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Thread: Camping at small airports

  1. #1

    Default Camping at small airports

    In further planning for my upcoming trip to Alaska, I think I have thought of a possible hitch in my plans. I had planned to bring along a tent and gear and do as much camping as I could, so as to stay longer. It is hard to find anything under $100/night in Ak. Most are $125 and up.
    Anyway, will it be possible to pitch camp near the plane at the out of the way airports I plan on visiting? I don't want to have any food near the plane in case a Brownie might try to get inside you know! But long hikes with a heavy load is not what I need or could possibly even do, as my feet are arthritic. A couple of day hikes or a night out under the stars in the down bag are more to my liking. If the airports do not allow camping on the airport grounds, how about just outside the grounds. A few hundred yards with the mountain bike should not be too hard to manage. Anyone know if this will be a problem?

    Regards,
    Bruce

  2. #2
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    Merrill Field in Anchorage has a campground on the field. You can count the control tower airports in Alaska on your fingers, they are the only ones that may give you a hard time about camping on the field. I would plan on camping next to your plane at any of the non-tower airports in Alaska. The only problem will be finding toilet facilities and potable water at the remote airports. I wouldn't worry too much about bears unless you stop at Yakataga, that place is thick with Brown Bears! When you get in Alaska you will most likely clear customs at Northway. Don't plan on staying there, it's the pits. Go to Tok. I'm sure you can camp next to your plane at Tok and eat a Fast Eddies across the highway from the airport. Have fun and be prepared to wait out the weather. Here is a link to the Short Wing Piper Club with some good info about flying to Alaska.

    http://www.alaska.net/~maeco/convweb...gToAlaska.html

  3. #3
    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Great link!

  4. #4
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Default lots of people camp at airports

    There is something to be aware of thou. I think that there is a rule about not camping at state airports, which is most of the A/P's in the state. I encountered that at Larson Bay on Kodiak and researched it a bit and got the A/P managers name and number and made arraingments with him to camp at the AP. The point seemed to be that there were no services there and we were in the early spring and not in anybody's way. It seem nobody cares in western and Northern AK. For bears go to the Tractor supply store and get a electric fence set-up , up here they call it a bear fence and the price goes up because bears are scarry and cow aren't. Take a look at the AK DOT web site for ref. to camping but remember its easier to ask forgiviness than get permission, just do it and have fun.

  5. #5

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    I have pitched a tent under my wing at the Ninilchik airport, Skwentna airport and the Tenana airport without any guff.

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    In Fairbanks they have a great campground set up for transient aircraft. It has tie downs next to the camp sites, nice grass covered tent sites. Firepits stocked with fire wood. Best of all hot showers....Oh ya and a half dozen bikes for your use....$15 a night.

  7. #7
    Member High Country's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone else, just do it. I don't think in 90% of the airports in Alaska anyone would say anything.

    The Fairbanks camp ground is nice. I got stuck there for a couple days once due to weather. The firewood, BBQ, and showers were wlecome.

  8. #8
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    If you are interested in stopping by in our neck of the state, let me know. You can land on our airstrip, pitch up a tent on our property and we can offer a homemade dinner and a warm shower!
    Lurker.

  9. #9
    RMK
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    Default camp outs

    Cub Driver is right about Fairbanks. It's second to none. They put some thought in to that campground. You get to taxi right in, and then it's just like a regular camp ground including trash bins and toilets.

    Watson Lake in Canada is also nice.

    I saw a guy camping under his wing at Lake Hood in Anchorage once, and the airport operations people jacked him up. Once outside the big city, you'll have much better luck.

    Have fun.

  10. #10
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    Get an Alaska Supplement and look for places you're interested in visiting. It'll have all the registered airports in it. Airports up here rarely have as much as an FSS presence. Those without will almost all be okay in a tent. Those with are in the "maybe" category, and those with towers? No, unless like FBX, there's a camp facility. ANC doesn't have such a facility near an airport. There will be exceptions to the rule in each airport category but that's a fairly good guideline. You'll need the Supplement while up here and should make pre-planning easier, too.

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    This may be a good place to list the airports with facilities available to transient pilots. Two that come to mind are Birchwood which has a pilot briefing building, 24 hour access with bathroom, shower, phone and computer for weather briefings. The other is Gulkana that has the same although I'm not sure about the shower or computer. The one in Gulkana even has some comfy easy chairs and couch.

    Anyone know of any others?

  12. #12
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Default Contact the FSS

    Places like Iliamna, Nome, Deadhorse and Palmer all have FSS stations. Use the Alaska supplement and contact the FSS stations and get some info from them. If an airport is large enough to sell gas there probably is a place to stay or when you get gas they can tell you where you could camp. If the airport does not sell gas you are probably not going to get bothered if you camp in an out of the way off airport way.

  13. #13

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    Thanks for all the replies folks! Great info that you can only get thru someone actually living there. I really appreciate them. I am starting to plan on leaving the last week in June so I will be there when the Kings run in July.

    Cheers,
    Bruce

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Default july is getting late for kings

    Check careful for king runs in July, they usually run in late may thru june in most So. Central areas. There are exceptions on some rivers so ask around a bit on the fishing blog on this site, the guys there can give you good local infromation. Also reds eat good and are in thick that time of year. for plain fishing fun, chums are just nasty fighters ( eat the reds), thru the summer there is alway a salmon to catch.

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    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Default Bold

    Doesn't Bold Airstrip (Ekluntna Lake) have a campground?
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddler View Post
    Doesn't Bold Airstrip (Ekluntna Lake) have a campground?
    Eklutna does have a nice little campground. Not much for amenities there, but there is a nice little stream for water, and the view out over the lake is breathtaking!

  17. #17

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    Bold airstrip sounds like what I am after. Campground, fishing, beautiful setting......but, a 15 foot wide, 1000 ft long gravel strip in poor condition and trees at the end . My POH says about 900 feet ground run at gross wt. and no wind. If I caught a downhill run towards the lake with a good headwind I could make it. Otherwise I could be stuck there for weeks! How are the crosswinds? Probably need tp pass on this one. Looks like Supercub territory.

    Regards,
    Bruce

  18. #18
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Default Bold

    Bruce,
    Go to Google Earth and in the "Fly to" box type "Bold Alaska". I do know there is an outhouse at the airstrip (my daughter needed it once). I often see people fishing off of the end of the runway. Take a look at the pictures. Don't go in at max gross - Birchwood airport is about 20 miles away. Shuttle your camp in that way or use 1/2 fuel.

    What airplane are you flying? I didn't think the 308 ever went into production.

    Just my nickel.

    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  19. #19

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    I will be flying a 69 Cardinal. 180 HP with a useful load of 525 lbs with me and full fuel aboard (48 gals). The 308 is the Brownie repellant. The engine is in good shape and seems to have rated power. Since I don't know exactly what I will be bringing I don't have an idea how much it will weigh. I probably won't be at gross, probably 200-300 lbs below, but there are so many nice places to land that are 2000-3000 ft long that I don't want to take unnecessary chances that far from home. With 20 gals fuel, and only a small load I might take the chance. Bold looks great on google Earth. Sorry that I may have to miss it!

    Regards,
    Bruce

  20. #20

    Default bold

    Here are a few pictures from Bold in jun 08. Silll snow and ice covered now.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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