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Thread: Corvus Migrans the Wandering Raven II

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    Corvus Migrans the Wandering Raven II

    My Canada story 2008
    http://www.supercub.org/phpbb2/viewt...corvus+migrans

    An new story 2009

    Hi friends!
    Alaska the Great Land and I am back again. This time to travel the Great Land. I started flying here about twenty years ago. Here I teached myself flying the outdoors on my own, which became very expensive. I guess now I have my nose a little bit over the rim of the table.
    This year there are two reasons, why I do not fly again to Canada:
    1. the new ELT regulations
    2. the reentry procedures into the States.
    Next year when the dust has settled, it will become time again to fly this marvelous country.
    But Alaska is so huge that there are still places for me I have not visited yet or want to visit again.

    And as ever again flying off airport, there are always ever little bad and good adventures around:
    A friend and me we flew for practicing to a Tanana River sandbar 16 miles away from Fairbanks. After 5 stop & goes he stopped because of a blown cylinder. The cylinder #2 had a 4” crack and a nickel size hole in the head wall. It also had burned away the fins of the opposite cylinder. So we flew back to town in my cub and had a new cylinder by the evening sitting on the table. Next day in field within 4 hours the cylinder became swapped by a mechanic and the PA-12 was back in Fairbanks by noon. A cheers to these old flying machines with their old and simple technique. They are so easy to repair.
    On a different day we flew in heavy smoke to a little lake for fishing pikes. There are several bush fires west and north of Fairbanks and the wind was this way, that we had to fly 6-700’ MSL in dense smoke and had a tough time to find this little 2 mile lake. 90° F only little wind and an unbelievable entertainment. Catch and release, we caught more than one hundred pikes, +/- 22”. You read right!
    Now jet lat lag is over and the flees in my butt are coming back. I started preparing for new adventures. Let us being surprised where the wind will blow me this year. And again with my motto: The way should be the goal.
    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Looks like fun. I'd use a borescope to inspect the remaining cylinders just for piece of mind.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Alaska

    Great news, We enjoyed your last trip alot, Looking forward to you new adventure. Pictures and fish Have fun.

