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River serie 2014


All land is part of a watershed or river basin and all is shaped by the water which flows over it and through it. Indeed, rivers are such an integral part of the land that in many places it would be as appropriate to talk of “riverscapes” as it would be of landscapes. A river is much more than water flowing to the sea. Its ever–shifting bed and banks and the groundwater below, are all integral parts of the river. Even the meadows, forests, marshes and backwaters of its floodplain can be seen as part of a river – and the river as part of them. A river carries downhill not just water, but just as importantly sediments, dissolved minerals, and the nutrient–rich detritus of plants and animals, both dead and alive.

This new St Paul Airlines Bush & VFR operation’s “RIVERS DEPARTMENT” is dedicated to these mythic huge waterways, all over the World, which have been the mainstream of civilization, growth, development and human progress. Here you will have the opportunity to discover and follow the flow of the Earth’s most famous watercourses such as Mississippi, St Lawrence, Amazon, Danube, Rhine, Volga, Nile, Yangtze, Mekong, Ganges and many others.

Specificity of the SPA RIVERS DEPARTMENT:

  • For each waterway you will find a programme of short flights – usually 0.5 hour to 1.0 hour – constituting a comprehensive journey from the river source to its estuary.
  • For each leg you will get the departure and arrival ICAO, the straight line distance and an indicative single prop aircraft direct flight time. However, we recommend following the stream of the river, low and slow, to get all the fun of this type of trip. So the real flight time can be somewhat higher.
  • Any single or twin props aircraft can be used for the River Flights.
  • MULTIPLAYERS ONLINE FLIGHTS: Do not hesitate to use the river flights programmes as a base for your multiplayers flights. It’s great fun to follow a river’s course in group…

Choose your destination on the table below

DANUBE from Germany across Europe to the Black Sea (Romania)
RHINE from Switzerland to the North Sea (Netherland) 
MISSISSIPPI From Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico
AMAZON From Peru to the Atlantic Ocean, near Belem - Brazil
MACKENZIE Canada: North America second longest river
MISSOURI From its source to St Louis, into the Mississippi River
YUKON From Northern British Columbia Canada to the Bering sea Alaska
NILE The white Nile river from Uganda to the Mediterranean delta
GANGES & BRAHMAPUTRA Sacred rivers of mysterious India 
COLORADO Famous USA river
PARANA Brazil, Paraguay Argentina through Iguazu Falls
More to come...




I invite you to follow the Danube River from its Source in the South-West Germany “Black Forest” area, to Romania and the Black Sea.
In many ways, the Danube "is more than a river”. Europe's second-longest river (after the Volga), the Danube simultaneously unites, defines and divides Central Europe.
It rises in Germany, then crosses Austria (it waters Vienna), Slovakia (it waters Bratislava) and Hungary (it crosses Budapest). It then forms the Serbo-Croatian border, crosses Serbia and waters Belgrade. The river then forms the border between Romania (North) and Bulgaria (South). It then enters Romania, forms a part of the border with Ukraine before entering the Black Sea through a large swampy delta which is an important natural reserve.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danube


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sourceThe Rhine River , whose name comes from the Celtic word renos, meaning raging flow, begins at the Rheinwaldhorn Glacier in the Swiss Alps and flows north and east approximately 820 miles (1,320 km). The Rhine begins as a tumultuous Alpine stream churning through deep gorges, and although the river's flow is moderated somewhat as it passes through the Lake of Constance (Bodensee), the river remains a torrent westward to Basel.

It is navigable from Basel, Switzerland, to the North Sea (Rotterdam – Netherland) a distance of some 500 miles (some 800 km). Eighty percent of its ship-carrying waters pass through Germany. The entire distance cannot support ocean going vessels. Therefore they must end their journey in Cologne, Germany. Cologne is located between Koln and Bonn. From there cargo must go by barges pushed by smaller ships until the Rhine reaches the three point intersection of the borders of France, Germany, and Switzerland, in Basel.
More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhine


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Mississippi title


The Mississippi River is the largest river system in the United States and the largest of North America.  About 2,320 miles (3,730 km) long,  the river originates at Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows slowly southwards in sweeping meanders, terminating 95 river miles below New Orleans, Louisiana where it begins to flow to the Gulf of Mexico. Along with its major tributary, the Missouri River, the river drains all or parts of 31 U.S. states stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Canada-U.S. border on the north, including most of the Great Plains, and is the fourth longest river in the world and the tenth most powerful river in the world.



