US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

This forum has been developed to discuss aviation related topics.

Moderators: ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, lilfssister, North Shore, I WAS Birddog

Post Reply
Message
Author
larry5b6
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:26 pm

US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#1 Post by larry5b6 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:45 pm

Hello, all,

I'm a US pilot planning my first trip to Nova Scotia, primarily to cycle the Cabot Trail. We're planning to clear customs in Yarmouth (CYQI), and then head to Margaree (CCZ4). I'm curious about the airspace between the two. Some questions:

1 - How is the radar coverage in the area? If I go VFR, should I expect to be able to get flight following?
2 - Are VFR transitions through the Halifax Class B generally approved? I'm thinking either 7500 or 9500 feet. Going around wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd just a soon make a plan and stick with it.
3 - Would I be better off filing IFR? Will the routing be reasonable? Since there's no approach at CCZ4, I don't know that this would offer much of an advantage.
4 - Not really an aviation question, but does anyone know if there's cell phone service at the Margaree airport? It would be nice to be able to pick up or activate a flight plan and call arrival customs in the US for the trip home, etc.

Thanks in advance,

lr
5B6, Cape Cod, USA
---------- ADS -----------
  

JZA Dxer
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:15 am

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#2 Post by JZA Dxer » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:54 pm

1 - How is the radar coverage in the area? If I go VFR, should I expect to be able to get flight following?

Should have full coverage as the enroute portion is covered by Moncton center except landing in Margaree when the hills around the airport would effect coverage

2 - Are VFR transitions through the Halifax Class B generally approved? I'm thinking either 7500 or 9500 feet. Going around wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd just a soon make a plan and stick with it.

This should not be an issue either as the terminal airspace around YHZ is generally not busy.

3 - Would I be better off filing IFR? Will the routing be reasonable? Since there's no approach at CCZ4, I don't know that this would offer much of an advantage.

I don't see any advantage to filing IFR if you are happy with VFR.

4 - Not really an aviation question, but does anyone know if there's cell phone service at the Margaree airport? It would be nice to be able to pick up or activate a flight plan and call arrival customs in the US for the trip home, etc.

That I don't know but it could be spotty coverage.

Enjoy the flight and the Cape Breton Highlands are beautiful in VFR conditions
---------- ADS -----------
  

Cessna 180
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:28 pm
Location: YKF

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#3 Post by Cessna 180 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:41 pm

1 - How is the radar coverage in the area? If I go VFR, should I expect to be able to get flight following?

I don't see there being any issue at those altitudes. Likely you'd get flight following otherwise the enroute traffic frequency to make position reports is 126.7.

2 - Are VFR transitions through the Halifax Class B generally approved? I'm thinking either 7500 or 9500 feet. Going around wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd just a soon make a plan and stick with it.

You'll likely be cleared through the Halifax Class D, keep in mind Class D rules in Canada area identical to the US, so you'l only need radio contact to enter, not a clearance. Expect possible vectoring if they need to for traffic.

3 - Would I be better off filing IFR? Will the routing be reasonable? Since there's no approach at CCZ4, I don't know that this would offer much of an advantage.

If you decide to file base on weather or just because you'd like to, expect to be cleared direct, or with only 1 or two waypoints in between. If you're not cleared direct, I'm sure you could ask center and you'll get cleared direct. Filing IFR can be the easiest way for crossing the border both ways as tower/radio will close your flight plan for you and you never have to worry about not being in radio contact/without a squawk code.

Remember VFR flight plans are mandatory in Canada for distances greater than 25nm from the departure airport. Flight plans (VFR and IFR) can be filed by calling 1-866-WX-BRIEF, or by using Foreflight. Canadian weather products are avaliable in Foreflight or here https://flightplanning.navcanada.ca/cgi ... NS_Inconnu.

4 - Not really an aviation question, but does anyone know if there's cell phone service at the Margaree airport? It would be nice to be able to pick up or activate a flight plan and call arrival customs in the US for the trip home, etc.

Most likely yes, but that I can't answer for sure. You can generally roam on any of the big three networks, Telus, Bell, and Rogers. Telus generally has the best rural coverage.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
JasonE
Rank 6
Rank 6
Posts: 495
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:26 pm

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#4 Post by JasonE » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:28 pm

Cape Breton is an amazing flight. I did it last summer!

Charlottetown is a nice stop over too. Great group of GA guys there, park on Apron II and go through the club house for free parking. Just be prepared to play 20 questions with FSS for any local flight out of CYYG. The pretty much ask you everything for a flight plan even if your just going around the patch. There are no services at CCZ4, so don't expect anything other than a tree to pee on. CYPD is decent too.

Looks like your questions have been answered, have a good flight!
---------- ADS -----------
  
"Carelessness and overconfidence are more dangerous than deliberately accepted risk." -Wilbur Wright

young grasshopper
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:47 am

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#5 Post by young grasshopper » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:51 pm

My family lives in Margaree. The summers I’ve spent there yielded spotty cell coverage at best (their house is about a three minute drive from the airport). Dave at the Port Hawksbury FBO would be able to hook you up (and it’s about an hour and a half to Margaree from there by road). PM with any questions...I haven’t flown in the area but could help out with contacts if you need a hand!


