April 10

April’s flying started with a flight taking Alaska Christian College students and staff to Unalakleet for their annual Youth Rally at the bible camp for Unalakleet youth. The flight out on Friday was blessed with a clear day giving us a gorgeous view of the Alaskan Range with a blanket of new snow. We left the spring weather of Soldotna and arrived in winter Unalakleet. We landed on the newly paved runway in a hefty crosswind. On Saturday a snow storm blew through and Bob & I were grateful we were on the ground. Sunday arrived with above freezing temperatures and high clouds.

Click on picture to see more photos ..................................ACC Youth to Unalakleet

We soon flew into clouds and spent the whole of the 2 hours flying home in a “milk bowl” with no definable features visible. Thankfully the forecast icing did not materialize as we were between cloud layers. With lots of support from Unalakleet adults providing wood for heat, preparing beds, bringing food to the camp, providing transportation and all the other myriad of logistics items, the rally was a big success. When the group sang at church on Sunday there were at least 35 youth from the village that attended the rally.
My second set of flights was to take scads of Moravian youth and chaperons to the annual Alaska Moravian Youth Fellowship (AMYF) weekend in Quinhagak - pronounced “kwin-a-hawk” by non-natives because we can’t get our mouths around the native guttural sounds. We used the 18 passenger Casa, the 9 passenger Caravan and the 9 Passenger King Air. Bob Widman & I, in the King Air brought a total of 44 people from Manokotak, Bethel, Chevak, and Nunapachuk (2 runs) on the first day. On the second day we brought in 9 from Mountain Village and then flew all the pilots back to Soldotna. The Caravan also brought in about 50 and the Casa brought in a little over 100 for an overall total of 215 youth & chaperons – a record for us. There were also about 130 people who came in commercially – you can imagine how crowded the church, built for about 200 people, was. The weather required some instrument approaches and at Chevak Bob & I were told we would have to wait for 45 minutes before we could do our approach to Chevak because of other airplanes ahead of us. We figured we only had fuel for about half an hour before we would have to go back to Bethel for fuel. Thankfully we were allowed to do the approach about 20 minutes later. You can bet there was a lot of ciphering going on in the cockpit during those 20 minutes.
To get an early start on the go home flights I was at MARC at 6 AM getting the aircraft ready and we took off at 6:50 AM. We arrived in Bethel to beautiful weather that allowed us to get ahead of schedule and stay there all day. Because of the good weather we were able to take the people back to all the villages we had brought them in from and then take home the people to one village that the Casa had flown in. The Caravan was able to do the same. This way we were able to get everyone home in one day. Mind you it was a 16 hour day for us all and we didn’t land back in Soldotna until between 10:30 & 11:30 PM. There were six tired men that went home that night. We all had a feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile from the village native youth that are one of our primary customers. I did sleep in ‘til noon the next day though. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures but my camera was on video on the first two days flying and we were so busy on the go home that I didn’t get any pictures.