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Thread: Windy Pass

  1. #1

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    Windy Pass

    I will be flying north to go moose hunting soon through windy pass. I've been through there twice. The first time wasn't so bad, the second was close to a religous experience. How about some tips from you guys that fly it often. They would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Look at the Summit and McKinley Park Strip weather cams before you leave. Often the pass is actually open, but you need to remember that Summit Lake (or thereabouts--well outside the pass itself) is the high point. If there's a southerly flow, that's where the rubber will meet the road. ALWAYS take a look at the Summit South camera. If there's going to be a weather issue, as in down in the dirt--that's where it'll often be.

    As to turbulence, stay well below the ridge levels. Any height near the ridge tops, especially just above them, will result in a bumpy ride with any wind. Go through there fairly low in a wind, and you won't hardly notice it.

    If the wind's from the south, as it often is, the bumpiest part will often be outside the pass on the north end.

    Visualize the pass as if it were a stream, and the air were water. Imagine where the riffles are likely to be.

    If it's really blowing hard-consider going east to Isabel Pass. I've been through Isabel when it was absolutely howling, and it was totally smooth. Till I got out about halfway between the pass and Delta Junction. Believe it or not, it's not that far out of the way going that direction. Note the new (Thank you, US Army) and totally useless, Class D airspace around Fort Greeley, on the north end.

    Windy can be pretty bumpy, but if the weather's decent, suck up the belts, and go for it, but stay fairly low.

    MTV

  3. #3
    T.J.'s Avatar
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  4. #4
    Torch's Avatar
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    My suggestion would be to call the Fairbanks AFSS at 907 474 0137 and get a complete weather briefing before you go. We are good at briefings through Windy Pass. I will be out in Torch hunting moose myself so I won't be answering the phone but my co-workers are all good professionals. Good luck.

  5. #5

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    Ditto Mike - especially the webcams.

    I fly this corridor often and it is usually a bit rough but if you stay low it is do-able. Try different sides of the pass, too. Sometimes the lee is ok, sometimes the windward side is better, but watch for the up/down drafts. You can call Denali Air and talk to a pilot and get a good report - they are right in the middle of the pass. Also call Talkeetna Aero Services at their Healy office for a pirep - good folks. If there is a SW flow of air you will get a real ride N of McKinley Park for several miles and it can be low or high. Look at the sock in the north Summit webcam and look for windy looking clouds, too. The choke points for wx are usually between Hurricane and Byers Lake and around Healy. Going east is a good option, up over Stephan Lake or maybe even farther east. If there is weather Talkeetna FSS 733-2277 is the best source - all the air taxis here keep them informed of conditions and a lot of it doesn't get into the 'system'. Another thing - always fly with your landing lights on and monitor 122.9 and give position reports. You never know when you're going to meet a half dozen of us all in a row and sometimes the Navajos are down in the cub altitudes at 160 knots......C46's, too....

  6. #6

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    Thanks guys for the info. It is much appreciated. The one time I flew through was alot like TJ's experience without the nose bleed. I will use my landing lights and report my position. Thanks again.

  7. #7

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    There are two points to look for. Chulitna River Lodge and Healy. Ceilingwise you can do it if Chulitna Lodge reports fair ceiling and vis. Windwise Healy is the gorge. Mostly if you stay higher than 6000´ you´ll get a far less bumpy sometimes smooth ride. Groundspeed depends on the winddirection. I made it several times with very high windspeeds, but as mentioned above think about a waterflow and amagine the burbles and fly the upwindslopes where the flow from the pressed air is laminar

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