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North to the Orient!


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On July 27, 1931, Charles and Ann Lindbergh set off on a flight to the Orient via the Northwest Passage through Canada and Alaska that Charles was surveying for the airlines. The purpose of the flight was to scout the Great Circle Route , the fastest route from New York to Tokyo, for use in commercial air routes. The aircraft they chose was the Lockheed Sirius, a land plane. It had a single 600-horsepower radial engine and was heavily modified for extended range and added pontoons for water landings, as there were not a lot of runways where they were going. The aircraft range was 2,000 miles.

This is my attempt to recreate that journey. I have only a choice of two planes that can land on water. The Grumman Goose, which does not have sufficient range for some of the legs, and the Dornier Sea Scout, which does. So I chose the Dornier. I would prefer to fly this in a period plane, but I don’t have one. Yet! If I obtain before this journey is completed I'll switch planes. Anyway, I am flying at altitudes below 7,000 ft, as they did and I will use VOR’s and dead reckoning.

I’ll post updates as I go.

Leg one: Skyport Seaplane base (6N7) Long Island, New York to Moosonee, Ontario (Moose Factory Island). 697NM 4 hours

Route:

Leg_One_Route:

Leg_One_Route.jpg

Departure point:

Leg_1_Start.jpg

Destination:

Leg_1_Dest.jpg

Take off and cruise were uneventful, though it was cloudy.

Leg_1_enroute.jpg

When I got to Moosonee there was a 500 ft ceiling. Once I descended below that I could see the runway.

Leg_1_App_low_ceiling.jpg

Leg two: Moose Factory Island to Churchill on Hudson Bay. 942NM 6h 41m

Route:

Leg_2_route.jpg

Destination:

Leg_2_dest.jpg

Departed at dawn in cold, rainy weather.

Leg_2_Moosonee_Departure1.jpg

Leg_2_Taxi.jpg

At Cruise:

Leg_2_Cruise.jpg

The fog at landing was as thick as pea soup. I was forced to ILS, which the Lindbergh’s did not have, to find the runway.

Leg_2_Churchill_Hudson_Bay_Final.jpg

Parked, and ready for the next leg.Leg_2_Churchill_Hudson_Bay_Parked.jpg

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Leg Three: Churchill on Hudson Bay to Baker Lake, Northwest Territories. 337NM 3H 40 M

Route:

Leg Three Route:

leg_3_route.jpg

Leg Three Destination:

Leg_3_dest.jpg

I am sorry, but I neglected to take and photos on this leg. Guess I was concentrating on the flying. :pilotic:

However, the weather was fine today. No incidents or accidents to report.

Please stay tuned and I promise there will be much more information and pictures for leg 4. I hope to aquire a new vintage aircraft soon with which to use on the journey.

Over and out from Baker Lake, N.T.

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Leg four: Baker lake to Aklavik, Northwest Territories. 951NM 5h 33m

Aklavik is located in the extreme Northwestern part of Canada. it is on the Mackenzie River Delta and there is only one airport. In the winter, the area may be reached via the ice Road, but when it melts in the summer, you can use the part of the river known as the Aklavik Water Aerodrome if you have a float plane. The population is only 645.

Leg 4 Route:

leg-4_route.jpg

Leg destination:

leg_4_destination.jpg

TELEGRAMLEG4.jpg

Loading up at Baker lake:

Leg4_Loading_at_Baker_Lake.jpg

Wheels up:

Leg4_wheels_Up.jpg

Departure:

Leg4_depart.jpg

Engine #2 shut down to conserve fuel. Speed dropped from 175 knots to 133 knots; Cruising Alt was 6,500 ft.:

Leg4_one_engine.jpg

Nearing our destination you can see the desolation of the area.

Leg4_nearing_dest.jpg

On final approach:

Leg4_landing_at_Aklavik.jpg

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Leg five: Aklavik, Northwest Territories to Barrow, AK. 484NM 2h 57m

This leg takes us to Barrow, AK in Northwestern Alaska.

Our destination is the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport (PABR). The airport is named after famous aviator Wiley Post and the equally famous Will Rogers who, unfortunately, both died in a nearby plane crash while flying a survey route on August 15, 1935.

It is the farthest north of any airport in US territory. While the airport has an asphalt runway and a tower which is manned full time, it did not exist in 1931. The Lindbergh's landed in the water just off the point, which is where I will land also before continuing on to the airport.

Today's Route:

leg_5_route.jpg

Wiley Post - Will Rogers Meml Airport. The airport handles aircarft as large as a 737:

Leg_5_wiley_post.jpg

Location of both:

Leg_5_both_locs.jpg

Wheels up. 59 degrees F and calm wind:

Leg_5_wheels_up_5.jpg

Rain encountered:

Leg_5_Rain.jpg

Enroute:

Leg_5_Enroute.jpg

Approaching Barrow, AK. The airport off to the left and the Lindbergh's actaul water landing spot to the right.

Leg_5_Airport_water_land.jpg

Touchdown:

Leg_5_At_lat_lon.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Leg six: Barrow, AK to Nome, AK. 451NM 3h

Leg six was intended to take the Lindbergh’s from Barrow, AK to Nome, AK. But with the setting sun, low fuel and fog-shrouded mountains, they were forced to land near Shishmaref Inlet, about 105 NM from Nome Airport where I landed.

