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Old 08-23-2022, 06:24 PM
RV8JD's Avatar
RV8JD RV8JD is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 746

Originally Posted by keitht View Post
And at least one hungry bear every square mile looking for a meal.
That's what the PLB is for, so they can find your gnawed-on bones!
Carl N.
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Old 08-23-2022, 07:50 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 8,702

Originally Posted by RV8JD View Post
That's what the PLB is for, so they can find your gnawed-on bones!
When we went many years ago, AK required (but didn't seem to enforce) you to carry a firearm in the plane. Canada forbid handguns, so I borrowed a shotgun with 00 buck shot. Never found out if that would actually discourage a bear, or just make him angry! But seriously, you'll be dead before a bear finds you, if you're unprepared: the mesquitos will suck you dry. I'd consider heavy long sleeve shirt and pants, tucked into your boots, and a hat with netting, to be part of your emergency equipment.
Also, in post 1, I didn't see any contingency days. We went in the best wx season - late June, early July - and still had 2 IFR takeoffs, one instrument approach. And another VFR departure under a 1500' overcast, described by the FSS briefer as "a nice vfr day". And spent one extra day in Canada due to thunderstorms all over very southern Canada and the Seattle area.
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Old 08-23-2022, 08:28 PM
Sawtooth Sawtooth is offline
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Hamilton, MT
Posts: 10
Default Scenic Route

My favorite route to the peninsula was to fly from Anchorage to King Salmon. Id fly west from Merrill Field across the flats and into Lake Clark Pass. The pass runs between two mountain ranges and Id always see moose and bears along the river in there. Ive even seen a couple of wolverines in there.

Once through the pass Id fly over Lake Clark and turn southwest over Lake Iliamna, Alaskas largest lake, and on toward King Salmon. Most times there would be caribou in the open areas. From about the middle of July to September I would watch for the thousands of salmon making their way to their spawning grounds.

King Salmon has a nice airport and food and lodging are within walking distance. You can also catch a floatplane ride to Katmai National Park and see plenty of bears there. If the salmon are running you can watch the bears try to catch them as the fish jump the falls.
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Old 08-23-2022, 08:31 PM
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Greenley Greenley is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dowagiac, MI
Posts: 393

Heard any rumors of Canada lifting the vaccine requirement? I wanted to fly the trench to AK this year but was unable due to this requirement. I have heard too many stories of weather issues about the west coast route. Are those condition more moderate in June/July.
Bill Greenley
My RV-10 is now traveling, watch out world!!!!!!
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Old 08-23-2022, 08:57 PM
Norman CYYJ Norman CYYJ is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Victoria B.C.
Posts: 1,522

The conditions are typically best in June/July but the extremely rugged terrain doesn't improve any. There are NO OUTS if you experience any troubles.
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Old 08-26-2022, 01:01 PM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 2,767

Sorry, been pretty sick with COVID since OSH, including pneumonia, but thought I would chime in here.

Having flown to Alaska 4 times in the last 9 years, my experience is that it's really getting to be too late to head there this year. I know I talked to one of you regarding the timing, and want to thank you for listening.

Alaska can test the best of us. We were witness to 3 people pushing the weather on one of our trips and they paid with their lives. It can be quite sobering.

It is also the penultimate destination/journey for flying your own aircraft. You will see things that can only be seen from the air, and create a lifetime of memories. I assure you that most of the rest of your flying will be boring after having gone to Alaska.

It takes planing and patience. We usually start about 8-10 months in advance. Be prepared for the schedule to to not mean anything. The weather systems are numerous, with lots of localized conditions, due to high mountains, cold waters, and the usual solar heating, and the weather will change from forecasted good VFR when you depart to low IFR upon your arrival.

I've written a series of columns that are being published in Sport Aviation on how to plan, prep, and fly to/from Alaska. I think the first one may be published already, but watch for the remiander over the next few months. Hopefully, they will be of value to those of you planning to go in the near future, meaning next year at the earliest.

