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Around the world in 175 days part 11, Chignik, Dutch Harbor, Atka

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April 23, 1924:  On the 19th Algonquin arrived at Kanatak with the new engine for Seattle. In blowing snow they managed to install by the morning of the 22nd.  On the morning of the 23rd the men of the village helped Martin and Harvey break up the ice that was forming around the floats and tow the Seattle from the pond they had been working, down the stream to the bay where it was now calm enough to take off.  Visibility was too bad to fly a direct compass heading to Chignik and at one point the weather became so bad they landed in a protected cove until the weather cleared.  After waiting an hour and a half the storm eased and they then few the remaining distance to Anchorage bay and the village of Chignik.   

July 9, 2017:  Today I got ready the Grumman Gulfhawk II ready for flight.  The Gulfhawk was a custom civilian conversion of the F3F-1 fighter.  The F3F was the US Navy’s last biplane fighter, with retractable landing gear, and enclosed cockpit and a 1,000 hp Wright Cyclone engine.  It first flew in 1935, only 147 were built and it was retired from front line squadrons before world war 2 started but it eventually evolved into the much more successful F4F Wildcat.  The model I’m using today was made for JustFlight by Airplane Heaven and is remarkably similar to the AH F3F-2.  It’s nice to fly, lot of torque on takeoff but it takes off so fast it does not matter much.  

My flight today from Cold Bay to Dutch harbor was uneventful, cloudy with a 3000 foot ceiling and 6 kn winds.  This is probably the fastest aircraft I have flown so far and it made short work of the 155 nm flight. I landed after 51 minutes of flying.

Ready for takeoff.

Flying over the Alaska Peninsula, canopy open.

Scenery here is not as dramatic as other parts of Alaska.

At least now we can close the canopy when the weather gets bad.

Weaving around the islands while staying below the clouds.

Finally figured how to turn the navigation lights off.

On approach into Dutch Harbor/Unalaska.


May 3, 1924:  Major Martin waited in Chignik until he finally received favorable weather reports from Dutch Harbor on April 30, when and Harvey finally departed, but they never arrived.  A search was started using ships from the Navy and Coast guard, boats from local canneries and even dog teams from Chignik.  On May 2 General Patrick, Chief of the Army Air Service designated Lt Smith leader and told them “Do not delay longer waiting for Major Martin” and “Proceed to Japan at earliest possible Moment”.  On the morning of May 3, the crews got there aircraft ready for flight and proceeded to Nazan on Atka island, 365 miles away.  Although they flew through rain and snow showers it proved to be an easy flight and they arrived after 4 hours 19 minutes of flying.

July 9, 2017: This afternoon I got ready the Spartan 7W Executive for flight.  The Spartan first flew in 1936 and was designed as a fast comfortable aircraft for rich executes.  Only 34 were built but had some notable owners including Howard Hughes, J. Paul Getty and King Ghazi of Iraq.  The model I am flying today was made by Milton Shupe and was recently updated by him to be FSX Native.  It’s a very nice aircraft to fly and I highly recommend it.  

My flight from Unalaska to Atka was uneventful.  Out over the mountains to the west of the town and out over the sea.  I stayed mostly under the clouds sometimes staying as low as 800 feet to stay under the weather.  Since the route is mostly over water at one point I climbed to 10,000 feet to try to get above the clouds for a while but did not stay up there for long.  Approaching Atka, staying low to keep below the clouds, the town and airport are pretty small and I did not spot them until I was almost on top of the airport, I ended up coming in fairly fast and my landing was a bit rough but got on the grounds safe. 

Here are a few pics of the flight.

Ready for takeoff

Over the mountains west of Dutch Harbor.

Heading out from Amaknak Island

Weather is getting pretty bad, better climb over it for a bit.

Looks like its calmed down enough to head back down.

Atka Island.

I almost missed the airport.


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Bad news for Harvey and Martin...press on at the earliest opportunity!


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What a trip, and what a display of antique airplanes.  Wonderful stuff.  Thanks

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Dan George (woodhick)
Check out Greenbrier Aero Club, the VA for and about the GA pilot.

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