I've found that flying the Mississippi River can be hard to find from its start of the headwaters which appears to be on the north edge of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. My experience:  it is just a small stream and hard to follow from the air. But do not despair as further south it starts to broaden and grow to become much easier to tag on. Brainerd or St. Cloud gives you a pretty good visual of the river.

musicalI normally fly at 1500' to 2000' MSL to pick out the scenery.
My fondness of flying the DeHavilland  DHC-2 Beaver has made it a fun trip although as of this briefing I have not completed it 100%  but I am working on it.dam
Rather than give names of airfields I decided to add the names of the nearest towns to help as a reference if one should become lost (I did). I think a good road map or atlas would be helpful in some instances so that was the basis of my decision. Also I've added the Heading  Degrees to assist you in flying from one town/city to another in case you get low on fuel or tired of following the winding river.
Please feel free to send myself or Yoland any comments, suggestions, questions or corrections. We would enjoy hearing from yo u.

Steve Sellmayer  SPA 218               


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Amazon top

The Amazon river Facts and figures

From Peru to the Atlantic Ocean, the Amazon River is 6’280 km long… Sorry I meant about 3’730 miles or about 3’400 nm.


The Amazon River is the world's second longest river. Only the Nile, in Africa, is longer. The Amazon however, at any one point in time has the highest amount of water flowing down it. No other river even comes close. It may not be the longest, but it is the widest.
The Amazon produces approximately 20 percent of all the water that the world's rivers pour into the oceans on its own.
The Amazon collects water from just over 40 percent of South America's Landmass, through the thousands of tributaries that join the main branch of the Amazon river. Of these tributaries, 17 are over 1’600kilometres (1’000 miles) long.
From Iquitos in Peru all the way across Brazil to the Atlantic, the Amazon is between six and ten kilometres wide.
The first European found the amazon because he was 200 miles out to sea and noticed that he was sailing in fresh water. He turned toward shore and found the “Amazon river”. Ships still today anchor in the outflow of the Amazon, to remove the marine life (barnacles) attached to their hulls (salt water organisms can't live in fresh water).

MéandresWhen you will fly the 29 legs so as to complete the entire AMAZON VFR RAID, be aware that all distances on the schedule are measured straight line… Nevertheless I recommend to following the river and, if you look at the picture on the left, you might well figure out that it could take a much longer time than what is indicated on the schedule… but it’s more fun. Do as you feel!

Please when you have completed all the 29 legs of the AMAZON TOUR, send me a mail so that I can put your name on the future “Amazon Hall of Fame”.

To have more information about the Amazon, please visit:

Your flight-plan:


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Mackenzie River


The Mackenzie River

The Mackenzie River system, 4241 km long (to head of the Finlay River), is the second largest in North America (after the Mississippi River). Its total drainage basin of 1.8 million km2 is the largest of any river in Canada and its mean discharge of 9700 m3/s is second only to that of the St Lawrence. The river's peak discharge occurs in June, but its flow is generally uniform because of the flat Barren Lands east of the river and the many large lakes in the system. The lakes and rivers of the Mackenzie and its tributaries are open from mid-June to the beginning of November in the northerly areas.

The river's sparsely populated basin is one of the few great unspoiled areas of the world. The main headwaters are the Peace River and the Athabasca River, while the main stream (1738 km) issues from the shallow swamps and mud banks of the West Arm of Great Slave Lake. It flows west to Fort Providence, where scows, canoes and York Boats were hauled upstream. At Fort Simpson the Liard River reaches the south bank of the Mackenzie, which receives its muddy waters. Near the North Nahanni River the Mackenzie trends west-northwest through a rolling plain and deflects north past an escarpment of the Mackenzie Mountains, which lie parallel to the river. The Redstone and Keele rivers and other streams cut through the mountains and pour into the lowlands through deep canyons.




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missouri image
The Missouri River

Another contribution of Special Ops Assistant Manager, Steve Sellmeyer.

