ALASKA  ADVENTURE

Leg 8

Palmer  and Anchorage

Waiting for the Weather

 

Satellite Weather of Alaska on August 12 Palmer METAF

PAAQ

121512Z 121512 36005KT P6SM -RA SCT003 BKN035

 

TEMPO 1518 4SM -RA BR BKN003 

 

FM1800 18005KT P6SM -RA SCT025 BKN050 

 

TEMPO 1824 BKN025 

 

FM0000 16007KT P6SM SCT035 OVC060 

 

TEMPO 0006 -SHRA BKN035 PROB40 0612 -SHRA BKN035= 

Surface Weather Situation of August 12Anchorage  METAF

PAAQ

121512Z 121512 36005KT P6SM -RA SCT003 BKN035

 

TEMPO 1518 4SM -RA BR BKN003 

 

FM1800 18005KT P6SM -RA SCT025 BKN050 

 

TEMPO 1824 BKN025 

 

FM0000 16007KT P6SM SCT035 OVC060 

 

TEMPO 0006 -SHRA BKN035 PROB40 0612 -SHRA BKN035= 

 

As we have become accustomed, the day after our arrival at Palmer turned out to be a day of rest. Low clouds and fog obscured the mountains and made it impossible to move closer to Anchorage by flying to Merrill Field on the northern edge of town. Being Sunday, it was even difficult to get a car, but we finally succeeded and everybody scattered in some direction. It was good to get out of the motel as it was in the full swing of remodeling. The few guests in the restaurant even had to lift their feet while the carpet was being replaced. 

Lake Hood, the seaplane base next to Anchorage Intl.The forty minute drive to Anchorage proved to be more difficult due to lack of good maps and the GPS had been left behind in the plane. Watching the weather while driving confirmed our decision to stay on the ground for the day. Together with another couple (June and Chuck) with the assistance of George, who had been in town before, we cruised up and down the few main streets. At the town hall we especially admired the large mural on the side of the building depicting moments in time and heroes in the history of Alaska. Next we had to check out Lake Hood with it's countless seaplanes. It was tremendously interesting to study the many different aircraft anchored along the grassy shore. Many had a little cabin close by, all different in style. The most elaborate  - almost elegant, was built like a log cabin, yet it was hardly tall enough to stand upright once inside. (This is speculation on our part as there was no one around to invite us in for a cappuccino)!

 

Otter on Aproach We increasingly felt the desire to do some floatplane flying ourselves and decided to investigate the possibilities. We got the cold shoulder with two of the larger operators. All they wanted to see was a fat wallet and hear a request to be taken somewhere. We were practically thrown out when we stated our desires. Then we tried "Bigfoot Air of Alaska". We were greeted warmly, were listened to and received all the advice we wanted. Next time in Anchorage we will stop there for sure to get our fill of floatplane flying! 

Ueli inspecting a Catalina On the southern shore of the lake is the Aircraft Museum. Though we had only an hour left, we enjoyed every minute walking and often touching the many aircraft and aircraft parts on display. The museum tells a vivid story of the role the aircraft and their many courageous pilots, both male and female have played in the development of this state. While most aircraft on display have found their final rest at this museum there are a number of beautifully restored birds in flyable condition. All of our time there, was the real sound of float planes to be heard buzzing overhead in and out of Lake Hood. 

 

 

Joan making good friend with her first BaerThen it became time to replenish ourselves. What would a trip to Anchorage be without visiting Gwennies Fish Restaurant? In this unique atmosphere we could enjoy the well prepared halibut and salmon. Among the guests, Joan discovered one of the two bears we encountered in Alaska. However, one was carved from wood and the other did not move, as it was stuffed - perhaps by salmon? It was better for us anyway, as we had decided not to bring any firearms along. Perhaps on our next visit to Alaska!

 

Joan is enjoying the day <<< Joan is enjoying her day to rest and catch up with the mailChuck and Ueli sharing their computer secrets

 

 

Ueli and Chuck are sharing their computer secrets >>> 

    

 

The next day brought a slight improvement in the weather but not enough to get a view of the top of the world in Alaska. So, we enjoyed the leisure time and exchanged information and advice for future travels. Out at the Palmer airport we found an old DC7 that had been converted to a slurry bomber. This was an opportunity to step aboard and see how it looked inside. These planes and pilots have lately received much  attention in their great role fighting the many fires in many western States, including Canada and Alaska. A seasoned pilot gave us the tour of this vintage aircraft that had flown before for Delta Airlines until 1961. 

Slurry bomber interiorAs we climbed the ladder into the main fuselage it was a surprise to find an empty cabin. All the insulation and furnishings had been removed. The large slurry tanks were under the main cabin floor, close to the CG. The fuselage looked more like a workshop with spare parts and tool boxes. Towards the back was a first class sofa of old times, comfortable for the pilots to rest between the strenuous flights. Here and there were some personal belongings, like in a locker room. Slurry Bomber Cockpit Our focus of attention, however, was in the front. A narrow passage lead to the holy area of this beautiful piece of machine. No bullet proof door, as the times dictate today. From the distance the rows of round dials looked at us. The control levers for the four powerful radial engines looked like a fence, demanding respect upon entering the cockpit. We were ask to sit down and feel comfortable. Most of the instrumentation was the old original style. The pilot walked us through the highlights. Extra equipment that had been installed were the controls for dropping the slurry. A selector allowed choosing among various programs like individual or a combination and sequence of drops. The slurry is kept in a number of tanks in the belly of the aircraft and the sequencer is keeping the Center of Gravity of the aircraft within limits. One of the very few modern pieces of hardware is a large GPS moving map display. The dropping, however, is still controlled by a red push button on the yoke. Behind the PIC is still a rack of electronic hardware using old fashion vacuum tubes. -- The time was only too short to absorb all the fascinating equipment. We had to go back and prepare for the coming day, hoping that we could make the highlight of the trip come true.

 
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This page was serviced last on  12. July 2008