Random Flight in the Piper Arrow

I got a call at 11am this morning to go flying with a newly instrument rated pilot at my school – yay!Β He’s building hours for his commercial licence and wanted flying company – always happy to oblige πŸ˜€

Flying from Fairbanks to Eagle, Alaska
Flying from Fairbanks to Eagle, Alaska. I love this shot!
Flying from Fairbanks to Eagle, Alaska
Flying from Fairbanks to Eagle, Alaska
Yukon River seen in the distance
Yukon River seen in the distance
Almost at Eagle, Alaska
Almost at Eagle, Alaska. 2nd favorite photo of the day.
Eagle, Alaska
Eagle, Alaska
Yukon river at Eagle, Alaska
Yukon river at Eagle, Alaska

This situation was actually the most frightened my pilot had ever been in his ~170 hours of flying. Our controls were turned as far as they would go, straight towards that hill, but the 30 knot wind pushed hard enough that we flew well clear of the hill to the left. The gusts were significant enough that we couldn’t land at Eagle. I’m glad we didn’t flip over, although I’m still too inexperienced of a pilot to have known to be afraid while we were actually going though all this (ignorance is bliss).

Airport at Eagle, Alaska
Airport at Eagle, Alaska

To be “an Alaskan”, one must accomplish 3 tasks:

  1. Pee in the Yukon
  2. Sleep with a Native
  3. Win an argument with a bear (no specifics)

I was kinda looking forward to completing item #1 on the list…Oh well. I’ll fly myself here on a calm day πŸ˜€

Bye Eagle!

Yukon River
Yukon River

Eagle, AK is really close to Canada:

Canada over yonder
Canada over yonder (and the Yukon River)
Canada
Another view of Canada in the distance

The airport at Chicken, Alaska is covered with snow! (no picture because I was on the wrong side of the plane)

Although there is plenty of snow on Alaskan mountains, I wasn’t expecting to see frozen bodies of water. Ice appears grey:

partially frozen lakes - somewhere past Chicken, Alaksa; headed for Tok
Partially frozen lakes – somewhere past Chicken, Alaksa; headed for Tok
Tok Airport - lol!  I've never seen runway lights set up on traffic cones before.
Tok Airport – lol! I’ve never seen runway lights set up on traffic cones before.

We stopped in Tok for lunch. With the total cost of today’s plane rental, 2 hamburgers were ~$980. Mmmmm…..

Okay, back to Fairbanks:

agricultural fields of Alaska (between Tok and Fairbanks)
agricultural fields of Alaska (between Tok and Fairbanks)
2 miles up!
2 miles up!

10,600 ft MSL – this is the highest I’ve ever been up in a non-commercial airplane. πŸ˜€

Eielson military base
Eielson military base
Tanana River
Tanana River
Fairbanks - The straight water strip on the left is the float plane landing strip at the airport
Fairbanks – City on right. The longest straight water strip on the left is the float plane landing strip at the airport

β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”~β€”

Ah, and the [dreaded πŸ˜‰ ] question CFI2 always asks me when I return to the office after an observing flight: did you learn anything today? Yes!

  • It is always okay to do a go-around, even when 5 feet off the runway
  • How far various distances look from 10,500 ft up
  • Tons of minor details about where controls are located in the Piper Arrow (good for me whenever I start my instrument rating – the Arrow is the school’s only plane rated for IFR)
  • How cool an ipad would be to fly with on cross countries (ahhh, no money in my bank accounts for this….or a camera better than my $7 cell phone)
  • I now have a very basic picture of how to file a flight plan
  • I now know what Tok and Eagle look like from the air (I’d never been to Eagle before)
  • I still cannot find Fairbanks from the air. As I took the final picture in this post, I thought Fairbanks was still another 10 minutes travel to the left.
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