Posted by: simonpbarlow | January 6, 2011

For Sale – 1985 Beech Bonanza A36 – N722P

Registration/Tail Number:- N722P Serial Number :- E-2219

N722P has completed several Atlantic crossings and flown round the world and is an ideal long range touring aircraft. Also available is an additional internal fuel tank.

Max Take Off Weight :- 3780 Lbs
Empty Weight :- 2513 Lbs
Useful Load :- 1267 Lbs
Fuel Capacity 120 US Gallons (452 Litres)
Hours: Total Time Airframe :- 3388 (Dec 2010)
Engine Time :- 1148 (Dec 2010)
Prop Time :- 568 (Dec 2010)

Avionics Equipment List:

  • Bendix/King KMA-24 Audio Panel/3LMB
  • Bendix/King KX-155 Digital Nav/Comm with VOR/LOC (#2)
  • Bendix/King KR-87 Digital ADF with Flight/Elapsed Timers
  • Bendix/King KN-64 Digital DME
  • Bendix/King KFC-200 Autopilot/Flight Director System with Approach Couplers
  • Bendix/King KCS-55A Slaved HSI/Compass System
  • Garmin GTX 330 Transponder – Mode S
  • Garmin GNS 430 GPS Coupled to KFC200 IFR Approach Certified
  • Garmin GMX MFD – Multi-Functional Display
  • NAT INTERVOX II 6-Place Stereo Intercom with Front/Rear Music Input
  • 3M WX-10A Stormscope Weather Detection System
  • JPI EDM-700 Engine Analyzer with Fuel Flow
  • Artex 406 Mhz ELT

Pilot & Co-Pilot Bose Hardwire Headset Interface

Autopilot Control Wheel Quick Disconnect

Pilot & Co-Pilot Control Wheel Push-to-Talk
Pilot Control Wheel Push-to-Ident
Ground Comm Switch
Avionics Master Switch

Co-Pilot Instruments

  • Attitude Indicator
  • Altimeter – Dual Scale
  • Directional Gyro

Options/Features

3 Blade Propeller & Polished Spinner
Osborne Fuel Tip Tanks (20 Gallons Ea.)
Electrical Stand-by Gyro Pressure System
Heated Pitot Tube
Hamilton Vertical Card Compass
Alternate Static Source
Rosen Sun Visors
External Power Receptacle
Beryl D’Shannon Thick Windshield
Beryl D’Shannon  Thick Pilot/Co-Pilot Windows
Tinted Windows
Cleveland Wheels/Brakes
Flight Hour Recorder (Hobbs)
3 Point Strobe System
Club Seating/6 Headrest
Top Side Beacon
Executive Writing Table
Control Wheel Chronometer
Individual Air Outlets/Reading Lamps Control Wheel Map Light
Super Sound Proofing Internally Lighted Instruments
Pilot Articulating Seat Eagle Fuel Sump Drains
Cabin Ventilation Blower
Full Fuselarge Cover
Full Wing Covers AirOx portable oxygen cylinder – 22 Cubic Feet

Power Relay Board replaced

All CB Switches replaced
All seats recovered in 2007

Complete Logbooks

  • Annual Inspection Completed May 2010 – Total Time 3328
  • Top Overhaul Completed August 2010 – Total Time 3354
  • IFR Certification (Altimeter/Static, Transponder) Due :-  Nov 2012
  • ELT Battery Due:- May 2012

Exterior: Overall Matterhorn White, Trimmed in Dark Blue and Medium Grey, Accented with Burgundy.

Interior: Rust Carpet. Dove Grey Sidewalls. Medium Brown Seat Trim with Rust Tweed Fabric Inserts (Crew Seats Have Tan Sheepskin Inserts).

Spares List:

New Main Wheel Tyre & Inner tube
New Front Tyre & Inner tube
Alternator
Oil Filters

Internal Ferry Tank – 20 US gallons

Depending on buyers location 722P could be delivered.

For details please contact Feroz via email at ferozwadia@hotmail.com

Posted by: simonpbarlow | September 2, 2009

Update…

 

Well its been a couple of weeks since I got back to Cambridge and officially completed the RTW flight. The total distance flown was 15,899.3 Nm in a time of just over 112 hours. Hopefully I will be able to update the missing days from the trip, but for the moment, I am about 20,000 words into writing the book about my experience of doing the flight.

Yesterday, Bob Gannon (N182VE) arrived at my local airfield Manchester Barton (EGCB) from Ronaldsway in the Isle of Man. Bob left the group in Alaska, with Aussie Bob. Aussie Bob had to return home to PNG (Papa New Guinea) and Big Bob took the chance to return home for a few days while his engineer put Lucky Lady Too, his Cessna 182, through a spot of maintenance. Bob then set off from Alaska, crossed northern Canada, Greenland into Iceland and flew direct to Dublin, Ireland. Yesterday (1st September) he left Dublin, stoped in Ronaldsway for a few hours and arrived around 16:30 local, at Barton.

'Lucky Lady Too' N182VE parked at Barton with the worlds oldest still working control tower in the background.

'Lucky Lady Too' N182VE parked at Barton with the worlds oldest still working control tower in the background.

Bob stayed with us last night and we went out for a meal and he managed to catch up with what everyone did after Alaska. This morning, we checked the weather and found that there was the possibility of a weather window between Manchester and Belgium for a few hours that he could use. I sorted him a VFR route out from Barton to Ostend in Belgium. Around lunchtime he departed Barton VFR via the low level corridor and routed south east to the LItchfield NDB, Daventry VOR, Bovingdon VOR, Lamborne VOR, Detling VOR, Dover VOR and on to EBOS.

 

 

I had a phone message around an hour ago and he arrived safely.

I’ll update on here with his progress as and when I know.

Joop, one of the Dutch pilots on the trip, is organising a reunion weekend in October in Holland and hopefully I’ve talked Bob in to coming. He is scheduled to return to the USA via the Azores route before then, but maybe we can cut him some slack and allow him to fly back scheduled for the meeting. He was going to contact Aussie Bob and see if he was in Europe around that time on one of his trips from PNG.

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Bob taxing out via ALPHA for Barton runway 20. Barton's famous hi level bridge can be seen in the background.

 

At the hold for runway 20....

At the hold for runway 20....

 

.... rolling........

.... rolling........

 

..... climbing away.....

..... climbing away.....

 

..... departing towards Warrington and Thellwall VRP before turning south on his way to Ostend

..... departing towards Warrington and Thellwall VRP before turning south on his way to Ostend

 

I’ve no doubt I’ll run (not literally) into Bob at some airfield somewhere in the world sometime if he doesn’t manage to make it back for the reunion in October. I do hope so, Bob is one of the most genuine people I have ever met and I wish him well for the rest of his flying adventure. Take a look at http://www.worldflyingadventure.com/ for more about his adventure. 

