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Thread: Question about Iditarod Race flying

  1. #1
    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    Default Question about Iditarod Race flying

    Hi guys -

    I'll be a volunteer on the Iditarod trail, so my transportation is covered. However...

    My daughter is in the Navy, currently stationed on USS George Washington out of Japan. She will be meeting me in Anchorage for her 2 week leave, and plans to "hitchhike"the Iditarod trail behind me, camping out, and meeting people along the way. There will be times that she will be hitching a ride on a snowmachine, but there will be times where she may need to fly, like from Skwentna to McGrath as an example. She will have cash for bush flights.

    My question: are there flights to be had in and out of the checkpoints when needed? I know the Iditarod Air Force is going to be busy, but are there other pilots flying people around as well?

    I appreciate your input. She has more guts than I do - I would never just "hitchhike" around anywhere. Luckily she will be around people at all times. If she can't get a ride, she won't just take off walking - she'll stay at a checkpoint with her gear until I get back. Or she'll stay at our cabin in Skwentna.
    Fly fishing makes me herl

  2. #2
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    I'd be more worried about who I was getting a ride with, then whether I could get a ride. Some of those part time Private pilots shouldn't be allowed to carry passengers. The air-taxi or scheduled pilots all have to maintain currency and have at least a commercial license. It's great that pilots volunteer for the Iditirod but some of them need to fly more often to keep their skill level up to par....

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    I'd be more worried about who I was getting a ride with, then whether I could get a ride
    Very true. I have seen some pilots flying the race I would not ride with.(and rode with some i regret riding with!) Experience is a must when you get away from home base and its -40 and blowing white outs. I have been involved in pulling a beaver back on the river once during the race. Why ANYONE would try to go up the bank and turn around in the deep soft snow up in the willows is way beyond me. Choose your pilot wisely.

  4. #4

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    I think she has a great plan and should go for it. Getting rides may not be that hard. I may know a air-taxi guy and a few others flying the race but they are out of town right now. I will try to get back to you when they get into town. Its easy to never get stuck on skis, never leave the runway. Getting stuck is just part of the fun. (at least the story over beer is).

  5. #5
    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.
    What should she be checking for when accepting flights? Questions she should ask, warning signs other than the obvious breath smelling like bourbon?
    Fly fishing makes me herl

  6. #6

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    You really can't tell just by talking to someone or by what they are flying. Someone who has never bent a plane may have never left hard runways. From a safety standpoint a plane with skis would be prefered. If you have problems lots of places to land in the winter. Just ask around as the planes come in someone will know someone and the rest will be a great adventure.

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    Just get on the reputable commercial carriers, Part 135. Avoid the Part 91 private pilots.... I don't mean to disparage the competent Part 91 pilots. It is easier to figure the commercial planes are maintained properly. The commercial pilots should be more current ( no guarantee )..... There are some dam good part 91 pilots out there. It is harder to judge how competent a pilot is sitting on the ground. Like this scenario: older experienced local private pilot or young snott-nosed commercial pilot. I'd take the older local guy any day....I have a trained eye for detail though ...your daughter may not....

  8. #8
    Member avidflyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    I'd be more worried about who I was getting a ride with, then whether I could get a ride. Some of those part time Private pilots shouldn't be allowed to carry passengers. The air-taxi or scheduled pilots all have to maintain currency and have at least a commercial license. It's great that pilots volunteer for the Iditirod but some of them need to fly more often to keep their skill level up to par....
    All the guys in the Iditarod Air Force have to be checked out by a pretty competent check pilot.

  9. #9
    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    Appreciate the input! She will go back to her ship with many great stories, and hopefully very few horror stories.
    Fly fishing makes me herl

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