Monday, March 17, 2008

Western Geography Tour

When I rebuilt my March flying schedule from trips in open time, I was able to give myself three Vancouver day trips. These are pretty highly sought after because they're so efficient: you fly two legs for 7 hours and 42 minutes of credit, so you can only legally do three a week. The show time is at 8:30am and you're back around 5:30pm, making it about the closest thing to a 9 to 5 job there is in airline flying. Of course, I like the trip because it gets me back to my old stomping ground and - weather permitting - affords great scenery viewing. The first two daytrips I did were marred by widespread cloudiness but the third had good scenery viewing weather. I took most of the following pictures on the return leg from Vancouver to Minneapolis.

I don't have time to write captions right now so I'm gonna turn this into a competition instead. Fire up Google Earth and figure out the location of each shot. The person that posts the most correct answers in the comments section wins. Hint: shortly after takeoff we were given direct routing to Fargo, then the Gopher One arrival into Minneapolis. And I sit on the right side of the airplane. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Nice shots Sam, you can almost see the golf course I play at which is just North of Point Roberts in your 3rd shot there.

milski said...

Great pictures, Sam. That was plenty of work with Google Earth, at least I was fairly familiar with the first part of the route. Let's see how close I'll be:

Pic 1: Vancouver ramp

Pic 2: That's Port Coquitlam, Pit Meadows, Maple Ridge, etc. You can see Pitt Lake and Alouette Lake behind the mountains.

Pic 3: Point Roberts (out of sequence? :))

Pic 4: That's on the way to Vancouver, the island to the left is Orcas Island with Mt. Constitution. My first night XCountry was to the airport on the island, and it was a good thing I had an instructor with me - I would was happily headed towards Canada. :)

Pic 5: The San Juans again, this time on the way back. Looks like you're somewhere over Belligham. I went there for my first solo cross country. :)

Pic 6: Must be Mt. Baker. I have not seen it often enough but it seem to be in the right place. I've done Bellingham-Chelan in a C182 and even though the weather was really nice it was far from comfortable being over all these in a single. There's no radar coverage down at 13,500 so it was just me listening to that engine still working... still working... still working...

Pic 7: Cascades, again. I think I can see the valey where lake Chelan is in the right part of the picture but things are very much alike around there.

Pic 8: That must be Lake Chelan itself.

Pic 9: Columbia?

Pic 10: Grand Coulee Dam. I've been on the dam itself, I've been inside, where the turbines are but I've never seen it from the air.

Pic 11: Lake Pend Oreille - I had to look up the name of this one but I've been to Sandpoint a couple of times before.

Pic 12: ??

Pic 13: I would go with Flathead lake next to Kalispell. I'm not too sure about it but it sort of matches the order and the shape, at least to some extent.

Pic 14: At the east end of the Cascades, north of Great Falls.

Pic 15: Fort Peck Lake with York Island. I've been that far East only once, on a PAE-BIL-ANE trip. Things definetly look very similar to each other East of the mountains but that's distinctive enough.

Pic 16: Google Earth shows that area as Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Pic 17: Found it on Google Earth but it has no idea what that place is. Roughly 47.56 N 103 W - I can see a farm there but that's it.

Pic 18: That's I-94 crossing 101st Ave SE, nearby Sanborn. That one took me a while. It's interesting how most of the landmarks that you one see from the altitudes that you're flying at are fairly big - the water area that the highway crosses turned out to be much larger than I expected.

Pic 19: I sort of found it, but the diagonal road does not fit. I'll still go with Buffalo, ND.

Pic 20: A river South of Mapleton, ND. Looks like it's Maple River.

Pic 21: North of Fergus Falls? I cannot pinpoint the lakes in the picture but it seem about right for your route.

Anonymous said...

Ha! That is ironic, I just downloaded google earth like 10 minutes before I read this!

Tim Perkins said...

To narrow down the first picture, it's made from gate 81, I think, with the wonderful Fairmont Vancouver Airport in the background.

GC said...

Like the first one. Rare perspective. I'll have to try and imitate that one this week with my new little toy camera.


Tom said...

