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  #1  
Old 06-25-2018, 07:44 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NJ
Posts: 7,514
Default Aleutian Campaign

There is a territory with the worst weather in the world. Commercial flyers hate it. Aviation infrastructure there is minimal and modern amenities are few. This American territory was partially occupied by Japan in the Second World War. The name of the territory is the Aleutians. The fog shrouded chain of islands few know about even fewer flew over it.

I spent five years preparing for the trip. I made a couple of long runs over the years testing myself and the machine. I researched, asked, called, emailed. 90% of responders advised against going to the Islands. There is nothing to see there it's nasty and unforgiving they said. Some advisers cautioned that I might put lifes of rescuers at grave risk if I had an emergency. Two more years were spent after that for more research and I was comfortable knowing couple fishing boats working on my route that season. So I withdrew all roubles from the bank and arrived at "a base" in Alaska.

My airplane is a Day VFR RV9A. The engine is a high time stock Lycoming O-320. Wood prop on the way out but well balanced by a pro. No leading edge protection so I do my best to avoid the rain. There are basic VFR round dials on the instrument panel. I have a transponder and a radio. I navigate using compass, paper charts and an app on ipad. I don't have an onboard weather.

But what I do have is a couple dozen of good friends we know each other for years. On a long run like this a bit of help matters a lot. A tank of gas here, a bed to stay there and a meal in between go long way if you are traveling for weeks. Thank you! I might reveal your first names at the end of the story if you wish so.
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2018, 08:23 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Location: NJ
Posts: 7,514
Default Kenai PAEN

The trip starts from Kenai in two days. It's a home drome for the Cloud Chaser, a nice RV6 bought and ferried from lower 48 by Mike Bauer. Mike is an avid photographer, a skilled flyer with a wealth of knowledge on local weather and cool spots to sightsee. I need to replace lubricating oil (Mike got me a case) then we would do some local flying. Sort of Aleutian simulation.

Arriving at PAEN Kenai a good beginning. Half of the runway with zero visibility the other half is clear. Plenty of traffic tower accommodates everybody.



Cloud Chaser landed right after me.






The rest of the day was spent on light maintenance



and good food. Mike introduced me to King Crab yum. Never eaten one before.



A couple of Kassiks from local brewery and we started talking former rivalry. Mike was an Army helicopter pilot back in the Golden Days of First Cold War. Look what he got here. A deck of aircraft recognition cards.



He also makes paper models of all kind of crafts and rockets. Amazing little museum and a library in the basement where I had my futon set up.



Mike also drove me around showing the views.






Tomorrow we go flying. I expect a sort of hazing...
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2018, 08:44 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Location: NJ
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Default

Next morning Mike towed me as a wingman to his stomping grounds. That little Cloud Chaser is fast. My old girl had to move her pistons well over 75% power.



We flew over Harding Icefield. Mike wrote about our ride here.



Then I got lost over Seward.



I was radioed and ordered to land number two.



Look at that precision touch down. Beat me by two feet.



We went on foot to explore the town and met an old buddy Tobin and his wife Jayne. Small world. They were about to board a train to Norfolk VA...





Met a local MedEvac pilot who gave away a very valuable info on Aleutian weather. He's flown those routes thank you John.



We walked back to the airplanes and took off. The Pass was locked and Mike lead me around the storms over Skilak Lake. We traced the river I got a great tour with commentary. Mike literally knows every acre of those woods.





The drill was over. I was approved to proceed further.
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Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.

Last edited by Vlad : 06-25-2018 at 04:05 PM.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2018, 11:17 AM
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jjconstant jjconstant is offline
 
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Oh, goodie!!! Another Vlad adventure story...I can't wait!
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RV7A "Stella Luna" ECI IO-360 WW200RV Pmags 360hrs
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2018, 09:17 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Location: NJ
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Default Southwest bound

Early morning on June the 11th I left hospitable Kenai southwest bound. With full belly from Carla's Kitchen and three cans of cheap avgas in the baggage compartment. Planned to make Nelson Lagoon PAOU in three hours. The fog there promised to burn. PAOU boasted having affordable 100LL. Cold Bay fuel pump was notamed inoperative.







Crossed Cook Inlet over Kalgin Island.



Mighty Redoubt volcano was quiet.




Straight ahead lies Taxedni Bay with Iliamna volcano behind it. The picturesque rock to the left is Chisik Island with multiple cabins.




It was comforting to find a fellow aviator on a beach by Chinitna Bay. We are not alone.



Iliamna.



Abeam Augustine island I turned west to cross the Peninsula toward Bristol Bay.
The weather was fantastic.



Don't read Airport/Facility directory for Kulik Lake airport. Downright scary you can't survive there.

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  #6  
Old 06-25-2018, 09:50 PM
mbauer mbauer is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Nikiski, AK
Posts: 250
Default Great Photos!

Wow, Vlad, your photos are incredible! Great Story writing too.

Don't know how many here personally know Vlad, but I can tell you he is one very interesting person and an outstanding pilot. Vans needs to make him an ambassador for RV's!

John the Medevac pilot is who I flew with to get my tail wheel endorsement, after buying my RV-6. One heck of a nice guy and can fly anything with wings! To explain, no RV's were available locally, so did the tail-wheel in a converted Cessna 175. Two weeks late flew to California to get my RV-6, did my instruction there with a CFI who has an RV-4, to meet requirements for insurance. Hadn't flow in 20-years when I flew with John, very knowledgeable CFI, who had me relaxed, within a few hours had my tail wheel endorsement.

Would like to explain the Yellow RV-6A and C-46 Commando photo above. Terry, a friend I met about one year before buying my RV-6, is one of the pilots for the C-46 Commando in the picture above. Great guy and offered to take me up in his RV-6 before I bought one, schedules didn't match up and my first RV ride was in my RV-6 already purchased. Terry stopped in the day Vlad was leaving Kenai for home and mentioned he recently purchased an RV-8 quickbuild with everything included (engine, instruments etc.- only thing needed will be paint)

Best regards,
Mike Bauer
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N999SN 1998 Syd Nelson RV-6 (purchased 2017)
2017 Dues Paid
2018 Dues Paid

Last edited by mbauer : 06-25-2018 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Explain who John is; Yellow RV6A photo
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2018, 09:54 PM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbauer View Post
Wow, Vlad, your photos are incredible! Great Story writing too.

Don't know how many here personally know Vlad, but I can tell you he is one very interesting person and an outstanding pilot. Vans needs to make him an ambassador for RV's!

Best regards,
Mike Bauer
Agree Mike. Im glad you two got together. Have fun!!
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2018, 10:34 PM
mbauer mbauer is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Nikiski, AK
Posts: 250
Default Kulik Lake Info Vlad Mentioned

Here is the Kulik Lake Info that Vlad mentioned.



Best regards,
Mike Bauer
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N999SN 1998 Syd Nelson RV-6 (purchased 2017)
2017 Dues Paid
2018 Dues Paid
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2018, 12:16 AM
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Gash Gash is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Goodyear, Arizona
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Vlad wins the internet for today!

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Last edited by Gash : 06-26-2018 at 12:20 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-26-2018, 07:12 AM
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catmandu catmandu is offline
 
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Jiminy Crickiets, Gash! That video scrambles my noggin better than an unlimited routine.
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Maryland's Eastern Shore
stuck in 1/5th of an Arrow, my partners won't let me go
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