The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States of America and is a tributary of the Mississippi River.

The Missouri likely originates at Brower's Spring at the upper reaches of the Jefferson River, before joining the confluence of the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin rivers in Montana. From this point, it flows through its valley south and east into the Mississippi north of St. Louis, Missouri.

At 2,341 miles (3,767 km) long, it drains about one-sixth of the continental United States. The Missouri in its original natural meandering state was the longest river in North America. Nearly 72 miles (116 km) of the river have been cut off in channelling, and so it is now comparable in length to the Mississippi River.

The combination of the two longest rivers in North America forms the fourth longest river in the world.

At its confluence, the Missouri nearly doubles the volume of the Mississippi, accounting for 45% of the flow at St. Louis in normal times and as much as 70% of the flow during some droughts. It is the second-largest tributary by volume of the Mississippi, trailing the Ohio.

More information at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_River

Nap of Missouri


The Missouri River starts in the Southwest part of the state of Montana and winds its way through Montana, North Dakota, and creates a border for the states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.
Flying this route you will experience flights over Montana Mountains to the vast flat Northern and Midwestern plains.
Since I live within 50 miles of this meandering river I can testify to its nickname of “The Big Muddy” as it carries a lot of silt and is always looking brown and muddy.
At the end of its journey it empties itself into the Mississippi River, 10 miles North of St. Louis, Missouri.
I hope you enjoy these flights.
If you would like to deviate upon arrival at Nebraska City, NE, turn west and fly 45 miles to Lincoln, NE. Give me a call as the coffee is always on!

Steve  Sellmeyer, SPA 218, Special Ops Assistant Manager


Missouri Schedule

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The Yukon River

The Yukon River is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. The source of the river is located in British Columbia, Canada. The next portion lies in, and gives its name to Canada's Yukon Territory. Then, more than the lower half of the river lies in the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is 3,185 km (1,980 mi) long and empties into the Bering Sea at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The average flow is 6,430 m³/s (227,000 ft³/s). The total drainage area is 832,700 km² (321,500 mi²) of which 323,800 km² (126,300 mi²) is in Canada. By comparison, the total area is more than 25% larger than Texas or Alberta.

The longest river in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, it was one of the principal means of transportation during the 1896–1903 Klondike Gold Rush. Paddle-wheel riverboats continued to ply the river until the 1950s, when the Klondike Highway was completed. After the purchase of Alaska by the United States in 1867, the Alaska Commercial Company acquired the assets of the Russian-American Company and constructed several posts at various locations on the Yukon River.
Yukon means "great river" in Gwich'in.
Despite its length, there are only four vehicle-carrying bridges across the river:
  • The Lewes Bridge, north of Marsh Lake on the Alaska Highway;
  • The Robert Campbell Bridge, which connects the Whitehorse suburb of Riverdale to the downtown area,
  • The Yukon River Bridge in Carmacks, on the Klondike Highway; and
  • The E. L. Patton Yukon River Bridge, north of Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway.
A car ferry crosses the river at Dawson City in the summer; it is replaced by an ice bridge over the frozen river during the winter. Plans to build a permanent bridge were announced in March 2004, although they are currently on hold because bids came in much higher than budgeted.
There are also 2 pedestrian-only bridges in Whitehorse, as well as a dam across the river and a hydroelectric generating station. The construction of the dam flooded the White Horse Rapids, which gave the city its name, and created Schwatka Lake.


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The Nile River

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world.

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile, the latter being the source of most of the Nile's water and fertile soil, but the former being the longer of the two. The White Nile rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source in Southern Rwanda and flows north from there through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and southern Sudan, while the Blue Nile starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, flowing into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along the banks of the river.

The Nile ends in a large delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.


For our flights, we will follow the White Nile from Lake Victoria going all the way North to its delta in Egypt.



