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Thread: Advice wanted about exploring Nunavut and the N.W.T. in a PA12

  1. #1

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    Advice wanted about exploring Nunavut and the N.W.T. in a PA12

    Iím looking for advice on the wisdom of exploring Nunavut and the N.W.T.s this Summer in the experimental PA12 we just finished building. A good place to start is: Can I fly an American registered experimental aircraft in Canada? Do I need a full medical, pilot and airplane logs, Passport, special avionics, etc., etc. Can I land and camp out anywhere I feel like it?

    My 17 year old daughter is going on a 45 day wilderness exposition through a Y.M.C.A. sponsored program around Baker Lake in Nunavut between June 20 and August 14. Naturally I thought if my plane doesnít sell by then I could take it up for some exploration and excitement on my own.

    Does anyone here have firsthand experience GA flying in the wilderness that far North? I have aviation sectionals for the areas Iím likely to visit, but thereís lots of local knowledge I should learn before and as I plan my way.

    At this point I donít even know if it would be better to be on floats, wheels, or wheelskis. Also, are any of you interested in coming along?

    Tales of your experiences and lessons learned will be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Paul Heinrich

  2. #2

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    My advice is go for it!! The only hard part might be coming back to the US. We have a member in that area that will likely add great info. I would love to be in the party but summer is filling fast. Keep us posted on events. As of now I think you do need a 3rd class medical.
    DENNY

  3. #3
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    I was there years ago but that was in a Navajo out of Barrow. People seemed friendly is all I have.

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    Yes you need a passport. I just flew Montana to Alaska in October. The hard part is eAPIS and associated paper work. But not really hard just a little frustrating. In my limited experience Canada is very aviation friendly. Get international for your cell phone. ATT&T notified me by text.... easy, but you have to respond or itís a 3 way phone call headache. Call your credit card company and let them know that you will be using swipe gas and go readers as well as chip readers. The chip thing was the only real hickup and my wife got it solved quickly. I borrowed an inreach and am sold on that gizmo.... peace of mind for my bride. Notify Canada prior to entry and USA prior to entry and thats it. Donít need to notify departing from either country. Have fun and allow for weather. I was on tight schedule and it made for some long days and interesting moments. Check insurance requirements although nobody looked at any of my paperwork in Canada. Entered on a Sunday and the whole entry was handled by phone. US wanted to see pilots license and aircraft info. Pretty easy but it was zero and we were standing outside. Have fun!
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  5. #5
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Flight plan where you think you might land. Then call those out of the way places as finding 100LL may be an issue in remote locations!

  6. #6
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    The entire northern section of Canada is very remote. Make certain that you are able to carry more fuel than you think you need for each flight. It is possible for unexpected head winds to suck up most of your fuel supply. It then becomes very uncomfortable when you know that even though you may be able to land safely, there will not be a gas station nearby. It is no fun squirming on your rear end with the fuel gauges on E for an extended period of time. Been there done that and I had extra tanks!
    N1PA

  7. #7

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    I would recommend that your PA-12 be equipped with floats if you're planning on flying around mainland Nunavut in the summer. Though Ingo (Corvus Migrans) was able to land in many spots with big bushwheels, I would personally leave that kind of flying to people with his level of expertise. There's lots of water in Nunavut and great fishing. And yes, you can camp almost anywhere. Three quarters of Nunavut is "Crown Land", a quarter is Inuit-Owned Land (restricted camping, but who's to know).

    Of course, being on floats will make getting fuel a bit more of a bother.

    And as to fuel - yes, this can be a big problem. I'm guessing that at least half of communities have no 100LL at all. A mogas STC is the way to go; all communities have Mogas that starts its life as 91-octane but degrades somewhat with storage over the previous winter. The Co-Op stores are retailers of fuel in Nunavut. When you call to enquire about availability make sure they are familiar with the term "avGAS" so you don't end up with Jet A in your tanks. Bring cash in case the Co-Op resists your credit card (most do, for fuel purchases at least).

    Unless you are heading north of about 70N (ADIZ), you can simply file a Flight Notification with a "responsible person". Then you can open, close or amend your Flight Note by InReach. A Flight PLAN can only be closed or filed by 'phone.

    Allow plenty of time - weather reporting stations are widely scattered and conditions can be very different from the forecast in between those stations.

    Bring good survival gear and plenty of bug dope. A shotgun for bear protection would be a good idea (no handguns!). Groceries are available in every community. Hotels too if you're tired of camping or in need of a shower, though rooms are in short supply during the summer months.

    We can fly experimental in the US and vice-versa, but I believe there is some minor paperwork to fill out. Sport pilots and those with self-declared medical are out of luck.

    Cell 'phones only work within about ten miles of communities up here. And not all providers will have access to the network either. If you think you'll need voice comms, a sat 'phone (Iridium) is the answer. Probably wise to have one anyway as a back up to the essential InReach.

    If you park your airplane at an airport in Nunavut or camp within walking distance of a community don't leave anything valuable inside your 'plane or tent. We have a good supply of light-fingered youngsters up here.

    PM me if you need something more specific.

    Larry
    Kugluktuk, NU
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 02-13-2020 at 10:59 AM.
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  8. #8
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Larry--great advice.

    Yes, there is a form needed for U.S. experimental aircraft to fly in Canada (link: https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/...dia/tcauth.pdf ) but I have never been asked to show this ever in many trips North.
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  9. #9
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Bugdope, (spray can so you can spray your clothing (and hat) to keep them away

    extra fuel

    Octane boost in case all you can get is low grade fuel

    Filter funnel to be sure you get clean fuel in your tanks

    Great camping gear and some books so sitting still is no big deal and you stay warm and dry while waiting, and waiting, and waiting
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Larry maybe you can elaborate re: bugs. I've read there's more than mosquitoes to deal with in Canada. If so what's the best repellant?

    Gary

  11. #11

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    Mosquitoes on the tundra (most of Nunavut), both mosquitoes and blackflies in the few areas where there are trees. Mossies can be fierce and are relentless. Blackflies are likely to appear toward the end of summer and can survive early frosts. Mosquitoes are more fragile but will get you by sheer force of numbers.
    Anything with DEET will work fine. Duct tape wrists and pant cuffs to keep the blackflies out. Take a headnet and/or one of those bug jackets. As pointed out earlier, spray is more useful than liquid. Spray also makes a great fire starter!
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  12. #12
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Alaska is relatively free of black flies in my experience. Besides more than a few mosquitoes there's some small gnats or no-see-ums in the Fall but your flies remain loyal to the Queen.

    Gary

  13. #13

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    Paul,

    I have done Minneapolis to the Arctic circle north of Baker Lake in a PA-12 but I was on straight floats and with a Super cub. It was 39 hours of flying in 9 days. Trip of a life time like others have said I wouldn’t do it on wheels especially if it is just you. PM me if you want more details of my trip.

    Joe

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