I was fortunate enough this year to fly from Oregon to Alaska and back in a Cessna 182T/RG. The weeklong trip gave me and my flying partner opportunities to experience hard IFR and incredible scenery all under the watchful eye of our CFI who has 30,000 hours.
Most pilots wont likely ever experience winds, rain, clouds and ice in August but the Alaskan trip gives you all that and more.
I was able to fly into and land in both Juneau and Sitka at minimums, which I had not done previously. On the descent from 10,000 into Cordova our head wind swamped around and became a tailwind. My flying partner was still dealing with a 50 knot tailwind at 2000 feet Needless to say it was a very turbulent ride down but the winds were calm at the threshold and the landing was near flawless.
The highlight of the trip may have been the leg from Anchorage to Talkeetna which included a pass over the south summit of Mt McKinley at 23,000 feet. Although wearing O2 I was able to get a first hand knowledge of the lack of oxygen and how it impairs your reasoning abilities.
Flying through the Prince William Sound was awesome. The mountains rise as you descend into Valdez and you quickly realize why the MDA is at 4,300 feet at 5.2 miles.
Clearing both US and Canadian Customs was a learning experience for such a lower 48 flyer as myself.
The confidence gained from this trip will be invaluable.
I totally agree with you. I was lucky enough to fly a 1958 C-172 from Houston, Texas to Fairbanks a few years ago. The experience was amazing and we were able to go VFR the whole way.
It sounds like we took the more inland route entering Ak at Eagle then on to Fairbanks. We intended to get to Pt. Barrow but airplane problems and weather south of the Brooks range prevented this. I still have that unfinished 'mission'. I plan on fixing that this summer by again making the trip. However, this time it will be in a C-182.
I highly recommend this trip for anyone who gets the 'adventure' bug. I would also be happy to answer any questions for anyone planning an Alaska flight.
Was wondering if you were planning any long flights again such as your Alaskan trip you talk about.
I've wanted to do Alaska for some time, but felt like it may have been too much for my 172.
Now I have a 182 and am considering such a trip.
If you are serious about Alaska I will be glad to try to answer any questions that you might have or put you in touch with someone who can make the trip enjoyable for you by doing all the pre-planning, get you through customs, and back.
You can certainly strike out to Alaska on your own but in my opinion the best way to build your confidence is to go with someone who can teach you about flying in that environment. It is different but once you have done it you will feel so much better about your skills.
I took some photos as I flew over the south summit of Mt McKinley taken from 23,000 feet..in a 182, turbo, of course. I will give you the link if you would like to see them.
I am starting to think about going to Alaska again this summer. If anyone is interested in getting a 'flight' together, please let me know.
I am going to try to do the Coastal Route this year to avoid customs. This means taking off in Seattle and not stopping until we reach Alaska. However, I have not decided yet and would be open to someone elses needs or wants for a route.
I did the AlCan Highway route last time.
I flew my "new" 182( 1980 bought in Anchorage) to AWO in Oct. There were a few weather challanges,but it was beautiful. We overnighted in Smithers where a 180 and 152 had been stuck a few days, but got out the next day. The 296 helped and we called our position in often. I reakky enjoyed flying our to Talkeetna. Anyone making the trip in the summmer might enjoy our place in Montana. See www.stillwaterlanding.com We even have a splashin.fly in this Aug.
I am based in the Houston, Tx area (Sugarland), and am interested in the flight to Alaska you might be doing this summer. I may want to fly along in my 182.
When do you think you might be going, and how long do you anticipate the round trip taking?
I am a military helicopter pilot and 180 owner from fairbanks. I have been to Barrow a couple of times and will chime in here since I see that no one else has. We tried to get up there several times in early summer/spring and were not able to. We only ever made it all the way up there twice, and even then were forced heavy IMC with some light icing. Each time this was due to low ceilings and vis up near the coast that bled down into the range. From what I've heard and read that is the norm up there. Lots of blah days in the sky. I haven't witnessed the winters up there myself, only fairbanks. Sorry if that was not the word you were looking for.
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