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Thread: Difficult Indentified Airstrips

  1. #1
    Member High Country's Avatar
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    Default Difficult Indentified Airstrips

    With the details of the Tatitna crash emerging it got me thinking of how difficult that particular strip can be on a windy day. With the winds meeting from the two separate valleys it can really be tricky. Drop below the trees to slow with not enough aileron/rudder authority and the strip gets narrow very quickly. The stories of crashes and bent plane parts around the strip reinforce my opinion.

    About 95% of my landings (not including my home base) are off airport. So usually if I am landing at anyplace listed in the supplement I consider it to be a fairly easy trip. That is not always the case. Two places in particular require a lot of concentration every time I land even though they are plenty long and wide. Those are Rohn/Tatitna and Whittier. On calm days or just looking at the supplement these strips do not look difficult at all, especially in a Cub. However you add wind (which is almost always prevalent in these two locations) and reality of landing there is much, much more difficult than one would think from looking at the supplement.

    My intent on this thread is too help pilots who are inexperienced or have never gone into particular strips. Just because something looks easy on paper does not mean it is when you arrive. So please share some other recognized or supplement identified strips that you find to be challenging. Maybe by sharing information we can prevent an accident.

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    The old Cub strip over near Grewinck Glacier 5937'37.31"N 151 8'14.67"W can get very interesting. It is not listed since the State Park service people would love for it to fall into dis-use to remove its grandfather status. It has been there since the 1950s.
    It is about 850 feet long. At least that is what I paced out a couple weeks ago. But fairly narrow and with rising terrain at both ends.
    The strip itself is very solid glacier gravel and it is fairly level.

    The strip elevation is about 115 feet. The hill on the north-west side is about 450 feet at it peak and the little hill on the south east side is about 150 feet at most.
    The wind shear in this area is challenging at times. The cold air pours down the top of nearby Grewinck Glacier and runs along the ground. But often the wind from the bay is blowing the opposite way and that wind blows over the top of the glacier wind in the opposite direction. So sometimes the two meet in interesting ways and you get Mr Toad's Wild Ride.
    Often once you are on the ground, you can detect no wind at all. It starts about 50 feet up.

    NOTE: When you visit this old bush strip, please walk the strip and move big rocks to the edges as markers.
    Also pull out or cut off any alder trees that might be trying to pop up in the runway.
    Do not use the strip as a shooting range, since there are hiking trails nearby and there is no shooting practice allowed in the State Park.
    If you are not certain how to find it, give me a call. We need to keep it cleared and in use or it will disappear.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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  3. #3
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    Here's an unidentified strip: 62 0'48.31"N 14941'59.31"W on the middle Kashwitna River that looks interesting. On a slough with a camp. I can't find if there is an owner in the area.

  4. #4

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    In our corner of the world there are strips listed in the supplement that don't even exist anymore. Koggiung is basically gone but it shows up on the sectional. Nakeen is a short and very soft sand blow strip. Some of the open sand blows or uncharted bush strips are in much better shape. Best to treat everything without obvious ongoing maintenance as an off-airport landing. And in the spring even the maintained strips can have hazardous soft spots.

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  5. #5

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    And Kvichak (Diamond J) is crazy now...overgrown little cross with probably less room than a cub wing span in places. It shows up on the sectional too.

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  6. #6
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Jakolof Bay strip used to be pretty big when I was a kid and the old,saw mill was operating over there. It is still on the sectional.
    5927'8.68"N 15131'18.79"W

    Time last time I paced it off it was about 900 feet long at high tide. Sometimes the local Oyster farmers will leave big hoses or something like that laying across the strip. Plus some bone head dumped a box of nails at the south east end many years ago.
    The water and surrounding hills give novice pilots a little bit of a hard time with this strip and they tend to land too fast and too long.
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    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  7. #7
    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    Nanwalek has seen it's share of bent metal
    "f/64 and be there"

  8. #8
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Here is the NANWALEK ( Formerly English Bay ) strip that Emoss is talking about.
    It gets kinda cross-windy from time to time.
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    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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