Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vancouver Gets Even Better With Age


After a quick fuel stop in Fargo, we were were half-way done with the long coast-to-coast flight from Philadelphia to Vancouver, Canada.

Have you been to Vancouver? You should go. It’s lovely.

Fargo…not so much. At least, not in the middle of the winter like this!


When I trained in Grand Forks just north of Fargo (yes, there is something north of Fargo), the airplane ramp was covered with packed ice like this for about five months. Except you couldn’t see cement…just ice, It was awful. And slick. Awfully slick, actually.


So we were out of there as soon as the fuel truck was done pumping and the fuel bill was paid.

That’s a very important step, everyone. Don’t forget to pay for gas!

You can see that a few of those sneaky clouds were still hanging out around the airport when we departed.


And this was a shot towards the north, where my beloved Grand Forks lives just seventy miles away.

It really was a great place to attend school. But I don’t know how I lasted four winters (three for my bachelors, and another as a flight instructor for the school)!

I would love to go back to visit for a few days. Being able to take some pictures of all the places that I held dear to my heart would be wonderful. Allegiant Airlines actually flies direct there from Phoenix, so maybe I can sneak away for a cheap, quick weekend this summer?

Not in the winter time, thank you!


Anyway, there weren’t a whole lot of photo opportunities until we got much closer to Vancouver. Just lots of flat fields covered in snow. Four-letter word, everyone. Snow = yuck.

Here are some Rocky Mountains as we get a little closer to the west coast!


Don’t worry…the weather wasn’t bad at all. For some reason, though, XM Weather thought that it should paint some ugly stuff like this magenta and red. Those colors are bad news! Luckily, it was just a fake warning today.

But it’s pretty, huh? If those colors didn’t mean certain death in a real weather situation, then I would think that they looked kind of nice!

I’m so dramatic…


We got a little bit of icing in our descent today, but not much. These clouds look all nice and inviting…until you realize that you’re in Canada in February, and you will get icing in them.


But once we broke out of the clouds, this was the view that greeted me.

Oh, Vancouver. How I love thee.


That’s Whistler Mountain in the background, where the Winter Olympics were held a few years ago. And, if you can read measurements in meters, you can check out how much snow is at the ski resort right now!


This picture of the actual airport is not the best. Once again, I’m going to blame the windshield heat for the fuzz.

Can you believe how close the runways are to the ocean? Don’t land long!


You can see downtown Vancouver, and the Harbor where I spent a few nights on a yacht in the marina with family. That was a fun trip, too.

What do you think those fields are growing down below? With my luck, they are some sort of water treatment sewage plant. But I think they’re pretty anyway!


And now I know why IKEA has such a giant sign on their buildings. They are advertising their location even to airline passengers.


Just to the left of downtown, you can see the green grass of Stanley Park. I’ve been there, too. Though it was years ago and still pretty chilly in April, too.


We were on the ground and taxiing back to the FBO before long. We had a few friends who landed behind us, so we followed them to the ramp.

It’s kind of an expensive version of follow the leader.


Hi, Vancouver Tower! You were so nice to us. Thanks! Roger.


Vancouver is a massive airport…the second-busiest in the country (I made that up, but I bet I’m right…this place is busiest right behind Toronto).

This is one of the five FBOs on the field! We tried a new place today…Million Air. We’ve never tried them at this airport but have used Million Air many times in the States. And they are awesome. So why not give them a try in Canada?


With my old job, we used this Esso Avitat. We tried very hard to keep old memories at bay by going to a completely different FBO!


And here we are! We are going to park next to that pretty Learjet. Can you see our bright-green-jacket line guy waiting to marshal us in?

When we called Customer Service, they said to look for the green pyramid. Now I understand what she was saying!


Please put this in my stocking this year, Santa. I love it.

I’ve never seen this dark mint green color on an airplane before, but it was oh-so cool. I guess this Learjet was owned by the guy who owns this Million Air.

It appears that he is doing well, and I’m happy for him!

Those big white things on the wings? Where Gladys has pretty winglets? Those are giant fuel tanks! This is an oooooooolllllllddddd Learjet! That guzzles so much fuel that they had to add giant wing tip tanks in addition to what is stored in the wings and fuselage!


This is not an old Learjet.


Have I mentioned how lovely the folks were at Million Air? Our first order of business was to borrow a crew car to grab some lunch. It was a seven-hour flight day with a fuel stop, and lunch sounded just perfect to me!


The FBO lobby was pretty cool, too. Someday, I would love to have a spiral staircase. Even if it just goes up to my tree fort above. That would be fine with me.


Can you see the copper fireplace in the distance? The fire was warm and wonderful after being outside in the cold. Thankfully, Vancouver is a bearable cold. It doesn’t get extremely miserable here like other parts of our northern cousin.

Ever been to Winnipeg?


And this is what the green pyramid looked like from inside.

But enough of this lobby sightseeing…let’s go eat some lunch!

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