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HawaiianCondor

Alaska Airport Question

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I need some help identifying an Alaska airport that was featured on a Discovery Wings program. The airport was in Dutch Harbor(Illussion Islands?)spelling??? The program was about bush flying and how 737 pilots flew in and out of this airport. If anyone knows what the name or code of this airport is could you plsease let me know. Thanks, Scott

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I haven't seen the Wings program but are you looking for Unalaska (PADU)?Dutch Harbor NDB is on the field.3900ft runway.Me thinks it's Aleutian Island (spelling?)Cheers :)Woodreau

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Check out Dave Erickson scenery akdk2.zip. I think I downloaded it from Avsim and it's great if you're looking for some pretty wild floatplane flying. Watch out if you're downloading real weather. It gets pretty nasty up there this time of year.CheersBlair

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There's also akalp1.zip which gives a more accurate rendition of the airport.

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Sir,That IS the exact airport in question..............My interest in Dutch Harbor, goes way back. One of MY all time favorite Capt's on NWA, also came from my home town of Aberdeen South Dakota. During the 40's, while flying a DC-4 cargo flight out to Shemya Island, from Anchorage, the weather and its forecasts went to hell, for this crew. They were unable to get IN to Shemya, proceeding on to Tokyo was out of the question due to fuel reserves, and when they reversed course to go back to Anchorage, a fast moving frontal system had changed their formerly HOPED FOR tailwinds BACK to ANC, to now be headwinds. Again, their fuel remaining precluded a return to ANC.To add to those troubles, the clouds prevented the Navigator from obtaining a "fix", and ALL small island airports were reporting Zero Zero conditions in a blizzard. Capt Milan "Skeeter" Johnson, was out of luck, ideas, and fuel, as he started a descent to DITCH the DC-4 into the cold northern Pacific ocean."Skeeter", a small man of barely 5 foot 6, and weighing less than 140 pounds, was a SUPERB seat of the pants pilot, an attribute common in that era of aviation. With no nav aids, with no KNOWN position, as he broke out of the clouds at 400 feet above the ocean surface, he SPOTTED an airport....and that airport was Dutch Harbor.Skeeter was never proud of this flight, as things got out of hand, the entire system went to hell that night...weather forecasts were 180 degrees out of trueness, and due to the war effort, perhaps common sense and logic were overuled in order to complete the "mission". This was a cargo flight and with no passengers on board, perhaps a bit of extra caution was tossed to the winds.However, during the years, the story of this flight got "out", and even though "Skeeter" wouldn't talk about it, other pilots did !! A remarkable feat of aviation, luck, and circumstance. Today with GPS, this approach is much easier. Making the approach with the ADF can be done, but even on that night, ol "Skeeter" was getting, somehow, VECTORS from "on high" from that Big Contoller in the SKY !After the landing his nosewheel was less than 10 feet from the end of the runway....he completed the landing with only the LIGHTS of a bulldozer as guidance for the approach end....and at that time this was a gravel landing strip."Skeeter" just passed away a couple of years ago and I wanted to share his "bad night over water", one more time.Regards,Cap'n Tarmack

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All,As Capt. Tarmack stated, that is the airport I was looking for. It is definitely a challenge to set down a 737 on that short and narrow runway. Also, I will try the different scenery as suggested. Still amazes me what great responses one can get with such a trivial question. Long live Avsim!Thanks again,Scott

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This is what I did for Dutch Harbor/Unalaska: Get the Eddie Denny mesh file AK2K21.zip from flightsim.com or at Alaska Don's place. Pull the file AKN54.BGL Create a folder called Unalaska Create a folder inside Unalaska folder called 'scenery' Place AKN54.BGL inside scenery folder Install to FS2K2 library in your usual fashion See the new true to life mountain next to the airstrip!note: DO NOT create a texture folder for this application

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Dave Ericksons scenery for this airport is quite good. However, for me, the frame rate hit was quite noticeable (depending on your system, you may get better FPS.) And his exclusion area flattened too much of the area around Dutch Harbor as well.My version (included in my Aleutian Islands enhancement) which Lizardo has already mentioned, is a bit more frame rate friendly. Is it better than Dave's? No comment. They are both good (IMHO), so it is up to you to decide. My scenery complements Daves (it is not a replacement), except for this airport, which I did replace with my own.I got maps of the area to try and recreate Dutch Harbor as well as I could, given my limited scenery abilities. So in addition to just the airport (which is simply modified from the original MS one), you have all the other city areas around the airport. I built it using Eddie's mesh, so it is completely compatible with it. I carefully placed flatten areas where they needed to go so that the airport and surrounding areas blend in with Eddie's Mesh without taking anything away from it.Anyway, just download both Dave's and my sceneries, and pick the one you like best for Dutch Harbor! (The beauty of freeware, won't cost you a cent!)

