Debbie Brekelmans, from Maritime Air Charter Limited, says there are several factors to consider when flying passengers and supplies 150 miles over water to Sable.
“The difficulties with the flights are not only in the landing and take-off, but also with the weather in general, enroute, at Sable, and to a lesser extent, at Halifax,” she said.
The condition of the beach runway is checked by Environment Canada's station manager for firmness, length and orientation to wind. The landing area is defined with the tire tracks of the station's truck.
“The manager also makes sure that wild horses and wandering seals are not on the runway when I'm getting ready to land,” said Brekelmans.
Fog can also be a challenge. On several occasions the pilot has had to circle for an hour waiting for the fog to dissipate. The plane always carries a full load of fuel to provide a cushion of circling time if required.
Brekelmans says the frequency of flights to Sable Island varies greatly, but averages about 50 or so a year. The longest time the business has ever gone without a flight was eight weeks, due to beach flooding. During one week in 2012, nine flights were logged.
She has explored Sable Island extensively and refers to it as a beautiful and fascinating place.
There is no charge to attend her presentation.