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Floats to Alaska 2016

Bill Rusk

Sandpoint, Idaho

I am going to post a little about my trip to Alaska on Amphib floats this summer - 2016
I hope I am able to share some of the planning, gear lists, and lessons learned along the way so that you might find some useful info here and will perhaps be able to save a little time, money, frustration, and work if you make a similar journey yourself. In many ways the genesis for this trip goes way way back. I'm not really sure when, but somewhere in my youth, perhaps 6th or 7th grade, I seem to have developed a fascination with the North Country. Wendy (on the site here) and I were visiting once and she coined the term "Your magnetic compass just points North" I have never really had any desire to go South (for vacation, to live, or anything else), I'm not sure why, but I always seem to want to go North. Years ago we did the Alaska Cruise and that just absolutely cemented my desire to fly a floatplane in Alaska. It has taken a bunch of years and a pretty focused desire, but that dream is finally being realized.

So lets take an EPIC trip to Alaska in a floatplane. Not a week long trip but the better part of three months.

We are going to visit and stay in the Forest Service Dept Cabins. A fellow floatplane pilot, Tom Bass, has put together a fantastic website for these cabins. I'm sure it took a huge amount of work, and it is the "Bible" for flying to these great Cabins. Here is the link http://www.publiclakecabinsak.com

Here is a list of the gear the was packed and the associated weights.............(my notebook arrives tomorrow and I'll update this)

There are a number of categories.

Clothing - 14pds
Personal - 4
Electronics - 5.7
Survival Vest - 3.8
Camping - 26.1
Cooking - 16.6
Fishing - 9.0
Tools - 15.0
Airplane - varies
Medical Kit - 3.2

CLOTHING - (close to 20 pounds with the backpack set up)
Wear - Jeans, boots, ball cap, belt, wallet (put in Survival vest so don't sit on it), notebook and pen/pencil in pocket

Rain Jacket, rain pants
waterproof boots
Tilley Hat (or something like it, you will want a hat with a brim all the way around to keep the bug net off your neck)
gloves, stocking cap (watch cap)
1 pair Jeans (probably wearing), 1 Pair cargo pants like Prana
Long sleeve shirts (recommend for bugs and sun, can always roll selves up)
Thermals (it can be cold even in summer, and it is a wet cold)
Handkerchiefs (Bandanas)
Small backpack for day hikes - I had a dry set of clothes in here in a waterproof bag.

(4 pounds - this is basically your dity kit)
Passport, SWA (United) ID, License, Canpass,

Razor, shave cream
Toothbrush, toothpaste
Lip balm
Sun Screen
Tweezers, nail clippers,
Shower Bag
Soap (biodegradable)
Towel and wash cloth
Ear Plugs
Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Antibiotics, pain killer, anti diarrhea, EpiPen, etc
Pocket Knife

(6 pounds - also had a battery we could use to charge other batteries - very handy!!)
Phone with charger, cable to connect to computer

Ipad Mini with charger ( the back seater will use this with foreflight)
Camera, SD cards, case, tripod, foot, with charger
GoPro with two batteries, dual charger, filter, mount, cable to connect to computer, remote, SD cards
Headsets with spare batteries (AA), cord to connect to phone for music
Laptop, charger, passwords
Cords to connect all devices including jumper cables
Handheld Aviation radio, Sat Phone, In Reach

(3.8 pounds)
Signal Mirror

Space Blanket (A Contractor heavy duty lawn and leaf bag is better)
Blast Match, Slow Burn items (vaseline cotton balls)
Spare glasses
Toilet Paper
Pen and paper
Delorme InReach (I will have this, but you might consider a PLB)
Headlight flashlight
Bug Spray
Water purification Tablets
Small medicine bag (additional stuff in airplane) bandaids, gauze, tape, alcohol wipes, tweezers, some medicines
Lip Balm
Trash Bags
Israeli bandage
Bear spray

(26 pounds - this is basically gear for two folks)
Tent (7.45
ads with ground cover, extra stakes, etc)
Ground cover
Tarp 2.75 pds
Chairs 5.0
Sleeping Bag 4.1 w/ pillow
Air Mattress 2.6
Ax 1.7
Shotgun, shells, sling 11.2
Trash bags
soft side cooler
Toilet Paper - put in water proof baggie
Parachute cord

(16.6 pds)
Two Jet boils - with extra fuel canisters

Grill small lightweight
Cups, plates, silverware,
Paper towels, dish towel
Tea, sugar,
Pots, skillet, handle, Utensils, SOS pad
Water purifier
Water bottles
Oatmeal Breakfast packets
Energy Bars
Fish Prep materials, batter, salt, pepper, spices
Tin Foil, baggies,
Mountain House meals (separate 7 pound bag as a wx backup)

(9.0 pds)
Canada outdoor card, Fishing Licenses (we will get that when you arrive)

Spinning Rod and Reel, 10 pound test
Filet Knife
Fly Rod, reel, flies
Nail clippers, pliers, fish glove,

(15.0 pds)
renches 1/4 to 9/16
1/4" drive sockets - 1/4 to 9/16
couple of socket extensions
Spark plug socket and 3/8 drive using a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter
3/4 socket (3/8 drive) for prop bolts
Side cutters
Allen wrenches
Tire Pressure gauge
Small wire brush
vice grips
hammer (Part of the Claw tie down kit - weighs 9 pounds)
screwdrivers (2 straight, 2 philips, 1 really small for "D" connectors)
crescent wrench
hacksaw (small size)
water pump pliers
Have Leatherman in Survival vest
Safety wire
Spark plug
Spare Gas Cap
Duct Tape
Rescue tape
Zip ties
electrical wire, connectors,

Spare fuses
two large hose clamps
Scotchbrite and sandpaper
Single edge razor blades
coat hangar
spare float plugs
baggie w/ JB weld, locktight, grease, WD40, sealant, hand cleaner (all small sizes))
Baggie w/ misc hardware - bolts, nuts, washers, cotterpins, screws, etc
Surgical gloves
Duct Tape

Tool Kit - 15
Bucket (cleaning stuff for Trade Show Prep) w/ rags, comet, acetone, alcohol, pledge, toothbrush, acid brushes, 6.4
Sand Spikes - one large, one small, 3 float bumpers, 4.4
Ropes (2 100' lengths), 2 x 50' length, and two 15'
Claw Tie Down kit 9.0
Engine and wing Covers (did not take 18.0)
Dryer hose for preheater (did not take)
Oil = Philips 20W-50, 3 quarts, filters, drain hose 8.3
5606 Hyd Fluid
Silicon spray - nose gear
Grease gun (included in tool kit)
Waders 3.5 x 2
Sealant 3M 5200
Float Pump
Spare Key in Inspection cover
Door Allen Wrench
Magnet to retrieve dropped tools out of water
Charts, Canada Supplement,
Anchor bag (Basketball net)
Life Jackets

(I can't find my list - I will try to get it and update this in the future)
ACE bandage
Epi pen
Israeli bandage

I had/have a waterproof food bag just in case we got weathered in a cabin for several days - Mountain House, Oatmeal etc - 7 pounds

There is more to add to this post, and I will,as soon as I retrieve my notes. So be sure to come back to this entry as it will change and be improved upon.


