A Pilot's Story
Chapter Two - Page 1
November we cancelled on the 1st, a long flight on the 7th. Cancelled the Saturday, 8th and flew Sunday the 9th instead. Routine till the 29th/cancelled and so ended November On the 1st of December a new First Officer appeared. A large Australian, married to a small feisty lady. I picked him up every morning and had to endure a lecture from his wife as to the weather conditions and whether it was safe to fly. A new stewardess also appeared named Madeline Youngman whose family came from Prince Rupert. The month was routine till the 16th then we did two trips and then, either for weather or maintenance, didn’t operate till the 22nd. Missed the 30th. Reviewing the station wind records for Sandspit in those years shows a maximum speed of 160km/hr in gusts with hourly speeds of over 100km on occasion. So ended 1958
On a personal level I was learning to play badminton and tennis and to cook. I shared an apartment with the Royal Bank's Assistant Manager, Gordon Elder.
The first three weeks of January, we operated on schedule. Overnight in Sandspit on the 21st. Check ride on the 26th. Then on the 30th we had a problem with the right float.
February flights operated with no Sandspit overnights along came March We had a flight to Sandspit at the beginning of the month just after a strong storm had passed. When this happened the wind would shift from the southeast (the direction of Runway 11-29) to a clearing wind, westerly from 200 degrees at 20-30 knots, right across the runway. Sandspit wasn’t called Sandspit for nothing. At both ends of the runway was the ocean. I lined up for a landing on Runway 29, made an approach and didn’t feel we were in the proper slot for landing. We only had two passengers on board. One was the manager in charge of building the new airport at Prince Rupert and the other was a pregnant lady who was going down to Vancouver to have her baby.
I tried another approach and though nearly in the slot, pulled up and decided that we would try one more time and, if unable to land, would go to our alternate at Annette Island AK. As we did our overshoots, we could see the water with white caps and three-foot waves, right off the end of the runway. On this approach, we were in the slot, so I continued down. I planted her on the end of the runway and started braking. Things seemed to be in control.