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Ganges Sacred river
The Ganges & Brahmaputra Sacred Rivers of India

The Ganges is the largest river of the Indian subcontinent, flowing east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh.
The 2,510 km (1,560 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Uttarakhand. It has long been considered the holiest of all rivers by Hindus and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.
It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Berhampore and Calcutta) have been located on its banks.
The Ganges Basin drains 1,000,000-square-kilometre (390,000 sq mi) and supports one of the world's highest density of humans. The average depth of the river is 52 feet (16 m), and the maximum depth, 100 feet (30 m).
The river has been declared as India's National River.The many symbolic meanings of the river on the Indian subcontinent were spoken to in 1946 by Jawaharlal Nehru in his Discovery of India.

prayerThe Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man…

The Brahmaputra, also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia.
From its origin in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it flows across southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges and into Arunachal Pradesh (India) where it is known as Dihang.
It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna (not to be mistaken with Yamuna of India). There it merges with the Ganges to form a vast delta, the Sunderbans.
About 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long, the river is an important source for irrigation and transportation. Its upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Yarlung Tsangpo was only established by exploration in 1884-86.

The Brahmaputra is navigable for most of its length. The lower part reaches are sacred to Hindus. The river is prone to catastrophic flooding in spring when the Himalayan snows melt. It is also one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore.

More information at:




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The Colorado River - USA

The Colorado River is the primary river of the American Southwest, draining somewhere in the vicinity of 242,000 square miles of land, from the states of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. The Green River is the primary tributary of the Colorado River, and until 1921 the Colorado River did not technically begin until the Grand and Green Rivers joined together in Utah. In that year the Grand River was renamed as the Colorado River, at the request of the State of Colorado.

The headwaters of the Colorado River are located in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. From here, at an altitude of 9,010 feet, the Colorado begins it's flow southwestward toward the Gulf o f California and the Pacific Ocean. By the time the river enters the Grand Canyon, at Lee's Ferry, its altitude has fallen to 3,110 feet, dropping over one mile since its beginning. The river will drop another 2,200 feet before it reaches the other end of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Wash Cliffs, 277 miles away.

The river contains alternating sections of rapids and calm sections. The depth of the river varies from 6 feet to 90 feet, with the average being about 20 feet. The rapids are the shallow sections and the calm sections tend to be the deepest parts. Some deep holes have also formed at the base or foot of some of the more major rapids. The rapids represent only 10 percent of the river's total length through the Grand Canyon, but are responsible for more than half of the total drop in altitude.

The Colorado River was originally named Rio Colorado or "Red River" by the Spanish. A person looking at the river today may not understand how it came to be named in this way, as the present day colour of the river is more of a blue-green. The reddish-brown colour that originally gave the river its name become a rarity upon completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. The silt and sediments that gave the river its colour are now trapped behind the dam in the bottom of Lake Powell.

More info at:





Colorado schedule

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Paranà River - Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina
The Paraná River (Spanish: Río Paraná, Portuguese: Rio Paraná) is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some 4,880 kilometres (3,030 mi). It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language and means "like the sea" (that is, "as big as the sea"). It merges first with the Paraguay River and then farther downstream with the Uruguay River to form the Río de la Plata and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

MapThe Rio Paraná along with its tributaries creates a massive watershed that spreads throughout much of the south central part of the continent, essentially encompassing all of Paraguay, much of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and even reaching into Bolivia. If the Uruguay River is counted as a tributary to the Paraná, this watershed extends to cover much of Uruguay as well. The volume of water flowing into the Atlantic Ocean through the Río de la Plata is roughly equal to the volume at the Mississippi River delta. This watershed services a number of large cities, including São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Asunción and Brasília.

The Paraná and its tributaries are a source of income and even daily sustenance for a number of fishermen who live along its banks; some fish species (such as the surubí and the sábalo) are commercially important and exploited for massive internal consumption or for export.

Much of the length of the Paraná is navigable and is used as an important waterway linking inland cities in Argentina and Paraguay to the ocean, providing deep water ports in many of these cities. The construction of massive hydroelectric dams along the river's length has blocked its use as a shipping corridor to cities further upstream, but the economic impact of those dams is considered to offset this. The Yacyretá and Itaipu dams on the Paraguay border have made the small, largely undeveloped nation the world's largest exporter of hydroelectric power. The Itaipu dam is 195ft high and is 57km long.

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Copyright 2014 - Yoland Grosjean  - CEO St. Paul Airlines - Special Operations Manager

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