So there we were. 6 Epics and their meat baggage stuck in Petropavlovsk Russia just a short hop across the Bering Sea from the motherland and the weather in our first fuel stop was crap. The small island of Adak Alaska was forecasting low clouds and rain all day and seeing that it is located in a rather inhospitable location as far as alternates go we decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valor. In other words we ran away. Back to Magadan we went. Yes I know it was the wrong way and yes I know we’d just been there the day before. But when we pulled out the big map thingy we noticed that it was almost 100 miles closer to Nome Alaska than Petro and was just inside our collective comfort zone as far as range goes.
Now you might notice that our flight path took us almost directly over Anadar (a fuel stop I’ve used and mentioned before) but unfortunately it was closed for some unknown reason. The flight to Magadan was uneventful except for the low clouds and visibility, the autopilot malfunctioning forcing the owner I was flying with to hand fly the approach (which he was unprepared for and did poorly), the mountains surrounding the airport, and the non-existent approach control. aside from all that, it was just another flight. After a quick turnaround (4 hours) we were off to Nome Alaska. I won’t bore you with the details of that leg because with the smoking tailwind we had the issue of making land before running out of fuel was never in doubt. In fact we had so much gas left when we arrived in Nome we could’ve made it to Anchorage without stopping. But we did (more time wasted on the ground fueling 6 planes) It was 1:30 in the morning by this time so there was no reason not to keep going right? Off to Anchorage we went, finishing our long day at about 3:30 am. That was a long one.
The next day Pete and I flew down to southern California to drop off 2 of our crew, then to Utah to pick up Pete’s girlfriend, and then finally to Jackson Hole Wyoming where we were forced to spend yet another night in a Four Seasons Hotel. (damn it all!) And finally it was the last day. A short 3 hour flight to Oshkosh Wisconsin where we were greeted by dozens of adoring fans. OK, maybe just one dozen but it was still pretty cool.