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Terry and I flew to Yarmouth, NS on Saturday to visit my folks. I had filed a fairly simple route on the IFR flight plan, but ATC was having nothing of that. Ottawa Terminal gave me a long clearance which included four five-letter fixes that I had never heard of before. I was very happy to be using ForeFlight on my iPad, as it knew where these fixes were, rather than my having to search for them on an IFR chart to try to find where these guys were sending us.


 

We had a nice view of the 6,300 ft peak of Mount Washington as we went through New Hampshire.


 

There was a lot more cloud in Maine than the weather guys predicted. We started at 9,000 ft, then as we flew east the cloud tops got higher and higher. Eventually we ended up slaloming left and right of track to go around the higher cloud peaks. That eventually become unworkable, so I got clearance to climb to 11,000 ft, hoping we could come back down within 30 minutes and thus avoid the regulatory requirement for oxygen (apparently Canadian physiology is different from that in the USA, as in the USA it is legal to fly at 14,000 ft indefinitely without oxygen, but in Canada we require oxygen if we are above 10,000 ft for more than 30 minutes).

Soon the tops rose even more, and we picked up some ice as we went through the top of a ridge of cloud. That little bit of ice knocked 10 kt off our cruise speed, and it took 10 minutes for it to sublimate after we exited the cloud. The cloud tops were clearly still rising, so we got clearance to 13,000 ft and started using oxygen. The pulse oximeter confirmed that both Terry and I were getting adequate oxygen. I was very happy that I had gotten the oxygen system functional the day before.


 

You can see Digby Neck in the distance as we cross the Bay of Fundy at 13,000 ft.


 

Upon arrival in Yarmouth the winds were gusting to 25 kt, which really made it bumpy at low altitude. The landing was better than I had any right to expect, given the conditions.


 

Sunday was a nice sunny day, so Dad and I flew up to Stanley for their fly-in breakfast. Stanley, north of Halifax, was originally a WWII training airfield. The three runways from the training base are still there, but now they are grass, and they are shorter than they originally were. It is a very active general aviation airport, with numerous hangars, a club house, a bunkhouse (useful if you are in the dog house at home for spending too much time at the airport) and a shower facility.

We parked next to Paul Tuttle’s beautiful new RV–8. The aircraft is finished, and has passed the official inspection, but Paul must receive the official Transport Canada paperwork before the first flight can occur. Good luck Paul!

We had hoped to stay in Yarmouth until Wednesday, but the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and the weather guessers were clearly having problems figuring out what was going to happen. The weather forecasts changed radically every day. This morning it was clearly workable to return today, and tomorrow was looking worse, so we decided it was better to come home a day early than to risk getting stuck by weather.

We had a bumpy flight back, in cloud most of the way. The good news is that the 25 kt headwinds that were forecast did not appear - the average headwind was less than 10 kt. The bad news is that the temperatures at altitude were quite a bit colder than forecast, so we had to do much of the trip at 6,000 ft to avoid ice. The aircraft is more efficient at higher altitude and the air is usually smoother the higher you go. But, we made it back in 3:08, vs the predicted 3:25, and Terry didn’t turn green in the bumps, so I’m not going to complain.

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