Backcountry Pilot • Moving to Alaska

Moving to Alaska

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Re: Moving to Alaska

Well said Troy.

OXB, yes KTN is really busy in the summer. I think busier than Juneau which has a tower. The Flight Service guys down there are really organized.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Troy Hamon wrote:The premise that scud running is dangerous is based on the assumption that it is a failure to manage risks appropriately. An instrument rating does provide another window into a different way to manage risks. But with the terrain and icing conditions in Alaska, it really can be safer to fly in what you may have learned to regard as marginal conditions by keeping beneath the clouds.

If you want a pretty good explanation of how to do it safely, as well as how to manage the risks associated with it, my friend Bob Adkins did a great job of explaining it in his book Panhandle Pilot.


What I meant by my previous post is that my experience with scud running is less because I have just filed IFR or avoided flying in marginal conditions when they exist. In this regard, I am going to have to take incremental steps or risk killing myself. My environment will be changing and finding a comfort level for marginal conditions is going to take some getting used to. One thing is for sure, though, I must assess my skills and experience and assign personal limits and adhere to them. There are a lot of pilots out there that get away with high risk behaviors and seem to think that because they narrowly escaped a bad situation, that it's OK to repeat it because the outcome did not result in disaster.

You are right that the instrument rating is a another way to manage risk. However, in addition to icing and terrain it introduces a lot more spacial orientation and situational awareness factors that are perhaps more inherently risky than scud running so I wholly concur that staying below the clouds is likely a better (safer) strategy and I will be certain to by the book and learn to ease into marginal condition flying. I am not too proud to hire a local instructor to assist either so if anyone has a lead on a good one, please let me know. Already thought about hiring one to fly with me from Washington to Ketchikan when I bring the plane. That may be the smartest way to get there safely and get comfortable with marginal VFR.

I almost sold the 172 it in favor of keeping a kit plane my dad and I have been building. However, being able to make some mods to my already overly STC'd tailwheel converted 172 through field approvals that I cannot seem to take advantage of in the lower 48 is intriguing and my dad needs something to do to ease the boredom of retirement.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

There are a lot of pilots out there that get away with high risk behaviors and seem to think that because they narrowly escaped a bad situation, that it's OK to repeat it because the outcome did not result in disaster.


Not to drift the thread too far here, but....

There's scud running, and there's scud running. Blasting along under a lowering cloud deck in unfamiliar territory not having a clue what's around you, is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

Flying a few feet off ground/water you know intimately, and have a Plan B, C, and D locked and loaded, and know when to execute them immediately if needed, is business as usual in lots of that part of the world. If you're prepared, and well educated to "your" neighborhood, it's about as risky as driving your car down the road on a cloudy day.

Going IFR in a Cessna 172 is way down on my list of escape plans while scud running in that country. With a good moving map GPS... If I got backed into no other choice, of course I would. But I'd be sweating bullets.

I have property on the northwest coast of British Columbia, 85 miles down a twisty-turney fjord. It goes from sea level to 9,000 feet in about a mile. Place is vertical. I've been flying it for thirty years now, and know every nook and cranny, both at high and low tides. It's amazing how well you can get around with low ceilings.

But... The trick is to learn what days to trust those ceilings, and when to sit in the cabin and drink coffee. And that just comes with experience with your local weather.

Gump
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Hi,
I lived in Ketchikan for 6 years. I have a Taylorcraft. I had my plane up there parked on the ramp for some of those years. The fabric was run out anyway but now my plane needs a total restoration. Birds ate parts of the top of my wings. The rate of corrosion in Southeast is truly amazing if you are from the lower 48. The lower ramp where your aircraft will be parked gets a lot of sea spray and mist from the narrows. Ketchikan is where some aircraft go to die. There are several examples on the ramp that will never move under their own power again. It is doable to have your plane there, just plan multiplying your annual maintenance by a factor of 10. I am friends with a former Pro-mech mechanic and they have a large staff of mechanics that work full time year round just to maintain a fleet that does most of its flying in the summer. Most people who own their own planes in Ketchikan have them on floats and have the knowledge and experience to do their own maintenance. There are no hangers you can rent, but I did see one for float hanger for sale recently. All that being said one of the first things I want to do when I retire is restore my plane, put the floats on it and fly it around Ketchikan for a summer. It is one of the most awesome places you could fly a floatplane. Its not easy to have a plane there, but if you wanted life to just be easy, you would not be moving to Ketchikan. If you need help finding a place to stay or any other questions, send me a message.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

naten7 wrote: Birds ate parts of the top of my wings.


Wow, that would suck!!!

Oh, good first post you Former Lurker, you... :D :D
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Ravens have been known to park on top of a fabric plane to eat their lunch/breakfast. A little pecking at that grub may involve a miss or two with the pecker, which pokes a hole or two in the fabric. Bird then picks at that frayed fabric, making hole larger......pretty soon, your whole tail feathers are stripped.....

Ya gotta love ravens....as Gump says, if they had oppose able thumbs, they'd rule the world.

