March News

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In March Don went on a 10 day excursion around the state. The weather was absolutely clear with blue skies during the day and temperatures around -10°C or 14°F. At night it went down to about -25°C or -18°F. You pay for clear skies in the winter.
The route was
Thursday Soldotna-Anchorage-Koyuk
Friday Koyuk-Bethel
Saturday Bethel-Koyuk
Sunday Koyuk-Stebbins (1st time)-Unalakleet
Wednesday Unalakleet-Stebbins-Gamble-Nome-Hooper Bay-Scammon Bay-Russian Mission-Fairbanks-Koyuk-Unalakleet-Fairbanks
Saturday Fairbanks-Russian Mission-Scammon Bay-Hooper Bay-Nome
Sunday Nome-Gamble-Anchorage-Soldotna

The first group we flew was the Grace Christian High School group of 13 students and three teachers from Anchorage. They planned a marathon trip this time to three villages, Koyuk, Stebbins and Gamble, in 10 days using a King Air and a Navajo. While waiting for them in Koyuk we flew Wassilie & Jean Mute, Covenant pastor where we stayed, and seven villagers to Bethel where Wassilie performed a wedding of a Moravian couple (Wass
.....................................................................................................Grace Christian High School ........... married a Moravian Bishop’s daughter so he has a special place in the Moravian community). While we were there Jean served caribou for supper one night and muskox for lunch on the day we left. The caribou was a bit tough but the muskox was as tender as prime rib and very lean. While we were there the last few mushers on the Iditerod came through Koyuk on their way to Nome. We got close to a couple of them and saw the last musher come into Koyuk. Then on Sunday we flew the Grace Christian group to Stebbins and because we couldn’t leave the aircraft there overnight we went on to Unalakleet where we stayed with the Covenant pastor Joel Oyumick & his wife Olga. On our arrival we have fresh trout for supper and returned the favor by working on their computers. We were well taken care of on this trip.

Click on picture above to see more photos at Flickr.com

Sunday was our real long day, about 10 hrs of flying and 14 duty hours. As you can see from the list of villages we flew to on Wednesday we earned our keep taking villagers to the Covenant Church Conference in Fairbanks. On the second flight to Fairbanks we were flying at 12000 feet when we noticed that ice was formed behind the wing leading edge boots meant to keep ice off the wing. Concerned about the effect on lift we slowed to 140 knots to verify no degradation in performance. Bob then flew the ILS instrument approach at 150 knots (120 is normal) since the runway was 12000 feet long at Fairbanks. We saw the runway at about 2 miles and
.....................................................................................................Covenant Church Conference.............. landed without incident. When we checked the wings after shutdown there was no ice. We concluded that we had seen an optical illusion while airborne. Flying is exciting in Alaska.

Click on picture above to see more photos at Flickr.com

On Saturday we started flying people back home. Our route was Fairbanks to St Marys to Scammon Bay to Hooper Bay to Nome. We were trying to beat the weather that was forecast to come into Hooper Bay. When we left Scammon Bay the weather was reported down by the automatic weather reporting station. However on the approach we flew we saw the airport at seven miles. The landing was interesting due to the 20 knots wind 90° to the runway. It’s still winter in Hooper Bay. From there we flew to Nome and awoke to windy weather in Gambell. The temperature was -10°F but the winds were gusting to 32 knots making it feel like -38°F – we stop flying at -40°F.

On each of the two days we were in the Nome terminal, the police were transporting 3 teenage prisoners to Anchorage. They were in handcuffs attached to waist bands. Six youth in two days: it sure made me stop and think.

When not flying: Don was finishing the paint scrapping task he started last month. It took until 9 March to finish the job. I’m sure glad that jobs over. Not all I do here is fun & games – sometimes it’s just plain hard work.

While helping Cat at ACC on a Saturday I noticed a pile of snow in ACC’s back yard. When I went to investigate I found Alan Frinifrock teaching some students how to make a Quinzie. A Quinzie is a snow shelter that can be built in a survival situation. You pile all your sleeping bags etc in a pile and cover it with about 10 feet of snow and pack it down as best as you can. Then you dig into one side and withdraw your stuff. You are left with a snow cave that you can CAREFULLY hollow out. Then you build a tunnel entrance so the wind can not get in. With a couple of candles you can keep the Quinzie at about 32° F when it’s -25° to -30°F outside.
Click on picture above to see more photos at Flickr.com
.......................................................................................................................Cat Working at ACC.......