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Capn, Great story about "Dutch"...just about anyone who has been there has their own stories to tell about this interesting, rugged and some would say "god forsaken" place. As a veteran of many Coast Guard Bering Sea patrols (by ship not aircraft) I have a few of my own. Like nearly getting blown aground in a "williwaw" after leaving the fuel pier near the threshold of the runway, when the wind went from 23 knots to 62 knots, and severe clear to whiteout conditions in about 15 seconds....the skipper and I just sat in the cabin and couldn't talk for about an hour after that experience. Could just imagine what that would do to an aircraft on short final to runway 30. Made one landing in Dutch as a pax on an Alaska 737, pilot had us brace for crash even though it was routine and weather was good. One time we anchored out in the harbor near the runway approach threshold and the Alaska bird had to abort an approach because of worry about mast clearance (and our command center in Juneau got a call from the FAA shortly thereafter!). Just no room for error with this airport. Something about tall mountains and the cold water of the Bering Sea meeting the warmer water of the Gulf of Alaska stirs up some of the world's most horrendous weather. Those guys that fly the Aleutians I would expect are some of the best pilots around! A very unforgiving place...regards,

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Chris,I think what amazed the pilots that still talk about Capt 'Skeeter' Johnson's luck that night...was the fact that due to the extensive weather system in effect that night.....Dutch Harbor should NOT have been able to have been seen in VFR conditions. As you state, the effects of air temp and water temp can change such conditions drastically and in a short time.During those war years in the 40's, Northwest Airlines maintained a regular airport factility at Shemya. They built a 'hotel' for flight crews that included a bar, a steak grill, and a poker room. Grin.These guys would fly the DC4 from Anchorage to Shemya.....land....and then watch a flight crew already in Shemya...take the airplane on to Tokyo. Westerly headwinds are almost always in effect over this area and the DC4 simply did not have the 'legs' or range to make an Anchorage to Tokyo nonstop flight.The newly arrived flight crew was only supposed to stay in Shemya for one night....as the crew that had departed would then return to Shemya on the next day...allowing our newly arrived crew to go onto Tokyo, in their turn.However, some times the best laid plans of men, pilots and mice would go astray. Grin.During the Christmas month of December, when the upper winds were the strongest....it was very easy to bypass Shemya on the EAST bound portion back to Anchorage from Tokyo. And, since it was IFR weather conditions at Shemya about 90 percent of the time, along with normally strong surface winds there were actual and TRUE times that a flight could not get "in".Howsomever, reliable reports indicate that on some nights....usually around December 23rd or 24th....flights from Tokyo WOULD report "making the approach but unable to see the runway...proceeding on to Anchorage".Over.This would allow that "lucky' flight crew to get to Anchorage....and then of course to Minneapolis or Seattle the next day and to be able to enjoy Christmas with the family.........the poor flight crew that was in Shemya...and who also had HAD such plans.....to have to remain in the "hotel" of Shemya.The way the seniority system of pilots works....is that the more senior pilot gets to pick his choice of flights and days off...ahead of those that are behind him on the seniority list. Most junior pilots MUST work on Christmas....allowing most senior pilots to have that holiday off.Hence.....the temptation of a junior pilot to NOT be able to SEE the runway for landing at Shemya on an eastbound flight.Again, more reliable "reports" from pilots on the ground at Shemya, concluded that while the flight REPORTED making an approach to the airport.....the only SOUND the ground bound pilot could hear...was a DC4 at high altitude CRUISE over that airport.....smoking along with a 150 knot tailwind....to Anchorage and to Santa Claus with the family.Grin.

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Cap'n: Great story, amazing how the world of large twin and multiple engine turbojets, ETOPS etc has changed life for pilots...no more stops in the Aleutians anymore, I'd hope...although recently a JAL flight from Tokyo to mainland US (744) had to divert to Cold Bay, AK for some type of problem, and that was enough to make the news. Don't know if all of your north pacific travels got you into Shemya, I spent a day there waiting for weather to get into Attu on one of our C-130 Hercs...doesn't have the mountains to worry about but the weather, wow...that is truly not one of my favorite places, and I never found the poker bar...regards,

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