Thursday, March 25, 2010

Calgary to Kelowna

Before I start with my review, I want to add a note here. I have a close friend in Kelowna who is there for college education. I know Murat for about 10 years now, we were at the same university in Toulouse, France. After I returned to my home country, he went to Canada, a country he always wanted to see. We talk from time to time and he tells me he loves Kelowna and its people. I hope everything is OK over there for him and I wish him all the best.

This review is dedicated to my good buddy Murat.

It wasn't easy doing this short hop. I was able to complete the flight on my third attempt, the 2 others ending in OOM errors and cursing, due to a memory leak caused by some downtown Calgary scenery. We'll just have to do without the skyscrapers.

Flying previously fictitious flights, I was looking forward this time on doing a real world one. Westjet 257 is a daily scheduled flight from Calgary to Kelowna operated with 737-700s.

The short route of 250NM or so which took 57 minutes gate to gate was:


At the gate D48 with the fellas in a snowy Calgary

Gate D48 also happens to be the real world gate from which this aircraft departs.

The weather was snowny at Calgary, as you can see in the above shot, winds were 171 at 10 knots with a half mile visibility, celiling 300 overcast and -5C. The landings must have interesting this morning in Calgary. The winds were in favor of a runway 16 take-off on a Calgary 2 departure which is basically vectors to fix.

I was quite light for this flight, only 100 passengers and a light cargo load, GW was approximately 115K lbs with a fuel load of 10K lbs.

Traffic was moderate at CYYC, mostly company aircraft with a couple of Air Canada flights, but also 1 or 2 US carriers.

Luckily the Westjet terminal is close to runway 16 so the taxi time was short. Long taxis can be amusing doing some spotting but I was in a bit of rush today.

Waiting for take-off clearance

Take-off and climbout was quite smooth despite the heavy clouds and snow, which only cleared above 12000 feet. Being light, I reached my cruise altitude, FL320 in no time. Good, only a few minutes to get the drinks and snacks served!

Cruise flight was mildly bumpy.


Note the low cruise speed, I was playing around with the cost indexes on the ground, I've assumed Westjet uses low figures on this flight.

During my flights I was keep an atlas close by to see what mountain, lake, city, etc I'm flying over. The mountains in the above shot should be the Purcell and Selkirk mountain ranges between Calgary and Kelowna. I hadn't heard of those before, FS can be very informative.

Descending into Kelowna, that must be the Okanagan

Just before the T/D, FS cleared me to runway 34, I promptly asked for the RNAV A arrival, which happens to be in the FS stock database, via waypoint GRASE.

Murat is somewhere down there

Weather in Kelowna was calm winds with 9NM visibility and no clouds below 20000 feet. There was a bit of haze to make the approach more interesting.

RNAV 34 approach is extremely fun, the charts state that you should be at 4100 feet at waypoint ELSEN after which you turn left to land. I was in landing configuration at ELSEN which made the task easier, it was a joy to handfly this procedure.

Also, from what my friend Al tells me, this approach is liked by Westjet pilots, too. I couldn't agree more, guys,... Hehe

Short final RNAV 34

I was stabilized at 500 feet and landed perfectly although I might have descended a bit steeply earlier. Flaps 40 might have been a better idea...

For some reason, GA thrust didn't engage, I probably missed something...

Bye bye, have a nice stay in Kelowna...

As I taxied in, 2 company aircraft were departing, I couldn't get where to, though. You can see one of them in the background above.

If Kelowna is as beautiful in real life as in FS, then I'm not surprised my pal loves that place. I admired the hills surrounding the airport coming in for landing.

My next flight will be in the Middle-East, I haven't been there since I got back from my service.

Thanks for viewing


  1. Love the snow shot at the terminal! And of course short final....I would stop looking if it wasn;t included Onur!!

    Did you see Ogo Pogo? Lake Van Monster and Ogo Pogo in the same month? Are you "searching for the truth" or something?

  2. HAHA!

    Being the shy lot they are, Ogo Pogo hid from me, too. Maybe they should implement noise abatement for that fella.

    Man, I missed that, had I known about Ogo Pogo, I would have mentioned him in the review!

    I should fly over the Himalayas next time, look for the hairy guy over there.