Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Kasper

Leg 27: Anchorage to Ketchikan

Recommended Posts

Looking for every Polar 747 on the airport and then looking at length at the left engine sure had the Alaskan Police taking a long hard look at me!

It would have been helpful to know at which parking spot I was supposed to look for the Baton.

After fruitlessly trying to convince the lawmen that I had no ill intentions the person that came to the rescue was, of course, Sharon.

 

Sharon did show the boys the plane we were going to fly followed by a private tour and when they returned I was free to go, with compliments for the plane I was about to fly.

Although they did stay close to me (or Sharon) all the way to the runway.

I don't know how Sharon persuaded them to let me go, but I am very happy that she has a soft spot for me!

 

Sharon1.jpg


The plane we were about to fly to Ketchikan is not often described  as a beautiful plane, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I for one am truly smitten with this unconventional beauty.


parked.jpg



We were going to take a Boeing C-97 on a test run from Anchorage to Ketchikan for a newly formed airline - Pioneer Airlines. Once at Ketchikan it would then be delivered to the aircraft painters to be sprayed in the colors of the new owners.

 

The plane itself was discovered at nearby Kenai Airport where it was stored after use as fire bomber. It was now stripped to bare metal and with a new interior for the flight.

 

sharon2.jpg

 

Sharon was at the door to welcome the new owners and some guests and investors for the trip.

 

Now flying a classic like the C-97 is nowhere near as uncomplicated as flying a new airliner. It takes a full complement of four to fly this plane, with a central role for the flight engineer who has to babysit the engines and all other systems that are nowadays tended to by computers.

 

int1.jpg

 

int2.jpg
 

 

After warming up the engine oil to prevent damaging the engines we were ready to start her up.

All passengers and cargo were loaded and Sharon was complaining about the cold so it was time to let these mighty props spin to life.

 

start.jpg

 

After warming up the engines we were giving permission to taxi to runway 15 for departure to Ketchikan. We did have to do some nifty maneuvering around an Alaska Airlines 737 but then we were on the runway and ready to go.

 

taxi.jpg



Take off was without any troubles and the first few miles of the flight the weather was clear, but then with the suddenness all pilots flying in Alaska come to know and fear it changed for the worse.

 

after-takeoff.jpg


 

visibility-during-climb.jpg



Flying this big plane climbing above the weather was no problem however and once we did achieve our cruise altitude of 29000 ft we all settled in for the long flight. Sharon brought us drinks and a snack 
and we were at peace with the world.

 

cruising.jpg



cruise2.jpg



old-school-navigating.jpg

 

Mind you cruising in this ancient piece of metal means constant monitoring of the vital statistics like Cylinder Head Temp, Carb Temp, Turbo Pressure and Temp and pressurisation of the airplane.

 

Unknown to us at the time it was this latter one that was going to give problems in a short time.

 

engineer-panel.jpg



We knew we had a problem as soon as Sharon walked into the cockpit and said she had a strange feeling in her head. Immediately we did a check of the Cab Altitude meter and sure enough it was above 10000 ft were it should have been at 7000, the value we set before take-off.

 

problems.jpg

 

We immediately began an emergency descent to 10000 ft and in a very short time the cabin pressure was below 10K. The passengers had no ill effects besides being a little woozy because of the short period we experienced a cabin pressure above 10000 ft and the plane was none the worse either.

To be honest doing a powered emergency descent in such a big old propliner was quit a thrill!

 

descent.jpg



This thrill left us in another unpleasant situation however - zero visibility!

 

zero-vis.jpg

 

We were approaching Ketchikan but with all the attention focused on getting to a lower level fast we were going much to fast. That is the problem with these old birds a powered dive gets you down quickly but at the cost of gaining a lot of energy. We had to bleed this energy off so we did not even try for a landing but went straight into the missed approach procedure.

 

go-around.jpg



Now doing a missed approach procedure in Alaska with zero visibility is the scariest thing I can think of doing in an airplane short of landing at Lukla.

We were worried plenty in the cockpit although we did sound confident enough when we addressed the passengers and Sharon seemed to believe I had it all under control.

 

scary-sight.jpg



A quick weather update showed that the cloud base should be at 2000 ft so we could do a visual approach for the latter half of the procedure. The only problem is turning over mountainous terrain with no visibility while losing altitude.  You really have to have great faith in your charts!

 

weather-update.jpg



Eventually we broke out of the clouds an we could see the runway. It was a most welcome sight!

 

runway-in%20-sight.jpg



We did notice a strong crosswind and the landing procedure itself took all our efforts so we have no pictures f the landing itself - we were to busy landing this giant beast of a plane.

 

crosswinds2.jpg



We did make a reasonable landing , nothing broke on the plane and the passengers did not complain.

When taxiing in we thanked the passengers and explained that loss of cabin pressure was a thing not often experienced and that we were glad that that were no ill effects.

 

taxiing.jpg


 

We offloaded the passengers and then Sharon and I went over to the painters to leave the Baton for Rosario. Just say Sharon sends you and they will hand over the Baton.

 

Then it was in to the nearest bar to calm the nerves with some Single Malt - we felt we earned it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:clapping: Great read Captain. Enjoyed the flight even though I'm still a little lightheaded. :D

That aircraft has quite a view from the cockpit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm lightheaded too, well illustrated and comment PIREP Kasper.

 

I love your choice of aircraft, just right for the challenge, well done!  :thum:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very entertaining commentary and shots, captain! I like this aircraft and already did some ATWC legs with it. Congrats on successfully landing the big boy in such a bad weather.

 

Sadly, you will have to stay at Ketchikan longer than expected, as I can't reach you and Sharon before saturday morning. 

I purchased Orbx PAKT to fly this leg in style, so I hope this won't be a problem, otherwise someone else may fly this leg? Please, let me know. (*)

Try to find a way to keep warm in Ketchikan!!!

 

(*) The real thing. I did two legs of my assigned flight, then closed the sim. While restarting fsx, the energy went temporarily out. Since then, I've not been able to restart my sim anymore. Now, I'm reinstalling everything. More, as some of you already knows, I work away from home the whole week, so I won't be able to fly before friday afternoon.

Sorry for inconvenience.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no! Hope you fix what sounds like everything, Ros!

Sorry for not specifying which jumbo it was under - but we can't have Joe Bloggs running off with it! Beautiful plane, I recognise it from pictures of the civilian version. but the name escapes me... but my hat goes off to you having the bravery to even think about flying that plane in Alaska!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a decent emergency descent in the military version of the Boeing 377.
The loss of cabin pressure was just one of the things the nice people of A2A put in the product to keep you on your toes.
Your career will suffer if you don't recognize it and take appropriate action.
C-97's saw a good deal of action in Alaska so I was not unique in flying it there - and I only have to do it behind a PC screen, imagine flying this one for real .. :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great shots and an entertaining story Kasper! Loved every minute of it.

 

Ketchikan is a very interesting airport that I really enjoy flying to and from. Thankfully I've never had to do it with that bad visibility!

 

@Ros: No problem mate, I'll give you a few extra days when I update the departure board in a few minutes ;)

 

If you can't solve it over the weekend let me know and we'll try to work something out.. Prehaps I can pick you up where your ended up before the sim crashed and do the final part of the flight...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ros: No problem mate, I'll give you a few extra days when I update the departure board in a few minutes ;)

 

If you can't solve it over the weekend let me know and we'll try to work something out.. Prehaps I can pick you up where your ended up before the sim crashed and do the final part of the flight...

 

 

 

 

Thank you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...