Bob, clear skies and tail winds, good luck my friend.

What’s next for me…. well I have returned to the real world for the moment. I have a book to write and photographs to publish. I want to finish off this blog and do some more flying. One thing I have discoverd, its not my time yet to hang up my flying gloves, I think there are still some more adventures out there. Maybe do a bit of ferrying, maybe do a bit of co-piloting for others who want to fly to the stars and back. For now though, I have half a million words to write.

You know the routine by now, resume own navigation and watch for traffic……

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | August 2, 2009

Day 31 – Sunday 2nd – Feet up in the hotel!

I decided to give the show a miss today and catch up on emails and updating the blog. It’s the first time I have logged in to the blog for a couple of days and I guess three or four days ago I passed the 10,000 viewers/readers mark! That was a bit of a surprise, I never expected that many people to be interested, only family and friends. I will post the last few updates in order, so they should appear before this one.

I have to say a big thank-you to Mike’s wife, Wendy. Last night Will suggested that we “go posh” and have a meal in the restaurant in the hotel. A few of us, Mike, Will, Rodney, Joop, Arnold, Feroz & Myself assembled in the cocktail lounge first and had a couple of cocktails…. well some had wine and others G & T’s, I myself have a passion for white russians, which I seem to fail dismally at trying to get them made in the UK. It was the first time we had sat down and had a meal in the USA, that did not involve being interrogated by the server as to a huge choice of additional items and variants on the basic menu. Sometimes, you just want to say ” I want exactly what is on the menu, no additional stuff, no changes, just exactly as it comes” but they never seem to be satisfied with that and go on to give a completely set of different choices. It was also the first time since arriving in the USA that there were things on the menu that weren’t deep fried or covered in a coating of some sort. Anyway, back to the plot. We all chose starters and mains, Will and I opted for the Buffalo steak…. not a cut of beef, but actual Buffalo. I had it a few years back in Columbus, Ohio and enjoyed it.  Somehow I managed to talk Will into it, I don’t know how?

We eventually moved on to Key Lime pie… not quite as I remember eating it on Duval Street in Key West, but we all enjoyed it. A glass of port followed, closely by the bill. It was at that point that Will announced that Wendy (Mikes Wendy, not WIll’s – confusing I know) had given him some money to spend on a meal for Mike with some friends, as he celebrated a birthday a few days earlier. It could not be arranged for the evening of his birthday as that day we had left WIll and Mike in Anchorage to finish off getting the work done on the Bonanza. This was the closest to his birthday that it could be arranged.

I guess it was timed perfectly, we were all “air show’d out” and were looking forward to a nice relaxing evening, attempting NOT to talk about flying again. It was perfectly timed, after a perfect day, with a good group of friends. Happy Birthday Mike, and a big thank you to Wendy from us all.

Will and I both enjoy a cigar, and it has become the custom, that we go and find somewhere to sit and enjoy a cigar and wrap the day up. It was never planned this way, it just sort of happened, and we seem to cover a wide range of topics. I guess us both having an interest in old war birds and Will flying a photographer in his Bonanza with the rear doors removed for some of the air to air shots you see in popular flying magazines gave us a starting point. After Mikes birthday meal, Will and I sat on a bench outside the restaurant and had our usual cigar. A couple who had been sat near our table and picked up on the fact that we were flying round the world somehow came out and stopped. “Are you guys part of the group flying round the world?” was the opener…. after a while, he said ” I see you guys enjoy a cigar” and proceeded to unscrew the handle from his walking stick. He tapped it on the ground and a cigar appeared. Pointing the stick to Will he said “Here you go, have a cigar on me”  He proceeded to repeat the tapping and produced another cigar for me. We thanked him and talked for a while longer. They were from Ft Lauderdale, a place Sue and I know well, and live just of Las Olas. I said one of our favorite bars was the Stained Glass Pub on Federal, and he knew it, even knew the lady that ran it. Such a small world…. and speaking from the experience of flying nearly three quarters of the way round it…. yes it is actually.

After the couple left, We wandered down to the tiny beach area infront of the hotel, and stood looking across the lake, smoking the cigars that we had been given. Some how we got back on to talking about flying again and about night flying. Mike said” When you started flying, if anyone said one day you will be flying over America watching the sun rise over the horizon, would you have believed them” “No” I replied…. and we stood watching the moon reflections ripple on the surface of Green Lake.

It was gone 1 am.

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

Posted by: simonpbarlow | August 2, 2009

Day 27 – Wednesday 29th – Seattle

The headline in the local newspaper pushed under the hotel door in the morning proclaimed “Seattle to reach 100 degrees today”…. it was going to be a warm one. Looking down the city temperature list, Miami 90, Washington, 83, Houston 90, Boston 78.

Future of Flight

Future of Flight

We were off to Boeing’s factory and Future of Flight exhibition in Everett. It was a 40 minute drive from the centre of Seattle out to the plant, and even this early in the morning we were grateful for air conditioning. The bus dropped us off right out side the Future of Flight building and even the 100 metre walk from the bus to the air conditioned entrance was a shock, the temperature was already in the high 90′s and it wasn’t 10 o’clock yet! We had tickets fort he factory tour, so we did not have long to wait. The first thing we had to do was rent lockers to dump all out phones, cameras, ipods… in fact anything electrical. That was a disappointment, as I hoped to take some photos of the 787 Dreamliner in production.

The tour started with a short drive across the airfield to where Boeing had its main production facility. The building doesn’t actually look that big, untill you start to get closer to it. There is little to scale the building against, except aircraft. The main building is around 11 stories high and each of the hanger bay doors is the same size as an American Football field. In fact the whole building was the single biggest enclosed volume in the world…. it was HUGE even by American standards. The guide we had, Christopher, was entertaining and had an ability to impart information but not sound as though he was just throwing facts at you. I have the feeling he enjoyed his job, and he was passionate about Boeing.

I could not take photos inside the production facility, but here are a few of the facility itself….

Looking across the field to the two paint spraying buildings

Looking across the field to the two paint spraying buildings

The main production building

The main production building

The first three bays were built to house 747 production, the next three bays were added later for the 767 and now 787 production

The first three bays were built to house 747 production, the next three bays were added later for the 767 and now 787 production

Inside the Future of Flight building

Inside the Future of Flight building

After finishing our tour of the Boeing facility, we headed off on the bus a couple of miles to the other end of the field, to see a special private collection of aircraft. These were all owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. All were kept in a flying condition or being restored to a flying condition.

