In September 2007, I was fortunate to go on a 1 week airport simulation course at Point Roberts, USA near the USA/Canadian border. Our hotel is at a small town of Tsawwassen on the Canadian side and Vancouver, Canada’s 3rd largest city, is only 35 minutes drive away. On our last day at Points Robert, my course instructor who owned a small aircraft had invited us on a scenic ride over Vancouver.
After a quick safety briefing, we took off from the Points Robert Airpark. One thing for sure, I was very nervous since I have never ride on a small airplane before. Everything seemed compact inside the small airplane. I took a deep breath to calm myself. The ride was in late afternoon and the sun was getting lower. This was my 1st opportunity on aerial photography (well I have counted out those photos taken from the window seat of commercial aircrafts) and was hoping to get some nice photos. Unfortunately I didn’t have my DSLR with me on this trip and had to just make the most out of my compact digital camera to record this experience.
Residential homes are seen dotting the shoreline of Points Roberts as we flew towards the Pacific Ocean. As we got higher, the Coast Mountains came into sights. From a distance it looked bluish. My instructor radioed the air traffic controller seeking permission to enter the Canadian airspace. Once the clearance was given, we flew approaching Vancouver. We made a few rounds over the city centre. We could see different perspective of the cityscape; seeing the highrise buildings, harbor, marinas, road and bridges from above was like having a map infront of you. Then we flew over Vancouver International airport and passed over farmlands before returning to Points Roberts. The ride lasted for about 40 minutes. The experience of seeing the city of Vancouver from above was truly satisfying. I guess this is what a scenic flying tour is all about, but such tour is expensive and is out of reach for most of us. I’m grateful my course instructor offered us this free ride.