Capt Millard now flies a really beautiful C-185 on floats, wheels and probably skis in Alaska and has agreed to release some stories.

One of his short stories.

"An empty C-46 is just a big twin engine Super Cub really. It really wants to fly.
Great airplane with those big tires although I did have one stuck at
Arctic Village when the left wheel broke through the frozen surface. Some situation. The 3rd year on a new runway and the permafrost was melting and perking to the surface and ditches developing where the gravel was settling. A guy could just about write a book on that subject."

(Ernie's comment: I suspect many of those stories will be in our book later if we are lucky)

"In a C-46 I diverted from nanashuk (sp) to Umiat one December day when an engine would occasionally backfire for no reason. Didn't want to get stuck on a gravel bar in winter with nobody around. Two mechanics came up from FAI and found the remains of a 2D cell flashlight in the
carburetor. Interestingly the remaining part had the mechanics initials
on it.

As they were putting the cowling back down the wind came up and we were there for 4 days in a gale. Couldn't see your hand in front of your
face. For chow we would go in a group and actually collide with 3 foot
drifts where the wind was whistling between the generator sheds.

I remember when the shaft blew out at Kennicott. It would have been
interesting."

If I may and I am sure Doug will not mind, I might add a little to Capt Millard's comments.

For some reason in the early days of building airports in the Arctic of Alaska, they tried to do it like they would here in Texas, everything in one year. It took until maybe the 1970s before the powers at be in Alaska would listen to the pros in Northern Canada to learn how to build them correctly. Thanks Canada. Do the basic gravel work over insulation one year and than let it sit for at least a year but better two years and than come in and put the surface on. I watched that being done at the new Barrow airport and we, as an airline, had all kids of problems. Capt Millard flew an F-27 flight into the Barrow airport and got into some rather unusual attitudes on roll out before the state finally did something. That story in somewhere in my first posts but at some point, I will move it forward by itself.

Now about that Umiat flight. As most know by now, I was assigned to our Umiat operation in 1965 responsible for doing all work to keep a 24/7/365 operation going as the only emergency airport on the north slope of Alaska. When a weather pattern went through with lots of wind in it, there was nothing to break the winds, read no trees, so we got all of what mother nature poured at us.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...ka&btnG=Search

http://www.alaska.faa.gov/fai/airports2.htm#Arctic
Look for the UMT photos on the left side.


What Capt Millard was referring to was maybe the walk between the quanset hut behind the tower to the building to the left which was the company kitchen and radio room. You could not see between the two but there were also some quanset buildings further away that Wien used at times. Most buildings in the arctic at that time had a rope coiled up near the door of each building and when a strong wind came up, someone was assigned to attach the ropes from one building to another and when a person was outside they must have one hand on the rope at all times. A person could get lost in ten feet and never be seen again.

As the person in charge of all operations at Umiat, I had several major priorities. Power production (operating generators), food and heat for family and crew, keeping radios and nav aid operating, and runway maintenance.
Since I had been trained by a great guy as asst airport manager of the Point Barrow AF Station airport, I had learned to never create a berm anywhere near a runway or it would drift in. At Umiat, all I had to maintain the runway was an old WW II Studebaker 10 wheeler truck and a 20 foot long 8 x 8 timber. I simply cabled the timber to the back of the truck at a 20 degree angle and drug the runway from one side to the other pulling the snow back to the center. There was never a berm. Due to the very cold temperatures, the snow would set up to the point that within hours, I could land a 749 Connie on it without leaving a track. Oh, by the way, my Dad taught me that back on the farm in Nebraska in the 40s when he cleared our roads with an A frame drag with a beautiful pair of Clydesdale's.

As for the "mechanical problem", I posted a story about the same aircraft, C-46A, 92853, a while back that also had a problem at Umiat. That story is elsewhere.

I am not sure just what town or area Capt Millard refereed to but it really does not change the story. Lets just say it was north of Umiat somewhere.

I will be moving that story forward as well as the F-27 out of Fairbanks that had a speeder wrench left in a wheel well. I guess if a doctor can leave a swab inside a person after doing an operation and the area was closed up, an aircraft mechanic can make an error too. After all, our light aircraft chief pilot forgot to fuel his aircraft before a scheduled flight out of Fairbanks. Read: check list.

The blowing of the shaft at Kennicott refers to our operation at Dahl Creek in support of Kennicott at Bornite just over the mountain to the north. On their last TNT ( the 250 cases I offloaded off of good old 92853) shoot in a 1000 foot deep shaft into an unbelievable copper ore lode, they broke into a huge underground river which had a huge amount of water under high pressure. That was when we started flying in bagged Cement just as fast as we could, 24/7 with good old C-46, 92853 as well as flights by a competitor that I turned around for Kennicott. Boy did I get tired. That story is elsewhere.

I have several more longer stories from Capt Millard that I will try to get released. You guys will really enjoy them.