All posts by Christopher Brown

Joyeuses Pâques

Good Morning Cheyenne Team, Salt Lake City Team, Phoenix Team, and Los Angeles Team:

The slides from all the presentations are now up on the site as PDFs. (Text and slides to follow, in some cases). I have updated Chris and his Teachers to honour my old friend Dan, who recently received the Wright Brothers Award for 50 years of safe flying.

To help you with your homework and enable you to study other charts than the one used for your mission, I have put all the charts and mission statements up under Flight Operations: Southwest USA Flight Plan Exercises: Route. As I say on that page, a good approach is to calculate the Takeoff and Climb performance two ways:

  1. Use the sea level, standard day numbers from the POH and the Koch Chart
  2. Use the POH numbers with all the corrections for pressure altitude, temperature, and wind

They will not be the same, but they should be in the same ballpark.

Another good exercise is to use your E6-B to calculate the TAS, and thence the groundspeed, at liftoff and touchdown.

Please feel free to email me with questions or observations this weekend.

Joyeuses Pâques and I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.


Flight Operations Slides Posted

Hello Annie, Merryn, Eric, Etienne, Jean, Louis, Patrice, & Raymond:

It was good to see you all again last evening.

As requested, here are the slides I presented. I have included a couple of links but no text as yet.

Next week we’ll flight plan a semi-realistic flight or two, looking at map work, flight log, and performance issues. Bring your E6B and plotter, and a Montreal VNC if you have one.

See you then,


p.s. For the slides look under Aéroclub de Longueuil: Flight Operations.

Another Flying Adventure

Hello Classmates

Sorry I’ve been slow getting the text up on the ground school presentations. My wife Linda and I have been enroute Montreal to Palo Alto in our Bonanza, C-FQRV.

Flying at this time of year and over that route is always a challenge. After cancelling for forecast icing Monday and Tuesday, we departed Wednesday, December 16. As we drove up to Lachute I still wasn’t sure we were leaving – the forecast said the overcast would break up at 11 AM but if it didn’t it would be iffy.

By 11 there were a few breaks and you could see there were two layers. Montreal Departure were very helpful – thanks, J.C.! – when I called and co-ordinated my route and departure requests with them.

We had an arrival time we had to meet for Customs in Saginaw, Michigan (KMBS). The day was planned around a tongue of warm air reaching up from the eastern plains states into the great lakes. The warm air was there, but it was accompanied by a Low Level Jet – 65 knots on the nose – and a weak occluded front which arrived at Saginaw just as we did, bringing rain and turbulence. Even so, our arrival was almost VFR.

Then we flew on to Champaign, IL, where our son Pat teaches at the University of Illinois. The first hour was at 6000 feet between layers, the second solid IMC but temperature plus 4 C. Then the third hour of the two-hour flight (remember the 65 knots on the nose) between layers again and finally clear for our arrival into Champaign (KCMI).


Here is the sunset during hour three.

We stayed with Pat and family for three nights. Saturday we flew to Clayton, NM (KCAO) and stayed in the historic Eklund Hotel.

Sunday morning I knew I would have to re-plan the day because snow was forecast for central New Mexico and Arizona AND the winds over the mountains were going to be 45 knots, which spells turbulence and other hazards. The Eklund’s WIFI wasn’t working,  which made me realize how much I depend on the net these days for everything to do with aviation.

But we found WIFI and re-planned a south route through Truth or Consequences, NM (KTCS). The town is named after an ancient TV quiz show, and is in the Rio Grande Valley in the south part of the state. I consider diverting – the wind is 250/22G28, an almost direct crosswind – but the alternatives are not much better. It is one of the most challenging landings I have done in my career. Fortunately, the runway is long, and I can wait in ground effect and touch down only between gusts when I am aligned properly.


Here we are. Somehow it reminded us of Maui. Not the temperature,  but the wind and the light.

The next leg to Tucson, AZ (KTUS) was, if anything, more challenging than the one we had just flown. Skies were clear all the way, but that wind over the mountain ridges was still blowing. At top of climb (12,000 feet) we ran into the most powerful mountain wave I have ever experienced. It was glass-smooth but to hold altitude at full power the True Airspeed (at full power) came back and back and back. At the bottom of the drag curve (100 knots) I told the controller I couldn’t hold altitude and was providing my own terrain clearance visually. (Normal TAS at cruise is 160 knots).

She gave us a block from 12,000 to 13,000 feet , which made it a lot easier to fly in wave conditions. Even so, if we had been in IMC I would have had to turn back to the Rio Grande Valley.

An hour later my headset went dead. My own fault – I had forgotten to change the batteries I knew were low. We got that sorted out and were beginning to relax. the descent was very pretty over several low mountain ridges. Then we were cleared to land on runway 29R at Tucson. Something was wrong – the rhythm wasn’t right. The landing gear hadn’t come down. I told the tower our problem and set up for an overflight of the runway. The emergency extension drill involves turning a crank 51 turns counter-clockwise, so the highest priority – flying the airplane – gets even more important. I set the power for level flight at 100 knots with the gear down (20 inches MP) and cranked with my right hand (the crank is behind the front seats) while I flew with my left and kept my eyes outside and on the panel.

The gear did come down and we landed, escorted by fire trucks. The beer tasted really good that night.

The next day we rented a car and drove thirteen hours over two days to Palo Alto, reaching our western home and family in time for Christmas.

The airplane has been repaired (new battery and gear motor) and I fly (commercial) back to Tucson on Tuesday to pick it up.

Happy New Year to you all!

The CEGEP Adventure

Hello Classmates,

The class on Tuesday, December 8, was an adventure, just as most flights are.  As usual, we had a  plan.  But it  went awry immediately.

