Alaska 2017

 



 

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Day by day

 

Expedition is over

Thank you all, who "flew" wtih me. See you next time, friends! Jiri Prusa

 

 
Alaska 2017 Expedition, Pilot´s closing word, Paine Field

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map.

 

 

Day 16, Thursday, June 1 

Boundary Bay - Paine Field

 

The last day of the Alaska expedition started with rain, dysfunctional iPAD that runs the navigation application and with broken internet connection. The plan was to fly first some 20 minutes to Bellingham in the U.S., clear the customs there and then fly another about 30 minutes to Paine Field. 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Flight over Whistler

Departure from Vancouver Boundary Bay airfield went fine. However, I got very quickly into low hanging clouds over the sea. The tower allowed me to deviate from them which I did. Then other clouds showed up and their base was somewhere at the sea level. In the end I was surrounded by fog and had to use artificial horizon not to lose spatial orientation.

 

Jiri Prusa in his alaska´s Cessna 172.Zoom gallery
Jiri Prusa in his alaska´s Cessna 172.

 

Welcome on return by Nortwhay Chief instruktor Jeff BoselliZoom gallery
Welcome on return by Nortwhay Chief instruktor Jeff Boselli

Within a very short period of time I asked the tower for help and they gave me another frequency where to ask. It was Victoria centre and the controller was very understanding, calm and friendly – a real help.

With his guidance I managed to avoid all other traffic, get where I needed to be and after some orbiting I got a special VFR (reduced minima) clearance for approaching and landing at Bellingham.

So in the end this flight lasted more double the expected time and it proved to be one of the most difficult parts of the expedition. Also, it was my first time that I had to ask for assistance from the ground … 

The customs control at Bellingham was finished in a matter of minutes but the airport got closed for VFR traffic due to bad weather. I had to wait till about 2 p.m. (some 4 hours) for the weather to improve. I landed at Paine Field at 2.30 p.m. I was happy that I could return the aircraft in the same condition at which I took it over 2 weeks ago. I have flown it for 74 hours and made 32 landings.  

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map.

 


Day 15, Wednesday, May 31 

Kelowna - Boundary Bay

 

Weather in Kelowna was quite promising on Wednesday morning. My itinerary therefore included flying over a mountain gold mine and photographing mountains and glaciers in the area of Whistler. However, after departure from runway 16 I kept trying to turn right to the West unsuccessfully for a long time. The clouds in that direction were very high and thick so I had to fly a long way to the South before I could turn. This prevented me from flying over the Muscot gold mine. The weather got somewhat better by the time that I reached the area of Whistler but it did not get good enough for me to fly around the Whistler mountains and glaciers. I did not want to become globally famous by cutting the cable of the Whistler Two mountain cable car of which I know is there somewhere but I am not familiar with its exact location.

 

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On my way I landed at a nice little airport of Pemberton to refuel. Then I decided to land once more at Squamish airport to find someone with whom to consult my transition through the Vancouver area. Fortunately I found a very pleasant instructor who took me through the whole procedure. In addition I bought here a detailed map of the area with all the navigation points, frequencies etc. None of my maps and navigation applications contained all such detail. The transition is quite complex. For your interest it is briefly described below.  I was lucky as I was allowed to fly exactly the routing I wished. The only problem was the mist over Vancouver which is seen on the photographs. 

After flying through the Harbour airport zone I turned to the South through the zone of Vancouver International airport and after a couple of minutes I reached Vancouver Boundary Bay. It is obviously a very frequented airport as was “number 5” for landing. At about 4.30 p.m. I landed at its runway 07. 

The flight on Thursday will only include two short hops – one to Bellingham on the U.S. side to go through the customs/immigration and then some 40 minutes to Paine Field. 

Brief description of the Vancouver transition: Listening in to the ATIS information of Vancouver Harbour airport over the reporting point “Horseshoe”, requesting the airport TOWER for transition from West to East over Third Beach, Harbour Bay and Bridge points at altitude 2000 feet. Note and confirm all the instructions, set squak code. Maintain exact itinerary and altitude is essential given the amount of traffic in the area. After some 3-4 minutes of flight change of frequency to the tower of Vancouver International, descending to 1500 msl feet (to avoid traffic landing at Vancouver International) over high rise buildings that are surprisingly close, simultaneously listening to the ATIS information of Vancouver Bay airport, changing frequency to the “outer Tower” of Vancouver Boundary Bay, entry into the circuit, changing frequency to “inner Tower”, following their instructions and landing. Given the fact that the whole flight takes some 10-12 minutes, there is little time for looking around and photographing the area….