I’ll leave you with a few photos I took….

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IMG_9860

IMG_9859

IMG_9852

IMG_9848

IMG_9843

IMG_9835

IMG_9834

OK, thats it for now…. and for the record, the temperature reached 103 degrees in Seattle, a new record!

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 30, 2009

Day 26 – Tuesday 28th – Ketchikan to Seattle

The view from the hotel deck outside the bar, looking towards the airport.

The view from the hotel deck outside the bar, looking towards the airport.

After arriving in Kentchikan, most of us just sat back on the deck outside the bar and watched the float planes passing, the ocassional Alaskan Airlines Boeing arrive and depart and generally being inspired by the view. Food was ordered from the bar and most of us toped up our reserves with some good local cooking. Our host, who was one of those larger than life Americans, asked if anyone wanted some black bear that he had just cooked. Apparently, some one he knew had shot a black bear, and as was the custom, it got cooked. Somehow, I didn’t fancy trying it…. the bear ranks to highly on the cuteness factor for me to be tempted to eat one. Some of the guys headed down into town and the rest of us just sat, in the quietness, except for the odd float plane passing by at 600 feet, that is, watching the sun set.

The sun was shining again this morning when we got up. Most of us assembled for breakfast in the hotel restaurant within a few minutes of each other, so caused a bit of a backlog in the orders. The hotel had a little shuttle bus that would take us to the ferry for the short trip across to the airport. The seaplanes were already working, taking holiday makers on fishing trips to some of the more remote areas, where they would land on a lake, the tourists, could go fishing for the morning, then come back to where the sea plane was moored for a picnic lunch, do a bit more fishing, then have a senic flight back to Ketchikan, in time to watch the sun setting behind the hills.

A couple of the fishing boats moored in front of the hotel

A couple of the fishing boats moored in front of the hotel

We had not looked at the route for flight planning, as in the US, its so easy to file. You have a look at the chart, check the airways, then ring 1-800 wxbrief to file your flight plan. You talk to a real person, who knows the routes and can give you a full weather briefing for the route. They might suggest changes and are usually really helpful in finding the route you want. So we waited until we got to the airport to file. Bill had decided to go VFR for the whole 700 or so miles, we, like the rest, decided to go IFR at 10,000 feet. This would give us the best of both worlds, easy flying and in the weather conditions, fantastic views of Alaska and Canada.

We filed for a 10:00 local departure, but because of the traffic, b the time we had contacted clearence delivery over the radio,

The view from the hotel car park looking up the inlet towards the ferry terminal and airport

The view from the hotel car park looking up the inlet towards the ferry terminal and airport

we ended up being delayed b about 20 minuites. Finally our IFR clearence came through. It was my leg to fly, so I started up and taxied out. We were asked to hold for landing traffic… a stinson, who in the 25 knot gusty conditions landed about 20 feet to our left and stopped 20 feet to our right. As the plane taxied past, it was a young girl flying, and you could tell from the landing, she had a lot of hours flying in that stinson.

The flight was a nice smooth easy flight. The crossing into Canadian airspace was only noticed by the slight change in the terminology used in the radio transmissions, and for the most part, we both sat looking out the windows, taking photos and pointing things out to each other. For at least a couple of hours, the only things we saw were logging camps and logging trails. There were huge areas of forrst that had been harvested for the timber, and next to them were previous seasons logging sites, now sprouting new trees, replanted to replenish the timber stocks for future generations. Quite how they managed to get the timber out from some of these remote areas is still an unsolved puzzle. We had been asked to climb to 11,000 feet for traffic spacing, and remained at this altitude for an hour or so.

About 100 miles north west of Seattle, we were asked to descend, and dropped down to 7000 feet, we were now entering civalisation, marked by two things, one, the fact there were roads leading through the trees to unseen communities, and the second, more poignant, was a layer of pollution. At around 11,000 feet we could see clearly, but as we ventured further south, a dirty yellow band started to appear. It was an inversion layer, a layer in the atmosphere that there is an inverted temperature gradient, so all the pollution rose to this level then became trapped, building up into a band 2 or 3 thousand feet thick. Clear air on top, dirty air below. It was the first time since leaving Istanbul that I had noticed the pollution. Welcome to civalisation.

Canadian ATC descended us further to 5000 feet and eventually handed us over to Seattle Centre. Even though it was 10 miles plus visibility, I elected for an ILS approach for runway 31L into Boeing field. Practice makes perfect, so taking any chance to shoot a precision approach is always welcome. I was expecting the JAWBN ONE Arrival, but, ATC had other ideas. The controller gave staccato bursts of information over the radio, this was a busy sector, and headings were being given to various aircraft and various altitudes. We had a small jet pass in front below us by about 1000 feet below, and a couple of others off to one side. The standard approach takes you to the west and south for a left hand intercept for the localiser, we were being vectored north of the field and east for a right hand intercept. Eventually the staccato burst came on the radio and passed us over to Boeing Field Approach, where a female controller, calmly issued instructions to several aircraft inbound to the field. we were cleared for the approach maintaining altitude for 31L and asked to all localiser established. As the needles swung in line, I called localiser established and we were cleared to land, but keep our speed up…. we had 8 miles to run. At 4 miles, we were handed over to tower, who immediately asked if we could take 31R…. a shorter runway. I accepted and going visual, banked right slightly to line up with 31R. The threshold of 31R is about half way down the length of 31L so it ment I was low for the approach, so holding altitude for about 4000 feet, should put me about right. I had a little excess speed, as I was expecting 10,000 feet of tarmac to land on, meant I could hold altitude without adding power and slow down at the same time to land on the 3700 foot long 31R.

Touching down just after the LDZ markers allowed me to slow down for the A4 turnoff, about mid way down the runway and we changed to ground to get directions to Galvin Flying Services, the FBO we had booked in with.

We had a room arranged at the Museum of Flight,  courtesy of Beverly Fogal, an IFFR member here in Seattle, and Galvin Flying Services arranged for one of their shuttle buses to take us over tot he other side of the field to the Museum. While we were waiting in the offices of Galvin, there was a phone call for me, it was Bruce Warren, the guy I worked with 10 years ago, when he was with Boeing, based at BAE Systems, in Warton, Lancashire.

Blue Angels taxi in after us..!

Blue Angels taxi in after us..!

One of the last things I said to Bruce was “One day. I’ll fly into Boeing Field and land right in front of your office”…. it has taken me 10 years, 11,000 miles to do it…. but I have done what I promised, such a long time ago.

