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Here's a few other things you might want to think about if you're planning a trip to Nunavut in a small plane, or making the flight across to Greenland and Europe.


Though your airplane is equipped with an ELT, you might want to consider a couple of other items to increase your personal safety while on a flight north.  Remember that while Canada has an excellent Search and Rescue system, bases for Search aircraft are in southern Canada.  That means that if you go down and your ELT sends the alarm, it can still take many hours for searchers to get to your area.


Rent a satellite phone.  Being able to contact the outside world from just about anywhere can be very helpful.  Cell phones don't work in most of the Eastern Arctic. Your cell or Blackberry may work in Iqaluit (not all systems function here), but it definitely won't if you're stuck out on the land.  The Iridium system works in much of this region.  Globalstar has limited duplex voice coverage, due to satellite problems.  Globalstar is expecting voice coverage to improve as it gets new satellte systems registered and operational.

Check on the latest status of the change to 406 mHz ELTs in Canada. A reminder that COSPAS/SARSAT no longer monitors Emergency Locator Transmitters on 121.5 mHz.

Take a satellite tracking device.  SPOT is an inexpensive system that provides the ability to send emails to pre-arranged addresses, which can be a great way to let people know where you are.  It also has emergency alert capability. Here's a review of the newest version of the SPOT product. While it doesn't work absolutely everywhere, there are now documented cases of SPOT taking the "search" out of Search and Rescue. We recently followed a ferry pilot transporting a Lake Amphibian from the US through Iqaluit to Norway. He used SPOT, and we were able to track his progress throughout the flight.

Kannad, one of the major manufacturers of ELTs, has recently released two GPS enabled Personal Locator Beacons which look like they could be a helpful addition to the standard ELT.  Both units don't require annual subscription, and operate on the 406 mHz COPAS/SARSAT system. They also have a site where you can manage your beacon, get information about battery life, maintenance, etc.  We don't know of anyone who has used one of these, but would be interested in hearing from you if you have. And the market continues to grow.  Aircraft Spruce Canada has a page showing a range of currently available ELT and PLB models.

There are also a number of other companies that offer satellite tracking services these days, such as Latitude Web Sentinel, Skytrac, and others.  We've successfully followed flights using both Latitude and Skytrac.

Here's a list of abandoned airstrips and places where smaller planes have landed in parts of Canada's eastern arctic.  The condition of these strips is UNKNOWN, so don't rely on them as alternates.  But they may be handy if you're having trouble. If you know of a abandoned strip to add to this list, please contact us.

Make sure you have all the paperwork.  Here's a checklist from our friends at the Canadian Owners and Pilots Assocation. COPA also produces a great Guide to Certified Aircraft in Canada, which covers a lots of material on owning and operate a private aircraft in Canada.

Here's a handy crosswind calculator

Here's a tool for converting Latitude and Longtitude to Decimal.

Not familiar with the metric system?  Here's a calculator.





Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 20:46
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