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map.


 

Day 14, Tuesday, May 30

Hinton Jasper - Kelowna


We breakfasted together with a young man who did some repair job at the airport of Jasper-Hinton when I landed there. It was great since he offered me a lift to the town which was quite far away. As the airport was otherwise completely abandoned and I did not have any phone numbers, I would have had to use my sleeping bag – less comfy. 

As every morning I checked the weather and realised that it rained in the Vancouver area and the bad weather was coming to the East. Since I had to fly over the Rocky mountains for about 90 minutes over peaks with altitude of about 12500 feet it was critical to fly in good weather. Trying to overfly the Rockies in low visibility or clouds would not be a great idea. I therefore cut my plan somewhat shorter and cancelled the originally planned objective to reach the U.S./Canada border. 

 

Athabasca glacierZoom gallery
Athabasca glacier

 

At around 9 o´clock I departed towards Jesper n.p. and then south towards Banff n.p. I reached the border between the two parks which also happens to be the border between Alberta and British Columbia. I flew over the beautiful mountains and glaciers in the area and photographed as much as I could. Then I turned South-west and continued towards the airport of Kelowna. There the temperature was some 29 degrees Celsius and the meteo information showed thunderstorms between Kelowna, Pemberton and Vancouver. I therefore decided to stop flying today and stay at Kelowna for the night.

The forecast for tomorrow seems to be better so I trust I will reach Paine Field as planned, i.e. on Thursday. 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map

 

 

Day 13, Monday, May 29

Dease Lake - Hinton Jasper

 

There was a lot of flying today – altogether about 7 hours. I needed to cover some distance because I need already to fine tune my return to Paine Field. My departure for Frankfurt is on Saturday but I am planning to return to Paine Field on Thursday in order to have some buffer in case of bad weather or any other problem. Also, all today´s journey was against a strong headwind of some 15-20 knots from the south which cost some flight time.

 


Jasper National Park

 

The first part led me from Dease Lake to Prince George. I included in the flight a visit to a little settlement called Telegraph Creek. It was named after a project to install a telegraph cable from America to Europe via Siberia some time in 1866. The project in the end failed but the name and the settlement have remained…

There is also a little airport over which I made a low pass before flying towards the sleeping volcano of Mount Edziza. After taking lots of photos of the impressive mountain I continued to Port George. There I quickly refuelled and flew on over the Canadian Rockies via Mt Robson and Jasper national park. At about 5 p.m. I landed at Hinton Jasper airport. 

 

Jasper national parkZoom gallery
Jasper national park

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map


Flying Revue expedition
”sahara”

See our another expedition, too: USA, Sahara, Islands of North See, Caribic etc..

All the expeditions you can see on the Flying Revue website here.



 

Day 12, Sunday, May 28 

Dawson City - Dease Lake


On my way to the airport of Dawson City I stopped at a shed where Jack London spent the winter of 1900. Here he was gathering the material and worked on the stories which then made him famous. Before departing I had to give way to a B737 which, somehow surprisingly, was taking off from the gravel runway of Dawson City airport. At 9 o´clock, I too departed and did a lot flying over the river Klondike and Yukon as well as the creek Bonanza. Traces of previous and current gold mining can be seen everywhere. Dawson City is beautifully located on the confluence of Yukon and Klondike rivers so I enjoyed the views and made a lot of photos. 

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Dawson City - Dease Lake

 

Jiri Prusa greets the readers of Flying Revue from his Cessna 172. Zoom gallery
Jiri Prusa greets the readers of Flying Revue from his Cessna 172.