Sign up for EAPIS
Get your DTOPS sticker
Take your Passport - check expiration date
(be sure you have all your passwords and log in info for these accounts)
Plan Customs Crossing (they are not all 24 hour operations). If you show up at 1800 hrs they may not be there, even though you are thinking there is 4 more hours of daylight and you plan to keep going. The guys at Northway work 8 to 5, but they have to drive an hour to meet you there so they will only clear you from 9 to 4.
When does you medical expire?
When does your CFI expire (bummer to be in Alaska and realize it is going to expire)
You must have a permanent Acft Registration to cross into Canada - (Temp will not work without special procedures paperwork etc)
Get sectionals
Stop mail, forward, and/or have someone pay your bills
Soak clothes, tent, tarps, in Permethrin. This is a common technique in the Canoeing community. It helps keep bugs off, kinda like buying the bug proof shirts and stuff at Cabelas. No known side effects. Will last through several machine washings.
Check your insurance is up to date. Life, acft (put a copy in the airplane), health, etc
Make sure you have all your passwords. You have no idea what will crop up in a two or three month trip. Trust me......it will.
Spray waterproofer on boots
Update "foreflight" and make sure you have all the appropriate charts
Make sure you have an appropriate weight and balance in the airplane (i.e. if on floats - make sure it includes floats)
Update your GPS (both the unit itself, and also the download database)
Make sure your annual on the plane will not expire
Load music on phone, iPad, iPod or whatever. It is nice to listen to on a long trip/leg.
Take a spare set of glasses
Refill and take your prescription medications
Download all the manuals for your plane, camera, iPad, GoPro, Radio, etc into iBooks on your iPad. I had my Pmag manuals, headset manuals, GRT flight manuals, float parts manual, etc. Very handy!!!
Be sure you have contact info for folks you want to meet or see on the way
Be sure you add Canada to your Foreflight account and download the charts
Get Sat phone, Spot, Delorme, Spidertracks. Set up the accounts. Get all your emergency contacts set up, list of folks in your tracker, run a test or two to get the bugs worked out, Keep up with passwords. This one is a big, time consuming project.
Check mode c currency
Make sure ELT is registered and info current - keep password and log in info
Get your GoPro mounted, set up, figured out, tested, etc etc - another big project. Make sure you have extra batteries, charger, ND8 filter, SD cards, and know how to use it all. Download the manual onto your iPad.
Give a list of emergency contacts to the person at home that will be tracking and looking after you. Make sure they have all maps, route, and personal info. May want to give power of attorney as well.
Update avionics. Things like these new radios can have software updates, GRT, Transponder, ELT, 796 etc
Get a cell phone plan that includes Canada and Alaska

Again this is just to get this thread started. I will update this post with a LOT more info.

Hope this helps


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Now that we have started the gear list and planning considerations, lets take a trip........

Day 1 Poplar Grove - Chinook, MT

After finally getting airborne, I had to run pretty low for most of the first leg, even though the forecast was for clear skies. Bumpy. Really bumpy. Like make yourself sick bumpy. But after a couple of hours I was able to climb above the clouds and get a smooth ride. Great news. The rigging is really spot on. I did not have much time to fool with it and I just got lucky, or Blessed, but either way it flies nice and straight. The long second leg was smooth and just over 4 hours, and the third leg was bumpy again but I got a NICE tailwind so was able to get about an hour past Glasgow, MT to Chinook, MT. That is one less hour I have to fly tomorrow. On the whole a very good first day after the slow start. Engine ran great. Burning about 7.5 gal an hour and getting about 98 MPH. Was seeing 130 GS on that last leg with the tailwind. Man that was nice.


Early morning launch that lasted about 4 minutes - LOL


Big fire in SD. Looked like a controlled crop burn


Just right of center you can see the flames


I had no idea there was an area of SD that had this many lakes. It was like Ontario Canada.


Parts of MT get pretty rough


Small town America. I love it. Chinook, MT. my home for the night. I was refueling and a gent drives up in his truck and asked if I needed a ride anywhere. He dropped me at the hotel. That does not happen in NYC. Said if I needed a ride in the morning, just call the cop.
Love it.

Thanks for following.


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Day 2 chinook, MT - Ponoka, Canada


I DID NOT LAND IN A FIELD. I'm OK. The Plane is OK. (The satellite image was old so it looked to those following my tracker like I just landed in the middle of a field. This caused much consternation. In reality there was a runway there)

Today was pretty crummy. The flight from Chinook, MT, to Lethbridge Canada (customs point) was supposed to take 1hr 20 min. My book shows I flew 2hrs 10 min. Headwinds hitting 35 knots at one point. So I got as low as I safely could and got it down to 22 knot headwind. That sucked and it was Bumpy again. Had to have a little help from my friends to contact Canada customs and update my ETA. Thank you. They get kinda pissy if you are off by more than 15 minutes. I ended up being 30 min late. But since we notified them they were happy.

They were very nice, met me at the plane and, as expected, about all they cared about was the shotgun. Did the paperwork and inspection and then it went downhill. The agent could not figure out how to make the telephone credit card doohickey thingamabob work. After about 15 minutes he called his supervisor. That wasted another 10 minutes. Finally we resorted to good old fashioned cash, after I found an ATM and got some Canadian currency. They were very nice but I have no doubt it would have been a "telephone" clearance if I had not had the firearm.
Got fuel, got a Calgary sectional, and off we go.

It did not take long to hit the weather and the ceiling came down to much lower than forecast. Do weather guys EVER get it right? It seems it is always much worse than forecast. I jinked around rain showers, followed roads, weaved to where the vis and ceiling were best but finally got tired and landed at Early Bird Airport. Basically a crop duster strip, but asphalt for my little amphib tires. I guess it is pretty new because those of you closely following me could not see an airport and it looked like I landed in a field. I guess that raised your stress level almost as high as mine was. LOL I really do not enjoy fighting the weather. But wait...... there is more....

The crop duster strip was deserted and locked up tight. So I called the number in Foreflight. Calvin Murphy could have not been nicer. The aviation community is just an incredible group of folks. He was away, but sent his daughter and husband over to help me. We stuffed the Cub in his hangar, thinking it might be a while before it lifted. They lent me a truck and I went to town to eat and get on the internet and look at the weather again. It sucks but it did look like there might be a window and I thought if I could get far enough North I could get out of it. So I hustled back to Crop Duster Heaven (Early Bird Airport, CEB4), bought some gas from them, mostly just to give them something for all their trouble, and once again tried to outrun the weather. Time to follow roads. Sometimes the wx was pretty good, 20 plus mile visibility 1000' plus ceilings, and in other places........I went around showers and tried to stay over the low terrain.

I was trying to get to Drayton Valley airport. The rain turned to snow. Vis got worse. I landed. "A mans gotta know his limitations"
Another small airport with limited facilities but ultra nice folks. Ya know...seriously.....I don't think I have ever met a Canadian that was not just super nice. They are good folks. They helped me tie down, in the rain/snow, gave me a loaner car, and pointed me to town and a hotel.
So I am holed up in the fine town of Ponoka, Canada. I hope not too long but the locals are all saying this is supposed to last several days.
That could be a problem. I am two pretty hard days flying from ANC.


This is at the Chinook, MT airport where I overnighted. I did a thorough preflight. Everything is working and looking good. Engine is running great.


Chinook self serve fuel pumps. It is a pretty quiet, small, airport, but nice.


The Duster strip. Note all the water on the ground from the rain.


Other side of the duster strip.

Thanks for following folks.


