. Runway 33 was the active, but 15 made more sense since I was coming in from the north. I elected for 15 and joined the left base for a perfect landing.

This is my last flight of 2011. This year was light on the logbook entries, totalling only 7.4 hours. I started changing that trend in the past two months as my goal is to fly once a month now.

17 Responses

  1. Wayne says:

    Hey Blake!! Don’t you just love the crosswind landings at Midland. Don’t know what that engineer was thinking, obviously not a pilot.

  2. Blake says:

    I wouldn’t know.. Winds were calm, so I just picked a runway. Runway directions are based on the prevailing winds in the region. I’m sure they took those into account.

  3. Magneto says:

    Did you have to do this flight for some solo requirement? If you need a pax next time let me know. I will pay some toward the rental cost. I find being a pax from time to time helps me hone my navigation skills (not to say that it would also let me familiarize myself with my iPad aviation apps ( and play plants vs zombies ).

    • Blake says:

      Magneto, There was no requirement for this flight. It was solo because I did it by myself with no pax. Normally my wife tags along, but not this time. I’ll keep your offer in mind. I always prefer flying with someone than by my self 🙂

  4. Hi Blake,

    Good work getting up over the holidays.

    A little tip for next time, or your readers who haven’t found it yet. With the number of RCOs changing frequencies you can find them all listed under the FIC name, so for us in Ontario that would be London FIC. My current CFS is in the plane, but a copy I have here from May has Muskoka as you say at 123.475

    Got that tip a few years back from a friendly FIC op.

    Happy landings!

  5. John says:

    Blake:

    Very nice photo of Lake Simcoe with a blanket of clouds. It goes in my Desktop Wallpaper folder. Ideal for daydreaming or armchair flying.

  6. Steve says:

    sounds like a good flight.

    I hear you about the light log book years…
    how is it that you have been flying less than once per month up until now though? isn’t rental currency requirement 30 days at Buttonville?

    • Blake says:

      Steve, Yup rental currency is 30 days. Hence me flying once per month. On average though, it works out to be once every 25 days or so. Before then I would just get checked out every 3 months or so.

  7. Steve says:

    Magneto and Blake, maybe we should create a mailing list or something to share seats… I am in the same boat trying to maintain currency and stay sharp with navigation, and I am always looking for somewhere new to go, and would love to have flying friends fill the seats when I am not taking some “non-flying friend(s) sight seeing; and I am happy to fill the seats of other pilots doing similar small currency flights.

    • Blake says:

      Steve/Magneto: I totally agree. Normally the wife comes, so I don’t have a spare seat. However, we all could benefit from sort of mailing list to stay organized as to when we need a “seat warmer”. I’ll set something up.

  8. Steve says:

    cool thnx Blake,
    I didn’t mean to add more work for you in terms of setting up a mailing list or whatever…
    I am not on Facebook, but as more and more friends are hounding me to join, I am close to cracking… – would it be easier to set-up a “group” or something on Facebook? I am not very familiar with how it works.

    And yes, flying monthly can be tough… but past couple years I have really tried hard to fit it in, and tended to go almost 2 times per month; some times simply because I wasn’t sure about the weather heading into the tail end of my currency period, so I would go again 1 or 2 weeks before I needed to.

  9. Gene says:

    Hey Blake, been following your blogs for a while now. I used to fly out of Brampton but have changed base to Buttonville since taking a share on a 172. I’m always looking for someone that will fly right seat with me; and it’s sooo hard to find someone… My wife doesn’t usually like to go up with me. I’m usually in the east end every weekend. Let me know if you want to go up…

    If you want some really good crosswinds, go try Goderich…

  10. Johnny Lai says:

    Hey Blake..

    Just wonder.. What do you do at Midland after you land? You just parked there and roam around in Midland town? Or just park there, take a few pictures of the airport (maybe a washroom break) and go back to YKZ?

  11. Blake says:

    Johnny,

    Usually just land, go for a bathroom break and check out the terminal. I’ll chat with anyone that’s around (usually the Unicom guy/girl), then head back out.

    In most cases, it’s the journey, not the destination 🙂

  12. Ryan says:

    Hey Blake, I fly out of buttonville too. im just about done my private license my two cross countries and practical flight test to go.

    If youre ever looking to go on a longer flight and you need a co-pilot i’d be happy to split the costs of the flight with you.

    I’m going to be starting my commercial training very soon, so the hours are always needed. lol

    thanks take care

  13. Ace says:

    Blake,

    I as well set out from Edenvale on a flight to Dunnville. I had the same experience with locating the wind sock and on that day we had guts to 15Kts- it sure would have been handy!

    Once taxiing I did spot the same torn apart sock. Luckily, I had a local friend that picked me up and we did have a great lunch in town!

    I will not be in a rush to head back.

    Any great spots that you’ve found to fly into- I would be more than happy to hear about.

    One of my favorites in the summer is Orilla. Great lunch trailer and muskoka chairs to sit by the water!