I suppose I should also mention that just as we parked up on the apron, the famous Blue Angels display team did a fly-by and landed….. could it be coincidence…. or did some one arrange it?

The rest of the evening, is for another time.

Tomorrow, we are off to Everett, so see the Boeing production line in the worlds largest enclosed space…. and the new 787 Dreamliner.

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 28, 2009

Day 25 – Monday 27th – Anchorage to Ketchikan

Looking across Merrill FIeld towards the Mountains this morning

Looking across Merrill Field towards the Mountains this morning

Early start again this morning, not as early as some we have done in the last couple of weeks. We arrived at Merrill Field about 8:30 am local, and while Feroz checked the plane out and went to fill up (it is nice not having to hand pump fuel!) I filed a flight plan for the trip down to Ketchikan, about 730 miles south east. I was sorry to leave Anchorage, It seemed like a town with more to offer than I had seen, I will have to come back some day.

Plane fueled, the flight plan I had filed gave us a 10:00 local departure time, IFR climbing up to 10,000 feet for the flight. The weather in Anchorage was cloudy and the tower told us to expect turbulence to the south of the field.

Will and Mike in Oscar Juliet, normally our “partner” aircraft…. they normally took off after us and always seemed to arrive a few minutes before us, would not be with us on this leg. Will’s Bonanza was still in the shop having the cylinder replaced on the engine and a couple of other bits done, but we hope to see them soon as they are planning to catch up with us in either Seattle or Billings. Hopefully, the three Bonanzas will be able to arrive at Oshkosh in loose formation in four days time. It seemed strange not to hear either WIll or Mikes voice over the radio… we always compare their reported timings to way points to see how we are doing…. its not a race….. but there has to be some challenge! (Note to Wendy – Will’s wife…. he promised only to get the cylinder done and not have lots of accessories fitted….. but he did spend an awful long time in the pilots shop!)

It was Feroz’s leg to fly, so we strapped in and I called the tower for taxi clearance. We were offered runway 07 for departure and cleared to taxi to the hold. As we taxied out, tower contacted us and said the international airport wanted us to take 25 as there was severe turbulence reported just to the south off 07. So we did a 180 degree turn on the taxiway and were cleared to hold short for 25. After a few minutes at the hold, our clearance came through “as filed” so there would be no changes to the route I had planned. We were cleared to line up on 25 and depart, turning on heading 270 when able, then climb to 10,000 feet.

Lake Hood on the right, Anchorage International on the left. Taken through the right window of the aircraft.

Lake Hood on the right, Anchorage International on the left. Taken through the right window of the aircraft.

The outbound track took us over Lake Hood and the seaplanes and through the approach to the international airport. As we passed 2000 feet we started to get some light chop which increased to moderate turbulence passing 3000 up to 5000. At 6000 we were in clear air and Anchorage Centre vectored us on to a joining point in the airway above. We passed 7000 and encountered more turbulence  as we entered cloud, but around 9000 feet we burst out into brilliant sunshine. Continuing the climb up to 10,000 the ride smoothed out and we initially had a headwind that kept the ground speed down to 100 knots. This was soon to change as we passed over the first line of mountains, and we caught a ride with a tail wind that saw us maintaining 160 to 169 knots nearly all the way to Ketchikan.

The views from 10,000 feet, although above the clouds were spectacular. I’ve posted a few below….

Climbing up through the clouds to 10,000 feet

Climbing up through the clouds to 10,000 feet

Popping out "on top"

Popping out "on top"

That cloud looks rather "solid"!

That cloud looks rather "solid"!

The "office" for the last 25 days

The "office" for the last 25 days

more "solid" clouds.... don't fly into these!!!!

more "solid" clouds.... don't fly into these!!!!

Its always a privilege to be able to see views like this no matter how many times I fly

Its always a privilege to be able to see views like this no matter how many times I fly

Our track on the airway. The white in the top right corner is the mountain in the previous photo.

Our track on the airway. The white in the top right corner is the mountain in the previous photo.

Even bigger soldid clouds, topping out at 17,000 feet

Even bigger solid clouds, topping out at 17,000 feet

As we turned inland about 200 miles from Ketchikan, the clouds below us started to break up

As we turned inland about 200 miles from Ketchikan, the clouds below us started to break up

Eventually the clouds disappeared altogether

Eventually the clouds disappeared altogether

We could look down on huge cruse ships that looked like toy boats trailing a wake for miles in the still waters

We could look down on huge cruse ships that looked like toy boats trailing a wake for miles in the still waters

Eventually we cancelled IFR and went VFR for the approach... this was taken about 40 miles out

Eventually we cancelled IFR and went VFR for the approach... this was taken about 40 miles out

Around 70 miles out I asked to cancel the IFR flight plan and we were cleared to 8000 and asked to take up the hold. We had hardly gone round the hold when we were cleared to 7000 and asked if we could see the field. We could, so Centre handed us over to Tower and we were cleared for a visual patten for 29. We had to report entering downwind and pass behind a hill, turning left base, we were shadowing a float plane also on left base for the water way.

The runway was long and we had quite a long roll out to reach the other end for the taxiway, which as you turn of the runway desends down a hill and continues down as you parallel the runway. The apron is nearly 50 feet lower than the runway!

The ground marshaller guided us in and as we shut down, one of the fuel guys came over and asked if we wanted fuel. I said yes, and within a couple of minutes, a bowser pulled up and was pumping fuel into N722P’s four tanks. Hans & Hans had arrived a few minutes before and were enjoying an impromptu picnic on the tail of their Bonanza.

Impromptu picnic!

Impromptu picnic!

Fuel truck topping off the Cessna before coming to us

Fuel truck topping off the Cessna before coming to us

One of the "toy" ships..... a bit bigger when seen from the ground!

One of the "toy" ships..... a bit bigger when seen from the ground!

The airport is separated from the town by a deep stretch of water that allows cruise ships to dock. To get from the airport you have to take a ferry, which lasts about 10 minutes and costs $5. There were three crews that had arrived within 30 minutes of each other, so we all assembled in the FBO’s office (Fixed Base Operator) who, like many good FBO’s always have hot coffee available, and this was no exception, but to top it off, they had a popcorn machine as well!! Several bags of popcorn were washed down with coffee before we set off for the 2 minute walk to the ferry terminal.

As we were getting on the ferry, seaplanes were landing and taking off past us

As we were getting on the ferry, seaplanes were landing and taking off past us

I think I might have to try this one day!

I think I might have to try this one day!

Last truck squeezed on to the tiny ferry....

Last truck squeezed on to the tiny ferry....

... ramp lifted up clear.....

... ramp lifted up clear.....

.... safety fence closed.....