Oh, oh. Airborne and nowhere to go. The careful, reasoned, and frantic looking for possible alternates. The rapidly changing conditions. The unforeseen hazards. It made me feel right at home.

First, our destination airport, Plant 1, went zero-zero in unforecast fog. Then, as traffic and security considerations ripened, our clearance to do an approach was rescinded. We were advised that, even if the weather improved, we could not expect approach clearance in the foreseeable future. Our first idea was Tim Horton’s. And why not? Good landing facilities, parking, tables and food. And they’re everywhere. Shouldn’t be a problem.

So, intrepid, we set out for a nearby Tim’s which was known to have plenty of room. We did our night approach and (not without adventure) arrived at parking, which was, well, full. Then it was determined that all the tables were full as well.

So it was on to plan B. (Or, as one of us said, because we all had separate interesting adventures up to that point, Plan F).

The new plan: fly formation to the CEGEP, a few blocks away. Go to the atrium of the Sports Complex, where tables and chairs were known to exist.

Safely on the ground at last, we found a table. The laptop fortunately has a backup system of power and was quite content to run for the two remaining class hours.

Hey, we did it! The only glitch was that as we sat around the table, I was on one side of the laptop and Étienne was on the other, so when I changed slides I would inadvertently swivel the computer just enough so I could see the slide. And Étienne couldn’t.

Yup, it ain’t a perfect world. But it’s still a lot of fun.

Special thanks to those who were there that night.




PPL Resources

Hello Classmates:  Amanda, Annie, Merryn, Etienne, Imad, Jean, Louis, Patrice, Paul, Raymond, & Eric

Today is our third class, Canadian Air Regulations.  As that can be a bit dry, I will mix it up a bit with some human factors and instrument design.

But my main purpose with this post is to repeat Tarek’s email of Nov 3 containing links to study resources available on the net. Here is is:

I am also sending you the links to reference guides that you will need  (please save the links and print the documents for your records – a French version also exists) and a link to an app that locates approved medical doctors for your medical certificate (item 5). Please note items 2, 3 and 5 are needed before your first solo flight so if you intend to fly try to complete the steps ASAP.


1) Study and Reference Guide for written examinations for the PRIVATE PILOT LICENCE – AEROPLANE (guide regarding your TC theoretical exam)


2) Study and Reference Guide Student Pilot Permit (passing PSTAR exam needed to be issued a student pilot permit and BEFORE your first solo)



3) Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate With Aeronautical Qualification (Radio certificate)$FILE/ric21-upd-oct-2011.pdf\


4) Flight Test Guide Private Pilot Licence Aeroplane (your flight test – practical exam)


5) In order to be eligible to write the TC ground examination, as a prerequisite you have to pass a medical fitness exam by an approved TC doctor. The list of TC approved doctors are available on the following link


For item 3, an instructor/examiner from Radio Canada can come in, give you a one hour condensed course, after which you can do the exam on site and be issued your certificate. We can discuss this if you are interested.


To be eligible to write the Transport Canada theory exam, you must complete the following:

  • full ground course,
  • get a letter of recommendation from your instructor,
  • have a valid medical certificate and
  • have 10 hr of flight experience.

OK, it’s Chris again.  By now you all probably have bookmarked the CARS index page, but here is is again. Et c’est ici en français.

If you want, you can get an overview of flying airplanes from a presentation I gave to kids of various young ages during my cross-Canada trip in September 2014. It is on my other site, and it is called How Does an Airplane Fly?


Hello Classmates,

Today was the last of the Instrument Flying Seminars. It was a pleasure to meet all of you, and to learn from your questions.

I have put the slides from today’s presentation up on the site, and I will gradually add text and links to the videos we saw today.

Please send me an email occasionally as you pass another milestone in your IFR adventure. Let me know if you encountered something unexpected in either the INRAT or the rest of your IFR course. You all are alumni of the first Seminar series. Your feedback will help me improve the presentations for the next time around.

Thanks, and stay in touch,


Update: August 23, 2015

Hello Classmates,

Thank you for sitting through 67 slides and many subjects. Yesterday’s presentation covered more than I would like in three hours. But instrument flying is a big subject and I have to squeeze it into fifteen hours.

The good news is this: yesterday in class I mentioned I was having trouble migrating the website to SSL so we can communicate with it securely. I had managed to lock myself (and you) out of the site. Francois stayed for over an hour after class and diagnosed and fixed it for us. We now have access again. The migration to SSL is still not finished, but at least we can work with the site in the meantime.

Today I put the slides from yesterday’s seminar up on the site, under Instrument Flying Seminars/Procedures.

See you next week.


Barometric Altimetry

Hello Norm, Barrie, Dan, Fulvio, Joseph, Jim, Tony and Francois,

I am working on adding each of our seminars to the site. Take a look at last week’s Airspace (in progress) to see the answer to your questions on GPS Altitude.

Today I added a scan (Altimetry) of Chapter 13 of the RCAF Weather manual. This is so you can study it before August 15.

I strongly recommend you go to VIP Pilot and order the Weather Manual. The AIM and one CAP (Quebec) are also highly recommended. It’s all about passing the INRAT.

See you Saturday,




Welcome! Nice to meet you!


Norm, Barrie, Dan,

Fulvio, Joseph, Jim,

Tony and Francois,

It was a pleasure to meet you all today for the first IFR Seminar: Airspace.

I just did my homework. Michael was right:

COMM FAILURE PROCEDURES are set out in the Canada Flight Supplement, page Emergency F 10 (near the back of the volume).

They can also be found in the AIM at RAC 6.3.2 (page 257 in the current edition).

I welcome your feedback. And as we discussed, if you send me your email I will make you an author on the site so you can post directly. I’ll send you a temporary password which you can change when you want. If you are new to WordPress, password change is here. To post, look at the WordPress Codex here.

See you next week,