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YLL on Tour...

FltPlan Go with the ship’s position is a great help whilst trying to find one’s way on a large US airport. N2 is my stand, and it looks kinda comical parking my little bird on a stand more accustomed to B747s or similar sized aircraft

Two CBP officers come to YLL, and I’m allowed to open the canopy (one of the measures one better knows about before border crossing in the US…). “ah, you’re the one from Northway” is the welcome speech
Once biometrics and interview complete, I’m officially let loose in the US, and free to go.

One thing on which I had decided before the trip, is to never, whatever the circumstances, let go of my sense of humour and keep my lack of patience under control. Whatever happened I was able to take with a smile, being so happy and lucky to to make this tour! Every day of it

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

A few departure vectors later it is now a short and pleasant flight to Talkeetna.

As #2 behind heavy…

Alaskan sceneries

A beautiful area, with Denali (ex Mount McKinley) throning in the background, finally smokeless air, a very neat airport, and David, the owner/pilot of Sheldon Air Service, all welcome me

Talkeetna city

and it’s airport

YLL’s engine still being warm, no time is lost, and she is rolled into the hangar and I start on the 50h inspection…

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Day 13
PATK Talkeetna – PAUN Unalakleet – PATK Talkeetna

YLL is buttoned up, everything is fine, but for the engine driven fuel pump. I have noticed blue fuel residue marks on my left wheel pant, where the overboard hose of said fuel pump exits, a couple of days ago. The pressure is still in normal range, and since my steed is very redundant with another 2 electrical fuel pumps, I decide to continue the tour. I order a new fuel pump from ACS, and give Van’s Aircraft at Aurora airport as the delivery address for later pick-up and replacement.

Once this is done, I decide on a flight out to the West coast and back. The goal is Denali and a look at the West coast, maybe even give the bird to the other side

The weather is fantastic, and I set out for Denali.

Approaching it, the conditions are exceptional.

I have been there a couple of times on previous occasions, whilst flying rentals during lay-overs at PANC, but never saw the mountain in it’s entirerity… today all faces and adjoining peaks are visible, so I keep climbing. The summit has been measured peaking at 20’194 feet (6’155 m). The O2 cannula tickling my nostrils, I continue to climb. And climb more. The air is still and smooth as silk, with the ND showing a mere 5kts of wind, visibility unlimited. Reaching an indicated 20’500ft, I stop the climb.

The non-turboed engine slowly gasps for air, but according Jim Petty’s excellent app AircraftPower (using the original Lycosaurus power tables) still produces 85hp, or 47% of its rated power… I guess slightly less for my tired engine, but I’m now face to face with the summit and level out

The view is well, how can I describe it now? Say stupefying and transcendent

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

I then start a slow descend to the West. This side of the Alaskan range is unfortunately also subject to forest fires, and the smoke gets dense.

It gets worse when approaching the coast and the destination Unalakleet. I program an RNAV approach but can finally fly using external visual cues.

Unalakleet beach…

The town itself is well, not really attractive. The natives, or the rest of the population as a matter of fact, seem to spend their time driving up and down the streets on their ATVs. The place is littered with plastic drums, snow mobiles or aluminum fishing boats in different state of repair…

This makes me realise once more how good my own situation is…

Last Edited by Dan at 30 Aug 21:19
ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

For the return flight I follow the coast some…

… then turn East, and smile when rejoining the astounding scenery around Talkeetna… Alaska as I know it

Last Edited by Dan at 30 Aug 21:24
ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Dan wrote:

Reaching an indicated 20’500ft, I stop the climb

Out of interest, I thought max VFR altitude in the US is 18 k ft with airspace Alpha above.

Amazing pictures really, Dan! Keep them coming!


Alaska as I know it

From your airline pilot flights?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Airline and private… I’ve been fortunate enough to spend, for a period of about 20 years, most of my vacations in the US, flying and criss-crossing the country in rental airplanes
On the pro side, flying charter as an Engineer, one of our destinations (amongst others in the US) was Anchorage… but man, it wasn’t at all as busy as it is today…

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Day 14
PATK Talkeetna – CKU Cordova Muni – PAJN Juneau

Time to leave… unfortunately some weather is moving in on Alaska… The initial plan and POI was to visit the Aleutian Islands, but low clouds and rain have me cancel my hotel reservation at Kodiak, and head down the Pacific coast.
First stop will be Cordova, a place I remember with affection from being weathered-in for a couple of days, many years ago, during another trip.

Enroute weather is great, and so is the scenery. First coastal glaciers and icebergs appear, some of the sights are similar to Greenland, but everything is smaller…

Approaching Cordova, the harbour is, as usual in the morning, covered with a blanket of fog, but the gravel bar is a little bit further, and next to the lake in the clear. I land and taxi the aircraft across the road to park.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Breathtaking Dan, thanks so much for sharing.

Folks, how about me trying to talk Dan into dragging a group of us along to repeat this next year? He seems to know the way. Surely, he’d be kind enough to throttle back a bit for me.

Last Edited by aart at 31 Aug 07:06
Private field, Mallorca, Spain
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