.... safety fence closed.....

.. and were off for the 10 minute crossing

.. and were off for the 10 minute crossing

As we were crossing, this one was landing directly towards us!

As we were crossing, this one was landing directly towards us!

A five minute taxi ride got us to the hotel. The temperature difference to Anchorage, which is now getting into its Autumn season, saw most of us sat out on the deck of the hotel in the sun watching the seaplanes take off and land, with the occasional Alaska Airlines Boeing dropping in and departing again from the airport directly across the water from us.

Sitting there watching the sun go down and seeing the moon cross behind the hills….. this has got to be one of the most wonderful places on earth.

Next update from Seattle…..

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 27, 2009

Day 24 – Sunday 26th – Anchorage

Looking up 4th street towards the mountains. The low cloud drifting out of the valleys towards Cook Inlet

Looking up 4th street towards the mountains. The low cloud drifting out of the valleys towards Cook Inlet

No trips out today, so I spent the morning wandering round downtown Anchorage towards the inlet and past the railroad station, then back up towards 4th street again.

On one of the main car parks there was the Sunday Fair, which, looking at the stalls, is a bit like Boston’s Quincy Market – everyone seemed to go there for breakfast and there was the usual selection of pancakes and doughnut stands to the slightly more unusual reindeer burgers and sausages, moose burgers, Ox burgers, and Alaskan salmon chowder on offer. Some of the other stalls had tourist offerings – “I’ve Been To Alaska” shirts, fleeces and baseball hats to craft stalls. I even passed Anchorages only fortune teller. One or two of the more unusual ones were the NRA stall (National Rifle Association) selling lottery tickets to win a gun to one guy who was exhibiting a custom chopper built by Orange County Choppers (OCC) from the TV programme American Chopper

Feroz had gone off to check on the progress of work being done on the aircraft…. not anything major, just the landing light being replaced. He also wanted to check that we had no oil leaks after having the oil changed in Nome a few days ago.  Some of the others decided to get a bit of culture and headed off towards the museum and others decided to do a bit of shopping. The rest got taxis and went out to Merrill Field to check up on the progress of maintenance work on their aircraft.

This evening at 6:00 pm we have a flight briefing meeting ready for the flight down to Ketchikan in the morning. We are not sure if Will and Mike will be able to make it down to Ketchikan with us in Will’s Bonanza. The latest news was the cracked cylinders were off the engine and the new cylinders had arrived. Their exhaust also had a crack and was due to go to the welders tomorrow. So it might be a late departure for them, or they were talking about catching us up in either Seattle or Billings, Montana in a couple of days. Fingers crossed that they will be able to fly out tomorrow and catch us up.

I guess my next post will be from Ketchikan… see you there!

I’ll leave you with a few views of Anchorage.

As usual, resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

S

Walking down towards the railroad station. The bar some of us had dinner in on the first night is on the right. We sat out on the deck overlooking Cook Inlet

Walking down towards the railroad station. The bar some of us had dinner in on the first night is on the right. We sat out on the deck overlooking Cook Inlet

Anchorage railroad station

Anchorage railroad station

One of Alaska Railroads first engines

One of Alaska Railroads first engines

The clouds coming off the mountains behind C Street bridge. The bridge crosses Ship Creek and leads to Government Hill and Elmandorf AFB

The clouds coming off the mountains behind C Street bridge. The bridge crosses Ship Creek and leads to Government Hill and Elmandorf AFB

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

A 5 week old sled dog- in serious training!

A 5 week old sled dog- in serious training!

.... yep..... still training!

.... yep..... still training!

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

Anchorage Market

The US Post Office building......

The US Post Office building......

.... suitably decorated.

.... suitably decorated.

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 26, 2009

Day 23 – Saturday 25th – Anchorage

Saturday started bright and being a Saturday, Anchorage woke up a little later. As I had breakfast, looking out on 5th Ave, it was like most American cities I guess. There is a Starbucks one block up from the hotel, and it provided the weekend exercisers some place to go, so I watched a constant stream of joggers and power walkers in bright new sneakers jogging or walking clutching large styrene cups of coffee. After breakfast I sat in the lobby for a while checking my emails and watching the slow influx of American tourists from a cruse ship assemble while the bell hops dragged copious quantities of over stuffed luggage out to a waiting van to return them back to the ship. The assembling “cast” of this act had, according to their baseball caps and polo shirts ‘done’ Fairbanks and Anchorage. The girl from the tour company started calling them by groups out to waiting coaches.

We had nothing arranged for the first part of today, and as I needed a small battery for one of my cameras, I wanted to walk up 5th to the mall and call in Radio Shack. I wandered back up to the room and Feroz was up and on his way down to breakfast. I finished up sorting some emails and waited for Feroz to return. He had a couple of phone calls to make, to check on the arrangements with Phil Livingston, who, with other IFFR members and local Rotarians had arranged a BBQ for the whole group in the afternoon, along with a visit to the Alaska Air Museum at Lake Hood and a visit to a pilots shop to pick up some sectional maps for the flight down to Ketchikan and Seattle.

We set off for the mall, down 5th about 5 blocks away. Malls in America, are almost carbon copies of each other. Each mall has the same set of shops with only a few local store additions, so if you need a particular store, just ask for directions to the nearest Mall. There will almost always be a Foot Locker, American Outfitter, Sears or JC Penny…… I guess it used to be like that in the UK when every high street would have had a Woolworths, and of course Boots and maybe M & S.

Radio Shack didn’t stock the battery I needed, but the ever helpful staff pointed me in the direction of Stewart’s Photography on 4th and H. (531W 4Th Ave. – I can recommend them) Out of the mall, the streets were getting a little busier as Anchorage started its Saturday routine. We walked across to 4th and south down to H street, passing shops for the tourist. In some of these shops, you could buy anything from a baseball cap embroidered with the Alaskan flag to a full sized moose, complete with fake fur or even a full size bear for your hall way. Interspersed between the Moose and Bear shops were outlets selling real fur… from slippers to coats and cute little Native American dolls with real fur coats.

Stewart’s Photography was a friendly “Mom & Pop” type store, with lots of helpful staff and all those gadgets you never knew you needed until you saw them. I resisted in buying a new Canon 400mm lens that was on sale for less Dollars than Pounds in the UK (Hmm ….I might still have time to go back for it…) They had a collection of old cameras for sale and I recognised my first Canon SLR…. an aging AE1. I purchased a couple of batteries and collected a brochure on strobe  lighting before dragging Feroz away from another display case of cameras (He’s got more cameras then me already!).

