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Grand Tour of the Aleutian Islands

Guest Ed Guest

It is time for another adventure into the great unknown. Yesterday, I started a tour along the Aleutian Islands, the extended chain of volcanic island which stretches about 1200 miles from the Alaskan Peninsula across the Pacific, nearly to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

My intinerary is derived from one of the historical flights in FS2004, the Reeves Aleutian Airlines flight, but instead of the DC-3 I decided to fly the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. It is similar in performance to the DC-3 but has all the modern amenities like A/P and GPS, and can operate on a reasonably short field.

I had just finished the Alaska Floatplane Charter flights, all in the C208 Amphibian, so I decided to have a go with the land-based version. It's great, a very nice stable cruiser, but with enough horsepower and structural strength to fly loops and rolls, if one should so desire. I mean, what's the fun of carrying passengers if you can't entertain them with a few loops and rolls? Laughing

Last night I started out from Merrill Field in Anchorage, heading south towards Port Heiden, about a 3 1/2 hour flight. I don't know if I'll stick to the original itinerary; I think I should pop over to Kamchatka when I get down that way-- I owe a bottle of vodka to the ATC guys at Velizovo from the last time I flew in this part of the world. Laughing

Ed

Pro Member First Officer
Martin (Blake14) First Officer

lol

Guest Ed Guest

Today I flew further down the Alaskan Peninsula, and finally ventured out into the island chain. I made short stops (about 30 minutes each) at Port Heiden (PAPH) and Cold Bay (PACD) to discharge passengers and freight, and now I'm at Dutch Harbor (PADU) on Unalaska Island.

I've been able to keep the original Reeves Aleutian Airline schedule pretty well so far, always arriving 5 or 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

The islands are very rugged and this being February, covered with snow and ice. Most of the airports are just gravel, although so far they have all been long enough-- Dutch Harbor is the shortest so far, at about 3600 feet.

Tomorrow I will head out for Umnak (IKO). Before I leave, I'll pick up a new stock of airsick bags-- some of the passengers objected to the loops and rolls. What a bunch of whiners. Rolling Eyes

Ed

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Ed, you are such a man of my own heart !

Another excellent idea for a tour... I'm planning some new VFR single engine flying soon (Been doing solid Airline schedules for Air Canada for the last month).... and I was looking at a few posibilities :-

- Tour Kamchatka and Sakhalin (the mystical eastern Russia trip!).
- Tour all of the Japanese Islands.
- Tibet to Shanghai
- Cross the North Pole (UK - Norway - N/Pole - Greenland)

So just finishing my month with Virtual Air Canada at the helm of an A319, then I'll be right there with you, in my little Piper Archer !

Good look with the Aleutian Islands - be careful the weather can get rough out there for a little 'Van !

Guest Ed Guest

Haven't had much time to fly this week; real life intruded. But this evening I continued the tour, departing Dutch Harbor and continuing southwest along the Aleutians. Weather did take a turn for the worse, but we reached Umnak (IKO) right on schedule. No further cases of airsickness were reported-- I left the whiners at Dutch Harbor and sent a bottle of scotch back to the remaining passengers. Wink

The-GPS-Kid, if you do the Japanese Islands trip, be sure to visit Tanegashima Island (sometimes on maps it sometimes appears as Tanega Shima)-- the airport is RJFG. That is the location of the Japanese space agency's launch complex-- it on the east coast of the island, a few miles south of the airport. I got to go there in real life one time, on business for my employers. It is a tropical island and surrounded by coral reefs-- I went snorkeling off the beach in front of the hotel every day. One day I got to go scuba diving with a bunch of the Japanese guys, which was very cool-- I saw my first and only Lion Fish on that trip. I was the only "geijin" (foreigner) in the hotel, so I had a European-trained chef cooking a special menu just for me, every day. I don't why, I like Japanese food, but they insisted. . . Laughing

Ed

Guest Ed Guest

Today we continued the trip, departing Umnak for Atka (PAAK) at 8:30 AM. Some of the passengers were a little hung over and queasy this morning, so I gave them a break and flew straight and level all the way. Besides, the weather was getting rougher the further we flew.

We started getting some heavy snow as we decended into Atka, but it cleared in the vicinity of the airport, so visibility was several miles on final approach. The pitot tube froze while we decended through the clouds, but a few minutes of pitot heat thawed it out. The air temperature is -6 C on the ground.

After a 15 minute stay at Atka, we departed for Adak (PADK), a short flight of about 90 nm. Atka has an ILS system, but no tower control, so I selected rwy 23 and made an instrument landing. Atka is actually a suprisingly large airport for the area, with two 7000'+ runways.

That's the end of day two of the itinerary-- tomorrow morning bright and early we'll head out for Attu (ATU), the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands and the end of this itinerary. Haven't decided yet if I'll make the big jump over to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Ed

Guest Ed Guest

Yesterday and today we flew from Adak to Shemya (PASY), a fairly long leg of over three hours. Weather alternated between snow and rain all the way, but fortunately PASY has an ILS system and we were able to land in fairly ugly conditions.

After an hour layover for a bite to eat at the Air Station Canteen, we complete the final leg of the scheduled itinerary, a short 30 mile hop over to the Coast Guard Station at Attu (ATU). Conditions continued to deteriorate and there was heavy rain on the final approach. ATU has only an NDB for navigation, but it is at the head of a bay so it is fairly easy to follow the coast to within a mile or so of the runway.

Well, since there was still plenty of daylight left and Russia was less than 600 miles away, I decided to pop on over and repay my debt-- the bottle of vodka I mentioned before. I found a Lear Jet with the keys in the lock and already fueled, and decided the Coast Guard wouldn't mind (much) if I borrowed it for a few hours. Two hours later, I was landing at Yelizovo (UHPP) on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

As I expected, the ATC "guys" (Ekaterina and Olga) were REALLY glad to see me. But that's another story. . . Wink

Ed

Guest

Guest Ed wrote:

Today I flew further down the Alaskan Peninsula, and finally ventured out into the island chain. I made short stops (about 30 minutes each) at Port Heiden (PAPH) and Cold Bay (PACD) to discharge passengers and freight, and now I'm at Dutch Harbor (PADU) on Unalaska Island.

I've been able to keep the original Reeves Aleutian Airline schedule pretty well so far, always arriving 5 or 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

The islands are very rugged and this being February, covered with snow and ice. Most of the airports are just gravel, although so far they have all been long enough-- Dutch Harbor is the shortest so far, at about 3600 feet.

Tomorrow I will head out for Umnak (IKO). Before I leave, I'll pick up a new stock of airsick bags-- some of the passengers objected to the loops and rolls. What a bunch of whiners. Rolling Eyes

Ed

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