Where have you been? What have you seen?
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#1643623
Another instalment! Thank you.

Were the waypoints on the charts all stops or just waypoints, if the latter why did you not fly in a straight line?

Just nosey.
#1643657
So much fascinating stuff to read and view. :D

I was intrigued by the "conning tower" on the Dash 7 so went a-Googling.
Katamarino wrote:Image

The National Aerial Surveillance Program watches ships in Canadian waters to help prevent pollution.

Aerial surveillance is the best way to detect oil spills. Surveillance through this program reduces oil pollution at sea because ships are aware they’re being watched. Evidence gathered by our aircraft is also used to issue fines and prosecute polluters under Canadian and international law.

We monitor shipping activities, ice conditions and marine security, as well as pollution. We also provide information to other federal departments and agencies to help them run programs related to: security;
keeping waterways safe and accessible; protecting the environment
...
Our surveillance fleet [includes:]
...
A Dash-7 aircraft in Ottawa, ON, which moves to Iqaluit, Nunavut to do northern surveillance during the Arctic shipping season (July to October)

DASH-7 SPECIAL MISSION VARIANTS
One DASH-7-150 was put into service as the "DASH-7R" or "DASH-7IR" with Transport Canada for the "National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP)", performing patrol flights over the oceans or the Great Lakes to perform pollution surveys, ice patrols, and general maritime surveillance. This machine was eventually fitted with a second "cockpit" for observers, perched on top of the forward fuselage; as well as a side-looking airborne radar (SLAR), with the radar antenna in a fairing along the lower left side of the fuselage. It could also drop flares and rescue gear.

(Link to presentation on NASP)
#1643704
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:Were the waypoints on the charts all stops or just waypoints, if the latter why did you not fly in a straight line?


They were stops. We didn't need to make them but decided we might as well stop and stretch our legs, and get them in the log book. Who knows when I might get back that way!
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
#1643723
With temperatures dropping down to around freezing, it was a chilly night! Due to an error with time zones I was up an hour early, and only realized once I had made it to the offices of the Kitnuna Corporation. I had corresponded with one of their managers, Dave, in advance to ensure availability of AVGAS. We took care of the paperwork, and a few of his employees accompanied me back to the airport together with two drums of AVGAS.

This was our first time refueling from drums, and we rapidly discovered that the plastic hose I had bought became entirely solid when very cold, and was curled in a circle. We fought it for a very long time, eventually managing to get the tanks filled. We had half a drum left, to be picked up on the way back south in a couple of days! This done, we headed north to Resolute Bay!

Musk Ox at Cambridge Bay:
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The arrival of the AVGAS:
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Ken Borek Air has some very cool aircraft serving the north. Their pilot gave us some tips on getting to Resolute.
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The 387nm flight was uneventful. We island-hopped to minimize our exposure time over water.

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As we headed further north, it became much more icy:
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Coming in to land at Resolute:
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Aziz, our AVGAS supplier at Resolute, met us at the airport a few minutes after arrival. He was extremely responsive and helpful! We used his much nicer pump setup to refill the tanks, and got set up at the nearby airport hotel. Both AVGAS and hotel were eye-wateringly expensive, but what else can you expect this far north? Logistics costs rule up here!

Resolute Airport Hotel:
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Very nice accommodation!
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With tanks and fuel containers all filled, we had 130 gallons on board. I parked the airplane up and we settled down for the night. Little did I know, I had broken my golden rule and left the fuel selector on both – and the airplane was parked on a cross-slope…
Steve J, PaulSS, dppintr liked this
#1643788
Katamarino wrote:With tanks and fuel containers all filled, we had 130 gallons on board. I parked the airplane up and we settled down for the night. Little did I know, I had broken my golden rule and left the fuel selector on both – and the airplane was parked on a cross-slope…


Ouch!

Thanks for your previous reply! :thumright: :thumleft:
Katamarino liked this
#1643955
We were up early, in the hope that this would be the big day we made it to Eureka! The weather looked promising, so we packed quickly, grabbed a snack from the breakfast room, and headed out. Arriving at the airplane I was a little disconcerted to see a large blue frozen patch on the ground, blue spatter all over the airplane, and a steady stream of AVGAS issuing forth from the left wing. Carp.

Morning in Resolute Bay:
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Uhoh:
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We made things right, and assessed the situation. The one time in my flying career that I broke my rule (I changed off of “both” when I initially shut down, but not when I restarted again to shift the airplane), and we’d ended up losing about 20 gallons of the most expensive AVGAS I’d ever purchased. Some quick calculations showed that we would, at least, still have the fuel to get to Eureka and all the way back to Cambridge Bay without needing another $1,400 barrel. Thank goodness for the flexible fuel containers that I’d bought, they tipped the balance!

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The flight up to Eureka started off similar to the previous day, but as we passed the half way point the flat terrain started to gain some features and relief. The final 100nm took us up a long fjord to Eureka, which is an Environment Canada research station. The lady on the radio seemed a little surprised to have a C182 call up for landing.

My nice blue strut on departure:
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Snowy plateau:
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Once you get far enough north, the 430W decides that you don’t need a basemap anymore:
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Into the fjord for the final run to Eureka:
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The runway was in good condition. First things first, after landing we got the fuel containers out and filled up. As we were doing this the station manager turned out to say hello. He was very welcoming and told us a bit about the place. They had just hauled in hundreds of tons of rock ready to re-gravel the runway, a huge logistical undertaking! Additionally, there was apparently a film crew in from National Geographic for a few weeks, looking for wolves!

