On July 27th, the wife and I took a Princess cruise to Alaska and a
land trip north from Anchorage to Denali Park (Denali = Mt. McKinley-
highest mountain in North America and obscure from view 70% of the
time by clouds). We were touring in southwest Alaska for about five
days and it is a truly spectacular place which I would guess most of
you have explored using the simulator.
Some of the aeronautical facts I brought home are interesting, such
Per capita, Alaska has more light planes than any other state in the
USA, with one out of fifty-six folks possessing a flying licence.
Light plane travel in Alaska is a requirement to reach many of the
communities there as there are no roads. In fact, the capital of
Alaska (Juneau) can only be reached by air or water. Even the
Alaskans think that's nuts but won't do anything about it.
In Juneau, one must take a small ferry boat to cross a channel which
separates the airport from the city. A bridge was considered but then
discarded due to costs. It was one of the 'bridges to nowhere' made
popular by Sarah Palin.
Light aircraft which take tourists flightseeing, often go in convoys.
I saw five helicopters in a row flying out to one of the glaciers. I
couldn't help but remember Apocalypse Now when I saw them.
I was impressed by the nav lights on some of the light planes, which
look like bright landing lights on the leading edge of the wings, and
Mt. McKinley located in Denali Park, is 20,320 feet high. Most of the
light aircraft have to fly around it. I never saw the mountain; it
was always obscured by clouds while I was there. I got a lot of
postcards with its pic though, so there must be some folks who get to
see it : )
I found there is not much difference flying in an A319 Airbus and an
A321. The A319 is better in my opinion, because of fewer
passengersI hate standing in line behind 150 smelly and weary
travellers like myself. Flying back east from Vancouver to Toronto
yesterday morning, I was treated to witnessing a HUGE thunderstorm
over Lake Superior at dawn. The sky was purple on the eastern horizon
and the clouds appeared to be exploding like the Battle of Britain.
It was a beautiful site, even though the captain laid onto the
throttles, boosted us up a couple of thousand feet and was steering so
weirdly, the moving map on the screen in the seat in front of me had a
nervous breakdown. By the way, you cannot hear the thunder from the
storm unless you press your ear to the glass..or, alternatively,
if your plane stops...which might be unlikely.
I noticed that the engines on an Airbus don't whinethey roar, from
I had a great time, and have another cruise booked for the Panama
Canal next April. Hopefully, it won't rain so damn hard as in
Alaska. I'm glad to be home, and back here with you pilots.