MTV
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Re: Moving to Alaska

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Re: Moving to Alaska

"There's scud running, and there's scud running. Blasting along under a lowering cloud deck in unfamiliar territory not having a clue what's around you, is nothing but a recipe for disaster."

Dam Gump wish u would have told me that 30 yrs ago..... #-o Wouldn't have all this grey hair :wink:
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Dam Gump wish u would have told me that 30 yrs ago..... Wouldn't have all this grey hair


Shit, part of the reason why I got NO hair..... Flying inside those tiny milk bottles wore it all off.

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Re: Moving to Alaska

mtv wrote:Ravens have been known to park on top of a fabric plane to eat their lunch/breakfast. A little pecking at that grub may involve a miss or two with the pecker, which pokes a hole or two in the fabric. Bird then picks at that frayed fabric, making hole larger......pretty soon, your whole tail feathers are stripped.....

Ya gotta love ravens....as Gump says, if they had oppose able thumbs, they'd rule the world.

MTV


I hate those sons of bitches.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

gbflyer wrote:
mtv wrote:Ravens have been known to park on top of a fabric plane to eat their lunch/breakfast. A little pecking at that grub may involve a miss or two with the pecker, which pokes a hole or two in the fabric. Bird then picks at that frayed fabric, making hole larger......pretty soon, your whole tail feathers are stripped.....

Ya gotta love ravens....as Gump says, if they had oppose able thumbs, they'd rule the world.

MTV


I hate those sons of bitches.


Hey, They were here first.....

They can be a bit "curious" at times, no doubt.....

But, I swear they have a sense of humor. One spring in Kodiak, the pilots who parked on the city dock in town were losing pump out plugs from their floats at night, while parked. There was talk of maybe the fish spotters were making off with them....but by the dozen?

Finally, one morning, I needed to launch very early, and when I went down to the dock, a raven was working his way down the float of my Beaver, plucking the plugs out of each pump out, and pitching them in the water.....and the tide was running pretty hard, so a six or seven knot current. I looked down the channel, and there was a string of plugs headed out to sea.... #-o

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Re: Moving to Alaska

Absolute pains in the ass, but by far my favorite critter in the far north. I think we humans in our arrogance really underestimate the intelligence of other species on this planet. Ravens ranking right up there near the top.

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Re: Moving to Alaska

How do you post a picture on this? I will put one of the rust on my plane if I can figure this out.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Ravens are way too damned smart!!
Can open the trunk on a snow machine...the one in the seat that's velcroed close....and pull out your lunch before you even know what's going on. Old Faithful in February with all the terrorists on rental sleds is a veritable buffet!
Oh and God forbid you leave a sack of dog food in the back of the pickup!
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Sierra Victor wrote:Oh and God forbid you leave a sack of dog food in the back of the pickup!


x2.

Those things are ridiculous.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Well, apparently, we need a raven thread on here... :lol:

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Re: Moving to Alaska

Sierra Victor wrote:Ravens are way too damned smart!!
Can open the trunk on a snow machine...the one in the seat that's velcroed close....and pull out your lunch before you even know what's going on. Old Faithful in February with all the terrorists on rental sleds is a veritable buffet!
Oh and God forbid you leave a sack of dog food in the back of the pickup!


Well, not to drift too far here, but.....

Try waking up in the AM to an odd noise outside, and peeking out the window to find a brown bear in the back of your truck. Nothing in there but a little leftover blood from that caribou you shot yesterday.

You should see the scratches those things leave in the paint getting in and out of a truck bed....

Or hearing your dog's barking moving around the house late at night, and carefully peeking out the door to see the mutt backing in reverse, occasionally looking over his shoulder for an open door. The challenge being to open that door just long enough to let the dog in, but not his newfound friend.... :roll:

I'll take ravens any day.

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Re: Moving to Alaska

One day my wife heard our dog barking with much more emphasis than usual. She walked outside to see a cow and calf moose in the driveway and our little Border Collie trying her best to keep them away from the house. She went inside to get a gun but the moose changed their minds and we're gone before she came back out.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

I appreciate Ravens. That's not the same as liking them. On the subject of Moose, I lived in town in Fairbanks. I had a fenced backyard, 48" high. Moose step over that fence. They don't need to jump.

Our house was a split level; through the front door and down 4 steps to the daylight basement, garage and rec room, then up four steps to the main floor. This put the bottom of the living room window at more than 6 feet or so off the ground. One morning I got up at first light, (whenever that was....3 feet of snow so it must have been January or February) and opened the curtains in the living room. You know, let some light in and greet the f**ing day etc. I found myself nose to nose with a bull moose who's head and 48" plus rack was neatly framed by the window....inches away. He looked in my eyes and blinked, then sauntered down to finish sorting through the garbage can contents that he and the ravens were working on down at the street.

I wanna go back. I miss it badly.
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Ravens -- my favorite bird. And their vocabulary is greater than many of the good ol' boys up here.

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