Trip up the ALCAN
I am planning on flying North up the ALCAN in mid Aug and was hoping that someone else might be traveling a similar rout about the same time that I might be able to join with. The reason for this is I just purchased a used plane (Champ 7EC –100MPH) and though I have a pre-buy/annual I would also like to have someone in the immediate vicinity - just in case.
I purchased a Cessna 172 in May of this year and flew it up the Alcan....sort of. I went through Washington which required me to catch the Alcan at Fort St. John. I don't know if you have ever flown the route, but here are a couple hints from my trip.
I did not spend the outrageous money on the FCC radio licenses and was never checked for them. I spoke with over 30 people prior to my trip and all said they had never been checked for the licenses, so I decided it was worth the risk to save a couple hundred $$.
I landed at Abbotsford as my Airport of Entry (AoE). It's a good idea to try and make it a short trip to your AoE so you lessen your chances of showing up to early or too late. However, once I landed there, I was directed by the tower to taxi over to some customs building to meet whomever would be taking care of my entry into Canada or if nobody was there, I was instructed to pick up this "special" phone ( no dialing needed). I ended up using the phone and some lady gave me a long number to write down and told me, "you are on your way". That was it
None of the airports I landed at were very close to town, so taxis became a little expensive. In addition, the hotel were outrageously expensive due to the oil boom in the upper parts of Canada. If I were to do it again I would have camped out at the airports half the time and spent the night at hotels the other half.
Talk with other pilots at airports. Chances are they are also flying to Alaska and would also like some company. From Ft. Nelson on, we had three planes that all wanted to continue on together.
Be prepared to take twice as long as you have planned for. We had many 200 mile days.
No matter how long it takes.....you'll remember the trip fondly for the rest of your life. It was awesome!
One final note. Since I have been back I have received two bills from places in Canada (one yesterday). The first was from the airport in Fort St. John. They were charging me for landing at their airport. I had already paid a place to tie down there, but the lady told me that this was a separate fee just for landing at the airport. In the end, she did away with the charge because the fee is primarily meant for larger planes and she was under the assumption that my plane was bigger.
The second bill that I just received yesterday, is from NAV CANADA. The fee appears to be for landing in Canada and is based on the size of your aircraft. The total is $19.08 Canadian. I am going to call them in a few minutes just to verify what it is for and probably pay it.
Have fun and safe flying,
I have flown Canada to and from Alaska and the lower 48 six times.
Lahka is right about short legs across the border. Abbotsford is an excellant AOE if you are on that side of the mountains. If you are coming from Spokane area I would use Kelowna or Kamloops. If on the other side of the Rockies use Calgary.
Were are you coming from? I like to stay in Prince George and get an early start. Stop in Mackenzie load up gas cans and run the trench. There is a lot of dirt runways along the way to empty your gas cans to make it to Watson lake. Then if you have good weather and daylight you can make Whitehorse. The Shell station at the airport has rooms for rent for a resonable rate with a place to eat across the highway.
You need to get a Canadian suplament it is a must. A good GPS is helpful with groundspeed and DME.
All I can think of now. A fun trip, you will enjoy it. My record is Prince George to Anchorge in one day with a PA-18 with standaed fuel tanks.
I will be departing out of Ellensburg WA (KELN). I have not locked in hard and fast to a specific rout because I want to remain flexible enough to adjust to what my wingman wants. I do plan on it taking 6 days or so. I think that is a reasonable number provided I don’t run into heavy overcast.
I do have a Garmin 296 and a SAT Phone as backups should I need to call from a remote location. But I sure would be nice to have someone within 15 miles incase of an emergency. Looks like my date might be narrowing to begin OOA 6-10 Aug
Thanks for the tips
Great starting point.
I donít know your range but this is the rout I would take.
From Ellensberg up the Columbia River to Wenatchee to the mouth of the Monse River then follow the river across the border to Osoyoos to Penticton across Lake Oakanogan (Canadaís Palm Springs) to Summerland to Kelowna to Vernon then northwest bound on highway 97 to Falkland to Westwold to Monte Lake to Monte Creek then follow the river to Kamloops to Cache Creek then up the Fraiser River to Quinall to Williams Lake to Prince George. That should be about 6.0 to 6.5 flight hours. Get a taxi and get a room at the Sandman. Then walk to Moxyís and get a good steak. Get a good nights sleep.
Get up early and get on your way. If you can try the trench. 90 miles north to Mackenzie. Load up on 100LL it is the last gas stop for 400 miles. I would take 3 six gallon jugs of gas. Fly up Wiliston Lake to FT Ware and empty a couple of your gas cans. Then on to Watson Lake. There is repeaters along the route so you can pickup flight service. Itís a good idea to give position reports to flight service and get weather updates. Then on to Whitehorse another good place to spend the night. Flight time should have been 8.0 hours to 8.5 hours. Shell has a reasonably priced room upstairs and walking distance from a restaurant across the street. You can look out your window and see your airplane.
Then itís on to Northway to clear Customs then follow the Nebesna River to Devils MT Lodge then turn north and follow the road to the Glen Highway to Glenallen. Follow the Highway to Eureka to Palmer to Anchorage. Should be 7.0 hours to 7.5 hours of flight time.
Of all of my trips that was my favorite rout.
Like I said before the Canadian supplement is a must. The BC air route map has a lot of useful information and is good for flight planning. It has LAT and LON positions and runway information on all of the small strips along the trench. Both are for sale in Anchorage at Aviation Wholesale on the backside of MRI.
The Garmin 296 is an excellent choice. I just got one last week. Iíve done the trip without a GPS, with a Garmin95, with a Garmin 195 a couple of times, and a Garmin 295 a couple of times. You donít need it but it sure is nice.
Hope this helps
WE are a go for launch
Well I am getting ready to head out on the adventure.
Steve Ė I looked at your rout and followed it about half the way. I am planning on taking your rout up to Price George the first night. I will then head north to Mackenzie and then NE through the canyon to FT St John. RON there. The next morning I will head up the highway to FT Nelson and then over to Watson Lake for a RON. From there take the highway again through Whitehorse to Northway RON there and then into ANC.
I am still looking for someone who might be headed in the same direction as me so that I might have someone for mutual support. Either way I will depart out of KELN on the 3rd of Sept. Anyone interested please PM me soon
Originally Posted by Toddler
One of the best publications is "logbook" from the Alaska Airman"s Association. "Flying your Airplane to (and in) Alaska.
flying thru Canada
I plan on making the trip up from PDX this fall. Flew up from BGR,Bangor Me. last summer. One point to remember the Flt ser. Stations are manatory radio contact when operateing in and out of a airport with one. Also Flt. plans are required, not formal filed but someone must know what you are doing and it is just as easy to file. Whitehorse is expensive for fuel and oil, as is the more remote airports like Watson lake. Wonderfull trip and the people are used to transit pilots. Good flying,Tom