Tag Archives: flying

Flying Solo

Mack Rutherford

Mack Rutherford, a 17 year old pilot, is attempting to become the youngest person to fly around the globe solo. Rutherford left Sophia, Bulgaria on March 23.

He recently flew his Shark ultralight plane down the Aleutian Chain, landing at Attu, Shemya Island, and Adak. Rutherford arrived at Unalaska on August 1. When I last checked his online tracker, Rutherford was in Ketchikan, following the coast down to Mexico. Although, by now, Mack has no doubt moved further on down the coast.

The young, Belgian-Brit Adventurer is expecting to complete his circumnavigation by the end of August.

Mack Rutherford arrives in Unalaska

To follow along with Mack’s global flight, his website is: http://www.macksolo.com


Denali

The Great One


“The only way to fly…”


Busy Airport Season?

Fairbanks International Airport

Like the cruise industry, the air travel industry is also predicting more tourists into Alaska, and especially, Fairbanks in 2022. It should be noted here that Fairbanks is not a major travel destination for Alaska. We tend to be a bit of an afterthought, which is fine by most of us.

The Fairbanks International Airport announced that several carriers will return to Fairbanks after a 1-2 year hiatus. United Airlines will return with a non-stop flight to/from Chicago. Delta Airlines will add additional flights with Seattle and Minneapolis. Alaska Airlines will bump flights to Seattle to 5; and service to Anchorage will increase to 8 flights.

Sun Country will return with Saturday flights between Fairbanks and Minneapolis, and Condor Air will return to Fairbanks after two years, with direct, weekly flights to Frankfurt, Germany. Air North will once again be flying between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, YT.

The list of small airlines and charters flying into remote Alaska is extensive.

Unfortunately, one can expect flight costs to soar.


Getting Antsy


Cold Weather Concorde

The Concorde in Fairbanks, Alaska; February 1974

In the winter of 1974, the Concorde went through cold weather testing in Fairbanks.

Since WWII, Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Cessna, Eurocopter, General Electric, Gulfstream, Honeywell, Sikorsky and many other aircraft companies have tested in Fairbanks. With an 11.800 foot runway, which can handle any aircraft, an airport that rarely features a delay, and plenty of wide open air space, Fairbanks is ideal when the temp drops to -40.

It wouldn’t be a photo op in Fairbanks without a team of dogs


Holidaze Travel

The Aurora Winter Train, Alaska Railroad Depot; Fairbanks

I had several friends travel Outside over the Holidays, while I was quite content to enjoy the cabin life in Fairbanks. Getting out wasn’t the problem. It was getting back to Alaska which has proved challenging. Most friends had layovers in Seattle, which were long enough to officially be reclassified as detours. One had a detour in Anchorage; getting oh so close to Fairbanks, but yet divided by a mountain of snow.

Two friends attempted to travel from Arizona to Fairbanks. There was a detour in Seattle, followed by a last minute flight to Anchorage. A second detour was then encountered. All flights between Alaska’s largest cities were booked out for days. Determined to get home, they booked a ride on the Alaska Railroad. I was excited for them, probably more excited than they were. I have never ridden that set of rails in the winter.

Out of the blue, I received a text from them. They were in Denali Park. “How long is this ride?” they asked. I hesitated, but eventually told them it was a 12 hour trip. One way. The Alaska Railroad is not high speed travel.

Late on New Year’s Day, I get a call. Taxis from the depot are three hours out. It’s -35F, but I head out the door to provide pickup/limo service.

The locomotive did look good, all decked out in Christmas lights.


Denali by Alaska Air


Tundra Travel

Film Friday:

Newtok, Alaska

We were in the calm between the storms when I took this photo. It gives a good look at life on Alaska’s tundra. The airstrip for the village is in the background, with the hanger, housing the grader/snowplow, on the horizon. A plane had not been able to land for several days, and it would be several more before one came in. People were going about their business: walking or riding a four wheeler or snowmachine. Dogs roamed about, on their own personal business, as well. “Bear”, my seemingly constant canine companion, was sitting in the snow at my side, taking in all the action with me.

Camera: Widelux FVI; Film: Kodak 35mm, Tri-X400


Newtok Power

The village of Newtok, Alaska

Some regular readers may remember that I was out in the village of Newtok in February. I truly enjoyed my time there, and have great memories of the area, but especially the people.

Newtok is currently in the middle of a move. The village is under siege from the very water that gives it life. Due to the warming of the Arctic, ground is giving way, and Newtok is getting it from every direction. On one hand, the river is laying claim to huge chunks of land, taking homes with the shoreline. On the other hand, the ground is giving way to the melting permafrost, and water is filling in the gaps. In February, approximately one third of the population had moved across the river to the new location of Mertarvik, but it is going to be a long and complicated process.

Newtok made the news again this past week, when word made it around Alaska, that the generator that powers the village broke down, leaving the residents without power for an entire month. A month. In an age when most of us think about power very briefly, when we flip a switch or pay the electric bill, it’s good to remember that not everyone lives in such a situation.


Looking at the village from the air in the summer, it’s an entirely different world than when I was there in February. The contrast is stunning, so I thought I’d share a few more “winter” pictures of my time in Newtok.

Newtok on my flight in.

Walking the village of Newtok; Camera: Widelux

Newtok arrival