    Bill

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    SJ's Avatar
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    YAHOO! Here we go again!
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  6. #6
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Advise requested will be given only after we get the lake coordinates
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Hi friends!
    I think this year will not become such a challenging travel year like last year, but who knows? Alaska is always good for a surprise.
    Well, I took off in smoke, in dense smoke from two bush fires in the area of Clear and Nenana.
    It took me a while to climb on top to 10000 feet and more. The terminal radar service separation was a big help in this gray brown soup and I was again happy being full instrumented. But I did not like to fly in this kind of smoke through the mountains, so I climbed on top. And here came the surprise 20000 feet and more towering cumulus in my way to Anchorage, but to the west it looked good. But I had to climb way more than 10500 feet and I had to make a detour almost to the Mt.Mckinley, but what a marvelous view and flight. And what could happen? I had 60 gls fuel on board for a flight of 3-4 hours. Once over the hump the climbing clouds disappeared and at Talkeetna clear sky. I arrived at midnight, still with some sun behind the horizon, at Goose Bay strip, 15 minutes north of Anchorage and set camp for this night.
    Next day I flew into Merill Field to visit “Dan’s Aircraft Repair”. I needed a replacement for my gone DG. What a joy to talk with Dan, Red, Dee and the others, I haven’t seen since a year.
    When my little bomber was ready to go, I took off to the south to look for a place to set camp for this night. I remembered a place on the beach I flew 14 years ago at the most southern point of the Kenai Peninsula. After two hours, including some detours into the mountains, I arrived at my place. But it was high tide and the place had changed considerably. Not much space anymore to camp AND to land. So I continued, now east, finding some inviting islands on the east side of the peninsula.
    I landed with the sun setting down behind the opposite mountains on a nice island beach. What a romantic mood to set camp in marvelous red evenings light, with the sharp black shadows from the backward sun illuminated mountains on the other side of the water strait.
    Fog, low ceiling, oncoming strong wind from the east, that was the next morning. But I did not hesitate to explore the locality.
    I found a 900 feet overgrown old airstrip, some very old rust rotten-down trucks, an old former fishing lodge, now in a falling apart status and a very nice log house. At the end of the airstrip I found an old Continental C-145 engine sitting in the grass with crushed accessories in the back. And my imaginations came up. What if a pilot, years ago, in a loaded Cessna 170 took off to the south, in similar turbulences as now and got thrown into the little cluster of trees about 600 feet away, which are a little bit in the flight path? In my fantasy I started to understand, why this nice lodge and place is falling apart. Something must have happened with the driving person of this place 10-14 years ago.
    Next day I had still morning fog, rain, mist, low ceiling and strong turbulent winds coming in waves over the islands mountain. I wanted to fly to Kodiak and waited one more day in hope the weather would improve to cross the strait to Kodiak under better conditions as now and to continue to the peninsula in the west. So I observed a bold eagle which was so bold to attack a seaotter with no luck and also enjoying the life and the ever changing picture at the sea with its sealions in front of my camp.
    A day later I called up Homer and got the information that no 30 Cub minutes flight away at Homer it was calm and good weather. Now having the snout full from this bad weather I broke camp and prepared my take off path. I didn’t like to take off on this angled beach, the on land wings underside opposed into the gusting wind from the land. This situation would have called for a groundloop or something else strange. When the 600 feet long sandbar was prepared, measured and marked and the engine was warm, I waited until the turbulent gusts gave a little brake and throttled up. It took me in my heavy Cub in soft sand about 500 feet until I felt a real firm lift and good control, I pulled second notch flaps and rotated. While climbing out flat and fast over the trees to gain as much speed as possible to fight against an eventual windsheer, I retracted slow the flaps. Man, did I get shaken around in the leeside of these little mountain but as fast as possible I aimed for the open strait with its strong but laminar windflow.
    Now I had to fly around the corner into the leeside windshadow of the Kenai Peninsula. Knowing that I would have strong turbulences in a ceiling of 5-600 feet I headed away from the coast. But I still got bumped around pretty rough being 1-2 miles away from the coast. 10-15 mls south of Homer the wind calmed down and so the ceiling. Finally I flew 30-40 feet above the water circumnavigating water touching clouds with all the little halibut fishing boats around.
    I landed in Homer in nice calm weather. It was here hard to believe that no 40 miles away you had tough flying weather. The Flight Service showed me the “ugly” weather map. With a big low pressure sitting in the middle of Bristol Bay and another low pressure waiting to enter the Bay, which made all this crap weather here around. So I decided to fly north to Gulkana and wanted to continue to the Wrangells to fly the glaciers. But on arriving Gulkana I came in a 20-25 mls and more southerly strong airflow over the mountains, that I expected strong turbulences in 6-8000 feet, where I wanted to fly. So again I changed my course, this time north direction back to Fairbanks. At Delta Junction I came a little bit too close at a good rainshower and bumped my head pretty good against the cabins roof. But reducing the airspeed from 90 to 50-60 mls dampened the jolts very good.
    I landed in Fairbanks at 9 pm and realized one thing again:
    Alaska is a compact North American Continent. Compared to the continent it might be small but it has all its landscapes and climates in a small manner. It is still quite and empty, not as it was 30 years ago, but you can still fly free and peaceful and follow the course in your own mood.
    Well this was my first voyage which actually aimed for the chain. But who likes to fly in rain, gales, low ceiling, mist and camp in such moist weather outside. Sorry, but I am not such a masochist. Two years ago I flew the chain and had a flyable part bad, part good weather. The weather pattern changed daily. But at least I had about every three days a day fair to good weather. Well, but let’s see what I am doing next!
    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

  11. #11
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Thank You!!
    Wonderful to read your words & view your pix.

    I'm already anxious for your next story.
    Now, I think I'll read this one again.
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  12. #12
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    thanks too....

    makes me want to get the camping gear down......summers slipping away.....

