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Thread: BAC to Alaska (again...)

  1. #1

    BAC to Alaska (again...)

    For those not at BAC Fest, there has been some rumblings of wanting to do another BAC to Alaska trip like years past. Wanted to get a thread started so those who went before can share their experience along with what will be needed for the trip. We are thinking June/July time frame of 2009. If interested, let us know.


  2. #2
    Orbiting Earth Flight Levels ThomSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    In the Blue Mountains of North East Oregon
    I am gonna go review the pics and posts, but is there any basic itinery to think about? Like fuel stops.... in Canada? or all U.S.? Passport reqirements still allow foot/car traffic until June 09, but all AIR and boat traffic requires passports NOW. I still havent gotten mine, but need quite a heads up due to the lag time. I would certainly be interested tho.

  3. #3

    It's gonna be difficult to make the trip without fuel stops in Canada. The route I've taken is: Troutdale to Abbotsford (Customs and Fuel), Abbotsford to Quesnel (Fuel and Overnight). Quesnel to MacKenzie (Fuel), MacKenzie to Watson Lake (Fuel), Watson Lake to Whitehorse (Fuel and Overnight). Whitehorse to Northway (Customs and Fuel), Northway to Fairbanks. You might want to look at LaGrande to Kelowna for your first leg, and then on to Quesnel. Also, make sure you register for a CanPass, as this makes Canadian Customs a piece of cake. Theoretically you could go from Port Angeles, WA to Ketchican without a stop in Canada, but you'll probably be landing on fumes.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    If you make this trip, take my word for it and go VFR only. Not only is IFR nearly impossible in Canada, due to the high MEAs, but you will miss the views, which is what the trip is about. (Also note that VFR on top is a no-no in Canada.) I left in mid July, and during the 3 weeks we were away, we only experienced 2 days we could not fly. We had to spend an extra day in Whitehorse on the way up, and the other day was one we hadn't planned on flying anyway in Homer.

    You should get a copy of the Canada Flight Supplement and the Airport Facility Directory - Alaska Supplement. Sectional Charts would include Whitehorse, Anchorage, Anchorage VFR Terminal Chart, Fairbanks and Dawson. Depending on your destinations, you may also want Seward, Juneau, Ketchikan and Point Barrow. Canadian VFR Charts would include Vancouver, Prince George, Fort Nelson, Kitimat, Atlin and the Alaska Highway. These are available through Sporty's, or wherever complete charts are sold.

    Most of the routes can be flown at 5500-7500 feet, and mountain passes aren't a problem in VFR. From Watson Lake on, you pretty much follow the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks. I would get a box lunch at Quesnel, as there is no place to get food until Whitehorse. You can get a nice lunch at Northway.

    I can post GPS Flight Plans, and suggest hotels if anyone is interested.

  6. #6
    Why do you state that VFR Over The Top is a no no in Canada? I am Canadian VFR OTT rated, and do it frequently.

    I'm not trying to detract from your post as there is a lot of great information in it, but the VFR OTT statement is inacurrate.

  7. #7
    Actually VFR on Top is legal in Canada but it requires a "VFR OTT" rating or an instrument rating and an IFR legal airplane. It is day only and has other restrictions. For an instrument legal pilot/aircraft it's usually easiest to fly IFR if you need to do this.

    In terms for the US pilot it means you need to be instrument rated in an instrument legal airplane since the US doesn't have a VFR OTT rating. There is some false advice that US Private meets the canadian requirements for VFR OTT, it doesn't. The Canadian VFR OTT rating requires an aggregate total of 15 hours of dual instrument instruction time - US private only 3.

    Also it's very hard to be legal for IFR in most of Canada including the parts you cover to get to Alaska without an ADF.

    I still agree with Roger overall - the more distant portions should be flown VFR. IFR that far north is not very benign and it does take some research to understand the differences particularly in regards to required equipment, filing, etc. But IFR can be a useful tool for getting to a jumping off point. I've also had some people say it's easier to just file IFR going into busier airspace on the East end of the country versus trying to sort out the nuances of a cross border CVFR flight plan.

  8. #8
    Alaska is rather large, but you can see Russia from Wasilla.

    Fairbanks is a large city with a lot to do. You could take a day trip from FAI to Point Barrow or Fort Yukon, so you could brag about flying above the Arctic Circle. Take a flight down to Talkeetna on a clear day, so you can take pictures of Denali, and then on to Merrill Field in Anchorage, and make a point to see Lake Hood by the International Airport. Rent a car, and drive down to Portage, and perhaps go through the tunnel to Whittier, where you can find great Glacier Cruises, or take the Alaska RR to Whittier from Anchorage. If you drive, go to the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, take the tram, and have lunch at the top.

    If you want to experience beautiful relaxation, go to Homer (Lands End Resort), and also take a hop over to Kodiak to see the bears. Valdez is also a great place to take a day cruise in the Prince William Sound.

    If I go back, I will probably explore the Inside Passage - Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan etc. I don't think there's such a thing as one place to go to in Alaska. There are too many beautiful places to go to and things to see and experience.

  9. #9
    Orbiting Earth Left the Solar System rgschmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Hartland, Wisconsin
    There is also the question of the route to Alaska. Those of us east of the Rockies would probably take the Alaska Highway, those west would not.

    I have a feeling there is a lot of diversity in our club, and it may be better to split off into multiple small groups. For example, I loved camping by the airplane and seeing more remote areas - Dawson City (CA), McGrath, Galena, Nome, Kotzebue, Lake Minchumina, etc.

    Others will probably prefer hotels, and more metropolitan areas.

  10. #10
    I think the only way to go to Alaska is to follow the Alcan Highway. The Port Angles to Ketchikan route is only 527 nm, but after you pass Vancouver Island, there is no place to land with out setting down in the trees or getting wet. I wouldn't recommend it in a SEL. Maybe a twin or something with floats.

    Nobody mentioned fishing. I can't imagine going to Alaska without going fishing. OK, I can't imagine going anywhere without going fishing. I do like the idea of the inside passage. I think you can cross over from the Alcan to Skagway pretty easily. I'm not sure there is a good way back from Ketchikan.

    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

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