We walked back towards the hotel, passing a street market that had been set up on a closed off road. All the stalls were art and design types, displaying everything from jewelry to paintings of Alaskan scenes to had crafted bags.

Back at the hotel, Phil had arranged for Steve to pick us up in his mini bus at 1:00 so we waited in the lobby for the others to assemble. By one we were all there and met up with Steve outside and another Rotarian who had brought along his SUV to take any overflow. We set off for Lake Hood less than a mile away. Lake Hood has around 200 seaplanes based there and is less then half a mile from the international airport….. which is less then half a mile from Merrill Field with around 800 GA aircraft based there…. which is less then half a mile from Elmandorf AFB. Four very busy airports within 2 miles of each other. In the UK, ATC get nervous if there are more than two aircraft within 10 miles of each other, let alone Military, Commercial, GA and Seaplanes all mixing it up in the same bit of sky.

A Plane departing Lake Hood tarmac runway

A Plane departing Lake Hood tarmac runway

Steve took us out to Lake Hood, where we stood at the end of the hard runway, watching aircraft take off over our heads, and if we turned to look the other way, we could watch aircraft take off from the water. Back on the bus, we drove a little further round the lake, and were constantly reminded that vehicles must give way to aircraft taxing on the road by signs every few hundred feet.

Landing on Lake Hood

Landing on Lake Hood

Aircraft are even parked in car parks outside offices and use the road to taxi to the runway!

Aircraft are even parked in car parks outside offices and use the road to taxi to the runway!

One aviation museum looks pretty much like another to the layman, and I guess to me as well. I like old planes, but I prefer to see and hear them fly, than to stare at them hung from the celling on steel cables, which to me seem to hold them firmly to the earth, not aloft in the sky. I did find a nice outdoor jacket and was willing to hand over the required greenbacks….. but unfortunately the didn’t have my size, only small and large hippopotamus.

Slightly used control tower...... suitable for a garden gazebo for the pilot that has almost everything!

Slightly used control tower...... suitable for a garden gazebo for the pilot that has almost everything!

From the museum, we headed off to the pilots shop, which was stuffed full of things you never knew you needed. Most headed directly for the section containing the charts…. collecting handfuls of sectional maps for the next legs of the trip. Joop managed to find an fire extinguisher for his Malibu and others collected a variety others bits and pieces.

Leaving the pilot shop, we next stopped at the FBO, where Will and Mike had parked the aircraft. Will was having the engineers do a maintenance check, and in the process, the engineers had discovered cracks in two cylinders. Will wanted to stop by and check on the diagnosis. It was the news he didn’t wan to hear.. two new cylinders would be required. The engineers were trying to find two cylinders and Will had to check in with them at 9 the following morning.

We set off for the 20 mile drive up to Girdwood strip where Phil has his house and keeps his immaculately restored Beech Staggerwing. Bill had elected to fly from Merrill Field up to the strip so we would meet up with him there later.

We drove up Seward Highway that runs alongside Turnagain Arm, the upper stretch of Cook Inlet. Eventually we hit the turn off for Girdwood town and pulled off the highway onto dirt tracks that lead into Girdwood and Phil & Diana’s house.

Arriving at Phil & Diana's house

Arriving at Phil & Diana's house

There was a warm welcome waiting for us, within minutes, everyone was talking and a really friendly atmosphere quickly developed. I stood talking for a while to Bill Hopper, the District Governor for District 5010 and finding out how Rotary was fairing in Alaska and Russia. Bill has the unenvialbe task of being DG for the biggest geographical district in Rotary, which is a challenge in itself, but when it straddles between Russia and Alaska, presents some unique challenges.

Good hospitality provided by Phil & Co.

Good hospitality provided by Phil & Co.

By this time, what had started as a nice day, had now turned into steady rain. Will and I took a couple of beers and went and stood outside under the car port so we could have a cigar. Watching the rain roll off the cars parked out side and just generally “chewing the fat” as they say here.

Bill departing Girdwood Strip for the flight back to Merrill FIeld

Bill departing Girdwood Strip for the flight back to Merrill FIeld

Time to go, we all said our goodbys and got back in the mini bus. Steve drove us round the corner to the strip so we could watch Bill depart and we could take some photos. we were soon back on the highway heading back towards Anchorage  and the hotel. Another day done.

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 25, 2009

Day 22 – Friday 24th – Anchorage

Our first real day off for a while. The aircraft are having their 50 hour checks done and other service work, we are free for a couple of days.

My laundry situation got a bit desperate, so a quick trip down 5th Ave to the shopping mall and a visit to Foot Locker, J C Penny’s and American Outfitters got me up and running again. I got to the mall before 10, so the stores were still shut, and wandering round, there was a pair of scales. Out of curiosity, I hopped on and found I had lost 17 Lbs since leaving the UK…. I guess it has been all the hot weather, odd meal times (and odd meals in some cases) more than anything else. It does mean of course, I can bring back 17 lbs of souvenirs from the trip!

For lunch, Feroz and myself were being picked up by Phil Livingston, a flying Rotarian, and taken to his local Rotary club, Anchorage International, District 5010, which if ou reverse the district number to 1050 is the district my Rotary club, Hazel Grove, is in (Note to the president, John Miller – I got a make up meeting in!).

Me, Phil & Feroz at the meeting

Me, Phil & Feroz at the meeting

Lunch was an informal buffet, indeed, Rotary meetings are generally very informal in the USA, and it was a pleasure to watch the “Sergeant at arms” go round “collecting” fines and happy dollars out of everyone.

Ted Trueblood, DGN, lead the meeting, and we had an excellent talk given by Katherine Schenk, from Nome, who is married to Sean, a US Coastguard Officer based with the US Embassy in Malta as a search and rescue liason officer. The talk was entitled “Malta and life overseas as an Attache family”.

On the drive back, Phil took us by one of the float plane lakes in Anchorage that is home to around 200 float planes, that is on top of the local GA airfield that has around 800 planes based there. Both these are within a couple of miles of Elmendorf Air Force Base and Anchorage’s International Airport. The skys round here really are full of aircraft!

On returning back to the hotel, I sat down and started to try to catch up on the blog. I have abut 8 days worth to catch up on and over 1000 photos to edit and send back home. After sitting in the hotel for a couple of hours, I wandered down to one of my favorite writing places… Starbucks, which is only a block away from the hotel. It was the first chance I have had to get a decent Latte with an extra shot!

Later in the evening, a few of us wandered out to the “Cafe Paris” restaurant where I indulged and had a 16oz New York Steak (not found anywhere that does Boston’s Sam Adams beer yet!)

See you tomorrow..

