Coming back from our mission in sub-arctic Canada, we flew South West to be just on time for the astronomical event of the year : the solar eclipse, which was planned to be total on the north of USA ! First of all, the flight across the Rocky Mountains, or more precisely "between" the Rockies, since we followed the valleys very carefully, at 7 500 ft on clear days (except the un-forecasted forest fires). From Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Calgary, even though we were expecting a landscape similar to the Andes, the cross over the Rockies was very surprising : very few eternal snow on the tops, and prosperous green valleys with rivers on the bottom, covered by charming pastoral villages, fruit farms and wineries. We loved it.
For this special day, everything was ready : the special googles to protect our retinas, the exact track of the shadow of the moon, and the cameras. The plan : fly above the Lake Billy Chinook at exactly 10AM on direction of the sun, as a tribute to our Patron Pierre Léna, who the first planned a flight following an eclipse, to study it on board the Concorde over Africa... Imagine that !
Even though it wasn't a scientific flight on board a supersonic aircraft, we still had some challenges to rise to : - a widespread cover from ground-level to 8500ft due to forest fires, that was strongly reducing the visibility - a mountainous environment, with peaks above our maximum ceiling - a very crowdy environment : we could see on our ADSB (kind of a radar) more than 30 aircrafts of all kind circling around us (and many more were not shown on the radar !). And to make it harder, Adrien decided that it would be a great idea to live-stream the flight on facebook !
Even though the live stream was not successful (too many people using the same internet at the same time had caused a connexion crash), we luckily had other cameras filming on the same time. Here it is, just for you ! And below, some pictures about the flights from the northern Canada to the eclipse.