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Route One: Flying from Eeastern/Central US
- There is no significant terrain all the way across
Canada from the eastern/central US until the Rocky Mountains begin west of
Fort St. John, at the eastern edge of British Columbia. The highest elevation between the east
coast and Edmonton is 3,500 feet.
Most of that distance is farmland, although beyond Edmonton the
terrain becomes very sparsely populated (virtually no roads or
civilization anywhere in sight).
- Because of the lack of any significant terrain,
regardless of whether flying IFR or VFR, the recommended route for flying
across Canada from the eastern/central US all the way to Fort Nelson,
British Columbia, is to simply file GPS direct from one major city to the
next, as follows: Duluth (KDLH) to
Winnipeg (CYWG); Winnipeg to Regina (CYQR); Regina to Edmonton City Centre
(CYXD); and Edmonton over either Peace River VOR (YPE) or Fort St. John
VOR (YXJ) and then to Fort Nelson (CYYE).
- If flying IFR to western Canada, use the following
Canadian enroute charts: LO 4, LO 2 and LO 1 (1.5MB each, so expect slow download). If flying VFR, use the following
Canadian sectional charts:
Winnipeg, Regina and Edmonton.
- Note: instead
of flying to Winnipeg to check in with Canadian customs, one can fly an
alternate route to Piney Pinecreek Border airport (48Y), which has a 3,300
foot hard surface runway that straddles the Minnesota/Manitoba border and
is almost certain to have no traffic; and from there fly to Regina (CYQR)
or directly to Edmonton. Further
note: don’t fly into Edmonton
International (CYEG) unless you need to check in with Canadian customs: its a big, busy airport that is quite a
distance from the city. Edmonton
City Centre (CYXD), on the other hand, is a big, busy airport that is
located right near downtown.
- Mountainous terrain starts after Fort Nelson, British
Columbia (CYYE), so the recommended IFR route is along the published
airways: fly A2 to Liard River NDB
(ZL), then A2 to Watson Lake VOR (YQH) and, again, A2 to
Whitehorse(CYXY). This route is 395 nm and the
highest MEA is 9,000 feet.
- If flying IFR between Fort Nelson (CYYE) and
Whitehorse (CYXY), use the following Canadian enroute charts: LO 1 and LO 5 (1.5MB each, so expect slow download). If flying VFR, use the following Canadian
sectional charts: Edmonton, Prince
George, Fort Nelson and Whitehorse.
- Significant mountainous terrain exists after
Whitehorse (CYXY), so the recommended IFR route is along the published
airways: fly BR44 to Burwash NDB
(DB), then BR44 to the Northway, Alaska VOR (ORT), then G8 airway to BEFTI
intersection and Gulkana VOR (GKN), then V456 to Big Lake VOR (BGQ) and
Anchorage VOR (ANC). This route is 522 nm and the
highest MEA is 10,000 feet.
- If flying IFR between Whitehorse (CYXY) and Anchorage
(PANC), use the Canadian LO 5 (1.5MB) and
NOAA L-1 enroute charts. If flying
VFR, use the following NOAA sectional charts: Whitehorse and Anchorage.
- If VFR conditions exist, consider flying along fabled
Alaska Highway from Fort St. John (CYXJ) to Whitehorse (CYXY) (described
below as Route Four)
and then into Alaska all the way to Anchorage (PANC) (described below as Route Five). Watch out for low and slow Cessna and
- All of the primary Canadian airport locations noted
on this suggested routing has a suitable paved runway, along with fuel and
food services. If the weather
allows, VFR is the preferable way to fly across Canada because it can be
flown GPS direct, whereas IFR should only be flown if the weather is poor
because it offers none of the services typically associated with the radar
environment in the continental US due to the absence of any radar coverage
in most of Canada and Alaska (except the major cities).
- Listed below are directory information, diagrams and
instrument approach procedures for each of the airports mentioned in Route
One (or, in the case of a navigation aid, the associated airport). This information was obtained from
either AOPA or NavCanada, is copyrighted, has an expiration date of
mid-2004, and is presented for informational purposes only.
Edmonton City Centre (CYXD
Edmonton International (CYEG)
Fort Nelson (CYYE)
Fort St. John (CYXJ)
Peace River (CYPE)
Piney Pinecreek Border (48Y)
Watson Lake (YQH)