Dave here with a much-needed update to the site.
There's been quite a few accomplishments over the past
couple of months (despite the dismal weather) along
with important changes to the way VFR flights are to
be conducted within Ottawa's Terminal Airspace. Use
the mini-menu below to see the various sections.
NavCanada VFR Codes Information
DiamondFest London 2004 OAS
The Grahams: Newsletter Contribution
First Solo: Greg Michaud and Matt Szynanowicz
Night Rating: Ricky Forbes and Neil Spriggs
Multi-Engine: Bill Michael
First Solo: Rob Stein, Jason Dugay, Joshua Giguere,
Shaun Wasylnuk, and Alex Talton
PPL: Robert Taillefer, Rob Stein
IFR: Umar (telletubbie) Islam
Class IV Instructor: Alex Meson
Class III Instructor: Gabriel Vahey
ONE AND ALL!
NavCanada VFR Code Information
Effective April 15th some important changes took place
to the way VFR Codes are now assigned in Ottawa's Terminal
Airspace. You must now call ahead to get your code.
Below is a 'VFR Codes for Dummies' document compiled
by our own Kate Duncan.
If you are NOT filing a flight plan, AT LEAST 30 MINUTES
(but not more than 60 minutes) BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT:
1) Dial 1-866-VFR-CODE (1-866-837-2633)
2) Tell the operator:
a) Type of Aircraft
b) Registration of Aircraft
c) Point of departure and destination (let them know
if it is a round trip, i.e. practice area and back)
d) Requested altitude
3) The operator MAY give you a 4-digit transponder
code at this point. Write this code down and set your
4) If the operator does NOT give you a code, you will
get one on initial contact with Ottawa ATC.
- Your initial call to Clearance Delivery will be:
"Clearance, Katana FWSH with information Alpha."
They should already have your intentions.
- If your code has not been entered into the system
yet (i.e. if it was less than 30 mins since you called)
the controller will allow you to taxi and run-up,
and will get back to you with your code.
- If you change your mind as to your route, IT IS
NOT A BIG DEAL. Inform Clearance of your new intentions.
- Initial calls to Terminal will be "Terminal,
Katana FWSH". You do NOT need to tell them where
you are and what you want to do. The point of the
whole system is to prevent extended radio calls to
expedite traffic movement.
- There is a 2 to 3 month transition period while
all the bugs are ironed out of the system, so if you
come across anything that doesn't work (i.e. your
code isn't ready within 30 mins) the folks at the
Ottawa Control Tower want to know EACH TIME IT HAPPENS
so that they can pass on the inconsistencies. It is
in YOUR best interest to call them if you are inconvenienced.
DIAMONDFEST 2004/London Airshow
On June 25-27 2004, Friday to Sunday, we'd like to
all OAS aircraft down to London for this event. The
flight will take you through Toronto's Airspace, and
will be a great learning experience, plus the folks
Diamond Aircraft have special things going on for
Diamond Owners/Operators so we'll have extra things
do there (factory tours, etc) besides the airshows.
OAS gets free admission into the airshow. The costs
you will include Flight Time (approximately 3 hours
each way), food (except for a free BBQ on Friday
night)and accomodation (we are investigating camping,
and if you are more interested in a Hotel, we can get
If you are interested, call Kate at OAS (737-2933).
may be able to get you in touch with another pilot so
you can split the cost of the trip. Let me know ASAP
you want to book a hotel room, as we have to do this
right away. As far as the camping thing goes, I will
get in touch with potential campers as soon as we know
more details. Student pilots - talk to your instructor
The Grahams Newsletter Contribution
Playing Tourist in the US Capital City
Often when flying, what started out as a trip to one
place ended as a trip to another. Our goal was to fly
to Florida for Sun-N-Fun for the annual fly-in, but
as the weekend approached it was clear that the weather
might not let us do that. There were 3 LOWs connected
with fronts - just like a string of pearls. They started
in Texas, then over to North Florida, and headed up
the east coast towards North Carolina. It looked liked
the rain and low clouds would block the way to Florida
for several days. So we decided that we would start
the trip anyway and head to Washington DC as we could
play tourist for a couple of days as the rain passed.
As it turned out it was many more days than that and
luckily DC had lots to offer.
We got up early on the Saturday morning and it was
going to be a gorgeous day. The plan was to fly to Kitchener
with Keegan, our dog, and leave her with Darin's parents.
Then over to Buffalo to clear Customs and down to DC.
We were in the air by 9am and into Kitchener before
noon to meet the parents at the airport. When we landed
we immediately called Customs at Buffalo International
to give them two hours notice, checked the weather and
filed a flight plan for departure at 1pm. We had a great
lunch at the airport café. We departed on time
and got to Buffalo about 45min later, taxiing over to
Prior Aviation FBO. The Customs officer was waiting
for us to arrive and after a few simple questions we
were cleared on our way.
All in all, Buffalo (BUF) is a good place to land and
clear Customs. It has two nice long runways, not much
jet traffic to wait for, great Customs service, and
the $5 landing fee is more than made up for by the very
cheap US 100LL. Just a small word of wisdom…ATC
in the US doesn't close or open flight plans (which
we knew), and you need to contact FSS (by phone or radio),
but it seems you need to do it pretty quickly upon landing.
