September-October

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Don flew two trips in September, both to Port Alsworth taking Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to and from the project there. Port Alsworth is only 90 miles from Soldotna as the crow flies, is on the other side of the Alaska Mountain range and takes about 45 minutes to fly to. We have been having very unusual weather here these last 10 days. The sky over almost the whole state has been cloud free in the afternoons. However in the mornings we are greeted by fog. Most days it is really dense with visibilities less than a ¼ mile. It generally burns off to clear skies about noon and starts forming again about 8 PM. The trick is to get airborne soon enough to be able to get back in. On my first trip to Port Alsworth the fog lifted fairly early and we had a grand view of the mountains. The three volcanoes near our flight path were all spewing steam. Because the winds were almost calm were we able fly right over Redoubt and get a breath taking close up view of not only the steam but also the lava dome inside the volcano – yeah we were pretty close. My camera was firmly affixed to it’s spot beside my chair at home. On the way back Bob flew down one of the biggest glaciers in Alaska. It was truly spectacular but Bob remarked at how it was only about half the size it was 15 years ago. The second trip over was a bit more eventful. On this day we did not have fog but had a lower level cloud layer that was not very thick (2000’). Weather in Port Alsworth was fine. After we climbed through it we were in beautiful clear blue sky above. Just after we leveled of at 10,000’ we got a weather report that fog and moved into Port Alsworth and they were down to less than ¼ mile visibility. We flew by Port Alsworth and the fog was down to the ground. About 3 miles west it was clear. We then flew15 minutes to Illiamna, our alternate airport, which had good weather and landed. After refueling we talked to the local weather man and after about an hour he told us that Port Alsworth was up to 500’ ceiling and 5 miles visibility. That was good enough that we were able to get in by 11 AM. After an uneventful flight back we were home by 12:30 PM. A short but wonderful day. When I got back from lunch I had to get to work and try to catch up on all the things I don’t get done when I’m flying.

On October 8 I was again airborne this time taking people to a Moravian Singspiration in Akiachak. Because the runway is so short at Akiachak we only land the Caravan there. The Caravan flew a group from Soldotna directly to Akiachak while the two King Airs, one of which was piloted by yours truly, ferried people from Anchorage and Manokotak to Akiak. From there the Caravan took them the last eight miles to Akiachak. The two King Airs brought in 18 people each while the Caravan brought 9 more for a total of 45 people. We then took the planes to Bethel where we refueled and parked them for the weekend. All five pilots stayed at the Moravian Seminary in Bethel. We were very happy that

Click on picture to see more photos ........................................................................................Akiak Alaska

we were not flying on Saturday because the fog rolled in about 7 AM and stayed all day. We were blessed with good weather on Sunday for the flight home. After dropping off the Manokotak people were returned to Akiak for the Anchorage folks.

On the way back to Anchorage we had a wonderful view of the sun on the Alaska Range and a close up view of the new blanket of snow on the mountains. It was truly spectacular – well worth the work in my office not getting done.

On 31 October I flew with Mark Swensen as we took five ladies from Arctic Barnabus an hour and a half down the road to Anaik. Although there was only five of them in our 9 passenger airplane they made up for the lack of passengers with stuff. You know all the stuff ladies need to run a sewing workshop including 5 sewing machines. It was a beautiful warm (40 deg F) sunny day in Soldotna as contrasted to the winter landscape greeting us in Aniak.

Click on picture to see more photos .....Arctic Barnabus Ladies to Aniak

We still haven’t had any snow here. In fact October has been a glorious month with many days of sunshine and temperatures between 25 and 40 deg F.

We were looking at the records yesterday and so far in 2010 we have flown about 1500 people and 50,000 lbs of cargo. Not bad for old duffers. We have not kept records of passengers and cargo in the past so it was interesting to see the numbers.