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stu7708

Leg 24: Cold Bay (PACD) - Bethel (PABE) - Finally done!

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Hi guys.

Just thought I'd let you know that there's a slight delay on my leg for a number of reasons.

Time, weahter (both in alaska and real life) and techonlolgy have been working against me.

Been doing some very long days at work lately due to the need to have the final financial statement for 2012 finished by the time our auditors comes to visit on wednesday this week, and basically I've crashed to bed once I've gotten home.

Wheater over the weekend was splendid, so we had some stuff that needed to be done at home, and when I did find the time to sit down real world weather in Alaska has meant constant delays..

and to top things off my FSX computer have been experiencing random crashes, finally managed to diagnose it last night as faulty RAM and a replacement set should arrive tomorrow...

I have made some progress though, and have made it up the coast as far as Egegik (PAII), and hopefully I can finish the flight withour crashes tonight or tomorrow.

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It's "only" -4 celcius up there at the moment.. that's not to bad is it.. at least not compared to what I'm used to at home at the moment ;)

Current winds and visibility is another story though.......

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It's "only" -4 celcius up there at the moment.. that's not to bad is it.. at least not compared to what I'm used to at home at the moment ;)

It is when I am getting 43C days down here Micke. Mild mid 20's currently but the temperature is heading north again on Thursday to a predicted 40C.

Gotta love air conditioning. :heat:

Cheers

Andrew

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How much is -4 degrees in Farenheit?

My converter says -4C = 24.8F, and Andrews forecast of 40C for Thursday would be 104 Fahrenheit... So I guess I can understand if Andrew thinks it's a tad chilly in Bethel ;)

Not long now Andrew, I've only got about 200 nm to go, but I fear you'll need to wait for tomorrow as I can sense a visit from the Sandman in the very near future. Just sample the local red and you'll be fine ;)

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Don't worry, your delay has meant I can now fly over the weekend :P Busy doing flights round Unalakleet in the DC3 (and others, you'll see), practicing my landings and route. Getting quite nervous about my first ATWC. Knowing me I'll forget to take any screenshots!

I'm surprised you didn't use a B737 or equivalent, Mikael - three minutes and you'd be above the weather, cruising at high speed. Then again, that's no fun, is it ;) WHITEOUT!

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I already did one ATWC-flight in the 737 George, so I figured I wanted some variation, besides low and slow is so much more fun and exciting ;)

Time for me to take-off for the last time in this leg now.. just 230 nm to go from Dillingham (PADL) via Cape Newnham (PAEH) and then onto Bethel to save Andrew from the cold ;)

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Finally the baton is safe and sound at Bethel!

Will post the images for you during the day tomorrow, but here's a quick peek at the complete plan to wet your appetite.

01-map.jpg

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Travelling around the world transporting the ATWC-baton is seldom a profitable form of occupation, but this time I had a stroke of luck.

I had managed to find a temporary employment as a pilot for a small charter/freight company that needed someone to fill in on a daily route from Cold Bay to Bethel!

After meeting up with Kasper in the local bar and listening to the tale of his flight from Unalaska I did have some doubt as to how sensible it actually was to volunteer for this leg, but it was too late to back out now, Andrew was already in Bethel suffering from the cold weather and would be very displeased if he had to wait around until we could find someone to step in for me...

After a night of restless sleep and a few mild nightmares of Alaskan weather I had to be up bright an early to start my journey. The plane used for this route was a small but fast Cessna CT210. Looking at my schedule I would need to press this little bird to it's limits to get to my intermediate stops on time, but this turbo charged little plane does have some impressive cruise speeds.

Nothing could go wrong right!

02-bright-and-early-start.jpg

Looking at the flight plan I had six stops along the way before I would finally reach Bethel. The suggested flight time of 3 hours and 38 minutes did sounded a bit optimistic, and I soon figured out that this projection didn't take into account the time lost in approach/take-off, nor the time needed to reload.

So after a short pre-flight we started the engine and headed out towards the runway for a departure to the east.

03-heading-for-the-runway.jpg

All systems are go, and we are ready for our first leg to Sand Point (PASD). The weather can't be called good in any way, but it at least looks manageable, and so did the forecasts along the route.

04-ready-to-get-going.jpg

The cloud base met us within minutes of take-off, at about 1.500 feet. But for the first part we were over water, so no worries.

05-meeting-the-fog.jpg

But as we approached King Covw, our second waypoint on the way to Sand Point, the weather suddenly took an unexpected turn for the worse.