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Day 3 Ponoka - Fort Nelson


Are we having fun yet? Next vacation I am packing a swim suit and some sunscreen and going to a beach. No GoPro's, Trackers, cameras, survival vests, medical kits, camping gear, GPS's, Foreflight, etc ad nauseam. Whew.
Today was another tough weather day.

Got up and the weather was dog pooh. Bout a 300' ceiling but good vis underneath. Unfortunately it snowed over night so when I got to the airport in..........


My loaner car. I filled it with gas for the use. Pretty cool.


Sticker on the door of the car


They had no anchors at all so I had to push it into the grass and use my Claws. Three airports in Canada have had NO, as in zero, transient parking anchors or cables or anything. I guess they just don't tie em down up here. Weird.


Moping the snow off

I managed to scour the place and found a sponge mop. Worked perfect for getting the snow off the wings and tail. But I also had to scrounge a ladder. All that took time and man was I cold by the time it was done. Wx got a little better so I departed, had a plan with a couple of back up options, and managed to get to Whitecourt. Really tough flying. Not fun. Had to pay a call out fee for fuel at Whitecourt as they are not open on Sunday. That sucked. Left Whitecourt in crappy weather with the promise that it would get better.


I actually saw the sky for about 1/2 hour today. Had to get a picture. Soon it was back to fighting the weather.


And here it comes. Seems like the clouds go all the way to the ground.
Hoping it will be better tomorrow.

I tried to get from Ft Nelson to Watson lake this evening but ran into low clouds and had to retreat back to Ft Nelson. I was trying to get to the Liard river to follow that to pick up the Alcan but the weather just was not there. Once again - in Ft Nelson a guy came by and asked if he could help. He helped me find some cement blocks to use for tie downs (no anchors - again!), then gave me a ride to the hotel. There are still a lot of great people in the world. It is so easy to loose sight of that, especially if you watch the news.
The leg from Fort St Johns to Fort Nelson was pretty good - probably 2000' ceiling in places - and the scenery is picking up. I can tell I am back in the North Country and it is great. We have left the crowds and civilization behind. Just lots of rugged beautiful country. It is great to be back home.

Thanks for following folks


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Day 4 Ft Nelson to Whitehorse


Today was good and bad, as is usually the case. As you might know/remember, yesterday I had to do a 180 and return to Fort Nelson due to weather. I left Ft Nelson in a direct line to pick up the Liard River. (pronounced lee-aired, 2 syllables). This is a really big and famous river in the Yukon, about the equivalent of say...... the Mississippi in the US. At any rate, as I went West to pick up the river, the terrain elevation rose up until it was in the clouds. i.e. zero visibility. I was tired and the whole package was just too laden with mishap written all over it. Time to retreat and regroup. Thus the 180 and a good nights rest.
Today I went more North and picked up the Nelson river that joins the Liard. This kept me in lower terrain and thus under the clouds. The wx was about the same today, maybe worse, but I was better prepared, rested, and had planned my route and also my exit strategy (back up plan) thus I was successful and not a statistic.
This leg from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake was absolutely EPIC. One of the best flights of my life and this is what makes the entire effort (several years and mucho money) all worth it. It is simply an incredible experience that can't be captured on film. What humbles me is that so very very few people will ever get to see or experience this. You just can't see this from the ground. Of all the worlds population, only a pilot will see this. And of all the pilots only a very few will make a flight like this. I would guess that only one out of 300 guys I have flown with at SWA have flown a small plane down low to Alaska. Too bad because they are truly missing one of the most awesome experiences of their life.
The plan was to get to Northway and clear customs today but they called when I was at Watson Lake (lucky timing on their part) and informed me that they would not be able to meet me at Northway that late in the day. They said I could clear at Anchorage but I didn't think I could get there before dark, so I decided to stop in Whitehorse and will clear customs back into the USA tomorrow.
The new plan is to go to Northway, clear customs and fuel from my cans in the floats (20 gallons), then go direct to Bob's place on Visnaw lake where the water is open and I'll park in his backyard and stay at his place for a day or two. He has a fabulous place on the lake and has been so kind as to let me stay in his mother-in-law apartment (he calls the Bunker) when I have come to Anchorage in the past. It is a special place for me with lots of great memories. Thank you Bob and Cynthia.


This is the liard river. It is somewhat hard to see but a big part of what made this flight so much fun was the mountains on either side of the river were in the clouds thus it created a tunnel down the river. Really fun, remote and beautiful. If you pilot types ever make this leg, do the river even if the weather is good.


This is the stuff that can get you into trouble. When you are running below a low ceiling and there are clouds below you, that is not good.


This is what I have seen for a big chunk of the last couple of days. This was in a snow shower before entering the tunnel. Can't see squat.


Entering the tunnel. Great ride!!!


On the river. My back up plan was to land in the river if need be. I had the wheels up over the river and later when over the Alcan I had the wheels down.


This is where the river and the Alcan came together and I transitioned to the highway. I could have followed the highway straight from Ft Nelson except that prior to this point the highway goes over several mountain passes all of which were obscured by clouds. This way bypassed those passes and intersected the highway further West and in lower terrain.


Following the Alcan


Beautiful country. Still snowing here. Went through a fair number of snow showers and had to watch and use carb heat, on and off, all day the last few days.
Finally ....here is a link to a short video I did. I just linked several short segments from the flight from Ft Nelson to Watson Lake together. It is a rush job. I will edit and make it better some day. Its about three minutes and will give you a better idea of the river run. I hope you enjoy.


Thanks for following


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Day 5 Whitehorse to Visnaw Lake

Hey Guys

Sorry I did not have a chance to give you an update last night. No internet access. It happens.
I departed Whitehorse and had a really nice day of flying. The weather was nice, ceiling at 4 or 5 thousand feet, a little tailwind at times and the air, overall, was pretty smooth. The Wrangel mountains were just as superb and stunning as I remember. I went to Northway and cleared Customs, no issues at all, it went very smoothly. I refueled and headed to Bob's place on the lake. What a wonderful day.


Refueling from the cans I carried in the float lockers. 20 gallons


Heading into the mountains. This is the South end of Teslin lake. Still following the Alcan


This is the Nebesna river between Northway and Anchorage flowing through the Wrangels and Saint Elias National Park


It was very smooth passing over some stunning scenery!! AWESOME!!


Wrangels and my first Glacier of this trip


Bobs place is to the left of the driveway. Home to me. I've been Blessed to stay here several times and it is always one of the highlights of the trip.


Looking out of the window of the cabin and seeing my Cub on a lake in Alaska is the dream of a lifetime. And it will get even better.
I have been so very Blessed.




here is a series of clips on the legs from Whitehorse to Northway to Bobs place on Visnaw lake. Its about 3 minutes long (folks - sometimes things look closer in the video than they really are - I did not pass that close to the rocks)


Hope you enjoy

Thanks for following folks


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Day 6 and 7 - Visnaw Lake to PANC


Not really all that much to report. But, here we go anyway.
Got up and flew the Cub to Anchorage and put it in the hangar at Signature flight services. They were great. Took great care of me and the cost was very reasonable. Jay came in from Brainerd, MN (the guy/company that built the kit) and we spent pretty much all afternoon cleaning the Cub. Thank you Jay. Lest you guys think that I spend all my time "polishing" the plane, that is the first time I have cleaned it since Oshkosh back in July when Mark Rusche and I cleaned it up for the Seminar. So.....it was pretty dirty and needed a good cleaning. We got most of it done but not all. Back to the hotel and had no trouble sleeping.

Day 7

Got up and had breakfast at Gwennies. An Alaska tradition for me. Then back to the airport and taxied the Cub over to the Fed Ex hangar where the show will be. They took the airplane and told us (very nicely) to bugger off and we could come back friday from noon to six to finish cleaning and setting up the display. So Mike Woodson, Jay and Dan Lilja went to the Alaska Aviation museum. Neat place. I could spend a lot of time there. After that I came back to the hotel, did a load of laundry and then Jay, Dan and I went North to Bob's for a group dinner. Many thanks to Martin for an awesome cookout.

Okay - but what you folks really want is pictures......


Within a 1/2 hour of landing at Bobs place on Visnaw lake I had seen 4 moose. These two were in Martins yard next door right where the Cub had been parked that morning.​


Saw these guys near the museum so that makes at least 7 so far and frankly I will soon loose count. Good fun


Zoom lens folks. I was not that close. They sure enjoy the new tree buds


The gang at the Museum. L-R Jay, Mike and Dan


Over at Bobs hangar looking at all his cool stuff and his build in progress. He is doing some pretty innovative mods. It will be fun to see it progress. Bob is an excellent craftsman. L-R Jay, Dan and Bob


Cub gathering and cookout and Martins, Bob's next door neighbor. Thank you Martin. AWESOME steaks.

So today I will spend little time wandering around the local airports looking at Beavers and Cubs and visiting local shops, then this afternoon, finish cleaning the Cub and tonight diner with Gary's group. Trade show is Sat and Sunday and then hopefully on Monday start flying again.

Thanks for following


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Day 8 and 9 Trade Show


Well....YAHOO.............I'm on vacation now!!!!

This is Sunday evening after the Trade Show and I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great folks but that's it for me. Work is over and now it is PLAYTIME. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Friday morning, since we could not get in the hangar to clean until later, we went on a little tour, after breakfast at Gwennies of course,.....


First stop was Airframes Alaska, a business that makes Supercub Parts and the big tires you all think look like clown shoes. Great folks there and they are always happy to see us. (or they are good at faking it)


Here we get to see how they make those cool tires that chicks dig, and other, mere mortal pilots, envy.


And then there is Heather. My Alaska girlfriend, who happens to work there, always brightens my day.


Then off to Stoddards to look at parts. We have to order everything in the lower 48 but up here they have retail stores that sell all that stuff. It is like a kid in a candy store. Christmas every day of the week. Like being on a sugar high....
Then back to the hangar to finish cleaning the plane. Thanks again to Jay, Dan, Dave, and Mike for helping me make it look as good as it has ever looked. From now on I'm going to give it a bath every day.........in a fresh water lake.......(postscript - :(


Friday night Gary invited us all to dinner and we also celebrated Mikes 49th birthday (well .....close.....sorta). The food was superb and the company even better. What a great evening that was. Thank you so very much Gary and Sue - you guys are the best. Around the table from the bottom right counter clockwise, Jay, my empty chair, Jack from Montana, Dave from Seattle, Mike with the sparkler, Gary, Sue, Wendy, Laura (represented by a glass of wine - hmmmmmm is there a trend here?, and finally Steve. What a great, fun evening.


Saturday morning at the trade show.


Look at that cool poster! Thanks for using my plane Jay. Man that looks good, even if I do say so myself.


Yours truly. I just had to put that in there so you would believe I was there. And we really did put a man on the moon.


So Saturday and Sunday were spent talking to folks, telling lies (forgive me Lord) and having fun. Jay might have even sold a few kits along the way. Hope so.


Is that cool or what?

So tomorrow we start our vacation. We are going down to Soldotna to visit more friends, make a few new ones, and talk Cubs. Imagine that. Tomorrow we will turn the tracker back on and the flight down there will probably only take an hour (or two if I get lost) then we will stay with John for the evening and head to Yakutat on Tuesday.

Here is a little video clip, about 1.5 minutes. Again no editing but it might help give a little more detail to the still pictures.​


Thanks guys

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May 2


Had a great day today. Mike Woodson came down to the lobby at the insane hour of 0600 to see Jay and I off on the next leg of our adventure. We checked out of the hotel, dropped the rent a car, and taxied right into the lake!!. No kidding, we taxied out of transient parking down the taxi way, down the ramp and into lake hood. As we started our take off run several SC.org folks were having breakfast and saw us take off. Steve P even posted a video on the SC.org site of the take off. That was unexpected and pretty neat. I had to circle around for a quick touch and go (just to say I did (bragging rights and all that) then we flew down Turnagain Arm and into the mountains for the scenic ride to Soldotna. And scenic it was. Here are a few photos.....


We gotta get all this in a Cub??? Thank heavens we packed light.


Turnagain Arm. Stunning scenery


Wow, the Lord has a pretty good paint brush


The Cub at John's dock in Soldotna


John has a really neat house and he is a great host. We went to another friends for dinner and had 8 cub guys get together for Moose steak and fresh Salmon. Man it was good.


Nothing like looking out the window and seeing your Cub on a lake.

and a short video........


Going to Cordova and Yakutat tomorrow

Thanks again for following


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May 3 Soldotna to Yakutat to Situk Lake Cabin


Sorry no update yesterday. Yakutat had no internet and no phone coverage. Kinda weird since it seems every village in Alaska has something.

Had a great visit and stay with John Clare. Left relatively early and went back to the Soldotna airport to insure we were capped off with fuel. We did not expect to be able to get fuel in Cordova so had to make sure our cans were full. While in Soldotna we had a chance to take a tour of MARC (Mission Aviation Repair Center) They specialize in doing work on missionary aircraft. Neat organization and right up Jay and my alley.
The flight to Cordova was challenging. We took the lowest route again and man I'm glad we did. We would have never made it otherwise. Had one pass following the river that pushed my limits. After Seward it was all in the rain, low ceiling and pretty low vis but most times not too bad. Flying across Prince William Sound was spectacular. Made it into Cordova, in the rain, and found that we could get fuel at another smaller little gravel strip in town. I asked a couple of people about how smooth the gravel was as amphibs are not really made for that and I didn't want to tear up my floats. We needed the fuel. We refueled from the cans (20) gallons but due to headwinds I wanted to be full leaving Cordova. So we flew to the other strip, and it was good, and went into town, in the loaner car to get some lunch because it was raining pretty hard and I wanted it to pass. Boy, that is a run on sentance. Sorry. Typing this in McDonalds now, and ready to get out of town and to the cabin, so this will be a little short on the update. After Cordova we flew the Coast to Yakutat. We saw Bear, Moose, Eagles, lots of Sea Lions, Whales, and just miles and miles of incredible scenery. Sometimes we even saw the sky for a moment. When you fly by a bird they pretty much all duck and run. Not Eagles. They are the Alpha dog of the sky and you can go right by one and they will not even flinch. We made a bear run a little trying to get a picture and even a Moose, but not the Eagle. No fear. Sometimes the sea Lions would dive and sometimes they would just lay on their back and watch us go by.
We made it into Yakutat and refueled and headed to the Situk cabin. We flew around the lake three times, knowing where the cabin was supposed to be, but we could NOT find it. Circled the lake in the other direction and managed to see the canoe and thus found the cabin. Man it was tucked in there. Really neat place right at the base of the mountains.

Left Situk this morning, in the rain, are you detecting a trend yet?, This is a rain forrest and it is spectacular, but it does rain a lot, but sometimes the sun comes out for a while and WOW, just WOW!!! And again had an absolutely life changing flight to Juneau. Jay has been taking "Fish Pictures" by the thousand (inside joke). I hope I have captured some of it. I have found that free wi-fi is really slow so it can be a problem uploading video. A couple of times it has taken close to 2 hours to upload the 2 min clip you see. That means it is just not possible to do it as much as I'd like.
We saw a whale carcus/skeleton, that was pretty cool. Chased about 200 Sea Lions off a little island, tried to film a couple of Moose, Glaciers you just can't imagine.
All the work on the plane was worth it. This is just truly a trip so very few can do and I just keep thanking the Lord that he has given me this Blessing. We got into Juneau after an incredible flight and we are now REALLY in the Southeast of Alaska. We got our fishing licenses, some food and supplies, lunch and I'm doing this email. I will make one quick effort to upload a video then it is off to the Turner Lake Cabin. We will be there until Friday AM so there may not be much contact until then.


Flying the mountains between Soldotna and Cordova


Spent a lot of time looking out the side windows in Prince William Sound. Could not see forward much. Saw some awesome waterfalls..........like everywhere.


Unloading at the Situk cabin


View of the mist shrouded cabin on Situk lake.


Inside the Cabin. I packed flashlights but no lantern. Figured the flashlights would be enough. NOT!!! As I am typing this in McDonalds Jay is out looking for a lantern. Divide and conquer


Jay at the Cabin. Not the stylish waders. No wonder the Alaska types can't get a date. Haha


Cub on Situk Lake


Just a small sample of the scenery that is everywhere.

Got another short video up. Try this........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H83evBxbZnM&feature=em-upload_owner

Hope it works.

Wish I had time to post more but I think a cabin and a fish are calling my name.

God Bless


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May 5 Juneau


I had to come into town to get on the internet so I could bid for my June schedule. Can't forget that or it would pretty well mess up my vacation in June. Jay came in with me and went shopping. We got fuel oil so the cabin should be toasty and snug tonight. All is well. Getting used to the rain. Every once in a while it stops and man what a beautiful place. Gotta do this quick. Want to get back in the cabin.


Looking into the Southeast of Alaska. No beach here. The mountains go right into the water,


One of the MANY waterfalls in the Turner Lake where our cabin is.


At the dock at our cabin. Note the waterfalls right across the lake. What an awesome place.


Our cabin at Turner Lake


Jay worked REALLY hard to make wet wood burn. He did not need the warmth, he generated that all by himself hacking up wet wood. I was quite impressed by his woodsman skills. I would never have gotten a fire going.

A longer video, a little lower resolution. In the first clip look for two Moose. At the end you will see lots of waterfalls and stuff. Thats our lake and at the end our cabin.


Hope you enjoy


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May 6 Juneau to Ketchikan


Today was a pretty good day, if not great. The weather was the usual, lots of rain and low ceilings, but there was some pretty good weather as well. Saw a couple of more whales, eagles, etc. We left Juneau in pretty crummy weather but by now I am getting familiar with the area and was comfortable taking a "look see", and well.......... it was not so bad, so we flew down to Petersburg. Neat little drinking Village with a fishing problem. Rain all the way. After Petersburg things generally got better and we had a little bit of very good weather. Still cloudy but good vis under the clouds. Man the scenery is just awe inspiring and stunning.


Jay photo. This is called Skunk Cabbage. It smells a lot like Skunk but not as strong. You have to get pretty close before you can smell it. A little reading indicates that the leaves grow to 4 feet and have been used by the natives to line all sorts of things. We first saw these at Situk Lake but they were all small and I was starting to doubt that the leaves got to 4 feet. It was hard to imagine.


When we got to the Salmon Lake Thorn Bay Cabin (SLTB) we found more mature plants and sure enough the leaves get really big. It was quite impressive.


We basically flew down the inside passage and we saw our first Cruise Ship today. The season opens May first and ramps up from there. It is a huge part of the economy of the Southeast.


We also saw a logging operation and this ship loading logs. There were huge rafts of logs around the ship and if you look closely you can see the logs in the hold. After refueling at Petersburg we decided to go visit the cabin we were supposed to stay in last night before we got weathered in in Juneau.​


This is the cabin at Salmon Lake Thorn Bay. It was pretty rustic. That is a nice way of saying.........ughhh......
not so much. Glad we did not make it. Location was good, right on the water, and the scenery was good but this one needs work.


The view from the out house was pretty awesome. No need for a newspaper but a rain coat would come in handy.


The scenery at SLTB was pretty spectacular.....AS USUAL


This is the view from our hotel room balcony in Ketchikan. No fish yet but there will be soon. So far the only fish we have seen was on our plate in a restaurant!!​
What a great trip so far. Unfortunately Jay must return to Minnesota tomorrow to go back to building Javron Supercub Kits so others can make this journey as well. I will remain and continue to fly, camp, and fish (and do trip reports when I have time). I expect to leave tomorrow around 10 am to go to the Patching Lake Cabin, about 15 miles as the eagle flies (NE) from Ketchikan.​
The next night will be in the SE Heckman cabin. Weather permitting, and it looks pretty promising the next few days. Hey, Jay - you should have been here next week.​

Tried to upload a video but the hotel wi-fi..........​

will try from another location tomorrow.​

Thanks for following.​


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May 7 Ketch, Eagle Lake, Reflection Lake, Patching Lake Cabin


After Jay departed I headed out to the cabins. It was a nice day so I went to visit a couple of cabins before going to the one I (thought) I was reserved for. Turns out I got a day ahead of myself and skipped the Manzanita cabin and went to the Patching cabin I had reserved for the next night. Fortunately no one was there and I had no idea I was off schedule. "Clueless" comes to mind. Next day I moved to the next cabin on the list, but it was a blue sky day so I went to visit a couple of other cabins, then when I got to my "cabin for the night" and was reviewing things I realized I was a day ahead of schedule. Once again no one was in the cabin so I have elected to stay 2 nights a SE Heckman cabin - it is really nice - and will get back on schedule tomorrow. Oops - oh well - no harm, no foul.


The view from the Eagle lake cabin.


This was my next visit, just for fun. This is the reflection lake Cabin


Reflection Lake view


And finally, after a great morning of flight seeing I got settled into the Patching Cabin. The waders are drying on the far wall. There is a creek just to the left of where I parked. It looked pretty shallow so I waded across. Oops the water is REALLY clear and it was deeper than it looked. Went over the top of my waders and filled them up. No problem - I got a nice fire going in the cabin and dried everything out. Have I mentioned the water is really clear here?


Morning fog hanging over Patching Lake.

Thanks for following.


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May 9


Just tried to upload a video and it says 2 hours to upload a 4 minute video....so...... it'll have to wait until I have better service. Sorry

So after Patching I flew just a short way to the SE Heckman Cabin ---NICE!!!! After checking it out, it was a clear blue sky day so I decided to fly over to Manzanita cabin and Beaver Lake cabin just to check them out and sight see. (at this point I still had no idea I was off schedule) Fabulous flight. Can't wait to share the video when I can. Stunning day.


The Heckman cabin has a NICE dock. Love it.


Inside of the two room SE Heckman cabin. It is also wheel chair accessible with a ramp. Really nice digs for 35 bucks a night.


Just a scenic view from 5000 feet. Pretty high for this area.


This is the waterfall that is RIGHT behind the Manzanita cabin. Stunning. I'll go back there.


Inside of Manzanita Cabin


On the dock at SE Heckman, I will stay there again tonight, currently in Ketch getting fuel and doing this, got my June schedule from SWA and the plan remains intact. Whew. Had to do a little business as well. Tomorrow I will go to Wrangel and check out the town, get a few supplies, then go to the Virginia lake Cabin. Next day will be back to Juneau area. Ketchikan is a tough airport to operate out of. It cost 5 bucks to land another 5 for the borough, the parking is a LONG way from the FBO, and you must take the ferry to the other side to get anything and when you get there it is still a ways to town. So....neat airport and a neat town but not easy to operate out of.

Hope this helps


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May 10 Ketch to Jordan


This is a tough update to write from several different angles. One, I have to come back and admit I made a pretty significant mistake and I worried my Mom, my family, and you (my good friends) half to death. I am sorry. Two, I have certainly embarrassed and humiliated myself. Three, I have had to rely deeply on your kindness and goodwill. I was supposed to be inspiring, educating, and lifting you up, not dragging you down.

I also would like to offer an EPIC THANK YOU to Dr Randy for leading the charge for the 316BR Support Group. You have no idea how much that is helping. To all of you.....Thank you and God Bless you. I hope to be worthy of your kindness.

But, the mishap is now water under the bridge. I will try to learn from my mistakes, help others to learn from my mistakes, and move on. So, let us not dwell on the negative but to focus once again the epic trip of a lifetime.

After leaving Ketchikan (after the last update) I had full fuel in anticipation of going back towards Wrangel and to stay in the Virginia Lake Cabin. On the way home I decided to check out the Cabin on Jordan lake which is right next to the SE Heckman Cabin lake where I was staying. The lake is in a bit of a bowl and a little smaller than some other lakes. I was well ahead of the airplane and was scouting my tie up, exit plan, wind direction and speed, etc. In short I was so far ahead of the plane I was not flying it and forgot the gear. I KNEW that was a BIG threat and yet I still managed to forget. I was slow at touchdown, so the flip was quite gentle and offered plenty of time for me to understand what was happening and why.

Let me tell you, that may have been the lowest moment of my life.

On the bright side.....THERE WAS NO STRUCTURAL DAMAGE, just a little cosmetic and water damage.

1) It was in fresh water. Everyone here has been very nice but they have all said...."If it was salt water just call the insurance company and walk away"

2) Because of my schedule fax pas I had left most of my gear in the cabin so it was not lost or soaked

3) The aircraft recovery has gone well. Recovery is a very risky venture and it is easy to do additional damage to the aircraft during the recovery. This went well.

4) I have been able to recover most of my electronics, saving a chunk of money.

5) I believe the aircraft will be flyable again the first week of June and at this point I plan to pick up where I left off on my vacation. Including using the tracker, doing updates, videos etc. So, if you were having fun watching the show, so to speak, it should start up again around the first of June. Lord willing.


Airplane upside in the lake in the distance. It drifted overnight toward the outlet and the lake dropped several inches in height overnight. This bottomed it out so it was resting on the top of the wing. Not an optimum situation. We towed it with the John boat (they call them a skiff up here) back into the deeper part of the lake where we could flip it in the water without dragging it across the bottom.​


What it looks like floating upside down. Man that bald spot seems to be getting bigger all the time. Correlation????​


Airplane in the Temsco hangar. These guys have been awesome. Just super helpful and nice.​


This is what it looks like trying to save the electronics. This is the transponder. Took a lot of time but I was able to save a lot. You didn't know I was an electronics guy, did you? I think building a computer or two with my son helped. I know he is pretty sharp with all that.​


This is the boot cowl before I gave it a little attention.​


Same side after a little work.​

And now for the video. A little explanation first. The first part is the flip. The idea was to leave most of the aircraft under water so that we were not trying to lift all that water trapped in the airplane. The structure can not handle the weight of the trapped water and will crush if you try to lift it up too quickly before the water has a chance to drain out. So we left most of the structure in the water, lifted the tail with the helicopter, then used the boat with a line tied to the front of the floats, to pull the front forward thereby putting the aircraft right side up but still mostly under water. Then we gently dragged it into shallow water as the water drained.​
The second part is the next day when it was flown out of the lake. You can see me making sure the lines did not get tangled in the brush. The lines were on there so ground personnel could grab and stabilize for the landing.​

This Thread is for Doc Randy and the 316BR Support Group. I did not want to post it, as I feel about as low as one can right now. But so many folks have been so kind, and shown the incredible SC.org friendship, camaraderie, support, and love, that I will hope this thread will somehow, in a very small way, give back some measure of the absolutely overwhelming support you have all given me.

So Thank you again folks for all your support. You are the BEST!!!

Hope this helps

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On this trip I took a shovel made by Glock (same as gun company). No need for it. I have used a shovel on canoe trips to dig a latrine but when staying in the cabins in the SE they all have outhouses.

No need for the door mat. This is handy when tent camping to give you a place to kneel on when going in and out of the tent but it is not needed in the cabins.

I have not needed the cooler so far. In this area you are in and out of town pretty regularly and you can just put stuff you want to cool in the lake. A nice "bag" which can also be made into an anchor (fill with rocks) is a basketball net. Light, folds small when not in use, strong for rocks, waterproof, etc. Oh yeah - cheap.

I did not bring the engine cover, wing covers, or preheat system. For the most part it has not been needed. I left on 22 Apr which is close i.e. you can still get significant winter weather well into May, but the long range forecast looked good for this trip. That saved a lot of weight and space.

Waders - I have the Neos Tracker waders which slip over your shoes. They work well for short duration use. I did find they tend (or at least my pair) to leak after 20 to 30 minutes in the water. They are great for just positioning the plane and loading/unloading, but if you want to stand in a stream and fish maybe not so great.

I did not bring a lantern. Some of the cabins can be dark. The inside walls are log and dark colored, and sometimes it can be a problem. A headlamp works OK but a lantern would be better at times. Mark Rusche did his usual superb research and we got a Primus #2245 Easylight lantern. This uses the same fuel cartridge as the Jetboil to keep things simple, and seems to work well. It puts out tons more light than the battery operated LED units (they normally emit 80 to 100 lumens, this puts out 490 lumens, the equivalent of an 80 watt lightbulb). Small, light, in its own carry case that protects it well. This is a winner. Thanks again Mark.

I used the space blanket while sitting on the floats. I actually think a large "contractor" trash bag would have been better. Just cut a slit for your head (or a breathing hole), pull it down over you, and I think it would have done a better job or retaining body heat than the space blanket.

Survival was not a huge issue in this case but could have been. I looked at the distance to shore, outside air temp, water temp, etc and felt the best option in this case was to sit on the floats until help arrived. I do not think I would have made the swim to shore. Every situation is different so you must think carefully and clearly when evaluating your survival options. From flip to rescue was about an hour. The Delorme worked flawlessly. Highly recommend. Also - it is critical to have a designated person closely following your trip. They should have a full compliment of maps and be able to chart you at all times. My Sister was my tracker and was awesome. I was able to text her the name of the lake and she knew exactly where I was. If done right, this is way better than filing flight plans.

Wear your survival vest and life vest. Period.

Look at the heat source for the cabin you will be staying in. I assumed (you all know what that means) that the Turner Lake Cabin would be wood heat since it has a fire place. NOT!!
Turns out it has an oil stove. The forest service dept supplies firewood for the wood heat cabins but not fuel oil. Thus there was no wood at Turner Lake. Not a huge deal but a small lesson learned. The oil stoves can be used to heat food. Maybe not to cook food, but it will heat a can of beans very nicely, keep a coffee pot warm etc.

This is an absolutely awesome trip that I highly recommend. Even if you do it by flying commercial to the SE then chartering a floatplane to take you into a cabin.

The skiffs don't make very good rowboats. If you can do it, take a small outboard. The lakes are big enough that you need one to fish the lake well.

You can download higher resolution topo maps into the Garmin portable GPS units and it makes a HUGE difference. I highly recommend this. See Tom Bass Cabin website for more info on this.

I have heard from a number of folks on the SC.org website that have more float experience than I do. They all recommend ALWAYS retracting the gear immediately after take off in ALL circumstances. I did not have this technique/mentality. Make it a habit. Every time. If taking off from water, go through the motions, so that every take off is "retract the gear".

I still love my manual float retract system and do not feel that had any bearing on the mishap but some type of reminder and/or warning system would be good. Some of the newer avionics might include the ability to program an audio warning tied to airspeed. If you got an audio "warning, warning" when the airspeed went below say 60knots it would cause you to check the gear. Maybe. Definitely would not hurt.

You will not be able to save all your electronics in a flip but you could put your computer (if carrying it) it a waterproof bag. Back up EVERYTHING!!!

I received the following advice from some VERY experienced operators and mechanics in the SE.
Operators - -
"there are no Amphibs in the SE because they all get flipped. It does not matter if you have 10K hours on floats it will happen. Don't feel bad"
"If you flip in salt water, just call the insurance company. It will not be worth trying to salvage. Corrosion will be your bane forever. Not worth it."
"Salt water really hammers amphibs. Tough to keep brakes working, and retract mechanisms due to corrosion"
Mechanics - -
Fill the engine case with transmission fluid. It does a better job of pulling the moisture out than oil and does a better job of corrosion protection. I managed to get 5.5 gallons in my engine. Fill it just as much as possible. Obviously don't run it that way, just use it until you are ready to run, then drain and fill with oil.
Run the engine as SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Run a few minutes. Drain the oil. Refill. Run, drain, run drain, run drain. I ran and drained 4 times. Each run time gets progressively longer. Try to get the oil temp up to 190 degrees (plus) to burn that moisture out.
Soak the electronics in alcohol.


This is a board going in a bucket of denatured alcohol. Completely submerge, slosh around, for a couple of minutes. I also take an acid brush, cut the bristles off about half way, to make it stiffer, and use it to scrub the board.


This white stuff is what corrosion looks like. After about 2 days.


This is what my master relay looked like after just 3 days. It cleaned up nicely but this is what you are fighting.


After drying the alcohol off give the board a light coating of transmission fluid. Then dry that off as best you can, but it will still leave a light film that will help prevent the corrosion from restarting. I used a paper towel and "scrubbed" with a cut down acid brush over a paper towel to dry and clean the transmission fluid off with.

Some have suggested that every wire connection will need to be replaced at some point. You do not need to replace the entire wire, just clip the spade (or whatever terminal it is) off about 1/4 to 3/8 inch from the end (corrosion will only go so far up the wire but it will crawl up a little ways) then crimp a new connector on the wire. I have not done this yet. Possible future winter project.

The fuel did not leak out nor did it get contaminated with water. Fuel sits on top of water, therefore, even though the aircraft was upside down the fuel did not drain out nor did water climb into the tanks. Pretty amazing really.

The top of the float bulkhead inside a float compartment is not usually sealed very well. If a compartment floods, it would not normally fill to the very top as the rest of the float would still be above water so the compartment will only flood and fill to the outside waterline. So there is not a huge need to perfectly seal the top edge of the bulkhead. However, when the float is upside down in the water (not a normal or planned for configuration) the top of that bulkhead is now on the bottom and any water in one compartment will likely bleed into the adjoining compartment and the floats may very well completely fill and submerge.
My right float lost one plug and that entire float pretty much filled with water. The left float retained all caps and it stayed pretty dry.


I will unlock the thread in a week or so (I still have stuff I want to add, update etc) so that everyone can post their own experience, knowledge, hints, techniques, lessons learned, etc. so that we can all learn, and enjoy. But I want this thread to be about an awesome trip to Alaska, not just a mishap thread.


This is what it is all about........an awesome trip to Alaska. I will be headed back tomorrow to pick up the trip. Stand by for more updates.



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Again, I must say, a huge THANK YOU to Doc Randy (and all of the 316BR Support Group) for all his help. I am back up and flying and the adventure continues.


DW came up to help and did his usual innovative job. DW is a master at scrapping (working with what is on hand, using things in different ways, to get the job done). In this case we found a stand in the hangar, then used a pallet lift to raise it up under the wing so we could change out the wing strut. I would never have come up with that idea and way to "accomplish the mission". It worked PERFECT, like it was designed for it. So we swapped out a wing strut, then put on a new nose bowl, hit a few small targets and ..........


Me taxing down the ramp, into the bay, and ...."Thank the Lord" we are flying!!!


DW and the Cub at the McDonald lake cabin that we dropped into to check out. The Cub runs and flys just like it did before. Excellent.


This is the view from the cabin we are currently staying in on AdmiraltyIsland. The Big Shaheen Cabin

I wanted to post more pictures but the wi-fi is just too slow.

The great news is everything works, the airplane is 100%, and the adventure continues. DW will stay a few more days, camp, fish, and fly with me then he will head home and I will continue solo for a week or so.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and HELP.

Hope this helps

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Another update

The airplane is flying, running just great!! Back to having the time of my life.


This is the Big Shaheen Cabin on Admiralty Island. Great place. Built in 1936 then updated a couple of years ago. Its a keeper. DW and I both caught fish here, Cutthroat and Rainbow, but all too small to keep. Still it was fun.

Here is a short video of the entry and docking at the Big Shaheen Cabin



Had a nice fire in front of the Big Shaheen Cabin. Note the scenery in the background.


DW on the floats at the Baranof Lake Cabin. We dropped in here just to check it out. It takes a brave man to fly with me!
This cabin might be the best yet. It is just unreal. The scenery is just spectacular. Wow, just wow. The camera just does not do it justice. I wish everyone could see this or take this trip. Best trip of my life. Absolutely one of the highlights of my life.


Baranof scenery


Baranof scenery


More scenery.

Currently headed down towards Ketchikan to get DW out on a flight tomorrow.

Folks, I am unlocking the thread so you can add your knowledge and experience. Feel free to add your thoughts to my packing list, planning considerations, or whatever else you want to contribute. Thanks for your understanding while it was locked.

God Bless and thanks for following

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That creek just up from Baranof lake cabin has some great fishing... stand in the middle and cast into the lake with pink and orange.

Headed to Haines Wed. night or thursday am, then to cabins on friday- feel free to join us. Park at the Haines Airport, or at the lake- heck, fly into the cabins if you would like!

I'm really glad that you were able to get the airplane flying again, and that you obviously hooked up with some folks who know how to recover a seaplane from the inverted in water.....a number of seaplanes have been destroyed or at least damaged beyond repair by someone who THOUGHT they knew how to retrieve an inverted seaplane.

That said, this statement: "I received the following advice from some VERY experienced operators and mechanics in the SE. -"there are no Amphibs in the SE because they all get flipped. It does not matter if you have 10K hours on floats it will happen. Don't feel bad"

This comment may be well intended, but is absolutely inaccurate, and making that assumption when flying an amphib is a recipe for disaster.