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    Hi friends!
    It is like 2004: Alaska is burning. Today we have about 400 fires running in this marvelous land. I wanted to fly a friend to his hunting camp into the Brooks Range. But Bettles had between one and two miles horizontal visibility, clear sky but still IFR! So a no go for me to fly under these conditions into the mountains. A friend at the Yukon River around Beaver and Steverns Village got stuck in smoke and ¼ miles visibility for about a week until he could return “around the corner” to Fairbanks.
    Well, about 10 days ago it was not that bad and I took off to the north, also to have a look en-route on my old since years from the river destroyed gravel bar. 10 miles north of it rages a bushfire, about 5-600 square miles large with a visible smolder/fire front of more than ten miles ( it still burns it’s way).
    How big was my surprise to see my old gravel bar restored by the last strong brake up. But as ever, not maintained, a small popular tree and a few bushes grew in the middle of the new runway. After several approaches to find the right way and touch down point also to determine if the little tree might be to big for my leading edge, I touched down. On the than slow landing roll through a bush, I chopped off the tip of this little tree with my right leading edge. It left only little scratches on the dope. So I took possession on my new now narrow but far longer “runway”. Well, I had to clean it up with my little survival hatchet, which took me two hours work. I marked the runway in my way with paper towels not to miss the narrow line.
    Than I took off to have a look on my old campsite, boat and my little cabin. I guess all is gone by now. Eaten up by the big bushfire. Now I have no more to educate a new bear in this site who seems to be quite rude. I am doing so with dope and ether cans wrapped in ham and hanging up into the trees. But to cross the little river I had to walk down river. My old ford was now a kind of a beaver pond. But to get there I had to stumble through the dense brush, stumping and falling over hidden, rotten logs and branches and to make it worse encased by gazillion of mosquitoes, flying into my eyes and my nose. While breezing I inhaled a dozen by the way either to cough them out or gulp them down as an extra meal. But the big fun started when they entered my ears. This was absolutely an additional entertainment. This happened because I forgot to “cutter” (dope) me. There used to be a saying in Alaska: three items needs a man in the bush: A rifle, a roll of toilet paper and Cutters (bug dope).
    I enjoyed two days sleeping in my little hideaway and laying under my plane in the shadow, observing the growing, fire generated huge cumulus clouds.
    I returned to Circle to fuel up again and headed to the Salmon Trout River where it enters the Porcupine River. I landed there still in light smoke on a huge stone bar with head size stones. Landing on this surface with my 31” Bushwheels was, as you say, a peace of cake. But getting the big graylings, swimming in the big eddy at the mouth of the Salmon Trout, was as frustrating as it was 29 years ago, when I was the last time there, traveling the Porcupine River to Old Crow in my river boat. What ever I placed, spoon, blinker or fly, they didn’t bite. I do not know what they eat. May be nymphs, which I had not.
    It was warm and hazy from the smoke, so I hit my sleeping bag.
    Next morning I followed the Canadian border, which is visible as a straight big cut through the wilderness. I flew up to the Firth River jumped than over to the Colleen River to follow him down back to the Porcupine River. Traversing the hills to the Black River.
    I always ever I wanted to fish in a big eddy, where the Black runs straight into a bluff and forms a big pool. Until yet there was no possibility to land close bye. But this time with the extreme low water I found a nice long gravel bar direct at the eddy and set camp. But it seems to early for the monster pikes, for which the Black River is famous. I got only the 20 inchers.
    So a day later , via Circle to refuel again, I flew back to Fairbanks. I flew for about ten hours over still virgin empty country, empty and untouched as I know it since 35 years I am traveling in this land. I am always flying in more or less dense smoke. Two days ago the wind changed and all the smoke came into Fairbanks. The visibility went down to 600 feet. It was good to stay in a house.
    Yippee! It did rain in the last 36 hours. Not much, but still enough to get the fire in bay!
    The wandering raven

  14. #14
    Speedo's Avatar
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    C-M,
    It's always great to read of your exploits. Please keep them and your photos coming!

    Sorry to read that your camp burned up.

    Eric
    Speedo

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    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

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    The wandering raven

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    scout88305's Avatar
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    Raven,
    Your ability to point the nose in a direction that offers no services or security but only solitude should be an inspiration to all that fly. The airplane was first designed for this reason which is all to often forgotten.
    Thanks for these posts. Eric
    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

  19. #19
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Travels

    Reading your travels is like a good book, You look forward to the next page. Maybe you could come to a area or two for a slide show/talk sometime. I would pay to listen to you and I'm sure a few others would as well. Might help finance your third tour. Keep up the good work.

    I'm in Kodiak Alaska for a week or more right now, if any Cub guys are there drop me a line so I can visit you.

