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As I made my way to the float dock one morning, excited to head out in the Cessna 172 floatplane and explore the Okanagan valley, I saw, tied up and waiting patiently, a dazzling red DHC-2 Beaver floatplane in all its glory. I was fortunate enough to arrive just in time to see her get fueled up and ready to fly. The Beaver’s pilot was just passing through town before heading West towards Vancouver Island. 

As my instructor and I hopped in the Cessna 172, so too did he jump in his floatplane. We cruised out beyond the docks and out into the lake, making a plan for us to escort him out of the valley and see him off as he made his way home. We both took off north into the wind before turning south just above the lake and with mountains on either side. As we gained altitude our planes carefully drew closer together.

I have never flown close to another plane, and certainly not close enough to admire it as it appeared to hover mid-air, gently swaying. My instructor who has plenty of experience of this type of flying kept us at a safe distance all while being able to enjoy our closeness with the Beaver. She stood out a stark red against the bleak Spring landscape that was rising up on either side of Okanagan lake. 

I had the opportunity to take control of the plane, to feel the incredible buzz from formation flight. Every few seconds my instructor would tweak the controls, keeping us inline and well within our safety margin. We couldn’t take our eyes off her, constantly switching between having our eyes forward, maintaining a constant visual of our surroundings, and to our right where she gleamed.

As we approached Peachland he steered her West to begin his long flight home as we banked to the left and headed northbound for some more sightseeing. The rest of our flight was incredible, as always. We spent an hour gazing down at the partially frozen lakes and the patterns in the ice. Marveling at the snowy mountain tops and the coniferous forests scattered about the valley. Any time spent up in the air is always a joy, but having had the fortune to be airborne at just the right time to be able to fly alongside the Beaver was simply an unforgettable way to start our flying adventure that day.

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Address: 1348 Water St Kelowna, BC V1Y 9P3

Tel: (250) 762-9830
Fax: (250) 762-9840
Toll-Free: 1-877-766-6699