John & Anne Wiley

2012/08/07

Alberta Joy

I’ve written much about the joy of flying, including the joy of flying to Alberta to visit my daughter and her young family. Today we hope to add Joy to our joy of such a flight. Our friend Joy is joining us on an adventure flying from SB to Edmonton, AB (Canada, y’no). As with all our big flying adventures, this one is improvisational. Due to vagaries of weather and our own whims, we often don’t know where we’ll be landing or even our exact route. This trip adds the variable of smoke.

Smoke & Fires

Smoke & Fires

As you’ve probably deduced, this is a map of smoke and fires right now. Since the smoke depicted is usually quite thick, we avoid flying in those areas for extra safety and also for the joy of flying in clear air. Planning an approximate route for a flight, I mentally overlay the smoke with the other main factor.

Noon Clouds

Noon Clouds

So while we’d like to fly along the coast to avoid the smoke and hotter weather inland, clouds will complicate that. The circles and colored dots represent airports, and as you might guess we avoid the ones with color (though sometimes blue’s ok). Since our primary goal is the joy of flying, we want to look at things. Clouds or smoke detract from that. So if we do start off today, you can bet I’ll be checking on both factors often at every stop along the way. Another big factor is wind, but usually it’s not a deal breaker the way smoke and clouds are. The end result is we might be flying relatively fast to stay ahead of clouds and smoke as they change, or slow with many and long stops to wait for clouds and smoke to dissipate.

As the trip unfolds, we’ll also be adding scenic detours. High on that list is another tour of Banff and Jasper, to refresh memories like this from the NxNW adventure:

0544 Mt Robson

0544 Mt Robson

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