Back Up In The Air & Status of Buttonville Airport

Yesterday involved a 1.5 hour checkout with a flight instructor at Toronto Airways. It had been 8 months (damn, time flies) since I was last up in the air.

Toronto Airways has changed their checkout policy for the better. Checkouts now involve 0.5 hours of ground briefing plus 1 hour in the air. The good news is that you pay for the aircraft time only. No more $300 checkouts!

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The Main Apron

After we did some weight and balance and performance calculations we headed out to the airplane to do some circuits. I ended up with good ‘ole GVLD, a plane I spent many hours in during my training.

I looked at my watch, which read: 12:55. “hmm.. leaving on the hour is never a good thing” I thought to my self. And sure enough, I was 3rd to depart and had to wait 5-7 minutes. This was to be a normal take-off and landing.

In the downwind I could hear the controller telling people to stay out of the control zone. “yup! Everyone coming back from their lessons!” I thought to my self.

I was told to expect to be number 5 for landing behind a Pilatus. I ended up extending my downwind quite significantly as there were 4 others in front of me.

I’m on a 4 mile final (or so) behind the Pilatus. Everything is going good, then I see the airplane in front of me start turning left. Turns out she was too fast for the 172 in front of her and had to turn away. Tension was a little high as the controller was giving her unfamiliar landmarks to go to. You can hear this at the 2 min mark of the clip.

Listen to a 5 min clip of Air Traffic control at Buttonville

The original plan was to make this a touch and go, but the controller only cleared us to land. I taxied off the runway, exhaled, and headed back to the holding bay to do it all over again. A typical sunny weekend at Canada’s 10th busiest airport!

I learned that Seneca College is going to be moving their fleet to Peterborough Airport next year. I’m still unsure where the rest of the tenants are going to move once the airport closes.

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Notice of Public Meeting

The City of Markham had a public committee meeting on the rezoning of the airport lands. The meeting minutes indicate that there may be a 60 story building included in the site plan. I can only assume this would be a residential condo building.

3 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Congrats on being back in the air.

    You are really sticking it out for Buttonville – I flew the Pipers there ~10 years ago and thought the ground wait times and over all airspace handling was poor (also didn’t love Toronto Airways, but that is an other story). I left after a year and went back to YTZ.

    Anyway, I listened to your ATC recording – THAT is some ridiculous CZ radio chatter…
    Busy yes, sure, but it didn’t seem well handled by the controller to allow separation to be so flakey
    – and when there is no time for second guessing, assuming people know specific local land marks is not awesome.

    I fly out of YTZ all the time and it is the 9th busiest airport on Canada (I believe…)
    Constant fast traffic and Dash-8s to deal with… I’ve never had such issues – controllers are clear and concise about getting you separated, and they generally use “idiot proof” terminology regarding extending or tightening various legs of the circuit, etc…
    (Granted the volume of smaller planes and students is likely much less than YKZ.)

    Did you get out to the practice area to do some air work for the check out as well?

  2. G says:

    Hey Blake, how’s it going? Good to see you’re back flying. Maybe we can go up sometime; I’m flying a 172RG and just took it out a few weeks ago; boy was Buttonville busy! What are they charging these days to rent the 172?

    G