Then my journey took me over a somewhat more grown up tundra – brownish grass and bushes, to Mayo, a settlement of about 400 people some 70 miles south-east of Dawson city. Here I spent about twenty minutes speaking with the local airport tower controller who does not have much traffic to control. From here back to Whitehorse to refuel and then some 3 hours fighting the strong and turbulent headwinds. The final destination of the day was Dease Lake – a small settlement on the tip of Dease Lake. The runway here is luxurious – very long with brand new asphalt cover. After refuelling I found two men willing to take me to a local hotel – here I am now. On Monday I plan to fly via Prince George to Jasper n.p. 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map


 

Day 11, Saturday, May 27 

Juneau- Whitehorse - Dawson City


The last morning in Alaska started with a problem – the controller at Juneau airport advised me that my flight plan to Whitehorse in Canada was not in the system. It was strange since I had a confirmation that it was accepted. I had to radio someone else and start the process of filing a flight via radio. After some 10 minutes the flight plan was finally in the system and I could set off for the flight to Whitehorse.

 

Jezero Bennett v Kanadě, severně od Wnite Pass a Chilkoot Pass – tudy zlatokopové procházeli cestou na Klondike/Bennett lake in Canada, north of White Pass and Chilkoot Pass – here the gold miners traveled on their way to KlondikeZoom gallery
Jezero Bennett v Kanadě, severně od Wnite Pass a Chilkoot Pass – tudy zlatokopové procházeli cestou na Klondike/Bennett lake in Canada, north of White Pass and Chilkoot Pass – here the gold miners traveled on their way to Klondike

 

I chose the route via Coast Mountains which promised and delivered an hour of a wonderful scenery – mountains, glaciers, snow, fjords. Then, over the goldrush mountain passes - White Pass and Chilkoot - I crossed the U.S./Canada border and after some half an hour of flight I landed at Whitehorse airport. The immigration/customs control went smoothly over the phone. When it was completed I departed straight away for Dawson City in the Klondike area where I landed after about two hours of flight. 

More from here tomorrow.

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map

 

 

Day 10, Friday, May 26 

Yakutat - Juneau - Skagway

 

The day started beautifully – morning sunshine and blue sky. The big window at the breakfast room of the guesthouse where I was staying at Yakutat was filled with giant white mountains some reaching almost 20000 feet. “John, can we go to the airport as quickly as possible?” was my request to the landlord after a very fast breakfast. I could not hold my impatience to see all the beauty from the air. John was understanding and in no time, I was at the airport getting the aircraft, the cameras and all the other gear ready for departure. 

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Yakutat - Skagway - Juneau

 
Alaska 2017 Expedition, Skagway, Pilot´s word

 

I departed from runway 20 and after about 15 minutes of flight I was over the magnificent Hubbard glacier. Then I spent flying in the area about an hour. I silently admired the giants Mt. St. Elias, Mt. Logan and all the other mountains around. In addition, I enjoyed the breath-taking views of the monumental glaciers flowing down the valleys between the mountains towards the sea. I did not want to leave…. The trip to the capital of Alaska – Juneau, took me 3 hours instead of the 90 minutes I would need if flying directly but I still had a feeling that I rushed it too quickly.

 

Skagway a White Pass/Skygway and White Pass behindZoom gallery
Skagway a White Pass/Skygway and White Pass behind

 

Klondikers carrying supplies ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898. Foto: Library University WashingtonZoom gallery
Klondikers carrying supplies ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898. Foto: Library University Washington

At Juneau I just refuelled and flew via Favourite Fjord, Lynn Canal and Taiya Inlet to Skagway – the port which was used by up to 100 000 gold miners during the Klondike gold rush of 1896-1900. All of these men had to climb either Chilkoot Pass or White Pass to get to Klondike on the Canadian side of the border.

They were required to have at least one tonne of provisions and materials so they had to make the trip several times. Thus queues of men climbing the snowy passes can be seen on photographs on the internet.

I filmed and photographed both the passes, landed at Skagway airport and then returned to Juneau. On Saturday I plan to fly over to Whitehorse and Dawson city – the centres of the Klondike gold rush.