    Bill

  20. #20

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    Hi friends!
    Sunday, observing the weather map I noticed a high pressure, moving to the Aleutian. I immediately started my preparations for my voyage. Monday at 4 pm I took off.
    My flight service in Fairbanks gave me a very good weather briefing. They advised me to fly west of the Alaska Range instead direct via Anchorage to Lake Iliamna. I entered a marvelous CAVU weather with up to 30 miles favorable tailwinds at Kantishna via Farewell and Sparevohn. I took a shortcut over the mountains at 8-9000 feet competing my flight with the eagles, soaring together along the high slopes. No joke! I was surprised how close they let me come before they turned away. On my way to Lake Iliamna I could soar with them for 10-20 seconds at the slopes or the thermals in a distance of 2-400 feet and because I was faster than these birds, I left them behind. I enjoyed this kind of flying in formation with these great aviators, even it was only for a short time.
    Late in the evening I landed at the western beach of the huge Lake Iliamna and set camp. But what a camp: CAVU, just a not to strong wind, to chase away the bugs. And next morning it was just a dream. Slight ripples, jumping salmons, purring ptarmigans and on the other side of the lake a nice thin band of fog coming from the Bristol Bay.
    It became late 3 pm before I took off. It was clear not to fly direct to Naknek for refueling. So I followed the Kwichak River at very low altitude down to the sea. At its mouth I investigated out of the air the old rotten down canneries.
    Naknek 6.88$ per gallon 100ll. They bought it expensive, now they have to sell it expensive.
    Following an almost endless landing strip, the beach, for hours, I ran into a huge fog bank. Well fog! I still had a ceiling of 30-40 feet and visibility of at least 2 miles up. So I called this a kind of very low clouds. Two hours later it cleared up and finally became quite nice.
    When you fly for hours this way you become bored. So I entertained myself with zigzagging over the breakers while cruising over the beach in 2-10 feet elevation and zooming up and down the dune banks. With 80 miles an hour this was fun and still safe. And there were in addition some rivers and bays to investigate. After a while I had to satisfy my bladder and made a short landing on the nice beach. When I was on ground I was surprised to see three people walking along the beach about 1 ½ mile away. Where did these people come from in this remote place? Well, when I took off I realized that these people were a big sow with it’s two adult cubs beach combing for food.
    Finally after six hour flight all together, I arrived at my walrus place. The little tiny 350 feet “strip” between the dunes was merely signed by a few fishnet balloons in the grass.
    With the VGs on my wings I dragged my cub under power in with an extreme high nose. In the moment of flair you have absolutely no visibility over the nose. You really have to get used to that. When you think, now you are above the threshold you shove off the power and pull the stick all the way back and when the cub plops and hops on and over the ground you retract the flaps and apply appropriate braking action. But this landing practice you have to adapt to the certain surfaces. Power, flaps, brakes these are the things you have to work with, under the different conditions instinctively. Well, sometimes if you mess it up, or make a mistake, you go over the nose. So I stopped my “ton cub” after 300 feet ground roll. But this place between the little heights is petty good protected against the elements.
    Next day the wind was blowing with 25 knots and the sea produced heavy breakers so my place proved its protectiveness. Now I walked up to the walruses. Even if they have very poor vision they notice movements. So I stalked them very slow and tried to be covered by the background. They like to panic and in a panic fleeing to the water sometimes, they may kill each other, what I do not like. I tried to be that way, that they didn't notice me. It is always ever interesting to observe these stinking, farting, burping, snorting monsters. They do see nothing, when they lay on their back in a deep sleep. But on the outside of the herd there are some walruses which have the eyes open and these are suspicious and when they become alert the whole herd is on its “feet”.
    I spend some very nice days at my protected camp,beach combing, walking and observing the fight of the fisher boats with the waves, while netting for salmon. I saw many fresh big bear tracks but no bears. So I was happy.
    After breaking camp it became a very leisurely flight to Cold Bay. There I refueled, picked up the weather from the FSS and flew south to Cape Sarichef. There I landed on the old supply gravel road and started a very thorough investigation of this old coast guard and former Loran station. Man what a mess can bears do. Nothing was in a usable shape. Even the drywall was part torn off.
    In duty times, I guessed, 20-30people must have served here. In summertime it must have been quite nice, but in wintertime, with heavy cold wet or icy storms and weather, it must have been a hard time, even with the great comfort in these buildings.
    Well, now I took my all braveness and turned my ship to the southwest over the sea into the gray of the low clouds, with a visibility of 1-2 miles, to cross the waters of the Unimak Pass. I flew for a time in a gray bowl, looking for the land on the other side of the straight, which finally emerged ghostlike out of the gray.
    The time had run while investigating the station buildings, so it became evening and I was again in search for an overnight site. At Unalaska I flew into the Beaver Inlet and saw a little red roofed cabin at a narrow but long beach. Because the end of this inlet didn't look inviting with it’s gray solid clouds, I decided to land here. Also because there was a nice little creek which promised excellent fresh water. But landing was a little bit tricky. Only the part nearby the cabin looked wide enough to land safe. But I had to make a bend approach along and near the steep cliffs, to have a little bit headwind. What I realized on the landing run and didn't see out of the air were the sand waves, generated by the sea (it was almost high tide). So I hopped along over the beach like a rabbit, afraid to nose over when I would apply brakes. Still the landing run was not longer than 600 feet.
    This night I was to lazy to set up my camp and slept in this little about 40-50 years old cabin, which started to rot, on a hard wooden bench. But I had not to work for to set up a camp. And what a top quality water I had, available from the little sprinkling creek coming down the rocky slope.
    When I flew next day into the bay of Dutch Harbor I got confused. I could not find nor see the runway. I saw the city, I saw the harbor, but no runway. So I strictly followed the GPS once more at higher altitude and look, nicely hidden snug behind a high hill cone, there was the short paved runway.
    The people here in Dutch are a whole different to other sites in Alaska. Open minded, friendly
    (even compared to the old time Alaskans), helpful and last but not least interested. I needed oil for my engine, which I could not get from the fuel truck. Steven and Jason, pilots from Pen Air, gave me some, that I could continue my flight southwestward. The news about the cub and me traveling the chain, spread around fast. And after my sightseeing for a few hours, also getting an unplanned walk through the power plant, which is still in the original build concrete bunker from 60 years ago, many people stopped by just to talk with me. So I got many useful information fur my further trip. But I tell you how became my eyes big when I looked at the big hanger when it was open. There sat two to brand new condition restored Grumman Goose and two damaged Goose in the back. Airplanes that fly and serve the Chain by Pan Air! I also met Lonny the rancher from Umiak who manages the 6500 cattle on the island.