06-passing-king-cove.jpg

As we progressed further east the situation deteriorated even more, and to make things even worse the engine started to behave in a strange way. Felt like I was having ice in the carburetor but this being a turbo injection engine that surely couldn't be the case, or could it?

07-lousy-visibility.jpg

A check with the weather station at Sand Point didn't exactly help my mood. Cloud base at 500 feet, and basically no visibility. The big problem was that all of my alternates suffered from the same problem, so considering the access to both a NDB and a VOR at the airfield Sand Point was still my best option.

After a brief discussion with the controller we decided that I should give Sand Point a try.

"There's no obstructions or high terrain at either end of the runway, so just remember to keep to the left of the VOR indication since the station is beside the runway" was his last words of encouragement before I began my approach.

Using the autopilot I eased my self down to 500 feet ASL, then I guided the plane along my intended route on the GPS keeping a watchful eye on the VOR indications while trying to catch a glimpse of the runway lights through the thick fog/cloud cover.

With about 1 nm left to the VOR, and even less to the threshold of the runway I managed to find my runway and could start my final descent towards the ground.

08-the-sight-of-those-papi-lights-was-relieving.jpg

Phew! Safe on the ground, and I forgot to mention one thing.. note the windsock, a tailwind landing and the winds were at 31 knots!

09-not-the-windsock-31-knots.jpg

We decided to stay put in Sand Point to wait for better weather, the delay also gave me a chance to make a quick call back to base to check on that strange engine behavior.

The boss said he was very sorry that he forgot to brief me on the issue. They had spoken to the manufacturer about it, and had been told that it was an inherent FSX error that caused the engine to think it had a carburetor that could ice up even though none existed.

"There's a small keyboard hidden away on the co-pilots side, just hit the "H" button on it to start your non-existing carburetor heat in you non-existing carburetor and you'll be fine!", he told me.

10-lets-hold-here-for-a-while.jpg

As we began to approach noon on the clock, two hours later, the weather looked much better...

11-two-hours-later.jpg

so me and my passengers headed back out to the plane and continued towards our next stop at Port Heiden

12-and-we-can-head-out-again.jpg

Much better flying, let's just hope it stays this way for the rest of the day!

13-the-weather-cleared-up-rather-nicely.jpg

There's Port Heiden (PAPH), was told by ATC to join the pattern on a left downwind, and I was cleared to land.

14-port-heiden-my-next-stop.jpg

Oh my, these Alaskan airports are better equipped that I thought.. never seen a gravel runway with PAPI-lights before!

15-gravel-strip-with-papi-lights.jpg

Almost there, looks like it will be a three wheel landing...

16-hold-on-tight.jpg

A 40 minute brake to swap some passenger and cargo...

17-40-minute-stop-to-reload-some-cargo-an-passengers.jpg

..before we continue on towards Egegik. Tower kindly let us take-off in an eastern direction, so we could more or less head straight out.

18-and-then-we-can-head-out-again.jpg

Next stop, Egegik (PAII) just to the right of the overhead compass.

19-next-stop-egegik.jpg

Turning to finals over Kvichak Bay with Bartletts Airport (AK96) in the background

20-turning-to-finals.jpg

Add another safe landing to my log

21-and-another-safe-landing.jpg

Just a short 20 minute stop-over to let one passeger deboard.

22-just-a-short-20-minute-stop-to-off-load-a-passenger.jpg

And we're off again, but those pesky clouds are back again.

23-up-we-go-again-but-the-clouds-are-coming-back-in.jpg

Visibility dropped once more as we headed further north-east towards King Salmon (PAKN). It's almost as bad as in Sand Point..

24-almost-as-bad-as-it-was-at-sand-point.jpg

...but this time I could at least spot the runway a bit earlier. But as I settled in for my approach...

25-but-atleast-we-could-see-the-runway-a-bit-sooner.jpg

...the winds suddenly shifted 180 degrees.. I guess it will be another tailwind landing.. not as hard as the last one, but enough to make me wonder what I had gotten myself into...

26-wind-shift-so-another-tailwind-landing.jpg

This time it wasn't straight from behind either, the added crosswind blew me a bit of to the right...

27-a-fair-bit-of-crosswind-too.jpg

But I managed to get myself over the tarmac for a landing. Not the smoothest I've done but we got down in one piece

28-not-my-smoothest-landing.jpg

The stop at King Salmon was as short as the previous one...