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map

 

 

Day 9, Thuersday, May 25 

Valdez - Yakutat

 

Rain again. The bad weather that prevented me from flying farther to Aleutian Islands and which I was running away from caught up with me in Valdez…. Anyway, at noon there were a couple of patches of lighter clouds promising improvement. I decided to depart. My destination was unknown at that time as the weather reports from the coastal airports were still not very positive. However inland, the airport of Gulkana had clear skies. I therefore decided to fly over the former copper mines on the Chitina river. Then, weather permitting, turn south-west, cross the mountains, get back to the coast and continue to Yakutak or Juneau.

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Valdez - Yakutat

 

I tried to take a shortcut flying over the Alaska pipeline and Richardson highway. The pass however in the end seemed higher than the cloud base so after some 20 minutes of flight I decided to turn around still before the valley would get too narrow and the clouds too low. So I took the much longer route south of Cordova, alongside the coast towards to the Copper river valley and up north over the river.

The weather on the coast and in the valley was quite difficult – rain, patches of fog, turbulent wind. At the confluence with Chitina river the weather dramatically improved and the skies turned clear. I managed to take photos of the copper mines and turned south-west to cross the mountains over the Tana river valley and glacier. With the highest point of the valley at some 5500 feet I climbed to 7000 feet and fought fierce headwinds blowing at over 40 knots. The wind brought with it clouds from the sea so when I got over the top of the mountains I had to keep climbing to 10000 feet to get above them. 

 

Střední část ledovce Tana/Middle part of Tana glacierZoom gallery
Střední část ledovce Tana/Middle part of Tana glacier

 

When over the coast, I flew at some 500-700 feet as the cloud-base was very low.  Flying south alongside the coast brought me again to Yakutat airport which I left a week ago. After five hours of turbulent flight I had no desire to continue any further.  

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map

 

 

Day 8, Wednesday, May 24 

Valdez

 

Today, after yesterday's beautiful flight over the Kenai peninsula I had a non-flight day at Valdez. I didn´t want it, but the weather was so bad.

So I visited a museum at Valdez, spent some time at the airport and supplemented the pilot's log. The weather is supposed to improve on Friday - perhaps it will be better on Thursday afternoon. I will see. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of Bering Strait and Kenai Peninsula. You can find them below on this page on days 6 and 7.

 

Valdez Airport.Zoom gallery
Valdez Airport.

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map


 

Day 7, Tuesday, May 23 

Unalakleet - Seward - Valdez


Today, the weather at Unalakleet was getting worse as it did at the whole of north-western and western Alaska. I therefore decided to skip Aleutian Islands and fly to Kenai peninsula instead as the  forecast was better for that area. I wished to overfly this part of Alaska for several days but so far it was mostly covered with fog and rain. 

 


Alaska Expedition 2017, Redoubt Volcano and the Kenai Peninsula

 

To stay safe I had to fly over the top of the clouds which were covering the mountains. Therefore I unfortunately did not see and could not document flying over the river Yukon. Then I had to avoid two active military areas and after about three hours of flight I reached a beautiful peak of snowy Redoubt Volcano. Behind it wide blue sea and Kenai peninsula with white peaks of its high mountains.  

So after a total of about 4 hours of flight I landed at Kenai – Homer airport, refuelled and took off immediately not to miss the still good weather. Menacing clouds were already starting to show up so I had to be fast. Flying over Kenai in good weather is like soaring in a fairy tale – long blue fjords, blue sea, white snowy mountains, blue sky, white glaciers, Icebergs floating in the blue water, dozens of green islands…. 

 

Nejzazší cíp fjordu Valdez s letištěm a městečkem Valdez/The insida of Valdez fjord with the airport and town of ValdezZoom gallery
Nejzazší cíp fjordu Valdez s letištěm a městečkem Valdez/The insida of Valdez fjord with the airport and town of Valdez

 

It was difficult to leave this beauty but I had to continue towards the airport of Valdez. During that journey I also overflew prince William´s sound where in 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez crashed and destroyed the whole area for many years to come. Valdez is the southern end of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline so the oil from the North is loaded here onto the tankers. Hopefully the whole process is somewhat safer these days.

