You may contact me by e-mail at:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Early Morning Flight

Tuesday morning June 26th, was a normal day at Stony Rapids. Both the Turbo Otter and the Twin Otter were making flights to Selwyn Lake Lodge for Guest changes departing at 7:00AM. On route to Selwyn I spotted some smoke just East of track, so I called it into dispatch to pass on to the local fire center.
At 9:15AM, while completing my paper work, I was told there was someone to see me outside. I stepped outside and it was the local MNR officer, which I thought was to talk about the fire I had spotted. It was not!!!! He asked if I was Wayne and we needed to talk privately. We stepped away from the office area and he introduced himself and told me that I was flying him tomorrow morning (Wednesday). I said great, as I was not yet aware of that flight because normally I received next days flights at 8:00PM from dispatch.
"We need to conduct a Search Warrant tomorrow morning" is what he told me, and "we only have a small window in which to do it". I said no problem, when do we need to leave. "We need to be 108 miles from here at 6:00AM, and how long will it take to get there". I told him 1 hour. He said "great, lets be off the water at 5:00AM".
He also told me there would be 8 officers from the MNR and one RCMP.
So, I continue my days flying and planning for the morning. My routine is wake two hours before flight time, which will mean 3:00AM. Also not knowing if additional flying at the destination would be necessary or not I would take extra fuel.
The officer did warn me that the reason to get there early was to surprise the occupants in order to prevent confrontation, but should they hear us, be prepared for a quick departure
So, in my mind I am creating a mental picture of how this will work out, the GOOD, BAD and UGLY.
Wednesday morning I woke at 3:00AM, made some breakfast and walked down to the float base. I arrived at 3:45 to prepare my aircraft. Two dockhands arrived shortly after to assist with fuelling and preparation. The officers arrived at 4:45AM and we were ready to go at 5:00AM.
This time of year twilight sunset is around midnite and daybreak is 2:30AM, in an emergency one could fly all night.
It turned out to be a beautiful still morning and on route we discussed what was expected of me to ensure a quiet arrival. Also, for me, never having seen this place I was not familiar with the shoreline for good access. Also with a turbo Otter the words "quiet arrival" are not in the dictionary.
I will not mention the facility we went to (since this may well become a court case in the future) but it was a American Plan Lodge which had been established many years ago. I suggested to fly over at 4000 ft take a good look below and plan to get to shore as close as possible. And this is what I did. It also turn out to be a glassy water morning, mirror image and vary hard to judge elevation. I also believed that at 4000ft should the aircraft be heard it would probably be expecting to be flying to another destination as opposed to land at the camp. As I flew over and saw the site for the first time and I noticed what looked like a nice sand beach just west of the lodge which would have a rock outcrop approximately 30ft high, a perfect shelter.
I flew over and made a long turn to the North and in a few minutes turned South and started my decent from 4000 to land just North of the camp. I was still concerned about the engine noise, as you start to place the power setting into reverse the entire community knows your in town. I set up for a glassy water landing, touched down approximately 300 yds from the site and lined up for my beach.
MY BEACH ended up being all rock, so my initial plan had already dissolved, but we had very little options at this point. So, I pointed the aircraft in that direction and pull the power and feathered the prop 30 yds from shore. The engine and prop noise was limited and the prop stopped very quickly.
The next surprise was when the aircraft stopped it was 30 feet from shore in 2 feet of water, stuck on a few rocks. How will I explain this to the officers!!!!!!!. I did not have too. They were in the water and on shore in seconds, lined up and started the approach to the Lodge.
All I could do was wait. Then I heard the officers making their presense known to the occupants.
Everything had been a success, just as they had planned. After 4 hours it was decided I would fly out 4 officers, 2 guests and 2 workers and then return for the last officers later.
I will not go into the reason for the search warrant, but at the end of the day everyone was safe, work was completed and I had something to write about.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I came across this video today. We made this back in 2004. Neil Penny who now flies for the RCMP in BC was flying MGD (Native registration was Miller Genuine Draft) and I was flying SAE a Cessna 180. The taping was done by Jason Berger who now works for Cabela's Head Office. The music was added by my son Emmet.


Saturday, June 23, 2012


This morning I flew into a lake 30 miles North of Stony Rapids called DODGE Lake. I took in 4 geologists and gear and followed with a second load of freight. The small white dot in the picture above was the first indication I was getting near.

Although a little blurry, this was a photo of camp. They expect to be in camp a few more weeks.
I will keep you posted on any more flights into Dodge Lake.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Yesterday I flew some engineers of Sask Power to Tazin Lake. Back in the late 1930's some mining companys requiring additional power for the mines came up with a very creative way of gaining water for the generating stations they had built. Tazin Lake with a very large flowage into the Territories and a diversion built at the east end. See Below. A tunnel nearly 1 kilometer long with a 10 meter drop was cut through the rock heading South to another lake which would join the Wellington Generating Station.
The picture below shows the structure on Tazin Lake with Gates to control flowage. No knowing the exact numbers, but the tunnel was approximately 16 ft deep and 10-12 ft wide.

Below is the Otter tied to an old dock at the tunnel site.

After the completion of the tunnel the flowage going northbound was reduced by placing a weir to raise the water levels and getting to flowage to increase through the tunnel. This site will see an upgrade of the weir with a new construction being completed in 2013. There is certainly alot of history here.
Amazing the creativity and hard work with the resources of the 1930's.

Old Times

My first day at Stony Rapids and before I have even flown my aircraft I saw a standard Otter fly in and dock at our facility. At first I did not recognize the aircraft, and after seeing the registration I realized I had seen it many times before. In the mid 80's I was guiding for Dogskin Lake Lodge which at the time was owned by Tall Timber Lodge out of Lac du Bonnet, MB. C-FPEM at the time was flown by Dale Penner. Tall Timber sold Dogskin in 1993 and sold the Otter to Athabasca Lake Lodge in 1994. When Athabasca Lake Lodge purchased the otter it still had the original Hudson Bay Mining colors and they were the original owners of the aircraft.
If you would ever like to see an interesting painting, you can see one of this Otter at the Cabela's Store in Grandforks, ND.

The interior was total redone in 1993 at Tall Timber Lodge at Lac du Bonnet. The side walls and ceiling had polished aluminum. It is still just as it was in 1993. Great aircraft in very nice condition.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Well! Back up and running again! Made a move to Stony Rapids Saskatchewan and flying the Otter for Transwest Air. C-FSGD has the turbo conversion from the original P&W 1340.
After only the first few days I can say the turbo otter is a great performer on the water and in the air. Still some getting used to since my last few years have been in the Caravan, but so far one of the most enjoyable aircraft to fly.