mercredi 7 juin 2017

Cold Bay to Anchorage on the 7th June

Once upon a time, when I was young(er), I dreamt about flying a plane to Anchorage. The sole fact of reading somewhere "PANC", which is the 4 letters ICAO code for Anchorage Ted-Stevens, and I started to have images floating just before my forehead of big 747s landing there, making a tech stop between the USA and Japan and, therefore, the rest of the World. So imagine now, a couple decades later, I was about to be the one landing there, on a DC-3, my mind was racing and so my heart did.

Rather early wake up then, bearing in mind the fabulous but rather exhausting day that we had just before. 7.15am it was, foggy outside is was also...wiping the clouds out of my eyes I barely could find a good spot with wifi connexion that enabled me to have a look at the weather and especially the forecast. The first impression of it was that we should basically fly north of the island chaplet and then cross towards the Gulf of Cook to fly onwards to Anchorage. But how shall we cross if the weather doesn't allow us? Plan A could become plan B and plan C and... The generous owner of the Bearfoot Inn drove us to the airport and while doing so, made a tour of the tiny Cold Bay village. An ancien WWII canon was still there, obviously rotten by the weather since then.

When we arrived at the airport, Paul and myself split the job while Francisco had to place a couple calls regarding future Breitling events. I went to the FSS (Flight Service Station) to check the weather more carefully with hopefully a better internet connexion. The FSS guy was pretty busy, although very helpful and at the same time as listening to many many calls coming from relays all over the territory he could also click and select the transmitter to use while taking my flight plan and giving me a weather brief. What about "service" in Europe?? These people are truly great.

But it was time to fly! Our route finally brought us north of the Aleutians and then we crossed in the area of King Salmon towards Augustine Island, the one you can see just right here!

During the entire trip we were graced by the landscape, the incredible sight of almost no man made structure, wilderness at its best! I was wondering why Alaska is called "The Last Frontier", now I know!

After taking off from Cold Bay, nothing...nothing at all!

Three very happy people!

Another 3 hours and 25 minutes of flight!

King Salmon, getting ready to cross the peninsula

Avoiding rain showers on the way

Probably some bears looking at us ;-)

Where is Gollum?

Cook's Gulf, towards PANC, still a long way!

So when approaching the Graal, Anchorage for instance, we started to become quite tired, after all these flights you can probably imagine. Rain started to reduce somewhat the forward visibility but once closer to the airport it was again better, cloudy but manageable!

We got integrated by ATC between some liners and right behind us, a Hughes H-4 Hercules landed, showing its smoky engines until touchdown. On some rough terrain, it is quite important to have a rugged airplane that can sustain such conditions. The Hercules does its job very well and despite sucking on fuel, there is no real  (cheap) replacement at the moment. 

One interesting story is that we had to clear US customs in Anchorage despite having been already 2 days on US territory! So we parked at the special spot near customs and had to wait until CBP officers entered the airplane. Some questions later we had to go inside, escorter by the handling in order to get our passeport stamped. They were nice so no big trouble. 

On the spot for customs

A well deserved rest and dinner was the least we could hope after these three days in two, thanks to the date line change! And beware, mosquitoes are frequent and they better stay inside after 6pm! 

Yes, a date line in the middle

Are there bears around???

Nice fur Miss?

No time for a break, already checking windyty!

Fiercely standing ahead of a Boeing Dreamlifter!

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire