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Thread: Hood River to Anchorage in May, Carbon Cub coastal route without stopping in Canada?

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    Narwhal's Avatar
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    Hood River to Anchorage in May, Carbon Cub coastal route without stopping in Canada?

    Considering doing this trip in May and am looking for any advice.

    Would go from Hood River Oregon to Bellingham Washington, then Bellingham to Ketchikan non-stop. Then probably Yakutat for a stopover before Anchorage.

    I'm carrying a fuel belly pod, so 73 gallons useable at ~9 GPH and 110 MPH TAS, very conservatively. Most critical leg would be the Bellingham-Ketchikan, which shows 622 SM on the most common routing, so I should have the range provided I bring a few Gatorade bottles, even with strong headwinds and a Klawock or Wrangell alternate (~840 sm calm wind range).

    The airplane is equipped for IFR, although MEAs and Icing obviously impact the viability of that. I've been researching everything necessary, already have my FCC license and will get one for the airplane. I will have plenty of payload weight left for any prudent survival gear. I could flex to trench or alcan if the weather was absolute garbage and showed no signs of improvement, but the coastal routing seems to make the most sense. I'm planning time to wait in Bellingham for up to 4-5 days if necessary, before launching to avoid bad weather. I've flown this routing quite a bit, except a few hundred miles off shore and 20 or 30 thousand feet higher

    I will fly the airplane for about 40 hours in Hood River before embarking. Is it crazy to do this in a new airplane while relying on a belly pod transfer pump and an engine with no magnetos or backup alternator? Obviously Canada is on the table for emergencies. I've found this site https://fly2ak.com/ as well as the associated HDHP with the website's creator, Ted Waltman. It's pretty helpful.
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    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Thank you for your research and mention of my website. Please let me know if there is anything I could add that you found lacking. Similarly, if there is anything I could change to improve the site’s usefulness.

    Much appreciated! Ted
    ted@fly2ak.com
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    Ted,

    Though I may never fly to Alaska, I spent an hour this morning perusing your web page. You obviously put a lot of effort into it. I followed a number of the links and they made for some interesting reading.
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    G44's Avatar
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    Single engine over Prince William sound in a new airplane? Also, I would work a bit on my leaning technique a bit to find absolute best MPG settings in that 40 hours. Why the adversity in stopping in Canada and flying inland?
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    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Narwhal

    I have made this run 6 or 8 times. It is easily doable. I use Lynden (38W) as my last stop in the US. It is as far North as possible. They have credit card fuel. You will have to contact Abbotsford Tower when you T.O. as you are in their airspace immediately. Ask to transit the western part of their airspace at 1000 to 1500'. After you get past them you can work your way north around Pitt Meadows and pick up the little reverse arrows on the chart (which denotes the VFR route) north and west around Vancouver. You can stay under the class B and not talk to anyone if you want, or you can talk to approach if you want. You might get a slightly better routing by talking with approach. You will fly over Schelt airport then pretty much up the shoreline past Powell River, then NE around Campbell River airspace (a good stop if you had to), NE around Port Hardy. It is common to have low weather around Bella Bella. The (cold air) wind flows down off the glaciers there, then hits the warmer moist coastal air, and for 50 to 100 miles you might have rain and low ceilings. Don't panic. That is a normal low wx area. It will usually get better shortly after you pass Bella Bella. Over Prince Rupert and on up to Ketch.
    Now.....technique only...... I usually go straight into a Forrest Service cabin and stay the night, then fly on to Ketch the next morning. Hugh Smith and Humpack cabins are in the SE part of AK. You can usually reach ATC (center) to cancel your flight plan. You will file a flight plan to Ketch (they freak out if you try to file to a cabin) so you will need to cancel so they do not start a S&R mission.
    You can get fuel in Ketch and if you take the ferry to the mainland, it is a pretty short walk to the grocery store if you need to resupply. They also have a pretty good deli counter where you can get lunch if you want. There is a food concession at the airport main terminal but it is pretty average. Kinda a "any food is better than no food" option but that is about all.
    Your next fuel stop will be Juneau, about 2.5 hour flight from Ketch. Again you can walk into food, restaurant, and supplies in Juneau. Next will be Yakutat. Fuel, and there is a restaurant there if it is open. Food is pretty good (mostly just sandwiches and burgers, but not bad). Then on up to Cordova, over PWS (Prince William Sound) and on from there depending on what you want to see and where you want to go.
    PWS is like the place at your house where all the leaves swirl around and pile up when the wind blows in the fall. All the bad weather in the world swirls around and piles up in PWS. If you get lucky and hit a blue sky day..... it may, no kidding,..... be the most beautiful place on the planet, but most of the time you will go through there under a low cloud deck and not see squat.
    I have 68 gallons (with a pod) and usually burn a little under 8 gallons an hour at 2400 RPM and that gives me about 100 mph indicated. Burn the fuel out of the pod first. When the pod is empty I go both on the fuel selector to avoid forgetting.

    If you do a good fly off 40 hours, you should be fine. PM me and I will be happy to help if I can.

    Bill
    Very Blessed. "It's not an obsession, it's a passion"
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    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    I use the windy website for weather......https://www.windy.com/?46.307,-94.101,5

    This is an EXCELLENT way to check the winds on the route. You do NOT want a headwind when you make the run up the coast. It can easily turn a 5.5 or 6 hour flight into an 8 hour flight with a fuel emergency. I start watching the weather and winds a week or more out then adjust my plans to hit a tailwind. You will be over water, following a shoreline, in a pretty remote area, so wx is not as big of a threat as the winds. That windy site is also pretty accurate as to the lowest cloud layer. It is AMAZINGLY accurate.