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map



 

Day 6, Monday, May 22

Unalakleet - Bering Strait - Unalakleet


I left Unalakleet at about 8 a.m. This was a big day for me – I planned to fly over the Little Diomede island laying in the Bering strait. It is the westernmost island of Alaska and next to it is Grand Diomede island which already belongs to Russia. During the flight I contacted Anchorage centre to get a permission to enter the ADIZ (military zone) which surrounds the island. The controller was helpful, gave me a squawk and asked me to communicate further with Nome radio. At about 10.45 a.m. I overflew the settlement of Wales at the westernmost tip of the Alaskan mainland and at about 10.55 I was over Little Diomede island.

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Flight through Bering Strait

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Pilot´s word, Unalakleet

 

I did not want to cause any international problem between the USA and Russia so I was very careful not to cross to border line between the two countries. Therefore, I could see Grand Diomede (Russian) only from the side. Each of the islands was covered by its own cloud so I had to descend a bit lower to see them more clearly. I managed to photograph and film them both at the same time so that it would be visible where the border between Russia and USA as well as the date line lead. It is funny to think that the Grand Diomede island is actually one day (24 hours) ahead of the Little Diomede located just about a mile away… 

 

Americký ostrov Malý Diomed (vpředu) a ruský Velký Diomed. Mezi nimi vede jak hranice mezi USA a Ruskem tak také datová hranice./US island Little Diomede (in the front) and Russian Great Diomede. The USA/Russia border lies in the strait between them. Also, the date line runs through the strait.Zoom gallery
Americký ostrov Malý Diomed (vpředu) a ruský Velký Diomed. Mezi nimi vede jak hranice mezi USA a Ruskem tak také datová hranice./US island Little Diomede (in the front) and Russian Great Diomede. The USA/Russia border lies in the strait between them. Also, the date line runs through the strait.

 

When this part of my mission was completed I flew beck towards the impressive rocks on the Alaskan mainland. Then over a lot of ice and icebergs towards Nome. Here I landed after a flight of about one hour and had an oil change done. The mechanic was very quick so I could leave at about 4 p.m. back to Unalakleet and escape the arriving rain. Also, “my landlord” at Unalakleet “always” makes me a great breakfast. 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map



 

Day 5, Sunday, May 21

Kodiak - Unalakleet


Unbelievable, the day started with a sun and blue sky. It made me extremely impatient and I rushed off to the airport without any delay. I had to overcome a gated entrance and run around a bit to find someone who would sell me fuel. The minute the tanks were full, the engine got started and I took off into the sunshine and blue sky.

 

Západní výběžek ostrova Kodiak/Western tip of Kodiak IslandZoom gallery
Západní výběžek ostrova Kodiak/Western tip of Kodiak Island

 

I was flying for about 40 minutes westwards in order to see and film the whole of Kodiak Island. Over the western end I turned to the North. The next three hours I flew over the tundra. 

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Pilot´s word, Kodiak


Alaska expedition 2017, Kodiak - Analakleet

 

Another two hours and I landed at Bethel to refuel. Fuel they had but no one to sell it as it is Sunday. I decided to continue. After another two hours of flight I landed at Unalakleet with not much fuel left. However, I managed to refuel straight away despite the fact that it is Sunday. In the end I decided to stay here for the night. The village looks very interesting and I was somewhat tired...

At Unalakleet is unfortunately bad internet, so pohotos and videos I will send to Prague tomorrow (I hope). 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map



 

Day 4, Saturday, May 20

Cordova - Kodiak


Again – morning rain. To break the pessimism of bad weather I decided to change my tactics – I will fly where the weather seems better. This decision proved to be right. A seasoned Alaska pilot, meteorologist and devoted Flying Revue reader at Cordova airport (see picture) gave me some advice and recommendations and I departed. The journey took me through Copper River valley and a very beautiful Matanuska River valley. The weather east of the coastal mountain range started improving. I therefore decided to land at Talkeetna airport, refuel and set off for Denali, the highest peak (6190 metres) in the whole of Northern America. 

 


Alaska expedition 2017, Cordova - Kodiak

Denali Mountain 6190 m with Traleika glacier on the leftZoom gallery
Denali Mountain 6190 m with Traleika glacier on the left

 

The outside temperature was about minus 18 degrees C so taking pictures with an open window required some courage. When the flight around Denali was finished I turned to the West, passed north of Anchorage, flew alongside the beautiful coast of Cook Inlet and overflew the volcano island of Augustine. From here directly to Kodiak Island. The weather close to the coast of the island was quite foggy so it required a bit of meandering with the help of my 3D map to avoid the island peaks which were higher than I was. Then at 18.30 after a total of about 8,5 hours of flying I landed at Kodiak Island.

