Hollinger Ungava Transport
Hollinger Ungava Transport (HUT), Mont-Joli, Quebec
Once leaving Sept Isle, Quebec to fly north, we were in what was known as a Flight Information Region. In addition to our normal VHF (very high frequency ) radio, we also had long range HF (high frequency) radios and when we left Sept Isle we would call the company radio operator and ask about the south bound flights in order to find out what altitude to fly northbound. We might have as many as 3 or 4 aircraft southbound and we wanted to decide what height to choose northbound so as not to conflict with the other flights. Apart from our departures and arrivals in Sept Isle, we were our own air traffic control. At night the minimum en-route altitudes were 5200 feet to Mile 164 and 4500 feet from there north to Knob Lake. This meant that the SSW bound flights would be at 6 to 8 or 10,000 feet and we would be obliged to fly NNE bound at 7 or 9000 feet. Sometimes we would go higher if traffic or weather required us to do so. During the day, if the weather was good we flew visually at much lower altitudes, just deviating around the high ground, but of course broadcasting our altitude to the radio operators and other aircraft.
It was beautiful country to fly over in daylight, dotted with lakes, trees, scrub land and rocks. Hilly in spots and in some areas barren rocky hills rose up to 3 and 4 thousand feet. The Moisie River flowed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Sept Isle and extended north about 140 miles. The railroad followed the river valley a good part of its journey north. Sometimes returning south with the empty aircraft, we flew low over the rail grade for a good look at the progress of the work on the grade. To look at this glorious rugged landscape up close was a moving experience and I loved to do it. Of course we told the other aircraft what we were doing, in case someone was doing the same thing northbound. The operative word here was,”Scenic Route” southbound. We really didn’t want to tell the world on the HF radio that we were low flying.
Photo Credit for the Hollinger DC-3 – Flight Source Aviation photo Database