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Tsetzi Lake (Pan Phillips) Airport – Chilcotin Backcountry Airstrip

Pan Phillips was a cowboy who, with Rich Hobson, founded the Home Ranch. Tsetzi Lake, I believe, was the site of the Home Ranch, and boasts an grass strip. There is a resort there operated by Phillips’ son Robbie and his wife Linda. If you’re looking for a cool backcountry airstrip to fly to, here’s one to check out.

tsetzi lake strip from above - Chilcotin

Photo by M. Teller

Coordinates are 52°58′19″N 125°01′36″W, elevation is 3,550 ft / 1,082 m. The Transport Canada Location ID is CBT3. Runway directions are 02/20, length is 2,700 ft./823 metres.

tsetzi lake airstrip, Chilcotin

Tsetzi grass strip from the outhouse - photo by Ole Wasmuth

This is a private runway. You need permission to use it. I’ll try to get some contact info.

tzetsi lake grassstrip -Chilcotin

Photo by M. Teller

Be careful of the wind generator!

tsetzi windmill - Chilcotin

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

True North – The Book Review


I just finished re-reading True North: Exploring the Great Wilderness by Bush Plane,written by George Erickson. I got it for Christmas 9 or 10 years ago, and enjoyed it the first time, but it was even better this time (is it because I’m flying now, or just because I’m older and wiser?)

George flew a straight Cub on floats from Minnesota through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the NWT, Yukon, BC and Alaska, doing sort of a rough figure 8 over the course of a couple weeks. He’d flown through the areas before, with friends and family, but this time he did it alone. I got the impression that it may have been his last epic flight – however, some internet research re-assured me that this is not the case. True North: Exploring the Great Wilderness by Bush Plane,was his first book, but he’s since written at least three more, including one called Back to the Barrens: On the Wing with Da Vinci & Friends

The story is great for the adventure, but its improved by Erickson’s breadth of knowledge. Sometimes its a personal story about a locale or incident, sometimes its a little known local historical fact, and sometimes its technical knowledge, but its all interesting.

I think what I like best about the book is that George doesn’t portray himself as a super hero, but rather as an ordinary pilot who prepares himself well for a great adventure, and then goes out and has it. The lesson is obvious – if he can do it, so can all of us. All it takes is a will and the effort to actually do it. Now, whether I actually fly all over the Arctic is still up in the air, but I’m confident that I can fly from Pitt Meadows to the Chilcotin, and Mr. Erickson has contributed to that confidence.

You can find out more about him on his website.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

The PPL (Private Pilot License)

What’s it take to become a bush pilot? There are various answers, but there are some common ones, too.

“Bush pilot” is not an exact term, and it isn’t a commercial rating. There are lots of bush pilots throughout the world who don’t even fly commercially. If a guy can land on a dirt logging road, a meadow, or a gravel bar in order to go mountain biking, hunting or fishing, he’s probably a pretty good bush pilot, even if he’s not being paid. There are plenty of examples of those guys to be found on the ‘net.

That said, all pilots need to start at the beginning. In Canada that means a Private Pilot License, or PPL. You can get a Recreational Permit, but if you go that route you can’t add specialty ratings/endorsements that you’re going to want as a bush pilot. You also need the PPL if you’re going to get the Commercial Pilot License, which is what you need if you’re going to fly for money. Go with the PPL.

To get the PPL you’ll need to pass a Medical, pass a Radio Operators Certificate test (pretty easy), and pass the Pre-Solo Test of Aviation Regulations (the PSTAR), in order to get the Student Pilot Permit.

The PSTAR is a test made up of 50 questions taken from a 200 question list. You have to get 90% to pass. The online quizzes I offer here have all the questions, as well as explanations of the answers. If you’re going to learn to fly, don’t just memorize the answers. Do the quiz, read the explanations, and read the books all together. By the end you’ll not only know the answers, but they’ll make sense to you.

Until you get the Student Pilot Permit all your flying will be dual, with an instructor. Once you have the medical, the ROC and the PSTAR, your instructor will let you solo. After that you’ll still get dual instruction, but you’ll also practice and perform exercises on your own, without the instructor in the aircraft.

While you’re taking your flight training you’ll also take some sort of ground school. Traditionally ground school is conducted at an airport during the day, but there are also schools that offer night classes, and there are even online options. Every student is different, but a traditional classroom has a lot of benefits in my opinion.

The aim of ground school is to prepare you for the written test – the PPL written exam (Private Pilot License). The PPL is a 100 question test that you write over a 3 hour period. You have to get 60% to pass.

The last step in the PPL process is the flight exam. The flight exam is a practical test of flying skill and knowledge. They have the reputation of being tough, but a well prepared candidate can take the flight test with confidence. Remember, before the flight test you’ll have a minimum of 45 hours flying, and likely more than that.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me byemail if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

New Online Pilots’ Forum

I’ve started an online pilots’ forum called BC Pilots.net. You can find it at http://www.bcpilots.net.

I patterned it on BackcountryPilots.org, which I think is an awesome resource, except that its really an American forum and oriented toward US pilots and locations. Its got some great recurring threads, like “Where Did You Fly Today?” and “Show Us Your Plane”, as well as information about destinations and trips.

I’d like to see the same resource develop here in BC, but it’s only as strong as its membership. I’ve tried spreading the word as much as I can through emails, but if you come across this post please jump over to the forum, sign in, and post some stuff.

Bob Gannon and Flying Around the World

John Lovelace has a new show called “The Aviators” and on a recent episode they interviewed a fellow named Bob Gannon.

Bob got his pilot’s license in 1992, and soon after embarked on a round the world journey from San Diego flying east in a 1974 Cherokee. Unfortunately, Bob crashed in Kenya. Luckily, he survived!

Bob Gannon in Basra, Iraq

Bob in Basra, Iraq

8 years later he started over, but this time he began by flying west, to Hawaii, in a 1968 Cessna 182. He’s been around the world, for all intents and purposes. The Aviators found him in Brampton with only the states west of the Mississippi to still cover. You can check out some more pictures on his webpage. He’s also been written up on the AOPA pages.

Not exactly a bush pilot, perhaps, but I’m certain he’s needed some bush flying skills in his travels. One thing to note is that most of his landings have probably been at airports he’s never landed at before!

Flying around the world in a light aircraft is a big accomplishment, but there is a growing club of pilots who have successfully done it, and you can find them at Earth Rounders.com

Bush Pilot in Training

Me and C-GWJC Bush Pilot  in TrainingBush Pilot in Training, or B-PIT, is me, Rob Chipman. I’m a pilot who flies from CYPK, in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, and I’m training with Chris Georgas at Pacific Rim Aviation.

The point of this blog is to share my learning experiences with and get feedback from other pilots.

One of the first projects I’m going to undertake is a study quiz for the PSTAR. I need to learn the CARs before I solo, and I think creating an online quiz will force me to do the mental work to learn the stuff.

I also plan to do some reviews of the kind of gear pilots use, and hopefully some interviews with interesting aviation characters.

Feel free to browse around, and leave me any feedback or ask any questions that you like.

Enjoy!