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map



 

Day 3, Friday, May 19

Yakutat - Cordova


I got woken up at Yakutat at about 4 a.m. by the noise of heavy rain. It was a bit of a disappointment since I decided yesterday that today the weather would be nice. There was no point in getting up too quickly so I stayed in bed until breakfast. In the end I departed sometime after 10 a.m. The plan was to fly as far as the weather permits. The weather allowed me to fly for about two hours – I followed the coast up to Cordova. There the mist, fog and rain became a bit too much so I decided to land.

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Pilot´s word, Yakutat

 

Letiště Cordova s B737 Alaska Airlines, který přistál 3 minuty přede mnou/Cordova airport with a Alaska Airlines B737 landing 3 minutes before meZoom gallery
Letiště Cordova s B737 Alaska Airlines, který přistál 3 minuty přede mnou/Cordova airport with a Alaska Airlines B737 landing 3 minutes before me

 

When I tuned the Cordova airport frequency I got a surprise that a Boeing 737 of Alaska Airlines was on final approach to runway 27. My original plan was to land about one or two minutes later. It is very unusual to be landing at an uncontrolled (non-towered) airport together with a transport aircraft. We agreed with the B737 pilot that I would hold west of the runway until he landed and vacated it.

 

After leaving the aircraft into the heavy rain I entered the FAA airport met office and found a very pleasant and helpful lady who supported my decision not to continue with my flight. The visibility was getting worse quite quickly. She then called her son who drove me to a hotel. Extremely nice welcome to Cordova!

For tomorrow I have decided that the weather will indeed be good so I am planning to get closer to the Aleutian islands which are one of the objectives of this trip. 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. The wetter and webcams in Alaska you can see on this FAA map



 

Day 2, Thursday, May 18

Port Hardy - Juneau - Yakutat


Port Hardy International airport was empty at 7 a.m. yesterday. Therefore. I had to leave for the 5-hour flight to Juneau without any breakfast. Soon after my departure the weather started deteriorating – low clouds pushed me down so I flew at some 700 feet over the water. When it begun raining and the visibility further deteriorated I considered returning to Port Hardy. Luckily the rain stopped after some 10 minutes so I continued. The flight took me over the area of the Inside Passage – a beautiful combination of sea, islands and mainland. After about 3 hours of flight I reached the northernmost piece of Canadian west coast – Prince Rupert Island, 2 hours of flight south of Juneau.

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition, Pilot´s word, Port Hardy


Alaska expedition 2017, Port Hardy - Yakutat

 

To reach the airport of Juneau I had to fly through one of the fjords leading up to it as the clouds were low. The issue is that these fjords are quite narrow and there are more aircraft flying both ways. The visibility was reduced by fog and rain so the last part of the flight was a bit tricky. Juneau, the capital of Alaska does not have any road/rail connection with the outside world. It is blocked off by the Rockies.

After landing I was guided to a designated area marked by red lines and had to wait for the customs. Because of the weather I could not make a flight over the two passes which were used by the tens of thousands gold miners who came to Yukon and Klondike at the turn of the 19/20th century. In the end I gave up even my alternative plan to stay in Juneau for the night – the forecast for Friday was much worse so I decided to leave Juneau and fly to a small settlement of Yukatat. The journey was beautiful – clouds were quite high so I could enjoy fantastic scenery – glaciers, islands, beaches… On the way when flying low over the beaches I spotted a bear – the first in my life! 

Dolní část ledovce Grand Plateau/Lower part of  Grand Plateau glacierZoom gallery
Dolní část ledovce Grand Plateau/Lower part of Grand Plateau glacier

 

For those who are interested in history – one interesting piece of information: The capital of Alaska is named after Joseph Juneau (1836–1899) who was a miner and prospector from Canada. The town received its name at a miners´ meeting on December 14, 1881 in which Joe Juneau reportedly bought drinks for fellow miners to persuade them to name the city in his honor. He succeeded….

