Last September marked my first participation in the Rockcliffe Air Rally. Organised by the Rockcliffe Flying Club which I became a member in march of this same year. This rally was intended for the members of the flying Club as well as their friends and family.
On the ground, you had to figure out some clues to be used to draw out the route to fly in the Ottawa region. Fortunately, so you don’t get lost nor cause any mid-air accident, the game master – Chris Hobbs – gave each participant the answers to the clues before departing. So we had all that was necessaries to draw the lines on the Toronto VFR chart and get ready to look closely from the air for the answers to the rally questions.
Eyes wide open and excitement in the air, Joe Scoles, Ben Saulnier and myself took off as Joe Scoles’ team in his beautiful 61 years old Cessna 170 airplane. Tail wheel and well maintained, it was a pleasure to fly in it. Well, this being said, I have not so far not enjoyed a flight. Even cold or hot and squeezed, it is always fun!
Preparations on the ground were an important part of this adventure but in the air, you had to use your eyes and pay very much close attention. We revised diligently all the questions before taking off. That helped. Oh and did I mentioned that no GPS or VOR or other navigation aid were allowed in that game?
Here are some of the questions:
- Between Chelsea and Wilson’s Corner – What sport is played just north-east of the dam?
- Between the 1627 Spot Height and Val-des-Bois – What a lovely open grass field! On which edge of the lake does it lie? What sort of bridge crosses the river?
- Between Lake Echo and Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette – How many islands are there in Lac Echo? What game is played at the end of Lac de l’Argile?
- At Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette – What’s the large circular structure by the river?
- Between Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette and Val-des-Monts – How many tress are in that field?
This last one was my favorite! When I first read it I was like “What? I mean, it’s all trees and fields everywhere in that region!” And then, you fly over Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette look closely down below and suddenly it jumps in your face! One field standing out from the others, with 4 trees in a neat line. And then you have your answer! I thought this one was very nice. You really had to look, no charts could ever point it out for you. As flight instructors likes to say to VFR students: look outside the airplane!
Fortunately, as you can see, the questions, however somewhat hard, at least included delimitation as to where approximately you were expected to see those answers. The altitude to fly was not specified and was left to the pilot to decide. This had an impact on how well you could see the landmarks and details on the ground.
But the altitude also had an impact on the perspective of the photographs identification which was another part of the air rally. There were 6 photographs taken previously from the air that we had to pin point on the VFR chart, and later provide the latitude and longitude coordinates for them.
During this flight, I could not speak much with the other crew members in the front seats since there were no connectors to plug in my headset. The positive side of this was that it left me with more time and opportunity to take pictures and videos. Here is an edited video of some pictures and videos I took during this 2013 Rockcliffe Air Rally. Enjoy!
Honestly, this was a lot of fun! This is combining perfectly the fun of flying with the fun of playing games. Two of my favorite hobbies. I would do this again anytime, in a heartbeat!
To me this is definitely one of the greatest advantage of flying at a Club that provides social activities. In addition to having a great day, you get to know new people. This is how I met Joe, a very nice and interesting person. It was also nice to meet the new instructor at Rockcliffe, Benoît Saulnier, however I did not get the chance to talk much with him and only saw him once more, briefly, at the Club after that event. Thank you also to Brenda, manager of the membership services for matching me up with Joe and Ben, great team!
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Note: Cet article est écrit en anglais pour que certaines personnes, dont il est en partie question dans ce texte, puisse le lire avec aise. Si vous aimeriez que je le traduise en français pour votre confort, veuillez simplement m’en faire part et je le ferai avec plaisir. Naturellement, les commentaires en français comme en anglais sont les bienvenus! (Auch im Deutsch!)