    It is possible (likely) you will fly at least part of the run in the rain. I am running a Catto prop and have flown MANY MANY hours in the rain and have not seen any prop erosion. Depending on the prop you have you may have a different experience.

    Hope this helps

    Bill
    Very Blessed. "It's not an obsession, it's a passion"
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    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G44 View Post
    Also, I would work a bit on my leaning technique a bit to find absolute best MPG settings in that 40 hours.
    One very useful feature of the Garmin G3X Touch system is that it allows the direct display of current mpg (ECO). Wind, altitude, power setting, and leaning all interact to drive cruise ECO.

    G3X also shows a fuel range ring on the map. Both these features assume the K factor of the fuel flow sensor is calibrated correctly and that may need to be tweaked from the default factory setting.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    If PWS is marginal then there's Cordova to Valdez or NE up the Copper River to Chitna then Gulkana > ANC. Weather can pile up in NW PWS depending on winds and temps. You might consider wearing a floatation capable anti-exposure suit (like a Mustang) if on conventional gear. They are great in foul weather.

    Gary

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    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Since rain was mentioned - You can expect a new FX-3 to leak like a sieve in the rain. You will get wet unless you have found the leaks and fixed them.
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    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Thank you Bill and Gary for your insight and experience. With your permission, I’ll add both of your wise counsel to the website.

    Having said that, Anchorage might be the goal, but as the saying goes, “The adventure is in the journey.” There are a host of simply spectacular spots along the way to visit. I also sense that folks seem to get all wrapped up in avoiding customs, which, in my experience, while burdensome is not a real issue.

    For instance, the strip at the head of Bute Inlet is out of this world spectacular. Even long and smooth enough for amphibs Bill. Flying around the mountains from Bella Coola is awe inspiring. The many Forest Service strips near Yakutat are neat! Beach landings from La Perouse glacier area (land and walk on the glacier!) N to Cordova are wonderful. Icy Bay Area has at least four “strips” and numerous off-airport options if you have reasonable tires.

    I could go on…
    Last edited by tedwaltman1; 12-31-2021 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Typo
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  11. #11

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    All a good trip, done it many times both ways, but need to wait for the right weather window before heading north, or south. Not really an issue to stop in Canada, they are far friendlier customs than U.S. Normally can find one good weather window to make as far as Yakutat, but as others say, Prince William sound weather can keep you from getting thru pass from Whittier to Anchorage if low ceilings there.
    Just watch the weather and hope for a good window before heading north, if not enjoy where you have to stop and wait for good weather. No place to poke around unless you are familiar, and even then on wheels not always the best choices.
    Always a fun trip.
    John
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    Narwhal's Avatar
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    Ultimately I'm trying to avoid canada to skip the covid hassles and do a dry run for shipping some personal items up later that Canada will not allow. Better to try it first without the machine guns aboard, in case I have to dip into Canada. Very annoying to ship those things from the L48 given the multiple form 4's and transfer fees involved.

    Most of the time when I fly over PWS I just fly over the knik glacier or just go up to 10,000 and blast straight across the chugach direct. Ive been through portage pass at whittier a few times and it is often moderate turbulence, or worse. Yes, it is pretty white knuckle to do in a single but I don't have a problem with it behind an engine I trust if winds, turbulence, and clouds allow it. I try not to do it regularly in case the odds and luck catch up with me, but will occasionally. Still, I am less anxious about PWS than the southern part because I've flown through PWS quite a bit. Maybe I am being too complacent about the PWS, I will reexamine that part of the route.

    Has anyone done any part of this route IFR? If winds were favorable at the MEAs, which are 9000 ft in the highest spots, it could make sense as long as icing conditions were not encountered. Seems the ability to climb through the layers and then fly an approach at Ketchikan if necessary might be nice rather than being forced to scud and drink all the associated fuel.

  13. #13
    aktango58's Avatar
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    May?

    Should not be an issue as long as the motor runs the entire time.

    Be mindful there is no fuel on the strip at Prince Rupert, and Annette Island I am told no longer has a useable runway. Your last fuel is Shearwater, (Bella Bella), on wheels, or you turn up the Skeena to Terrace if you can not get to Ketchikan. Rupert you can take the ferry if you are on the correct schedule, but then you need to 5 gallon can it.

    Lots to see between Ketchikan and Anchorage. As mentioned, Yakutat area has many strips with cabins.

    Feel free to stop in here on the way past also, then you can take the Alsek river out and then to Yakutat. Lots of critters to see along that route.

    Again, May is the best traveling of the year. I would not expect more than a day or two delay.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with Haines NW to Northway or even Gulkana. There's something about wheels over water I never quite got over after spending 3 months in Cordova flying with them during the oil spill.

    Gary
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  15. #15

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    All depends on the weather. I have done the trip many times, north and south. Spent a few days in Sitka awaiting weather one time going north, could not go inland at all, other times down on the deck just above the whitecaps picking the way between islands, flying the ADF on the outside, would not be an option to land in that at all. In a Widgeon too. Did it once from Anchorage to Victoria in Widgeon, bluebird day, tailwinds bigtime and went to 10,000', cut all the corners, groundspeed over 200mph (normal 150MPH) and made it in 8 hours with one fuel stop.
    Again, always best to stage yourself and wait for a good weather window.
    John
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    My dream is to fly from KHCR to Barrow, AK some day.
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