Meeting the station manager:
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Local wildlife:
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After looking around a bit, it was time to get going and run south. Best to make the most of things while the weather is good. The first leg had us retrace our steps to Resolute Bay.

The research station and strip at Eureka:
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Cruising higher back towards Resolute:
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Aziz met us at the airport to transfer the last of the drum into the airplane. That left us with plenty of fuel to get to Cambridge Bay; but, there’d be a point of no return beyond which we would not be able to get back to Resolute. An hour or so out, we’d be fully committed to Cambridge Bay. Discussions with the weather briefer led to a decision that this was an acceptable risk, and we departed, flying at maximum economy and burning barely 10 gallons an hour.

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Several long and occasionally tense hours later, we were back in Cambridge Bay! Along the route I had made good use of the Garmin InReach to check TAFs and METARs, even when 200nm from the nearest settlement. Truly an excellent piece of kit for this type of adventure. Despite the fact that Cambridge Bay is incredibly remote, after the last couple of days we felt like we were back in well-travelled ground.
mick w, Steve J, Dave W and 4 others liked this
#1644107
Flyingfemme wrote:Well, if you ever get tired of sandy places and lots of money, you could certainly be a ferry pilot! 8)


Given that I work 28 days on, 28 days off, I'd love to do some ferry flying in my off shifts. Not sure how to get into it though! I already have my commercial.
#1644166
Nothing useful to say. I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful write up!

It looks like an amazing adventure and I'm checking in everyday hoping you add the next segment :D

Two things really surprised me:

1. I expected more snow/ice in Alaska, and
2. Alaska looks like a third world country! Not like another state of the USA! It's surprising to me, to see so much gravel roads, run down looking buildings and rusting machinery. I expected something far more modern.

Thanks again for the wonderful writeup! Really appreciated!
Katamarino liked this
#1644218
dublinpilot wrote:2. Alaska looks like a third world country! Not like another state of the USA! It's surprising to me, to see so much gravel roads, run down looking buildings and rusting machinery. I expected something far more modern.


It's a bit deceiving. Most of the essential stuff was in great condition; the majority of the native villages have expensive new facilities courtesy of the government; certainly at a far, far higher cost per head than government money is spent elsewhere.

There's a huge amount of old junk, dead vehicles, and other trash around. We mused on this and figured that it's probably down to the enormous cost of moving anything around up there. Not worth spending the money to fly your old four-wheeler out to be disposed of when it could just be dumped right here. Disposal of something like that would be hundreds of dollars at least, I'd imagine, up there.
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
#1644222
Thank you for the kind words, all. Can't leave Rob L waiting, so here we go!

The weather at Cambridge Bay was noticeably colder than even just a couple of days ago. James and I carefully checked our phones to ensure we didn’t repeat the time zone error of our previous stop.

Nonetheless, I ended up inadvertently getting up an hour early yet again due to my phone being on the wrong time zone! Still not sure how we screwed up this time. There was freezing rain, snow showers, and a 25kt wind; it was not easy to work up the motivation to leave the sleeping bag.

Another visit to Kitnuna led to another barrel being delivered to the airplane, as well as donation by Dave of a length of better hose to replace our terribly non-flexible plastic stuff. Much easier!

An interesting side project in the Kitnuna vehicle workshop:
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Saying goodbye to Dave, the super helpful man from Kitnuna:
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Enjoying a snow squall:
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Refueling once again from drums:
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Three empty drums, time to get going:
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Another detailed conversation with the briefer led to a decision to depart for Rankin Inlet once the weather improved in line with the forecasts. We had seen so far on this trip that the weather always seemed to be significantly more fly-able than suggested by the forecasts and briefings; but were working hard not to let ourselves be lulled into a false sense of security! With another 55 gallons on board, a tailwind, and a couple of diversion options (albeit not until 300nm or so in), things were much more comfortable than the last couple of days.

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Conditions on the way to Rankin Inlet were as forecast or better, with nothing but a trace of ice picked up in a couple of clouds on descent.

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Landing at Rankin Inlet:
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On arrival at Rankin, it was blowing a gale. Literally. There were 50kt winds (technically a “severe gale/storm”), thankfully straight down the runway. Taxiing to parking was a little nerve-wracking but we got it done, and set out to acquire the drum that we’d arranged in advance. It was delivered to the airplane and we somehow managed to get most of it into the tanks.

I called a briefer and asked for a VFR weather briefing, headed south. “What’s your destination?” she asked, and laughed when I told her anywhere that would be less windy than here. In the end the plan was just to launch and fly as far as we felt like; the winds would die out after a couple of hundred miles, and we’d find a place to camp.

This turned out to be the airstrip at Ilford; the controller was a little bemused when I asked him to confirm what timezone we were in, but I wasn't intending to screw up a third time. We arrived after dark, my first night landing in quite a while, and set up camp. It was warm and calm, a perfect last night under canvas.

Whitecaps on Hudson Bay:
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Bound for Ilford:
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The view from my tent on the final night of camping:
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Dave W, Steve J, mick w and 5 others liked this
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