JB
---------- ADS -----------
  
YG

Teeg
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:33 pm

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#6 Post by Teeg » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:32 am

Definitely give Dave @ https://www.celticairservices.com/ a call. He's from Margaree.

Re: the Cabot trail... a great ride, but its going to be super busy this time of year... and if you've got time, continue from Cheticamp all the way down the West coast (Port Hood) and maybe continue to back to CYPD. Of course if you've got the time.

Good Luck.
---------- ADS -----------
  

kevenv
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:19 am

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#7 Post by kevenv » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:17 am

larry5b6 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:45 pm
1 - How is the radar coverage in the area? If I go VFR, should I expect to be able to get flight following?
If we aren't busy you will get flight following. Radar coverage isn't an issue as there are radars at Digby, Halifax and Sydney. The issue is frequency coverage. Flying at 7500 or 9500 feet makes that a non issue. Edited to add: if for whatever reason you cannot get flight following off of YQI, when you are about 40NM from YHZ. call Halifax Terminal on 118.7.
larry5b6 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:45 pm
2 - Are VFR transitions through the Halifax Class B generally approved? I'm thinking either 7500 or 9500 feet. Going around wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd just a soon make a plan and stick with it.
Halifax terminal airspace is class D up to 12500 not B. You will always be allowed to fly through. You may be moved a bit depending on which runways are in use and what traffic is arriving/departing, but nothing drastic.
larry5b6 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:45 pm
3 - Would I be better off filing IFR? Will the routing be reasonable? Since there's no approach at CCZ4, I don't know that this would offer much of an advantage.
Doesn't matter to us. If you prefer to file VFR, go VFR. If you want to go IFR, file IFR. Whatever routing you want will work, either direct YHZ direct or YQI direct.
larry5b6 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:45 pm
4 - Not really an aviation question, but does anyone know if there's cell phone service at the Margaree airport? It would be nice to be able to pick up or activate a flight plan and call arrival customs in the US for the trip home, etc.
Can't help you here.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Kejidog
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:55 pm

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#8 Post by Kejidog » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:47 am

Nice Choice of vacation. I believe that your questions were answered pretty well in the above posts. One thing I may add is that CYPD is probably your best option for basing out of. It is a great airport with a new classy FBO friendly staff and great service. They will provide rental cars drives etc.

Margaree has nothing in the way of services and I am not sure what goes on there lately. I was over it on Saturday June 16 and it looked like some sort of party and car races there. I over flew at 3500 and they had something parked on the taxiway. I never landed as I was unsure as to what was going on. It is very remote and not at all secure to park a plane.
---------- ADS -----------
  

DadoBlade
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#9 Post by DadoBlade » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:53 pm

VFR? Remember it is mandatory to file a flight plan with FAA FSS prior to crossing the U.S./Canada border. Remember to OPEN your flight plan with FSS, NOT Tower. A common fault, and frequently overlooked. Also remember to CLOSE your flight plan with a NAVCANADA FSS upon arrival, to avoid unnecessary search action.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
HiFlyChick
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:27 am

Re: US pilot - first time to Nova Scotia

#10 Post by HiFlyChick » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:19 pm

Kejidog wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:47 am
...Margaree has nothing in the way of services and I am not sure what goes on there lately. I was over it on Saturday June 16 and it looked like some sort of party and car races there. I over flew at 3500 and they had something parked on the taxiway. I never landed as I was unsure as to what was going on. It is very remote and not at all secure to park a plane.
Margaree has less than nothing in the way of services - no bathroom, a few falling down hangars, and people who treat it like it's just a field with pavement in it that has nothing to do with airplanes....

I haven't been in to Margaree for a few years, but the last time I was in, there were a bunch of people picking blueberries beside the runway, and as we got closer we could see that one woman who didn't feel like walking across the runway had instead parked her (grey i.e. runway coloured) car on runway! We overshot and circled back, watching for her to move her car, which she initially didn't, but eventually she got the hint and moved it. After we landed I went and had a talk to her and asked why when we buzzed right over her head she didn't immediately run to move her car. She said that airplanes buzzed the runway from time to time and didn't land so she figured we were doing the same. I managed not to yell at her when I explained that of course they didn't land if a CAR WAS PARKED ON THE RUNWAY!!!! Absolutely stunned....

As for cell coverage, I couldn't get any at the airport, nor for many many miles towards the golf course resort (I forget the name, is that in Cheticamp?) It took me long enough to get into cell coverage that I was actually starting to worry about how long it had been and whether ATC was sending out the troops. In retrospect (and had I known about the cell coverage), I should've asked for a longer SAR time to give me time to drive to where I could close the flight plan.

This was a number of years ago, though, so coverage may have improved since then
---------- ADS -----------
  

Post Reply

Return to “General Comments”