Resume own navigation, watch for traffic

S

Posted by: simonpbarlow | July 25, 2009

Day 20 – Thursday 23rd – Anadyr to Nome

( Due to trying to catch up with posts for each day, I will be posting in reverse order, so please scroll down for earlier posts – sorry if the story seems a bit disjointed but I’m writing the chapters in reverse order… please be patient, thanks)

We were up early, well I guess not that early compared to some of the days we have had recently. Around 7:45 am the alarm went off, and as we had invited the guys to our room for breakfast to finish off the feast from last night, A quick shower was called for.

A master sandwich maker at work!

A master sandwich maker at work! (L to R- Robbie, Mike, Me & Joop)

At just after 8:00 Joop arrived with Robbie, who was looking delicate to say the least…. but that is not unusual for Robbie, the early starts and the late nights were catching up with him. I seemed to fall into being chief sandwich maker using Feroz’s Leatherman tool to slice a small loaf up as thinly as I could and produce some of the best in-flight sandwiches available in Russia… they weren’t the best because I had made them, they were the best because I think they were the only in-flight sandwiches available in Russia at that time.

Eventually Will & Mike showed up and more sandwiches were produced, until there was nothing left to put on them. God knows what the room cleaning service would think about our room, I wasn’t really bothered anyhow, as I guess I’ll never be back there to find out. Thinking about it though, I guess it would be a few days before they get around to our room, nothing seems to happen very fast here. (remember those words….. they will become a recurrent theme today)

Will, whose room was on the other side of the hotel and overlooked the apron said they had been running up one of the Bear’s this morning and it had taken off (always the way…. me here and my camera in the aircraft!) I had heard something running up, but I didn’t expect it to be a Bear. We had seen them on landing, but just guessed that they were parked up rotting away like so many Soviet aircraft we had seen at all the other ex Soviet airfields. Apparently, Anadyr was the town where Abramovitch (he of Chelsea foot ball club fame) was the mayor and he had “donated” several million rubles and rebuilt the airport. It was probably the most modern airport we had landed at since leaving Turkey, but, I wish he had employed and architect that had at least seen an airport before setting out to design one… it did not flow well, and I lost count of how many times we passed the full sized stuffed bear in the main hall as we crisscrossed from one department to another. Even the commercial passengers didn’t fare much better as their bags came off the plane on to a truck, were sent into one hole in a wall for x-raying, I guess…. why I don’t know as only 50% of the xray machines were turned on…. then out of the building onto another truck, to be driven round the corner and through another hole back into the same building… go figure!

Back to the plot, apparently, the Bear had done a circuit earlier, and I was keen to see it fly. I had seen a famous photo taken in the 60′s over the North Sea of a Bear at high altitude with an English Electric Lightening next to it as it tested the UK’s air defense systems, before returning at hi altitude to the Soviet Union. For me, this was something I thought I’d never see, I assumed that these planes from the cold war era were long since grounded, and were memories from my childhood.

Breakfast over and sandwiches made, we packed up finally for the last time in Russia and headed to reception to hand our keys in and meet up with the others. Eventually we all arrived, and were directed down one floor to the covered bridge that linked the hotel to the terminal building. The door was locked as the airport did not open till 9:00am…. so we waited…. at 9:00 to officers appeared, complete with big hats to open the door…. we were not allowed through the door however, we had to go through another one, to have our passports checked. The first crew went in and we waited…. and waited…… and waited……the first crew came back out. The customs officers were having a conference and decided that they would collect all out passports and Gen Decs that were stamped when we entered Russia…. and a new Gen Dec for leaving Russia was required as well…. more paperwork! All the Gen Decs were collected…. we waited….. they then announced they wanted us to refuel the aircraft first before clearing customs…. we were to leave our bags on the corridor and we would be escorted to our aircraft…. but before anyone goes, we had to declare if we were carrying more than $3000 US…. another form was handed out. At this point, our host and fuel fixer Igor,  collected the 300 rouble paying in slips from Myself, Feroz and Bill and headed off towards the bank we guessed.

With all the confusion, a couple of the crew slipped past the guards with their luggage… that was the opportunity everyone was looking for… waiving Gen Decs at the customs officers en mass, we all slipped through with our bags and headed to the main terminal, past the stuffed bear (again) through a metal detector arch (not turned on) past another xray machine (not turned on) to the door that lead out onto the steps down to the apron. A young female officer turned up and insisted we walk round to the other side of the x-ray machine and put our bags on. OK, we all… well some of us….. passed through the metal detector arch again (still not turned on) put our bags on the now switched on x-ray machine and waked through the metal detector arch again. The bags were going on the x-ray machine so fast and she was so concerned that we all passed through the arch, she did not have chance to look at the screen to see any of the bags… they were collected as quickly as they had been dumped on and we all collected round the door with the resolve that if she didn’t open the door, there would be another international incident. The door was unlocked.

We headed out to our aircraft, watched by a man in a blue uniform wielding a camera, who was trying to take pictures of us and the aircraft with out anyone noticing…. not successfully I hasten to add, as we all noticed him. I suspect one or two were even posing for him.

We were told the truck containing the fuel was outside the airport but the airport was not going to let it in as they did not want to accept any responsibility for it….. I think the real reason was that it was still night in Moscow and there was no one awake that they could ask permission to allow it. We waited…. and waited….. and waited…… three hours ticked by…. good news, they would allow it, if all the crew signed waivers just in case anything happened….. it would take an hour or two to type the letter…. so we waited, all the time getting bitten by the mosquitoes! If you venture to Anadyr, I can recommend showering in Deet or something similar before venturing outside!

The hi light of been stood on the apron for some time was watching the two Soviet Bear aircraft do circuits and a huge 4 engined Tupolev do a couple of sorties. The sound from the Tupolev”s engines reminded me of a Vulcan bomber as he powered up, you could feel the crackle of the four jet engines rattle your rib cage

Finally, a bit of paper arrived and we all crowded round to sign it. Within minutes a truck arrived along with a fork lift to unload barrels…. dark rusty barrels…. with English and french writing on them. Opening the seals, we discovered that they had come form Esso in Canada in 2004… how the heck they got into Siberia we will never know. Opening the barrels, the fuel was bright blue, so the stabilizers were OK and the fuel was alright to use. There was no signs of rust on the inside of the barrels as the coating was intact and the water test proved that there was no water absorption into the fuel or water lying at the bottom of the barrels. We all eagerly filled up out tanks. Feroz and I transferred all the fuel remaining in the internal tank to the right wing main, so we knew that the fuel in there was OK, and topped off the three remaining tanks with the 5 year old ex Canadian fuel.

