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joefremont

Around the world in 175 days part 10; Seward, Chignik, Cold Bay

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April 15, 1924: By 11 am they were ready for the 425 mile flight to Chignik. Only Major Martin in Seattle had difficulty taking off and had to take three attempts to get in the air.  For the next four hours, the flight was uneventful and enjoyable but stiff head winds slowed them down.  Harding recalled “The clear deep blue water below, clear skies above, and snow covered peaks and glaciers on our right were beyond description in beauty and splendor” .  The other crews noticed that Seattle had dropped down to lower altitude and was staying near the rear of the formation.  All but Martin decided to go over a mountain while he tried to go around it.  When they reached Cape Igvak Seattle could not be seen in the thick haze, but with the strong head winds they did not have the fuel to go back and search for them.  After 6 hours 38 minutes of flying they landed in Anchorage Bay at Chignik they immediately rushed ashore to radio that there leader was missing and believed down on Portage Bay.  The Navy immediately ordered the destroyers Corey and Hull to the area.

June 27, 2017:  Today I will be flying the Douglas DC-2 for the 364nm flight from Seward to Chignik Alaska.  Introduced in 1934 and built in response to a TWA specification for an all metal tri-motor, the Douglas response was more radical with twin engines, retractable landing gear and two 690 hp Wright radial engines driving variable-pitch propellers.  Although overshadowed by its ubiquitous successor, it was the DC-2 that first showed that passenger air travel could be comfortable, safe and reliable.  A KLM DC-2 even came in second in the MacRobertson Air Race between London and Melbourne while carrying mails, making scheduled passenger stops.  

The model I am flying today is by UIVER Team and is quite nice.  Its nice but touchy to fly, if you lower the gear when your flying to fast the hydraulics will fail and the engines cut out on me once as I probably over-revved the engine.  But the flight was uneventful for me, even if it was quite rainy when I left Seward and the scenery along the way was quite dramatic.  I arrived after 2.3 hours of flying.  Here are a few pics from 

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Ready as Seward, Active Sky said this was light rain.

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Back out Resurrection Bay.

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I did say there was 'light rain' didn't I.

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Glaciers.

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Not sure what this rock is but it is dramatic.

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After flying through some fog the weather finally cleared up.

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Approaching Chignik.

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Secured.

April 15, 1924: After 4 hours of flying Sargent Harvey yelled to Major Martin that the oil pressure gauge had dropped to zero and they immediately looked for a place to land, spotting a sheltered cove in Portage bay.  As soon as they had slowed sufficiently Harvey leaped onto the pontoon to check the engine and found a three inch hole in the crank case.  Martin and Harvey slept in the cockpits of the airplane, so sure assistance would arrive soon they did want to swim ashore, and at 5am the next morning the destroyers Corey and Hull arrived after steaming 312 miles to reach them. They were towed 10 miles to the village of Kanatak to await fuel, oil and a new engine being brought to them by the Coast Guard Cutter Algonquin.  

April 19, 1924: At the same time Algonquin was heading to the disabled Seattle, Martin ordered Smith to proceed with the other aircraft to Dutch Harbor, where they had better facilities for taking care of the planes. A stiff wind was blowing as they untied there aircraft, along there flight to UnAlaska they flew around, over, under and through snow squalls, experienced the fierce Williwaw winds, flew over rocky islands, volcanoes and looked up at ice-capped mountains.  After flying 390 miles in 7 hours and 26 minutes they landed in Dutch Harbor where the Coast Guard cutter Haida was waiting for them.

July 8, 2017:  Today I got ready to fly the Heinkel He-51.  The He-51 was a German single seat biplane figher that first flew in 1935 that was used by both the Luftwaffe and Spanish served as a fighter, seaplane, ground attack and trainer until 1952.  Over 700 were built.  The aircraft I am using today was by Craig Richardson and will be using a civilian repaint by Bernhard Lechner.  The aircraft is very nice but it does tend to nose over if you apply the brakes to hard.

I decided to break this leg into two parts in the interest storytelling and using a couple smaller aircraft before the long oversea routes.  My destination for this flight is Cold Bay, 161 nm away.  The weather in Chignik for the start of the flight was great, 5 kn winds and clear.  I climbed up over the low mountains and headed down the Alaskan peninsula at about 4000 ft. The weather got cloudier and windier as we flew on, eventually having to drop down to 1500 ft to stay below the clouds.   I also became quite concerned about my fuel usage, the aircraft is supposed to have a range of 300 nm but when I reach 50% fuel I estimate I will get to my destination with very little fuel to spare.  As I reach Cold Bay the winds have climbed to 31 kn and I had difficulty getting the biplane to settle on the runway especially since I was being very careful with the brakes not wanting it to nose over.  Fortunately, Cold Bay airport has a very long runway and was able to make a safe stop with only 5% fuel remaining.  Here are a few screen shots from the flight.

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Ready for takeoff at Chignik.

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Heading out over the mountians.

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Beautiful flying weather, so far...

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Flying down the Alaskan Peninsula.

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But the good weather did not last.

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Flying low to stay under the clouds.

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Cold Bay airport in sight.

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Landed in Cold Bay.

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3 hours ago, HaraldG said:

I like the He-51!

+1

Great screenshots

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