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Finally returned to working on the RV after taking most of the month to work and fly the Pacer to Alaska. I flew the Pacer from Daytona Beach to Oklahoma City and then to Denver where I joined up with Kevin. We then flew the Pacer from Denver to Calgary to Watson Lake to Whitehorse to Anchorage. We had lots of weather along the way ranging from rain storms to snow. We had a great time and learned a lot as we went along. Here are some photos.
|The Pacer looks lonely as we waited out the weather in Denver. IFR conditions until the early afternoon and then we got out special VFR. Good thing, too, because worse weather was on the way and would have stopped us in Canada for a long time.||Kevin was PIC for most of the trip - I flew two legs.||The WX would not give us a break. It stayed low and hindered our flying all day until we got to Montana.|
|We had to stay low under the clouds for much of the time because there were no breaks to let us climb on top.||Then the weather would improve and look like it would stay nice. Not.||The terrain was beginning to rise.|
|And it was becoming inhospitable.||Few places to land if the engine quits.||Then the weather began to lower again.|
|We had numerous times that the path ahead looked ominous.||We kept winding our way through the rain and snow showers.||Until it began to break on the other side.|
|The terrain continued to get rougher.||There were lots of interesting sights like this winding river.||Our plan was to spend the night in Fort St John since the weather ahead looked like it was closing in. But the local FBO owner suggested we go on another 100 NM to Watson Lake.|
|On takeoff someone sent us a smiley face - cut in the grass.||The Pacer churned along without a problem. The engine ran great and the new Garmin 296 was invaluable.||We arrived at Watson Lake in an hour and would have liked to go farther, but weather forecasts ahead were not good.|
|So, we borrowed some tiedowns from Warren at the FBO and overnighted the Pacer with North Cariboo Air.||The snow began not long after we arrived and continued all night and into the next day. We had a leisurely morning and were ready when the weather began to break in the afternoon.||A blurry photo, but the change in terrain is obvious on the 296. Our route was about to turn left into the high terrain. Our speed for the entire trip was about 93 knots/|
|Many of the lakes are still loaded with ice.||The weather began to favorable.||No problem here so we climbed but met a strong headwind and decided going low was be faster.|
|Lots of cold wilderness. I wouldn't want to spend the night down there.||The farther north we went, the colder it got. The OAT is 3 degrees F! That's -16 C.||And the snow began again.|
|The Alaska Highway was a nice safety net to have as we flew into the highest terrain.||Following the highway was comforting as the terrain gradually became more intense.||And the weather would go up and down. The snow would be heavy for awhile and clear away.|
|Then the highway disappeared into clouds, so we had to deviate away from the highway and over rough terrain before joining it again later.||Lots of beautiful sights.||And lots of snow.|
|The sun stays up a long time and even though it is low in the sky, it provides enough light.||Snowmobile tracks on a lake.||Snow on the left of us|
|Snow on the right||Almost sunset so we need to stop for the night.||It had been a long day so we were glad to see White Horse. The snow is moving in on the left and we were expecting to be snowed in here.|
|Safely tied down for the night.||There are lots of float and ski planes here||And this is how they reconfigure the airplanes with floats.|
|The weather wasn't pretty, but we were able to leave White Horse enroute to Northway, our customs stop. We're following the highway and the lake to the right is frozen solid.||The low clouds were challenging||But gradually it got better as we continued along the ALCAN Highway.|
|Airplanes can land anytime on the highway. This shot shows a turnoff where airplanes can land and pull off the highway.||Sometimes the highway hugged the mountains and so did we.||It continues to lead us toward Anchorage.|
|Up close and personal with some of the mountains.||Looking north along the Alaska pipeline.||Looking south along the pipeline.|
|The scenery became more dramatic.||Nothing but mountains as far as you can see.||A glacier had made its mark in history.|
|Left is the valley leading to the Anchorage
basin and the last mountain to be passed.
Right photo shows us on the right downwind to Birchwood Airport, Anchorage.
Cool - Ainsley and Chase met us at the airport.
Airplane refueling is a family affair. Everyone helps out.
Right - Chase helping Papa tiedown the Pacer in Anchorage.
|More than 3500 NM - More than 40 flying hours
- Mission Complete.
The plan is to put the Pacer on floats. The Pacer will likely spend the rest of its life in Alaska.
25 May 09 4 Hours Total: 3072
Classic Aero sent the RCP stick boot sheet metal cover so I can cut the correct size hole for the air vent down by the stick. I will mail it back to them for covering.
I replaced the rod end bearing on the purge valve with a clevis. The bolt in the end bearing was touching one of the fuel injector lines so it had to be replaced with something shorter. A clevis with pin worked nice.
I added fiberglass to the plenum intake openings so I can grind them to match the cowling openings. I'll do the grinding tomorrow.
I'm addressing the Van's Service Bulletin on the nose strut by adding a skid plate to the front of the nose wheel fork. The FARs say that a Service Bulletin should be addressed and some means to comply be implemented. Of course, with an experimental aircraft, one can build it as one desires, but I decided to address Van's nose wheel Service Bulletin by adding a curved skid plate that will protect the nose strut from digging in should there be a pitching moment while taxiing on turf.
|The Classic Aero RCP stick cover||The purge valve clevis clears everything now and works smoothly||My solution to the Van's nose strut Service Bulletin is a skid plate to keep the strut from digging in on turf. I drilled and tapped the nose fork for #10 3/8" screws. It's only temporarily in place here. Later I'll prime the part and add lock washers.|
26 May 09 4 Hours Total: 3076
|The Classic Aero seats arrived today and they look very nice. They special made the arm rests for me - for a price.||The means I used to address the Van's Service Bulletin.|
30 May 09 5 Hours Total: 3081
Riveted the front seat hinge to the seat frame and fitted it to the floor panel. Sanded and ground the plenum and added more glass and resin. I'd hoped to not have to heat the plenum again, but it appears the best way to add fiberglass, so I'll fire up the oven again tomorrow and heat the resin I added today.
Got a call from the FAA and apparently the paperwork is on the way. Surprisingly fast.