Normally, each Light Aircraft Pilot Course (LAPC) conducted a long-range, cross-country navigation exercise toward the end of the Course.
RCAF Station Cold Lake was the far destination for our Course, LAPC #34. The Exercise itinerary was as follows:
Tue 26 Mar 63
Rivers (YI), Yorkton (QV), Saskatoon (XE), Cold Lake (OD). Remain overnight (RON) OD.
Wed 27 Mar 63
Cold Lake, Edmonton (Namao) (ED), Calgary (Lincoln Park) (YC). RON YC.
Thu 28 Mar 63
Calgary, Medicine Hat (XH), Moose Jaw (MJ), Rivers
A total of eight Students, three Instructors and six L-19 aircraft (704, 709, 710, 714, 717 and 723) took part. The intent was for each Student to fly certain legs with an Instructor, another Student or solo. My solo leg was from Yorkton to Saskatoon in 714. Take-offs were timed such that one aircraft would not encounter another during a leg of the trip.
The approach and landing at Cold Lake were interesting and somewhat humorous experiences. I was flying 710 on this leg, from Saskatoon. On contacting OD, I was advised to orbit at my present altitude (4500') some ten miles south of the Station until several CF-104 Starfighters had landed. Clearance to proceed to the airfield and land was eventually received. The wind that day was quite strong, but right down the incredibly long (by L-19 standards) main runway. I landed just short of the numbers at the near end of the runway and managed to come to a full stop right on the numbers themselves. I then requested permission to taxi to the ramp, only to be told by the Tower that they did not have me visual. I replied that I was sitting "on the numbers". Still no joy. Apparently the Controller was looking for me "on the numbers" at the other end of the runway where one would expect to find a CF-104 after it had landed. A real chuckle was had by all concerned when the Controller finally realized where 710 actually was. A great overnight at RCAF Station Cold Lake was had by all, except for the continual and haunting sound of CF-104 engines being run-up throughout the night.
Enroute ED to YC the next day, we had to fly through the RCAF Station Penhold Control Zone (CZ). 4 FTS was based at Penhold at the time, flying Harvards. Calling for clearance through the CZ. obviously alerted some of the keen, already-airborne, young RCAF student pilots to the fact that an Army aircraft was about to traverse "their" CZ. A "buzz" was obviously in order, as evidenced by the photograph of the 4FTS Harvard taken from the cockpit of L-19 717! No harm was done, but the presence of Army Aviators in an RCAF CZ was just the perfect recipe for "An Encounter of the Harvard Kind".
The Exercise ended Thu 28 Mar 63 upon landing at Rivers, after another enjoyable RON in Calgary the night before. A total of 16 hours and 10 minutes were flown during the Exercise.