Few pictures of the Alaska Coastal Route

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by alaskan9974, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. alaskan9974

    alaskan9974 Pre-Flight

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    Evening! Figured I would share a few pictures from the trip I flew a few weeks ago from the West Coast to Alaska.

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    Started off when I found a decent looking spam can I liked in Washington. Spoke to the owner, put a deposit down and sent my IA down to look at it. I was already traveling for work so ended up just flying down the same day he got there to take a look myself.

    Landing in Fairbanks on the way down I was not looking forward to flying in or above smoke for hours on end. For those of you who fly where wild fires are present, know how much it smells and how quickly 10 miles in smoke can turn into 3. We have had a bad year of fires in Alaska.

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    Landing in Central Washington I was surprised how arid and dry the climate was, I had never been to this part of the state before. I was expecting Seattle like downpours and dreary weather. Apparently its a fairly dry climate, I didn't know that.

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    First time fueling the plane. Looked nice to my untrained eye and my IA said good to go so cut him a check and was on the way. Never flown in this area or part of the country before. All my time is Alaska save for a few hours in Phoenix. $6.25 a gallon is so much nicer to pay then our $8+ a gallon I am used to paying.

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    Ended up in Wenatchee for a few days, waiting on clear weather further up the coast. Wasn't intending on landing in Canada save for an emergency, so wanted decent weather. I was not in much of a rush and could have cared less if it took me a whole week of waiting. Turned out I only spent two days there until the passes cleared up to get across to Bellingham.

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    Leaving Bellingham the ceilings and visibility were fairly consistent, and cleared up upon reaching the coast. Picked up flight following to be in contact with ATC on border crossing. Got a nice nudge from Seattle center to switch to Terminal, I didn't reply quick enough for him. Upon contacting Victoria terminal, I waited a minute or so for a reply, and just got a heads up on a few beavers here and there.

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    Did I mention I am from Alaska? I don't think my iPad has ever seen this much action. Will have to give it a few days rest when I get home.

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    True to the forecast and weather cams, the coast was fairly clear. The Alaska avcam app for mobiles is nice for quick weather checks, nothing beats a visual look at the weather.

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    Arriving in Ketchikan roughly two and a half hours later. Passed a line of beavers that were landing in on the water. Ketchikan is uncontrolled, but you need to contact FSS, as there are special flight rules requiring it. I didn't realize it, but lower 48 FSS's aren't staffed by FAA workers? I never had thought about that before.

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    After refueling and grabbing some popcorn, continued up the coast, descended near Sitka and tried to get some good pictures of Mt. Edgecumbe. I went to high school there nearly a decade before and hiked it a few times. Unfortunately it was too smokey to get any decent pictures.

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    Flew from Ketchikan to Yakutat for fuel, descending in, still a little hazy but got a decent picture of some ice in July. Foreflight shows an automated fuel pump. Its a half truth. Its automated...but someone needs to be there to turn it on and take your payment. He says it might be fixed, or should be. But in Alaska speak that's a maybe.

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    Clearing up a little.

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    Obligatory mountain pictures

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    Some more icy peaks. Wouldn't have minded getting a little closer, but I liked staying above the valleys where if I had to set down, I would have a few more minutes of options and could find somewhere with a lower elevation rather then spending my night perched (yea right, more like sliding downhill, or crumpled on a rock face) on a mountain top

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    Departing Yakutat for Fairbanks. Not many places to put down if the fan stopped so stayed fairly high.

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    Forgot to mention by now its about midnight. Love that sun still being out.

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    Landed in Fairbanks, took nearly 8 hours of flying to get up here so found a hotel and put the plane away for the night.

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    Fueled up, and off again for the last leg of the trip. Had some bad 30+kt headwinds, so stayed fairly low. Picked up 5+lbs of mosquitos by my redneck reckoning on the wings and windshield, but north of Fairbanks, its fairly easy terrain. Lots of tundra, sandbars and rivers. Passing over Hughes.

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    Towns are spread out by a fairly large distance, 50+ miles at times so I normally flight plan to overfly airports as I get the chance. Due to the winds I don't think I went much above 500 except when needed.

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    Two hours of flying later, and in the home stretch after approximately 2000nm of northward flying.

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    Success. 12 ish hours of flying, with VFR conditions the entire trip. Have more pictures but too lazy to upload. Figured not many would stick around to read this far, but if you did....hope it was worth it. Didn't get any pictures of Kotzebue, but there isn't much to see.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  2. Possum

    Possum Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Great post!!!!! Could you provide a few details on your new plane?????
     
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  3. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    <----- well its white......with a red stripe....and......it looks like a big Tylenol. :)
     
  4. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Looks like an obligatory PoA "the correct answer is" Bo to me. ;)

    I gotta admit, 24 continuous hours of day VFR is pretty cool.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  5. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Nice pictures, thanks, reminds me of my trip from Sea Tac to Juneau. Looks like you had a little better weather than I had. 9 hours, 2 stops Sea Tac to Juneau in my Beech Sport
     
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  6. alaskan9974

    alaskan9974 Pre-Flight

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    I guess it does look like a tylenol.

    The guy who I bought it from owned and hangared it for 40+ years but had slowed down on flying and was only averaging around 5 hours a year after an overhaul, so technically "low time"

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    It has the long range tanks so there wasn't a landing that I had less then 2 and a half hours remaining so it made it a pretty easy trip.

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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  7. alaskan9974

    alaskan9974 Pre-Flight

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    First taste of snow. Handles the rougher runways better then the 182 and the prop clearance is even better.

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    Dirt runways make the landings softer anyway

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  8. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    It's part of the Northern Cold Desert. That desert extends into BC and ends just north of Kamloops, where I grew up. Dry country. Sagebrush, small cacti, dryland grasses, rattlesnakes. A lot of people are surprised when they visit that country, especially when we tell them that summertime temps can be over 100°F. I remember 104°F days as a kid.

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    We retired in southwestern Saskatchewan, where the flora is the same. Sagebrush, tiny cacti, rattlesnakes and hot summer days. Farmers have to plant drought-resistant crops.
     
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  9. Yury

    Yury Filing Flight Plan

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    Great pics.
     
  10. Misskimo

    Misskimo Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey. Flying around Kotzebue is a blast
     
  11. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was just there this morning. My wife and I had gone there to see our youngest son and his wife for Thanksgiving. Lots of snow, low clouds for several of the days and wind. Saw some scud running in and out of Kotz to the villages, e.g. Kania, Noatak, etc. Pretty interesting flying, especially when Bering or Raven aren’t.
     
  12. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is that Lee in the wheelchair.??
     
  13. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Kinda looks like him. Several years ago when I was in Kania, I helped him removed the door off his 172 and then with his son, hoist him in and put the door back on. The family was headed out to their fish camp in the 172 and a 206. The 206 was loaded to the max with windows and other construction materials. I asked about weight and balance and everyone just smiled. His wife or daughter worked the rudder pedals for him and he departed in the 172. My son had been out to their camp said the strip when they landed was an “adventure”.
     
  14. alaskan9974

    alaskan9974 Pre-Flight

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    Yes, good people.
     
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