    Finally at 7 pm I took off direction Umnak Island along the northwest side of Unalaska. What a scenery I flew along. High vertical cliffs here and there a stranded vessel at it’s feet witnessing the severe storms they occur here. About this, I was especially afraid, but the pressure gradients were so shallow that I didn’t expect more than 30-40 knot winds somewhere local. After crossing Umnak Pass I flew like a lonesome cowboy (except I have 180 ponies up front and sit in a for this time very sophisticated machine) over the wide open grassy slopes and plains of Umnak in search of a campsite into the slow upcoming night. I landed at the northwest side of that island on a wide open flat beach. Ah yeah, while landing, a fox sat no 40 feet from my landing pass away and slept. But he took off when I wanted to have a look at him.
    Next morning I was fogged in, thinking to stay for a time here, to sit out that dense fog. Visibility was less than 500 feet. But this seems to be one of the characteristics of these islands, fast changing unpredictable weather patterns. Two Hours later I had a visibility of 4-5 miles ceiling somewhere at 4-700 feet and up, broken. So I took off again and followed the east coast.
    Well the Aleutians are a real challenge worth. As the lady at the FSS Cold Bay said: If you do not like to fly in that kind of weather, at absolute low ceilings, miserable visibility, heavy gusts, crossing big open water stretches in a gray cloud bowl, stay away from the chain. But what do you miss!
    There is not always bad weather. Many times I had good to marvelous weather. But like here, cruising to Nikolski at the south end of Umnak, I entered within a few miles ceilings of zero feet and visibilities of less than a mile and in the next moment the sun shone! If you have an on-land wind it generates on the rising surface clouds and fog and on the other side of the island a Chinook with good flying weather. Except of the lee off-land turbulences, which can be quite nasty! But again what a different world you are experiencing.
    Flying along the Umnak coast I had to use immediately developed personnell flying patterns to avoid getting lost and crashing head on into the rocks of the many little fjords. But how nice is it to fly a slow cub in this environment. Hey friends, try this in a Mooney!!
    Nikolski, with a former Air Force gravel strip, laid in a nice calm sunny weather. On its ramp sat an old stranded DC-3 from Reeves Aleutian Airways. I had just stopped my Cub on the apron when the first four wheeler arrived. Within 10 minutes half of the village came out on their little carts as a welcome committee. I was the first airplane since three weeks. This village is really remote, but it has a nice hunting and fishing lodge. They catch regularly 150 to 200 pound heavy Halibut. Here at the Aleutians Alaska is still as it was 50-80 years ago. Except of the modern equipment like Internett etc.
    After a short sightseeing trip through the village, I flew back to Dutch Harbor along the rolling grass slopes of Umnak with its remains of the last war and later along the steep rock walls of Unalaska.
    Here I refueled again and continued my flight to Unimak Island, crossing the straight again this time in nice weather. Because thewest sidee of the Islands was fogged and clouded in, I flew the eastern side with it’s better weather. I flew into a more and more clear sky admiring two volcanoes one like asugar loaff with a little vertical smoke flag the other with wild sharp rock fins. I wanted to fly up to this nice “little“ into the blue sky rising volcano to look into his crater. But a view into the map showed me, this “little” thing is more than 9000 feet high. Well, not today!
    While flying again into the oncoming night, it was 10 pm and short before False Pass, I decided in a snap to land on the sand beach below me, in a little sheltered spot for the night.
    I had off-land rolling turbulent winds. And again, as ever in such moments, starting the flair along the dune banks of the beach, a little gust shifted my cub horizontally about 15 feet left to the dunes. It was a short reflex working the ailerons and the rudder and I was back on my narrow runway pass. I myself was really amazed about my instinctive reaction. But I guess flying that way sharpens your senses and reactions.
    Next morning CAVU at the east west side of the island, on the west side IFR, I guessed from the ugly clouds they came crowling over the mountains and disapearing on descend. High waves came in from the Pacific despite the off landing wind. They came roaring in seven in a row and every twentieth or so was an eight feet monster breaker, generated from a far to the east blowing gale.
    False Pass, I wanted to fly to my bear lagoon. But this narrow was a solid lead gray wall. So I took the next pass to the west to fly to Cold Bay. And again just 20-25 miles north passing through a different pass to the west, in good visibility, was really nothing.
    I got fuel and weather again in Cold Bay. My destination this time was somewhere around Lake Iliamna. It is interesting that they give you a good weather briefing from certain observing points but almost nothing trustable from between. That is like in Canada. That kind I had to learn fast here with the chain. You experience fair flying weather at the reporting points but ceilings and visibilities on the ground between them. In sometimes adventures flying conditions I followed the endless beaches, sometimes almost touchnig with my wheels the water. But still I could land anytime if I wanted. There were really only few places you had to be careful. And I had 20 knots favorable winds. Again a cheers for the cubs.
    I arrived at Lake Iliamna late at night 11 pm. I was always endeavored to sleep away from civilization. So I tried two approaches on the beach. But because of my VGs, I had an extreme high nose attitude on my landing flares and saw nothing to the front, I gave up and flew to the nearby airport of Igiugik and landed there at dark night.
    Here at the village it was so quite that you never would believe that there are many people asleep.
    Next day again Iliamna airport IFR, but I could get a special VFR. The FSS gave me some questionable weather for the Lake Clark Pass, but on arrival I had 2200 feet broken ceiling and good visibility.
    I got some good turbulences while flying this pass in very low altitude. But I wanted to see how this pass looks alike when you have to fly it in marginal conditions. Well, now I believe the stories. There is a short one mile but narrow part with little hill kind obstructions, which will get you. So it is wiser to turn around soon, when you cannot see beyond. It may be that you are not able to turn back in this narrow and crash. I landed in Anchorage for a short shopping and refuel and also to visit Dan’s.
    The weather map said ¾ miles visibility 500 feet ceiling and fog at Chulitna River Lodge. As ever flying to the north to Fairbanks this is the gorge. If you can’t make it here, can’t make it nowhere. Well, I tried it. I always could land on the nice smooth gravel bars of the Chulitna River and could sat camp. And it turned out flyable. 1-3 miles visibility and a flyable ceiling of 100-300 feet above the trees, I followed the river above tit’s channel. So I had an escape into the riverbed in case the ceiling should go down. The worse part was between Hurricane and Igloo than it became “better”. Once around Windy it became good and so I landed at 10:30pm at Fairbanks International finishing my latest adventure and learning something new to my trick box.
    Well, for sure I want to return to this, not much known and advertised, site of Alaska. But next time I take 20 days time, at least, in case I get caught in bad weather. And I’ll get and learn far more about the weather patterns, weather phenomenas of this part of Alaska and the sites to visit.
    C-M
    P.S.: This what I show and describe here, is my own personnel flying style and for sure not recommended to duplicate.
    The wandering raven

