Springhouse > Barkerville
Learning to Fly as a Group
Rested and ready to go, the flight to Springhouse (CAQ4) was a casual short hop. The sky was still peppered with clouds and an occasional rain shower.
Springhouse airfield, is a 4800 ft long grass strip. Along the side were the usual assortment of houses, aircraft and non aircraft related businesses. An occasional small hangar or a row of T-hangars told of the good and bad times
at this airstrip. Quite a few planes or aircraft skeletons stood around with tall grass growing under their wings. As there was a nice lake adjacent to the runway, a few floatplanes were sitting in the grass waiting to be taken to the jetty. Our plane was parked at an empty spot protected from the wind by a low hangar. To fasten it again we used our sturdy pegs. Several other members of the FlyNorth group had already arrived and checked in at a lodge a few miles down the road. We met them on the porch of the restaurant sipping beer and checking out each other. We picked up our special FlyNorth mosquito outfit and had some more paperwork to sign, without which we probably could not complete the trip.
day after our arrival was Saturday. It was the trial run for coordinating our FlyNorth ballet exercises, addressing such questions as to "who goes first," "how do we communicate," how do we avoid running into each other," "who is making decisions," etc..
? The assignment was to fly 40 minutes to the old mining town of Barkerville (CAS3) having a 2700 ft paved runway which allows approach and departure from just one side. Everyone just seemed to sit around waiting for the start signal from John Dale, the organizer from FlyNorth. Nothing happened. We were ready to go but nobody did. So we took the initiative, went to the plane and started the engine. The first lesson was about to be learned. Prior to take off we had to backtrack on the runway and it had a nasty hump about half way to the end so that one could not see what was going on at the departure end observed from the run-up position. Since we were so far ahead, we took off after announcing our intentions while the rest of the group, having started to move also, had to wait briefly before jointly taxiing to the starting line.
The one mile walk to the old mining town of Barkerville was a good exercise and several attempts to hitch a ride failed. The historic town was one illustrious assortment of houses, shops, restaurants and museum facilities. All the employees were dressed in the 1890 style and some performed amusing presentations of historical and social events. The town was one of the first in the Gold Rush around 1860. Many of the buildings and items displayed were from that time. Especially noteworthy was the large community of Chinese miners and workers. Apparently smoking Opium was a widespread habit in those days before it was prohibited.
A hearty late miner's breakfast, laid the foundation for the day. Making our tour, with one eye we enjoyed the many attractions of the town and with the other we watched the sky as the clouds became darker and kept coming lower and started to settle on the mountains around us. A little later in the afternoon we found ourselves in good company making our way back to the aircraft parking area, which resembled more a gravel quarry than a ramp. Taking due consideration to keep our RPM as low as possible while on the gravel, then taking off to the open end of the valley, posed to be no problem. We had been briefed about the various impact points on the hillside of unsuccessful departure attempts, of pilots who had tried to make it up the valley.
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This page was serviced last on 12. July 2008