Leg 6 Route:

Leg_6_02_route6leg.jpg

Leg six destination: PAOM Nome Airport, AK

There is a Pizza restaurant near the airport that is well known for offering free delivery. It uses Bering Air flights to deliver pizza to far-flung Alaskan villages for free. Now that what I call service!

Leg_6_01_dest_Nome_Airport.jpg

Engines running. ready to taxi.

Leg_6_03_wiley_depart.jpg

The cloud ceiling was 800 ft at takeoff, temp 39 F.

Leg_6_04_800ft_ceiling2.jpg

Leg_6_04a_lots_of_clouds.jpg

Approaching Kotzebue Sound in Western Alaska.

Leg_6_05_App_Kotzebue_Sound.jpg

While over Kotzebue Sound I started losing oil pressure on engine two so I shut her down.

Leg_6_06_low_Oil_press_2.jpg

Even though there were suitable airports to make an emergency landing, this plane is quite capable of flying on one engine so I continued on for the remaining 143 miles. Airspeed dropped from 181 kts to 143, but that was no problem.

Leg_6_07_one_Enigine.jpg

Flying over the Kigluaik Mountain Range, which is a forty two mile chain running from east to west along the Seward Peninsula. Mount Osborn is the highest peak in the range at 4,714 ft.

Leg_6_08_Kigluaik_mts3.jpg

Airport in sight with the Arctic sun beginning to get low on the horizon.

Leg_6_09_lining2.jpg

Final approach.

Leg_6_10_final2.jpg

Parked near a couple of Alaskan Air 737’s. Will have to get a mechaninc to find the cause of the low oil pressure. Meanwhile, I’ll take the opportunity to explore the sights.

Leg_6_11_parked.jpg

But I think I shall not travel down this road.

Nome_Alaska_road_sign.jpg

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Leg seven: Nome, AK to Karaginsky Island Russia. 916NM 5h 14m

This next leg is a long one at more than 900NM, and it will push the limit of my plane’s range.

Route:

The direct route takes me along the coastline of Siberia for about half of the flight.

leg_7_route.jpg

Destination:

Karaginsky Island is located in the Karaginsky Gulf of the Bering Sea, 40KM off the Kamchatka Peninsula separated by the Litke Strait.

Leg_7_destination_Karaginsky_island.jpg

We departed at 15:40 GMT, which is dawn in Nome. It was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, clear with 50 miles visibility and a 10kt wind. Beautiful flying weather.

Leg_7_depart2.jpg

Leg_7__Runway.jpg

Leg_7_Liftoff.jpg

Goodbye U.S.A. Next stop: Russia!

Leg_7_Leaving_Nome.jpg

As we approach the eastern coast of Siberia I do a fuel burn check and realize that I have burned half the fuel with roughly half of the trip ahead. So I decide to slow from 183 kts to 162 to drop the fuel burn. I’d hate to run out of fuel in the Bering Sea.

Leg_7_Crossing_Coast-of_Siberia2.jpg

Koryak Mountains in Siberia.

Leg_7_Coast_of_Siberia1.jpg

Koryaks.jpg

As Karaginsky comes into sight I am down to 6% fuel.

Leg_7_approaching_Karaginsky.jpg

Crossing over the coast of Karaginsky I put the prop pitch back to max and give her some flaps as I descend to 2,000ft.

Leg_7_Over_K.jpg

The Eastern coast of Karaginsky.

Leg_7__Over_K_0.jpg

Litke Strait with the northeastern coast of Kamchatka, Russia off in the distance. This is our landing site as it is the more protected side of the island.

Leg_7_Over_k_Litke_Strait.jpg

At landing the wind was calm, the temp unseasonably warm at 60 degrees. We touched down on the West side of the island

Leg_7_Beached_1.jpg

At landing I had 16.5 gallons (110 lbs) of fuel left. Now we will wait here for the fuel boat that I arranged to meet us and we’ll camp out over night on the island and get an early start the next day.

Leg_7_Beached_2.jpg

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Doing something very simliar to this.

So far - my legs have been:

Hamilton (hometown startpoint)

North Bay

Moosonee

Churchill

Smith Falls

Hay River (Go Buffalo!)

Watson Lake

You should start your own posting and share the details.

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Doing something very simliar to this.

So far - my legs have been:

Hamilton (hometown startpoint)

North Bay

Moosonee

Churchill

Smith Falls

Hay River (Go Buffalo!)

Watson Lake

You should start your own posting and share the details.

perhaps - time is not a luxury. simming is comparably flexible as I can keep checking in on the plane while dressing a 3-year-old, reading stories, cooking dinner, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update coming soon!

Sorry for the long delay between PIREPS on this adventure, but there have been three primary obstacles preventing my flying.

1) Work. A lot of it. Late nights and weekends. This weekend should be back to normal so I should be able to get in some flying.

2) My USB hub died and so I had nowhere to plug in my controllers, flight panels, etc. New one arrived by FedEx last night so hopefully I can hook it up Saturday.

3) In-laws dog got sick and my wife and I volunteered to shuttle him around to emergency animal clinics and veterinarians. The bad news is he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and diabetes. The good news is he is recovering but will need insulin shots twice a day for the forseeable future as well as a myriad of other medications. He is a cute little Cairn Terrier who is not even three years old yet.

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