As for the Trench vs. the coast, there are pros and con's on each. The trick going up the coast is to go at low tide and with tailwinds. It's still about 3.5-4 hours to Ketchikan from Bellingham, WA. The Trench certainly keeps you over land, but it is very unforgiving in it's own way. Plus, inland there are the fires to contend with. They are huge. The first time I saw one I thought it was a nuclear explosion. Flying in the smoke is not an option, as visibilities can go to zero instantly.

Will all of it's risks and stress, flying Alaska is one of the very best aviation adventures. The Alaskans are super friendly, and I have yet to see a picture that does the scenery justice.

Just take the time to plan it properly, have patience, and did I tell you enough to not be on a schedule???

Vic Syracuse

Built RV-4, RV-6, 2-RV-10's, RV-7A, RV-8, Prescott Pusher, Kitfox Model II, Kitfox Speedster, Kitfox 7 Super Sport, Just Superstol, DAR, A&P/IA, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor, CFII-ASMEL/ASES/RW
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Old 08-26-2022, 02:08 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 8,702

Originally Posted by vic syracuse View Post
Just take the time to plan it properly, have patience, and did I tell you enough to not be on a schedule???

+1 Absolutely perfectly said.
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Old 08-26-2022, 03:26 PM
Norman CYYJ Norman CYYJ is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Victoria B.C.
Posts: 1,522

One thing about the trench and flying the Alaskan hwy there is some where to land. Not much beach up the west coast except a few spots and as you said when the tide is out. It all depends on your personal risk levels. The locals here take the trench and you are right the wx can change almost in a heart beat from full VFR to below IFR just around the corner.
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Old 08-26-2022, 06:20 PM
RV7ator RV7ator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 1,033
Default Another Perspective

Weather along the coast can be quite nice in May. My daughter, a Juneauite, says the past two winter/spring transitions were weird, though. My most recent trip in mid-July saw the bluebird wx drop to low IFR fall/winter-like in 24 hours. Clear days since have been rare. Thinking IFR? Watch out for those MEAs, MDAs/DH. And if it's undercast, what's to see?

To the OP, planning a 7-day loop from Georgia out the Aleutians is beyond optimistic. How about a two+ week trip and enjoy Alaska?

For those listening who have less fuel and small bladders, the coast actually has more airports and closer spaced than inland, especially north of Prince George. Many days offer decent VFR, but you have to be comfortable with 15-2,500 ceilings yet visibilities are usually beyond 10 miles, or you will be waiting it out - a lot. Get a feel for it by watching the FAA webcams.

The Trench is really desolate. And if you must land in Canada (fuel, bladder, etc.) reentering the US is a PITA exiting from Yukon. Ketchikan is quite understanding of wx difficulties. Therefore, my choice is almost always the coast. I suggest overnighting in Smithers, BC. Fly the Skeena River to the coast, Ketchikan and onwards. Utterly spectacular! Topping off in Juneau/Haines/Skagway will let you easily overfly what remains of western Canada, then back into the US, no customs required. The AK Gulf and Prince William Sound up to Whittier or Seward is rather empty, fewer options, and more variable wx than inland.

You'll enjoy FSS service in AK (and Canada). They retained the old pre-Lockheed lower 48 model of answering the phone, don't read you the FARs, responding immediately to your request. They have windows.

John Siebold
Boise, ID

Last edited by RV7ator : 08-26-2022 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 08-27-2022, 01:09 PM
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flightlogic flightlogic is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 1,680
Default Yup, what Vic Said

Started doing those trips in 1977. The coastal route is way above my risk tolerance, though I did a tailwind run in a Cessna 210 once. Ketchikan to Seattle in record time. Still uncomfortable most of the way. Lack of oxygen probably kept the anxiety down somewhat.
Plan for next year. Stay inland.... have fun. Take friends with planes.
"Kindness is never a bad plan."

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