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    Very cool Thanks

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    Snert's Avatar
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    yes, thank you

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Fantastic stuff, as always!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  28. #28
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    Very Intense and Real, C-V.

    I have been to your Walrus creekbed. Dug holes in the sand to drop the maingear in while visiting the Walrus from atop the cliff, as I was also concerned so as not to startle them... and flew to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. Your words and pictures bring back good memories.

    Bob Breeden

  29. #29
    Speedo's Avatar
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    Great narrative and photos! It's always wonderful to read about your trips. Thanks for sharing!

    Eric
    Speedo

  30. #30
    Tim's Avatar
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    Breathtaking, Thanks

    Tim

  31. #31
    FdxLou's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you...mere words cannot describe the joy and adventure your writing and pictures bring out.

    One ?...I remembered seeing a cargo pod on the Raven when you did your loop of Canada. I see it is gone. How do you fit everything in with only extended baggage? Do you carry extra fuel bladders? I seem to remember that you have the 48 Gal tanks.

    Looking forward to more of your adventures.
    Fly Safe!

    Lou

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    Quote Originally Posted by corvus-migrans
    At the end of the airstrip I found an old Continental C-145 engine sitting in the grass with crushed accessories in the back. And my imaginations came up. What if a pilot, years ago, in a loaded Cessna 170 took off to the south, in similar turbulences as now and got thrown into the little cluster of trees about 600 feet away, which are a little bit in the flight path? In my fantasy I started to understand, why this nice lodge and place is falling apart. Something must have happened with the driving person of this place 10-14 years ago.
    FWIW, it wasn't a 170. http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=47558&key=0 The rest of the plane is underneath that clump of trees. It wasn't related to the demise of the lodge.

  33. #33
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Back country flyer

    I vote that we set it up with the wandering raven to pay us a visit in two or more area's for a seminar with pictures of course. Make him some money for his next trip and we all could learn from his back country travels.

    Bill

  34. #34
    FdxLou's Avatar
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    I'm in....let's invite him to JC next year.

    Lou

    PS...what do you think Dave?