I definitely recognize Point Roberts, WA as the third picture, without even having to look at google earth or any map. That is quite a famous landmark, being one of only a few regions geographically separated from the rest of its native state by Canada (the other major region being Angle Township in Minnesota). You can actually see the dividing line between Point Roberts and the Canadian province of British Columbia in that picture; hard to believe it is an international boundary.

Joel P said...

OK here goes!
1. At the gate in Vancouver
2. The mountains to the northwest of Vancouver, viewed from about 17-18 miles west of YVR. Towns of Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows in the foreground.
3. Port Roberts, Washington (Very cool! I’ve never seen anything like it.)
4. The large island in the foreground on the left is Orcas Island. Just below that is Barnes Island and Clark Island (the slightly larger one). On the right side in the foreground are Matia Island and the Sucia Islands above that. All of these are in Washington, though I think the mountains in the distance are in Canada.
5. The islands in the foreground in the picture are about 10 miles east of the Sucia Islands of picture 4. Actually, Barnes Island and Clark Island, as well as Matia Island are visible here as well. The Island above the peninsula in the bottom of the photo is Lummi Island, with Portage Island to the left of the peninsula and below Lummi Island. Also, I think you can just make out the mountains in Olympic National Park in the distance.
6. I think this is Mt. Baker, looking east.
7. The mountains east of Mt. Baker?
8. My best guess is Ross Lake.
9. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, looking south.
10. Grand Coulee Dam.
11. Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho.
12. Tough to say, but based on the pictures before and after this one, I’d say that it’s the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana.
13. Whitefish Lake, north of Kalispell, Montana.
14. Ok I think you’re at the south edge of Glacier National Park, looking south as you leave the mountains.
15. Fort Peck Lake in northeast Montana.
16. I actually didn’t find this one until I had found 17. It’s a stretch of the Little Missouri River about 20 miles west of picture 17. Located at about 47⁰32’N 103⁰27’W
17. Wow. This one took a long time to find. I still don’t know what to call it, but it’s at about 47⁰34’N 103⁰2’W. The key to finding it was seeing the little bit of river in the bottom right corner that turned out to be the Little Missouri River.
18. The highway at the top is I-94, about halfway between Valley City and Jamestown in eastern North Dakota.
19. This is a tough one. I can’t find a place on Google Earth that I’m confident is right, so I’ll just guess that it’s farmland south of I-94, somewhere between picture 18 and Fargo.
20. This is the Red River about 20 miles south of Fargo, looking south. The town of Wolverton, MN is visible in the top left of the picture.
21. At this point you’re flying the arrival and passing some lakes about 65 miles southeast of Fargo. Starting at the bottom, the following lakes are visible: North Turtle Lake, South Turtle Lake, Stalker Lake, Long Lake, and Eagle Lake in the top left.

That was cool! I actually learned a lot figuring all that out. Of course, it was at the expense of homework that I should have been doing….


zb said...

Sucia island is soooo cool and it does look nice when framed by the bars around an airplane window. These pictures are awesome. Brings back memories of time spent in Puget Sound last September. Thanks for the tour!

Brandon said...

sam, would you be able to give us a systems overview of your plane with pictures?

Thanks sam!

amulbunny said...

I am geography savvy but not at the moment due to meds....but I have to tell you isn't it cool what you can see from the sky? I used to wonder on sunny days from my seat at the window what were people doing at the moment that my flight passed over them, did they pause like I do at home and look up or did they just ignore the sound and go about their work?
Thanks for the great pictures. How about some from MSP for those west coasters who've never seen it in it's glory?


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam! Great blog, thanks so much for your insight. I've searched your previous posts to learn more about how pilots are paid. I'm still a little confused! Is there a reference on pilot you could recommend?

antimatter33 said...

It's funny how much you change as you age. There was a time when I would have oohed and aahed at the view from the window of a cornfield in Iowa, but all this now seems boring as hell, and about like playing with Google Earth. And from a passenger's perspective, flying is nothing but self-inflicted torture and bureaucratic stupidity. I wonder what happened? How did flying go from being magic to tedious? Maybe I am just over the modern world. Flying once represented freedom and splendid isolation - now it's just another temming crowd.