Aviation groups get mingled with their members being in different associations, and it is all the better reason to join more than one! Without really intending to, I’m now a member of four different pilots associations, and it’s all great fun to meet a variety of aviators!
This being said, without being a Rockcliffe member, I know a few of them and therefore Nicole, a fellow female pilot, invited me to join them for the classic Rockcliffe Grassroots Tour that happened this past Saturday, September 24. It was a perfect day to visit grass strips in southern Ontario!
For the joy ride, I invited my good friend, and PPL instructor, Joe. He has taken me along on numerous flights in his beautiful Cessna 170, and it was nice to be able to bring him as my passenger for a change, in my cozy Cessna 150.
I launched my day’s adventure at Gatineau (CYND), my home base for most of the year, and flew the short hop across the river to Rockcliffe (CYRO) where the other participants were waiting for me for the pre-flight briefing in the Club’s house.
The planned route for the day brought us first at Pendleton (CNF3), south east of Ottawa. On two of their three runways, we use the grass beside the paved runways, as they aren’t good for landing anymore (as the white X indicates).
Pendleton has heavy gliding activities, but early in the morning, they were just beginning their day. Beside the field, there is a hangar where a nice vintage airplane hangs from the ceiling.
Lancaster Airpark (CLA6)
Our next stop took us to the south border of Ontario, on the north shore of the St-Lawrence river at Lancaster Airpark (CLA6). Both approaches there are interesting with its high trees, but as it is well maintained and with 2400′, it’s no problem to get in and out of there safely with the proper technique, and aircraft.
We were warmely greeted by friendly local pilots who invited us in their hangar that they are building. We shared Tim bits, pizza and coffee as we chatted away for a while about… flying! Joe even connected back with Gordon, a former RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) Flight Cadet who trained as a Flight Navigator at Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1958. Joe was one of his instructors. (As I wrote, aviation groups get mingled!)
Our third and last stop was at Embrun (CPR2). A very well maintained grass strip, owned by Serge Boucher who greeted us there. We made only a short stop there, time enough for a group picture in front of my airplane, and voilà we were airborne again, en route to Rockcliffe.
The 2016 Rockcliffe Grassroots Tour completed, we declared it a success! Everyone had a good time, safe trip and fun flying these grass strips. A nice reminder that a long time ago, paved runways didn’t exist, and grass or dirt strips to land on was all there was! If you haven’t done yet grass strips, I strongly I encourage you to try it. (Maybe first with an experienced pilot or an instructor.) I love grass strips and always enjoy an opportunity to visit one, even more so among fellow pilots.