Whoever told you this apparently wasn't around SE Alaska or the Alaska Peninsula in the days when the Grumman amphibians were king. And in fact, in SE Alaska, at least one PBY operated commercially for many years. The reason they don't use those airplanes any more is because they don't make them any more and they would be expensive to operate in any case. Run that statement past Steve Harvey in Kodiak, who's been operating the same Grumman Widgeon for at least 38 years now, and hasn't landed gear down to date. The point is, there are a lot of amphibious airplanes out there which have never been landed gear down in water.

An amphibious float equipped airplane has never been a decent competitor for a straight float equipped version of the same airplane, and those are the amphibs that are reasonably available today. . In SE, most operators don't NEED amphibs to work, and the tradeoff of useful load on amphibious float equipped airplanes is the primary reason not many of these airplanes are in commerial use today. If you don't NEED an amphib to do your mission, it makes no sense to use one.

Of course, that doesn't mean it can't happen to you or me, or any other operator of such a machine. My philosophy has always been to understand that I COULD land in the water with the gear down. And I firmly believe that I'm capable of doing so, and never forget that when flying an amphibian. Being a little paranoid and thus following good operating procedure will provide an acceptable level of protection from this. That is quite different than assuming that everyone lands gear down in the water at some point.

You've had your "Oops", and I'm betting that you are now more than a little paranoid about the position of that landing gear. That is a good thing. While there are no guarantees that it won't happen again, I suspect you now have a very good approach to amphibian operations, and as a consequence are as safe from this kind of situation as one can be.

Keep enjoying that little airplane, and keep us posted as to your adventures. Your willingness to post all aspects of your travels, even the not so fun parts, is a valuable service to all pilots. Would that we were all as open and willing to share our experiences, no matter how hard earned. Good on you.


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On the 6th DW and I flew from Big Shaheen cabin towards Ketch to get in position to get him on a flight home yesterday. We stopped in to see the Brarnof Cabin, then stopped in Wrangel and saw the town.
I noticed the airplane was getting progressively harder to start. Seemed it was not getting fuel, but I was not sure and it was just a nagging feeling. Off we went. We ended up staying in the SE Heckman cabin I had been to before, for the night. It is close to Ketch and it is also a low entry cabin so I was confident that I could get DW to the airport even if the weather was bad. Turned out to be a very nice day.

So we got ready to leave the SE Heck cabin to go to Ketch yesterday morning and sure enough the engine would not start. I diagnosed it was not getting fuel from the accelerator pump in the Carb. I do not have a primer so the accel pump is pretty critical for my set up.
I decided we needed to manually prime the engine. I pulled two spark plugs, put a little fuel in them, reinstalled the plugs, pulled the prop through a couple of blades, to make sure we did not have hydraulic lock, and the engine started right up. So we ran it a couple of minutes then shut down with the key Vs the mixture to leave a little fuel in the cyls, reloaded the airplane, restarted, and off we went. We were going to visit another cabin on the way to Ketch but changed that plan to go direct to Ketch to make sure we got DW out.
After sending DW on his way I refueled and managed to get the engine started and decided to go direct non stop too Juneau. I have access to a hangar there, and met a very nice mechanic at the trade show in Anchorage, that lives in Juneau, who kindly offered that if I needed anything.......well I did.

I did not know if fixing the carb was going to be a one day job, or send it out and it turns into a 2 week job, so I wanted access to the hangar, and also access to a mechanic if need be.
Had a beautiful flight up the inside passage into Juneau. Engine running great, airplane flying hands off, awesome scenery. Life is sorta good.
Landed in Juneau, called the mechanic, Dennis Bedford, and he was super nice and came out to the airport and helped, (or maybe I helped him) and sure enough the accelerator pump in the carb was inop. Plugged up with crud. Not sure if from the bath or just time. Either way we managed to get it fixed and she starts just like before. Couple of throttle bursts and she lights right off. Perfect. So I taxi back to the other end of the airport to get ready to head out to the Baranof cabin the next day (today) and as I pull into the parking slot the left brake goes to the floor. RutRO.
So this morning I I managed to get the brakes fixed with no real problem. Got help from a local mechanic named Wally. There are sooooo many good folks in this community. I have also updated my "Building a Javron Cub" thread to include the lessons learned regarding the brakes.
Fixing the brakes was not a big deal but I needed brake bleeding equipment/tools and it was nice to check and update the air in the tires.
After getting the Cub all set, fueled and ready to go...........I got some lunch and then headed to the Baranof cabin for a couple of days.
Some of the pictures DW took. DW is a pretty good photographer, even if it is a cell phone.


I went to lunch in downtown Juneau (you know, the touristy part) at the Red Dog saloon. Neat place with a live ragtime piano player, waitresses dressed like saloon girls, sawdust floor etc. Good food and not too outrageous of a price.




Lots of these in the SE. If you have not done the Alaska Cruise, it is a great trip. I recommend it


After getting to the Baranof Cabin I did a little fishing. Caught half a dozen trout.



The Cabin at Baranof. Pretty awesome place but you will only get here in a floatplane.

Finally, here is a 3 minute video


Hope this is worth your time

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I had to come into Juneau to take care of some business and while I wait on someone I thought I'd try to do a quick update. The lake at Baranof flows down a pretty good waterfall and into Warm Springs Bay. The cabin I stayed in was at the far end of the lake, but at the other end, where the waterfall is, is a natural hot springs. Too far to paddle a pretty rough skiff, so today on my way out I decided to drop in and check it out. There are a couple of small boats and the only beach on that end of the lake so it is pretty obvious where you park. Then I was concerned that I would not be able to find the trail, or stay on it but I thought I'd give it a try. The trail is quite obvious and part of it is a wood boardwalk. You can't miss it or get lost.


My Cub at the beach on Baranof Lake


The trail at the beach. Can't miss that.


A good part of the trail looks like this. Not sure who does this but it is quite nice. Take the first right off the wood trail onto a wood floor trail to the "natural" Hot Springs. It is not marked. It climbs up what almost looks like stair steps. Pretty rugged but obvious.


If you do not take a right and go to the 'natural" hot springs, but continue on straight you will come to the "community" of Warm Springs and there is a free bath house there, with three tubs in little rooms for your use. It is free but there is a box if you want to pitch in to maintain it.


What the inside of the bath house room looks like.


The "community" of Warm Springs consist of about 15 cabin/houses and a boat dock, plus the bath house. Not much there. No stores or fuel.


Looks like a couple of cabins (there are 4 alike so I suspect it was some type of lodge) fell off their foundations and slid down the hill. That would be a bad day.


If you take the first right (from the beach)and go to the "natural" Hot Springs it looks like this. It has been enhanced a little (not much) probably by the Forest Services Dept, and there is an upper and lower pool. The water temp is just right for a spa. It is also right next to the waterfall. Very nice. Probably does not get very many visitors. The water smells a little of sulphur, but is very clear and nice. It probably completely regenerates about every 3 minutes. There is quite a flow through there.


Yes, of course, I had to try it out. NICE!!!

Here is a little video of the entry into Baranof from the Sitka side (following the Baranof river) then a video of the waterfall at Warm Springs.


Hope this helps, and thanks for following

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DW is a legendary fish spotter, welder and superb pilot. He is moving to Oklahoma soon.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yeah Steve just as soon as they have beach front property.
Dennis Wittenberg...a terrific fellow and one who is willing to take the time and effort to go commercial to Juneau to help a friend in need.