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    Hi friends
    I am really happy and glad to read your comments.
    Because I do not like to bear the responsibility of a another person flying with me in my way, I have to enjoy the moments alone. So at least afterward showing my adventures to similar people like me, makes me glad.
    But that kind of flying I am doing, is done every day by professionals, like guides, airline pilots etc. Landing off airport, crossing water straights, flying in clouds, they are doing it for a living. I know pilots they have 15000 to 25000 hours bush flying experience. These are my heroes and examples. I cannot “compete” with them! Even I am able to land my “ton-cub” within a distance of 300 feet and take off in the same. But on my voyages I pretty much look for 500 feet and up landing spots, with some exceptions
    It cost you 4000,--$ to get a cub out by helicopter and that only over a distance of 30 miles and it will become a fortune to recover it out of remote places in Canada. The last time the chopper had cost me 7500,--$, but the repair was only 4500,--$
    How often did I make 15-20 flybys and still did feel uncomfortable to land, so I looked for something else, you’ll find always ever. But you ran for sure into some problems to press ton-cub into a particular spot, because it is good fishing, hunting or it is a very nice camping or scenery place, my own experience. And how often did I pee almost into my pants, because of sudden situations I encountered. What did a friend once said to me: “What is an experienced pilot? It is a pilot who survived his experiences!”. How true! And how often, when I learned flying in the bush, the bullet missed me barely.
    For instance 18 years ago, I got pressed by a firm ceiling at Igloo, on a flight to Anchorage, into the river channel of the Chulitna River. Cruising right in this channel, seeing black and white spots zooming up below and above me, so ducks and swans, finally I saw a solid rock wall in front of me. The river turned 90° in a kind of steep canyon to the left. I was lucky, having a little depression on the right side on the upper surface, with a ceiling of barely 20 feet. I went up to make a 180° turn with one wing in the clouds and with the other almost chopping off the treetops. Three miles back the channel was wide with good gravel bars, so I landed here. When I stepped out I almost felt on the ground, so weak and shivering were my legs! THAT was a lesson I learned, having always ever a way out, either that famous 180° turn, a landing site below, a depression, a valley or what ever. And never ever let you get pressed in certain situations. You HAVE all the time available you need. Let the friends or who ever it is wait! Your situation is first place!
    Think ahead AND do not pinch with fuel!! Many accidents are heavily connected with running out or being short of fuel.
    Think about hangar flying. This is a pretty macho place, but you’ll get a lot of informal information here. Because these are mostly pretty macho, understandable because the pilot had survived his experience , you have to take it with a big grain of salt! But still, where else do you want to get informal infos?
    The wandering raven

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    Hi friends!
    I really feel honored about that, that you want to invite me. But I guess I am not able to satisfy, what you do await from me. I can talk a lot in my Germanized English, when the day is long , but to talk in front of an auditorium, is a whole different thing AND that is in the lower 48. Hey, I have to fly down for a week,! I rather like to fly in the bushes that time . AND think by than I am 68. It would be too stressful for me. I feel how my body reacts when I fly a distance of 500 miles. This is a climate change and I feel this pretty well next day. I feel like boozed up the day before. Not a good situation to talk entertaining in front of an auditorium!
    But here I tell you: What you want to learn, you already know. But what you need now is time to get your practical experiences. Nobody can give you that in a classroom.
    BUT what I always see with friends is that the people only learn when they have to do this, to get their license. After that they have no time, no money for fuel and other excuses. They do not read and learn from other’s experiences, do not improve and are frozen of being afraid to scratch their lovely bird. But bush flying IS pretty risky. The biggest problem is to determine in flight the surface structure you want to land on, just 10-20 feet above the ground. If you have not much of an outdoor experience you are lost! And in addition, without not flying your sweetie regularly, but only at hunting season, it leads for sure to some catastrophes. I know pilots they handle their baby very well, but do land in the bushes only on airstrips. So the outdoor experience stays forever at the same altitude.
    Your C-M
    The wandering raven

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    Well! I never had a cargo or fuel pod. That must have been somebody else. I wanted to buy one, but drag and price were the reasons I didn’t do. Instead I have 60 gals A.Dodge long range fuel tanks, which give me in still air an endurance of about 640 miles. But I consider my practical safe range at 400-500 miles depending on the weather and the wind conditions. On two of my legs in Canada, I had to fill up some of my durable 5gals polyethylene water bags, to cross from the west side to the east side of the Hudson Bay and than to continue down to Wabush/Labrador City, because this was the first place going south where 100LL was available-, except at Ivujivik. At places between the tanks at the airports were empty. At all the other places on my Canadian voyage there was 100LL available within my range.
    When Dan’s rebuild my cub, I wanted to have the most amount of baggage space. So I got a huge lower baggage compartment and under the turtle deck a second baggage area. And because of my heavy O-360 with the big 1A200 prop, the club, in front, it makes my plane nose heavy when empty. But on the other way, when loaded, I have a very heavy tail, which prevents very good a nose over, when landing in rough or soft sites. My cub has more than 80 modifications and is quite heavy compared to other cubs. But all together I can load 750# !! into it, including fuel and am still legal! It is a cub Dan’s build for me, according to my specifications and wishes. As one of Dan’s mechanics said: “Isn’t it your dream airplane?” = It is!!! It is my platform, which gives me the possibilities to travel the world in my way.