OK, we looked like we were all set….. all we had to do was clear customs and immigration…Back to the terminal, passed the stuffed Bear (again) and back to the bridge that linked the hotel to the main terminal. as we passed through, the door behind us was locked firmly… not a good sign I thought. We all congregated on the corridor from the hotel again where we had been some 5 hours earlier.

By now, the flight plans to the USA were out of date, and the eAPIS electronic forms were out of date too, and we had no way of updating them (no Internet in Anadyr!) I think Rodney managed to telephone his US Customs contact and let them know. He was told that Officer Nate Edwards would be at Nome when we arrived, and not to worry.

The previously locked door was opened and we were all filed into a room. We had to fill out an immigration form and hand it in. Feroz, Bill and Myself were called forward and our passports collected by an officer who had dealt with us the previous day and he took them off somewhere. All the others were asked to form into crews and wait in front of the door we had waited at now some 6 hours earlier this morning. The first crew went in and the customs officers seemed annoyed that there was no luggage to inspect (remember we had sneaked it all past earlier) so anything that was being carried went on to the x-ray belt…. bottles of water, pages of paperwork, anything so that they had something to x-ray. By his time, Feroz, Bill and I had been given our passports back and we joined the queue with the others. It had been decided that the fastest aircraft would go first so Joop and Robbie were at the front of the “to be processed” line. Feroz and I slotted somewhere in third or fourth place. We guessed it would be better to get some of the aircraft into the USA as soon as we could so that they would then at least know the rest were following.

Hanging about for fuel.....

Hanging about for fuel.....

Eventually, Feroz and I were “processed”….. how much fuel were we carrying in Kilograms, the usual stuff….. our Gen Dec’s were checked against our passports, and we had the official “nod” to go and wait in the next line….. immigration. We shuffled up to the next booth. It was obvious that someone had been watching a movie about the immigration service at US airports…. the booth’s were almost an exact copy. A green light flashed on and a small gate opened, I shuffled forward. The female officer stared at my passport and back at me several times (OK OK, I know my passport photo is not exactly the best photo I have ever taken, but come on….. you can tell its ME!) Eventually, with a flourish of stamping sounds my passport got several stamps in it and it was pushed back under the glass screen towards me. “Placeba….Dostrivdanya” i said in my best Russian accent (learned from watching James Bond movies…. maybe not a good thing with hindsight) The green light came on and I headed back out on to the corridor again ( I told you that there was little thought to the layout of the airport) I was ushered back in to the room we had been in earlier while filling out the immigration forms…. we had to wait until all the crews had been processed…… so much for getting the fastest aircraft away first.

Eventually, the door opened again and we were all ushered out down the link bridge back towards the terminal…. this time we were lead through a different door…. through the back of the terminal and we bypassed the Stuffed Bear (shame, I was getting to like him) and on the the apron. We were supposed to get on the bus to drive us round the corner of the building to our aircraft, but as there was no drives, a unilateral decision was taken subconsciously and like a shoal of those fish that all turn exactly at the same time, we all turned and set off across the apron much to the surprise of the officers (still in the big hats).

Waiting in line at the hold...

Waiting in line at the hold...

It was Feroz’s leg to fly so I was next tot he door, which was open as I was strapping in…. a customs officer appeared and stood watching me strap in. As soon as I was settled and was sorting out my kneeboard for the flight, he walked up and pointed at the cargo door….. “open” he said in a heavy Russian accent and pointed again at the door. I unstrapped again and climbed out, getting my keys out, I unlocked the door and opened it, he shoved his head inside and pulled and prodded out luggage. ON seeing the storage boxes he pointed and said “What here” …. “Aircraft spares and tools” I said…. “OK” he muttered and walked off towards the next aircraft. This was the Gulag capital of Russia, so I guess they didn’t want us sneaking one or two gulags out!

Two of the Russian "Bear" four engine turbo prop aircraft in the distance

Two of the Russian "Bear" four engine turbo prop aircraft in the distance

looking back at Anadyr after a left turnout

looking back at Anadyr after a left turnout

We requested start up and eventually were cleared to the hold for 01, with a departure clearance of a simple left turn out and climb to 400 metres……….. Our first reporting point was “KB” and to clear the zone boundary at “MORUG” and on to Providenya where shortly afterwards we would finally leave Russian airspace and cross into the Alaskan FIR…. “Anchorage Centre November Seven Two Two Papa” I called over the radio…. “November Seven Two Two Papa, Anchorage Centre go ahead”……. After several days of having controlers that viewed us as an inconvenience that had to be dealt with, it was so nice to hear a controller that enjoyed their job and you knew they are there to help….. Welcome to America.

Just crossed the 180 degree meridian... for Feroz & Myself who had started in Cambridge we were now officially half way round the world!!

Just crossed the 180 degree meridian... for Feroz & Myself who had started in Cambridge we were now officially half way round the world!!

The weather in Nome was not as good as we had hoped for, Anchorage centre descended us down to 7000 and asked what approach we wanted into Nome, I opted for a RNAV for 03 as I thought it would be quicker than flying a 20 mile DME Arc…. got that one wrong in a big way! Nome. despite being in the middle of nothing, was the preferred destination of choice for all the aircraft in the area it seemed, everyone was heading there, just at the same time we were. I guess ATC earn their money by getting all the aircraft in one spot at the same time, then justifying their existence by then keeping us all from crashing into each other. Ho Hum.

We were cleared to “SKYVY” at 6000 feet and on reaching, Centre asked us to take up the hold and expect further clearance in 10 minutes….. we were sat in a cell and being bounced about…. on our third time round we got the call “N722P descend and maintain 6000 expect further clearance 0545″

Down we went, still in the hold…. Centre stacked someone 1000 feet above us and we had an Arctic Air commuter plane 1000 ft below us.

“N722P Descend and maintain 5000 expect further clearance 0550″, down we went again, by now we could see some clouds being illuminated by lightening and the storm scope was glowing with bright green dots……. “N722P cleared for the approach 03 into Nome contact tower” Off we went, we had a lot of hight to loose and it was bouncing us about good style…..we turned out of the hold and off we went down to the first hight on the plate at the next point…. stepping down to the next point put us in a position we could do a 3 degree slope into the field, Feroz set a decent rate that should put us at the right height, I called out the heights as crossed each 200 foot mark, down to the minima of 1300 feet. We both peered out of the windshield….. “lights slightly right…runway in site” I shouted to Feroz…. “Got them” came the reply….. “Tower N722P runway in site”

“N722P cleared to land” We approached the runway in torrential rain and lighning flashing round us. I think that is what flight instructors call an “intresting approach”

Resume own navigation and watch for traffic.

S

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