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. 

 

 

 

Day 1, Wednesday, May 17

Everett - Port Hardy


I spent the morning by loading the aircraft, preparing my flight plan, tuning up all the cameras, checking the aircraft systems etc. The big moment came at 1.30 p.m. – I got the engine started, taxied to runway 16 R and took off for destination Port Hardy. It took me about 40 minutes to get to the border with Canada. The original plan was to overfly and photograph Vancouver but heavy traffic to its main airport and bad weather ruined my plans. About 30 miles south of Vancouver I had to turn west and continue alongside the coast of Vancouver Island. I hope I will get another opportunity to fly over Vancouver at the end of my expedition.

 


Alaska 2017, Pilot´s word, day 1, Everett SdíletVložitE-mail

 

The weather was gradually improving as I was heading north. At the same time the snowline altitude was coming down from the original about 3500 feet to some 3000 around Port Hardy. I will see where it ends up in Alaska… 

 


Alaska 2017 Expedition: Everett - Port Hardy, day 1, May 17

 

Landing at Port Hardy meant looking for customs/immigration people. Finally, I managed to sort it out by telephone so I am legally in Canada for this one night. The plan for tomorrow (Thursday) is to continue flying to the north. The first leg to the capital of Alaska – Juneau. Subject to weather I would the like to continue further north still tomorrow.

 

The strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland.Zoom gallery
The strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

 

If you are interested here is a couple of words on general Vancouver who has given his name to the beautiful city on the western coast of Canada and the very long island over which I flew today more than an hour. Georges Vancouver (1757 – 1798) was one of Britain´s greatest explorers and navigators. He was an officer of the Royal Navy, best known for his 1791–95 expedition, which explored and charted North America´s northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.

See you tomorrow. 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here. 

 

 

Preparations

 

 

Finding an airplane for an Alaska expedition was not easy. There was no suitable aircraft available in Alaska itself so I was happy to find a Cessna C172 at Paine Field, north of Seattle. This means, however, about 15 additional flight hours getting to/from Alaska. The reward is that I should get the opportunity to see beautiful Canadian coast and fly over Canadian Rockies with several iconic locations – Klondike, Yukon, Inside Passage and a lot of glaciers and peaks. I hope the weather will allow me to enjoy the views at least a little bit. Weather is my main concern on this trip….

Monday, May 15, last I have flown from Prague to Seattle and from there I got to Paine Field. By the way it is here that most of the Boeing aircraft which we all know are made – B747, B767, B777 etc. When taking off on Tuesday for my mandatory check ride, I followed a brand new Dreamliner which was taking off for her maiden flight. My check-ride went fine so I was finally approved to rent the C172.

The insurance company initially had an issue with me flying the aircraft to Alaska but in the end they agreed. They just increased my liability and wanted me to prove I could fly in bad visibility conditions. 

Tuesday, May 16, p.m. I spent buying food rations in case I got stranded somewhere in the wilderness this is mandatory and I should have food for at least a week. Also, I should be able to fight off bears but I am not certain how to go about that – will have to ask :-).

My Cessna 172 at the Paine Field, Everett, Washington.Zoom gallery
My Cessna 172 at the Paine Field, Everett, Washington.

Then I had to study the maze of  procedures for international VFR flights between USA and Canada and Canada - USA. This is because I cannot overfly Canada without landing and refuelling. The procedures are somewhat complex and I do not want to make a mistake. As a foreigner in both the countries I am a suspect by definition. 

Today (Wednesday, May, 17) morning I will get the aircraft and myself ready for the trip and I want to leave at around 21.00 UTC/GMT time for Port Hardy in Canada. As with all the Flying Revue expeditions you will be able to see the actual position of the aircraft on an on-line map. Also, I will be posting photos, videos and daily updates as much as I will be able to make and prepare these.

I will much appreciate your support by following the expedition on the web.

Thanks a lot, Jiri 

 

All articles, photos and videos from the expedition you can find at the bottom of this page, an on-line map with the movement of the aircraft is at the beginning of this page. Detailed map of Alaska you can see here.  

 

Maps of Alaska

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Articles

Maps of Alaska

Click on the maps below to zoom in to a detailed view. více