    Your C-M
    The wandering raven

  38. #38
    Bob Breeden's Avatar
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    Corvus-Migrans

    Thanks for sharing your heart-felt thoughts and convictions. You have my respect and understanding. The sense of well-lived life and deep personal adventure from going out in the natural world with your will and your wits is magnificent. I wish you happy Cubbin' for many more years.

    Bob Breeden.

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    Hi Friends
    Two weks ago the FSS here in Fairbanks told me, that the weather for the next 60 hours would be perfect for a fishing trip to the Kobuk River. So I hurried up a friend, he always ever wanted to fish for sheefish. And what a marvelous flight we had next day. But after landing in Bettles to top up, we got ramp checked. We just have left our planes, when a FAA guy appeared. He asked us for the ARROW stuff and made photos of our planes. He told us, every time around hunting season the accident rate goes up steep, so the FAA decided to do something. Well, ramp checks may have their rights, but to avoid bush flying accident, I guess that’s for sure not the right way. It is better to try to press the lazy pilots to practice more, before doing the heavy stuff. The flying proficiency is by far superior, than if everything is placarded right. Proficiency is the most important thing to fly safe! You can be legal as much as you can, you misjudge the surface, the length, the crosswind component etc.etc.etc. and weng your airplane and may be you are a ball. How do they want to control this, the real circumstances of bush accidents? I guess ramp checking in remote airports is just an excuse to be outside. But at least he was a nice guy!
    Well, the ramp check cut us an hour off from fishing. We landed after a nice continuing flight, crossing some mountains at higher altitude, on a gravel bar at the Kobuk River. Because it was late afternoon, early evening my friend took immediately his fishing pole and went to the water. While I was still preparing my tools, I saw his rod bent after his first cast. Hey friends! Was he happy, when he had the first sheefish, he caught in his life, in his hands. Within the first hour we caught about 25 fish. My friend was in fisherman’s heaven. Next day he caught his bag limit and took off for his caribou hunt north of the Brooks Range. I spent one more day at this place to enjoy.
    Before I wanted to take off, I called the FSS on my satellite phone, to get some weatherinfo. They told me about an active fast moving bad weather front coming in from the west. So I decided to fly the 1 ½ hours north to warn my friend.
    I crossed the Schwatka and Endicott Mountains, having blue sky at the horizon to the east and heavy mountain obscurations to the west. But my ceiling was still good to fair and I had a favorable tailwind. Turbulences were not so bad. But this was after all the years flying in Alaska, my first crossing of the real and high Brooks Range. And it was again, despite the oncoming bad weather, a real picturesque new country experience. Black, sharp contoured, snow covered mountains ahead; brown, red and yellow covered fall valleys beneath, what a harsh romantic site and I flew over it.
    When I arrived at his mentioned place I had 20-40 miles S-W winds, strong turbulating over the mountains and absolute miserable front sight, in drifting rain, slush and snow, so I had to keep care not to fly into the hills. I had to look left and right out of the windows, to get the real picture to navigate. Again a cheers to the slow flying cubs.
    It took a while to find the place of my friend. But he was not there. Well, he was wise enough to leave soon.
    So I turned my ship east direction Bettles. But now I had that stiff burbling winds against me. 40 miles groundspeed showed my GPS, my indicated was 80 miles. My calculations showed, that I would have some problems to get safe to Bettles ( you see, fuel problems again). So I fiddled around with lee and luv sides, up and downs and ended finally flying 30-50 feet in surprisingly little turbulences with 60-65 miles groundspeed along a big valley. You see you always ever have a way out, you only have to find him. And I always could land on the gravel bars below me and could sit out the weather. Finally I arrived the side valley, which led to Bettles and got 70-80 miles groundspeed. I had still 10 gallons fuel left, when I arrived at Bettles to refuel and was in my bed in Fairbanks by 11:30pm. This flight altogether lasted only 5 ½ hours. But the flight into the Brooks Range under these conditions, especially under that kind of light, was not only picturesque, in these turbulences, it was also challenging and entertaining. Handling up and downdrafts, thinking ahead, where at the next corner a downdraft will hit you, or to find a nice updraft, or if that corner in front of you may generate ugly turbulences, so you have to stay away from it on your flight. It sounds crazy, but flying in gorgeous weather becomes after a while boring. In this kind of weather, I had here, the time is also flying and that very fast. AND here especially unforgettable, I flew in really beautiful countryside . Under these conditions I felt a little bit the old times lonesomeness of the bush pilots, when they flew in the historic past in this marvelous country.
    C-M
    The wandering raven

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