My good friend Rod Kellogg invited me to join him on one of the most adventurous, fun, and eye-opening trips I’ve ever been on … A low-level ferry flight in a 1943 Grumman Widgeon from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Victoria, Canada. The trip took us 4 full days, and will be divided into 4 short posts from throughout the trip. Below is a screenshot overview of our entire route.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 6.52.23 PMJust to give you some background, the Grumman G44 Widgeon (N67867) we flew was built in 1943 for the United States Navy as a patrol aircraft. It usually reminds people of a baby Grumman Goose, and there are only a handful of Widgeons still flying today. Somehow, it made its way to Africa during WWII, and in the 1970s a British restoration group found it, brought it back to England, and got it into flying condition. Julian MacQueen (the owner and pilot of the plane) needed the Widgeon to be ferried to his lake house on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

That’s where Rod and I came in. Rod was hired as the ferry pilot for the trip, and Julian said it was totally fine to bring me along – he was really excited for the footage we were about to take of his plane flying across the country. With 5, you heard that right, FIVE GoPro cameras and 2 boxes of camera equipment, we set off on a pretty cool adventure. Over the course of the trip, we took footage from nearly every angle imaginable. Julian told us that we should take a Northern route towards Victoria as opposed to a more direct route… Something most people who hire a ferry pilot wouldn’t do! He generously let us take the plane up to Calgary, Alberta for a VFR mountain corridor trip through the Canadian Rockies to Victoria. Ok, so now that you have some background let’s get started with a video overview…

Florida to Wyoming

We departed from the Innisfree Jet Center in Pensacola, Florida  on the afternoon of July 11th, flying directly to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Flying in the Widgeon is always an interesting experience. It’s an extremely stable aircraft in flight, and surprisingly light on the controls (with a throw-over yoke)… But takeoffs and landings can be pretty challenging. With a long, thick nose, it weathervanes easily in turbulence and crosswinds.

The next day, we flew the Widgeon from Tulsa to Dodge City, Kansas; Boulder, Colorado; and Casper Wyoming. Aleks Udris (my friend and Boldmethod co-partner) met us at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC) for some lunch and a local Widgeon flight.

After having a great time flying around with Aleks, we took off for Casper, Wyoming. At points, flying over the Wyoming highlands, we were only 1,500 feet AGL at an altitude of 11,000 feet MSL. We landed 2 minutes before the Atlantic Aviation FBO closed, so we got pretty lucky with catching a ride into town for the overnight.

Stay tuned for part 2, featuring our international border crossing and landing in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

-Swayne

About The Author

Swayne Martin

I started this website to show you why you'll love becoming a pilot. As an owner and editor of Boldmethod Pilot Training, I've spent years working with pilots all around the world to make their dreams a reality. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

4 Responses

  1. Joe

    Absolutely amazing adventure and footage!!! You’re definitely one lucky guy!!!

    Reply
  2. Fred

    Many thanks for sharing this adventure !
    it’s really easy to read even for a french with a low english level …
    Well done !
    Cheers
    Fred

    Reply

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