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  • Fred Grootarz

Flying a Toronto Round-robin. How to navigate the Aurora East VFR route?

This video was meant to be a sort of demonstrating / reassurance deal for those who are afraid/ intimidated to fly this route around Toronto.

The initial reason was to demonstrate that the Aurora East VFR route is a difficult one to follow, using the good old paper chart and looking out the window for matching land marks. The first 15 nm are the most difficult ones. Visible landmarks from Hwy 27 onwards make navigation easier.

We continued our flight to show how to fly through the reshaped Buttonville MF zone including a touch and go (pretended landing) as well as to identify the navigation boundaries of the MF zone and the transition into the Island Class C airspace. The shortcut overflying YYZ was anticipated, and we were lucky enough to get it approved.

We left all the ATC communication in the video to show that it is relatively simple straight forward talk and nothing to be afraid of. Notice that, although the published VFR routes across Toronto have their own VFR only CFA frequencies which are not monitored by ATC. We chose to call ATC to let them know what we were doing and not to cross any unsuspected conflicting en route VFR traffic. But it shows that you can legally fly below the Toronto Terminal zone on to Buttonville MF zone and continue further east without talking to ATC. However, sightseeing tours around the CN Tower and transiting along the Lakeshore route requires ATC clearance from the Island tower.

I have done this round trip sightseeing flight many times flying in the opposite direction. It always fascinates the passengers, and is a city view you normally don’t get to see. It is important to know the direction of the sun during the day; it will make a world of difference when taking pictures. We are planning some night flights around Toronto and Niagara Falls. Should make for pretty views.

Fred Grootarz

Chair RAA Toronto Region

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