We had only been 30min on the ground in Buffalo (clearing
Customs and using the washroom) before FSS had initiated
SAR procedures and tracked us down. I suspect there
had been some miscommunication about the flight plan
or something as we were well within the 1 hour from
ETA…or, maybe they are extra careful these days
when small planes crossing the border. Anyway, we had
learned to call them before using the washroom next
We planned for a 3:30 departure to DC for a 3 hour
VFR flight along IFR routes. There were no planned TFR
zones along the way as GWBush was in Texas for Easter,
but we used the IFR routes and radio flight-following
just in case things changed. One also needs to note
that there is an ADIZ around DC…a no-fly-zone
about 10nm radius and an ADIZ about 30nm radius. So
you actually can't fly to DC, unless you want to be
visited up-close by some military aircraft or shot down…either
way you won't be getting to your destination. We chose
to go to Gaithersburg (GAI) which is in the ADIZ and
about 25nm from DC. Filling a flight plan is a must
to go into the ADIZ (both a regular flight plan and
a special ADIZ plan), and is easily done with FSS. You
also need to get the appropriate frequencies for Potomac
Approach that you must contact about 10nm from the ADIZ
to let them know your intentions and that you have a
flight plan. They then give you a transponder code and
clear you into the ADIZ. Our flight path took us over
the Westminster VOR, which is one of the few entry points
into the ADIZ…another good reason to use the IFR
routes and get flight following for appropriate radio
hand-off to keep you out of trouble.
The trip was uneventful. The sky was clear but a little
hazy and bumpy over the Appalachians. The flight-following
from ATC and FSS along the route was excellent and the
hand-off to Potomac Approach and into the ADIZ went
without a flaw…almost as easy as getting a VFR
code on a flight plan for flying into Ottawa terminal.
We landed in Gaithersburg (actually called Montgomery
Airpark) within minutes of our planned ETA of 6:30pm.
With the prior lesson learned, we immediately closed
the flight plan with FSS. The staff at the FBO took
good care of the plane as we organized ground transport
and a hotel. A good thing about Gaithersburg is that
there 's a subway METRO line (a 10min taxi ride from
the airport) that goes directly to downtown DC. Time
from airport to downtown was about 40min at a total
cost of only $15 for the taxi and METRO for both of
us. And once downtown, by using the METRO or walking
there is no need for a car. Just as we got settled at
the hotel and had a quick dinner at one of the many
great DC seafood restaurants, it began to rain. It had
been a long day with over 6 hours of flying, crossing
the border and safely passing the ADIZ barrier, so it
was time for a good night sleep.
Indeed the rain came. In fact it held on for 4 days,
heavy at times with thunderstorms and the clouds were
often so low you couldn't see the top of the Washington
Monument. Thankfully we had lots to do. During the day
we did the museum thing seeing the National Air and
Space and Natural History museums in the Smithsonian
block. One of the new attractions is the International
Spy Museum where there is a great collection on spying
from the Civil War, the WWs, and the Cold War with the
Russians. There are also exhibits of famous spies like
James Bond, Maxwell Smart and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The new Udvar-Hazy aircraft museum at Dulles (via bus
shuttle from Air and Space Museum downtown) is phenomenal!
It is a huge hangar with lots, and I mean LOTS, of planes…the
Enterprise space shuttle, a Concorde, an SR71 Blackbird,
a DC 10, the Enola Gay, and many other unique and special
aircraft. The rain finally stopped on Thursday but the
winds were gusting 30kts and it would have been a very
bumpy ride. We would have had just enough time to buzz
down to Florida, turn around and get back to Ottawa,
with no time to spend at Sun-N-Fun…and that's
if the weather held. So, we decided to stay and do the
walking tour of downtown DC while the sun was shining…the
White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam, Korean
and new WWII memorials, Arlington Cemetery, etc. After
5 days of touristing we were all walked-out having done
an estimated 50sm of walking - we should have had the
Friday arrived and it looked like clear weather. We
flew back the way we came. Getting out of the ADIZ was
also straightforward by filing a flight plan, getting
a transponder code and making sure the code is set before
take-off. A quick stop in Buffalo to file and call Canadian
Customs. Landing in Kitchener and using CANPASS was
a breeze. But, severe thunderstorms and hail kept us
in Kitchener. Low clouds, heavy rain, high winds and
thunderstorms don't always let you get to where you
want…even with both of us having IFR ratings.
Going to Washington DC made for a great trip. If we
had left Ottawa and headed direct south the trip would
have only been 4.5 hours and could have been easily
done in just over half a day including clearing Customs.
Crossing the border and getting in and out of the ADIZ
are relatively simple and FSS was very patient and helpful
explaining procedures…all you need to do is plan
ahead and follow the rules. Gaithersburg is a good place
to land and get into DC, with no car required. As such,
we would suggest it to anyone looking for an extended
weekend visit (3-4 sunny days!) with lots to see and
Darin & Lisa Graham