Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beats Driving

Coming out of Palmer one nice afternoon...

I saw the freeway traffic was backed up.

There was a wreck on the Knik River bridge and traffic was stacked up from the edge of Anchorage to the Knik - about 40 miles!

Glad I was flying :-)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cross Countries (Country's ?, Countrys' ?)

I'm required to fly a few XC's for the inst rating. A couple short ones and a 'long' one.

My instructor had never been to either Kenai OR Talkeetna which was good, because those were obvious choices for the 'short' ones. We went to Kenai one day and I showed her the restaurant in the terminal. It's a real nice little 'diner' kind of place, and the Kenai terminal is fun to stop at. Alaska decorated, nice bathroom and I usually see someone I know passing through. It's also unsecured - imagine! You can park in transient and walk right into the terminal. Pretty unusual in this paranoid day and age. And there is a C-47, DC6s, Beech 18s and sometimes DC-3s around, too.

Flying the short cross country was a lot of fun. It was my first real experience "in the system" and I was surprised how well I was treated. They sure go out of their way to accommodate you when you're IFR... as opposed, for example, to when you call up on the edge of the airspace and ask for a low pass over the international airport :-)

The trip was pretty much uneventful other than, even at only 50 miles, it's pretty fatiguing to hand fly on the gauges all the way.

Next we went to Talkeetna. No terminal but we went into the FSS and talked to the guy.... "lower 48ers" eat your hearts out. Say what you will about Senator Ted Stevens, but thanks to him we still have a lot of Flight Services Stations active in Alaska. Compared to what? About 13 in the entire contiguous US and going down to 6 soon? We didn't have time to walk around town but the FSS had a map that showed the town and my instructor took one... I think she plans to have future students buy her lunch in town, lol. Nothing wrong with THAT! Talkeetna is a popular destination for my family and flying friends - a short walk to decent food and a very cool little town.

For the "long" XC we went to Homer. Merrill/Homer/Kenai/Big Lake/Merrill. This one was quite a bit of fun, flew the DME back course into 03 and had some actual on the way down and on the way out. We even picked up some ice which was interesting to see. Neither of us was at all worried - it was just a bit of both rime and clear (OK, I know it's called 'mixed') and we had seen the tops 1000 above and knew we had above freezing with a high ceiling below, but still, a lot of guys get their rating without even seeing actual, let alone ice.

It was a REALLY long day - 4.5 hrs in the air, approaches everywhere we went and refuel in Kenai.

Next.... the checkride!