29-another-short-stop-to-change-up-some-passengers.jpg

..and we we're soon on our way again. Given my far from graceful landing, and my rather off track take-off, I suspect I've gotten a bad reputation with the controllers here at King Salmon.. good thing the job is only temporary.

30-and-of-we-go-again.jpg

I sure wish all these clouds could leave me alone for a few minutes...

31-getting-very-tired-of-these-clouds-by-now.jpg

and to top things off the sun is starting to set too...

32-and-the-sun-is-starting-to-set-too.jpg

My next stop, Dillingham (PADL) should be somewhere out there to my left, but this time visibility isn't a big issue, there's an ILS to follow in....

33-the-airfield-should-be-somewhere-out-there-this-time-theres-even-an-ils-to-follow.jpg

Ah.. there it is..

34-there-it-is.jpg

Looks like I'm not the only pilot having to battle the weather this night..

35-im-not-the-only-one-flying-tonight.jpg

Lot's off passenger to both de-board and board here, and also some cargo to shift, so the stop took me about 40 minutes..

36-longer-stop-this-time.jpg

..and by the time we were ready to head back out again darkness was upon us.

37-so-by-the-time-we-were-ready-to-get-going-again-the-sun-had-set.jpg

But since I've been flying more or less blind all day a lack of sunlight won't stop me from delivering the baton..

38-but-a-bit-of-darkness-wont-stop-the-baton.jpg

Although the combination of darkness and thick clouds was a bit disorienting.

39-what-a-great-combo-darkness-and-clouds.jpg

Weather predictions for my final stop before Bethel was as bad as it had been 8 hours earlier in Sand Point..

40-weather-predictions-for-cape-newenham-are-grim.jpg

..and given the position of Cape Newenham with just one way in and out, and high terrain on the other three sides we decided to divert direct to Bethel when we were about 10 miles out.

41-so-we-diverted-direct-to-bethel-with-10-nm-to-go.jpg

Took us up over the cloud cover at 10.000 feet for the final 130 nm leg, and the moon was joining us in the sky.

42-climbing-out-above-the-cloud-cover-and-the-moon-is-up.jpg

As we began to close in on Bethel the clouds finally disappeared...

43-at-bethel-the-weather-was-much-better.jpg

After following the approach plates, with a 12 nm DME arc proceedure to line us up with the ILS we began our final approach towards the runway

44-straight-forward-ils-approach.jpg

Finally after a long day my journey was about to end..

45-almost-there-now.jpg

On the ground, and the Baton is safe and sound at Bethel

46-and-the-baton-is-safe-at-bethel.jpg

A LearJet taking off as I try to figure out where I should park my plane..

47-a-lear-taking-of-while-i-try-to-figure-out-where-im-supposed-to-park.jpg

After a long day we are finally cold and dark on the GA Parking area.. very cold and very dark!

48-very-cold-and-very-dark-over-at-the-ga-parking.jpg

Now all I need to do is locate Andrew and hand over the Baton!

Hope you enjoyed my little tale, and please accept my humble apology for my late deliviery!

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Wow, wow and again :wow:

Now that was a challenging flight, glad to see you safe on ground Mikael. The tailwind landing has almost been a bet. :thumbup:

And some shots are really breathtaking, nice moody pics.

Ciao!

:rockon:

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Cracking job - but something seems funny about having a desert in the middle of Alaska..! The weather in Unalakleet seems reasonable at the moment, so Andrew'll be quick I hope!

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Micke,

Doing it the hard way...that's true flying. Great Flight Leg and screenshots.

The extra few nights in Bethel haven't been too hard to take. Plenty of single malt scotch to keep me warm and Ariel Tweto is good company and such a party animal. :dance3:

I just hope my head is feeling OK for the flights. :stars:

Cheers

Andrew

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Thanks for your kind words everybody.

@Remington: Insane, me.. now way.. Insane would have been to try to get into PAEH ;) Besides, it's the great thing with sim flying, you can get away with these kinds of things...

@George: The place is called Sand Point, it must have done something to deserve that name... or it could be an issue with the textures in use since I forgot to switch over to the Default region in the ORBX-control center ;)

@Kasper: I'm more of a tea or coffee guy, but considering the weather I'd consider any hot beverage available

@Joe: Thanks boss, oh and by the way, love that last smiley.. I must remember to use that one next time Sweden beats England in football free_swe34.gif

@Andrew: Please point me in the direction of your source of Single Malts.. after that flight I could use one... then I can skip the hot beverage ;)

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