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RoboRay

Flying the passes

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Mountain passes often serve as flight routes in Alaska, allowing you to stay low rather than climb up high above the mountains, into the clouds, and the icing, and the other muck. If you want to stay low, to see where you're going, and your route takes you across a mountain range, look for a pass.

 

I decided to fly west from Anchorage to Sparrevohn, via Merrill Pass, to find out out what that's like. Setting is Spring when the snow is beginning to melt, and in the morning, so I've got the sun at my back. Weather is Low & Threatening.

 

This is the route through the mountains, just about due west of Anchorage. You should fly right over Beluga airfield on the way to it.

 

1OAx6.jpg

 

 

I'm approaching the entrance to the network of valleys leading to the pass. The Chakachatna River river on the left flows out of it. Mount Spurr on the right reaches up to 11,000', but the top is lost in the clouds today.

 

bS5AA.jpg

 

 

Chakachamna Lake. Be sure to follow the map and count valleys you pass along the way. You don't want to take a wrong turn.

 

mr0EM.jpg

 

 

I think I'm supposed to go right, then left...

 

Wnqof.jpg

 

 

Yeah, that looks like it.

 

Y4Qjx.jpg

 

 

Left now?

 

3pf3Z.jpg

 

 

No, I'm turning up the wrong valley. I managed to get turned back around before running out of room.

 

TNgwt.jpg

 

 

Now I'm back on course.

 

8nNVI.jpg

 

 

Over the hump, and starting back down.

 

WoEbA.jpg

 

 

And I'm through! That's Two Lakes up ahead.

 

vK4eg.jpg

 

If you find another nice scenic pass, please let me know!

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I would have flown up the wrong Valley.


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NAVAIDS? Where we're going, we don't need NAVAIDS.

 

Though seeing as you did have the proper VORs dialed in, how many times did you get barber-poled while amongst the mountains?

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NAVAIDS? Where we're going, we don't need NAVAIDS.

 

Though seeing as you did have the proper VORs dialed in, how many times did you get barber-poled while amongst the mountains?

 

Don't tell anybody...............but Alaska is big time GPS country... :biggrin:

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NAVAIDS? Where we're going, we don't need NAVAIDS.

 

Though seeing as you did have the proper VORs dialed in, how many times did you get barber-poled while amongst the mountains?

 

I am quite disappointed to say "not much." I was staying kind of high in the pass, though. Not sure if that helped. I'll have to go back at some point and check the reception down lower.

 

I wasn't paying any real attention to the panel anyway. Just%20Kidding.gif

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Wonderful VFR flight. :Peace:


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Here is Lake Clark Pass, just south of Merrill, again heading west.

 

irUwW.jpg

 

It's harder to spot the entrance, as it curves right, then makes a sharp hook to the left.

 

KqHjj.jpg

 

This may be it.

 

XSwh1.jpg

 

YScXd.jpg

 

Found it!

 

CUrfq.jpg

 

v9Bg2.jpg

 

One last glance back at Cook Inlet.

 

Ab3hD.jpg

 

Is that a glacier up there?

 

JVx7P.jpg

 

Indeed it is!

 

4Zqfw.jpg

 

This route is easier than Merrill, with fewer decisions to make. Here's my first, and by my chart I should go left.

 

Mp8Y3.jpg

 

My second decision, but this time the map indicates I can take either one. They merge back together later.

 

jLstD.jpg

 

I go to the right.

 

lClIq.jpg

 

15ZBZ.jpg

 

Is that a glimpse of Lake Clark up ahead?

 

XHKVL.jpg

 

Looking back along my route.

 

6uTFZ.jpg

 

Yes, Lake Clark!

 

onf70.jpg

 

The route I could have taken had I gone to the left.

 

XGZgA.jpg

 

iaPTo.jpg

 

I can finally see my destination, Port Alsworth.

 

uxoq2.jpg

 

What the...???

 

PyC6J.jpg

 

Apparently, none of the locals own a chainsaw.

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You will notice that as you fly up a pass, in real life, when there is an opening from the left or right, the cooler air spills down onto the pass you are flying on causing alot of turbulence. You learn to anticipate that as you fly along.


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I have been through Lake Clark Pass in the Real World. One thing missing from the scenery is all of the aircraft wreckage from people whose navigation was not as good as yours. Turbulence is also pretty rotten through there. Very bumpy that day...


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NAVAIDS? Where we're going, we don't need NAVAIDS.

 

Though seeing as you did have the proper VORs dialed in, how many times did you get barber-poled while amongst the mountains?

 

Vor's don't work every well in that kind of terrain. They are line of site devices.


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I didn't notice any turbulence or wind variations in either pass. Broken%20Heart.gif

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I have been through Lake Clark Pass in the Real World. One thing missing from the scenery is all of the aircraft wreckage from people whose navigation was not as good as yours. Turbulence is also pretty rotten through there. Very bumpy that day...

I have been through Lake Clark Pass in the Real World. One thing missing from the scenery is all of the aircraft wreckage from people whose navigation was not as good as yours. Turbulence is also pretty rotten through there. Very bumpy that day...

 

yes this, Lake Clark Pass and Merrill Pass need some aircraft wreckage scenery as exists IRL to truly make the Ambiance complete.

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I didn't notice any turbulence or wind variations in either pass. Broken%20Heart.gif

 

Believe me, you will, if you fly in a real aircraft.. The C-172 I was in bounced around like a ping pong ball.


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What the...???

 

PyC6J.jpg

 

Apparently, none of the locals own a chainsaw.

 

3W5 Concrete is just like that. Lol. Pilots moaned about it a lot during the last fly-in.


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