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Thread: Flying from CA to AK

  1. #1

    Default Flying from CA to AK

    Preparation is about to begin! I am purchasing a plane in CA and plan to fly it up to AK in late May. I am looking for any and all suggestions on routes and stops and any necessary tips on going through Canada. I am open to all suggestions! I will be in a 182 on wheels.

    Thanks for any and all help!

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    What part of California?

    I occasionally ferry planes up or down from the south west. Usually it pays to stick inland along the route. The weather and fuel prices being better.

    For some reason I seem to end up in Susanville while heading north.
    Then hit fuel again at Redmond or Sun River Oregon. Then up to the Richland-Pasco-Kennewick area. One of those (I will look in my logs to find out) has a burger place at the old airport tower that is run by a few good looking gals.

    Then up to Oroville Washington by the border. Make sure you do all the customs stuff ahead of time.
    From Oroville I head a few miles north and land at Penticin BC for the customs check-in.
    Then north by north west to Kamloops.
    From Kamloops north to Williams Lake. (There is a good B&B at Willaims lake if you need the number)

    Then north thru Piney Pass up to Fort St. John. From Ft St John I go up thru Ft Nelson and then Watson Lake.
    From Watson Lake to White Horse (call US customs there to let the customs nazis know you are coming)
    Then on to Northway for fuel and customs. (Tok has a better hotel if you need to stay overnight.)
    Then down to Anchorage via GlennAllen...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  3. #3
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    Default Grizzly 1

    Oh, boy - - - - - you'll love the trip. If you pull an end run and swing around to the left to fly up the Frazer River canyon, you'll be even more impressed. Think about firearms, if you'll be carrying any. I don't know what the Canadaian rules and regs may be these days, but it used to be that you could carry long arms (rifles and shotguns) openly, but that handguns (a) had to be declared, and (b) had to be "sealed" against operation. Wired and with lead slugs impressed thereupon, and the seals inspected at the far end to prove they had not been used along the way.

    A few of those trups, both ways, has convinced me that it isn't a bad idea to follow the road, even if you fly at an altitude that allows VHF and VOR reception/transmission. The "wilds" don't provide a whole lot of landing choices, in the event of a precautionary (or even emergency) landing.

    Have a ball!

    Mort

  4. #4
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    The last couple times I passed through Canada they just about freaked out over my axe and my flare gun. (and for some reason my bottle of Swede Aquavet.) So a regular firearm would probably drive them over the edge.
    Avoid the hotels in Prince George BC. They are rather spendy...
    The guy who sells gas at the Watson Lake Airport has a nice bed and Breakfast as well.
    Be perpared for some expensive av-gas while going thru Canada..

    Some folks like to fly THE TRENCH, which is going directly from MacKenzie (North of Prince George) and flying pretty much straight up the big lakes all the way up to Watson Lake. It is real pretty when the wind is not blowing down the lakes, or off the mountains along the lakes.

    I go that way when I have a plane with long legs or when I am flying up a plane on floats. There is no gas out there and only one small gravel strip that I have seen.

    Since I usually get hired to fly up short legged planes I go the HWY route as I described earlier. , More places to land, more gas, more hotels and better radio coms.

    Be awarwe that the Canadians want you to file a flight plan from place to place and they have a phone system set up just for that.

    Plus you must report in via radio when you are within 5-7 miles of even the most basic airport. They have some sort of radio repeater system from hundreds of miles away, so who-ever answers the radio may be so far off they have no idea about the weather or area.

    My last trip was in late April and I had snow, hail, a blizzard and high winds one day and clear blue the next....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  5. #5

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    I have done the trip twice a year for 15 years. PM a phone number and a good time to talk. I am in Tucson at the moment and will be returning in late April to Alaska.

  6. #6

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    I either go the trench or the coast, have not followed the road.

    If the wx is supposed to be great I will go the coast- usually Anchorage to Yakutat to Ketchikan to Bellingham. The Ketchikan to Bellingham leg might really stretch your range, but it avoids having to do customs with Canada.
    I am also IFR capable, though usually no de-ice. I personally would be pretty uncomfortable going that route in a single unless I was on floats. And the weather can be really really rotten. Also, not much good weather south of Prince Rupert until you get fairly close to Vancouver Island. That encompasses a whole bunch of the trip.

    The trench has worked well for me, and there are 2 wx cams in there, and don't let the name fool you- it is a hugely wide valley. I think it is calgary radio you talk to a bunch on the way up and they are pretty helpful with wx reports enroute. You can find bad wx in the trench, but it does not seem to change as fast as the wx on the coast. And literally no high country from end to end.

    One of these days I would like to follow the road from Dawson. When I drive it I see these little strips near all the tiny towns and would like to stop in for a burger. Most do not look like you could get gas there, but who wouldn't like to have Bucking Horse River and Muncho Lake strip in the log book.

    Good luck.

    Doug

  7. #7

    Default Thanks!

    I appreciate all the tips! Keep em coming! Like I said, I am in the beginning stages of planning so talking to a lot of different people and then deciding which route will suit me best. I will be leaving from Central California, near Fresno at the end of May.
    Customs is really one of my biggest concerns. I want to make sure I have everything in order and don't get stuck. Only have so many days off work to fly the plane up and would rather use my extra time waiting out weather than waiting to get across the border! So any extra tips on do's or don'ts for the border are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again for all the info!

  8. #8
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    Bjb
    My last trip was April 2007, Idaho to Soldotna,Ak. The customs in Pentictin, B.C. are very nice and helpfull. I had a Marlin .450 lever action
    that was no problem just a $25.00 registration fee. DO NOT try to bring a handgun through Canada, they have no exceptions. Canada still required a radio station license then. and you need to verify the 406mh ELT regulation. A phone call to Transport Canada will clear up all your questions. Dress Warm and have a great trip.

    MauleCFI

  9. #9
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    I flew the Hwy. two years ago, nice trip. I carried a flare pistol(12ga) and was advised by AOPA to refer to it as pyrotechnic launcher not a flare gun. Seemed to work out . Both US and Ca. customs were great and very helpful and easy to do business with.Contact the AOPA, US customs web page and transport Canada. Best trip of my life, enjoy!

  10. #10
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    I brought a 180 back from Carson City, NV last year. These were our stops.
    KCXP to KYKM to OS7 to CYLW to CYZY to CYXY to PAOR to PAGK to PABV to PAEN. We stopped the first night in Dorothy Scott (OS7). Second night in Mackenzie, BC (CYZY). The third day we went all the way from CYZY to PAEN for a total of 19:33 hours. Great trip.......
    PS: Have your ducks in a row if you go throught customs at CYLW. They searched my plane based on a phone call we had the night before with customs. She didn't like my tone of voice....I hope she's better at other parts of her job......

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