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

 

Oh, I have no doubt. I'm disappointed not to find any there in Flight. Maybe in different weather...

 

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...

 

Lack of aircraft wreckage notwithstanding, how do the visuals going through those passes match up with reality?

 

Reasonably close but a little disconcerting in places, as I found Hawaii, or totally out to lunch?

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

Hence my comment and question. I've had VORs shoot clear through to the other side of volcanoes in Flight in Hawaii (which is obviously not how these things work in real life), which is why I was wondering if all the intervening terrain in the pass blocked them or not, which it clearly should quite often when low enough that the mountains block line of sight.

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One thing missing from the scenery is all of the aircraft wreckage from people whose navigation was not as good as yours.

 

Nikolski airstrip (PAKO), western Aleutians DC-3 wreckage

 

 

 

 

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Great stuff!

 

It's a shame that you need real maps to do flights like these because the ingame map is completely and utterly useless for this because it shows no detail at all. You can't plan a flight on it and you can't follow a flight on it. Switching to the map during a flight is useless: the only thing you can see is if you are heading for an airport or not. Flying the passes by looking at details like lakes and so on is impossible...

 

Pity I don't have an iPad or something like that to show me the maps while flying.

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Great stuff!

 

It's a shame that you need real maps to do flights like these because the ingame map is completely and utterly useless for this because it shows no detail at all. You can't plan a flight on it and you can't follow a flight on it. Switching to the map during a flight is useless: the only thing you can see is if you are heading for an airport or not. Flying the passes by looking at details like lakes and so on is impossible...

 

Pity I don't have an iPad or something like that to show me the maps while flying.

 

Jeroen, what do I have to do to convince you to order a couple of paper sectional charts or WACs to fly by? I was using a WAC for those flights, but sectionals show even more terrain detail. You just have to buy a lot more because they cover a much smaller area.

 

You seem to love navigation in Flight. The first kind of navigation a pilot learns is pilotage... simply looking out the windows, then looking at the map in his lap to compare what he saw to what is marked on the chart. Look and compare, to always know exactly where you are. Then do it again. And again. Until you see your destination.

 

Yes, paper maps are a little expensive if you can't find expired ones, but you don't have to buy them all at once.

 

Yes, paper maps are huge, and a pain to fold down into a manageable size that still shows your route. Or part of it, at least. Then you get to fold it some more.

 

But I find manipulating and using those real-world paper charts to be just part of flying. And they are by their nature perfect for finding your way around in a flight sim that accurately models the terrain and uses radio navaids. Add a plotter, and you can take accurate bearings and precisely measure distances as well.

 

Find an area you really enjoy flying and order just one chart covering that area. I bet it will not be your last.

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I bought Sectionals and IFR Enroute charts back in early 2010 for the next version of Microsoft flight simulators. If you don't want to purchase sectionals you can use http://skyvector.com/

 

The Inner Passage on the Juneau and Ketchikan Sectionals is pretty fun to fly.

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I bought Sectionals and IFR Enroute charts back in early 2010 for the next version of Microsoft flight simulators. If you don't want to purchase sectionals you can use http://skyvector.com/

 

The Inner Passage on the Juneau and Ketchikan Sectionals is pretty fun to fly.

 

I started buying Sectionals for FS9 back in 2005. Many of them, I got for free at FBO's because they were expired when I got them, and they knew I wasn't going to use them in a real RA.

 

That is a great link for looking at sectionals you don't have. Jut printed a section of a chart I needed and it worked great.

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Nikolski airstrip (PAKO), western Aleutians DC-3 wreckage

Looks more like a B-18 except it should have a twin tail, They never do a good job modeling these wrecks. They could look a lot better with little effort.

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Maybe an old laptop with Skyvector will do the trick... I might be able to get an old laptop somewhere.

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How about foreflight for MSFight?? :)

 

www.foreflight.com . I got it for my iPad for flying my J3 Cub in real life.

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