AIRVENTURES IN JULY /AUGUST 2015

“ First rise….second rise…..neutralize”

John Campbell in Alaska 2015 John in Alaska 2015(4) John in Alaska 2015(3) John in Alaska 2015(2)

John Campbell and Kate Bastard…

Grizzly bears, log cabins, snow- capped mountains and glaciers extending into the sea. One hears about this – we were lucky enough to do it. After 25 hours in various commercial airliners we took a spectacular scenic drive from Anchorage to Moose Pass in Alaska. What we saw on arrival exceeded all expectations. Moored at a wooden jetty, were two Super Cubs, a C172 VP, and a C206. It was now apparent that this was the beginning of a once in a lifetime adventure.

The next morning saw us in the classroom along with Bill, a corporate pilot and Thor, a dentist who flies privately in an Aeronca. Our friend, Vern Kingsford, a 76 year old veteran of aviation, owns and runs Alaska Float Plane Ratings. He drummed into us the fundamentals of float plane flying.

“First rise…second rise…neutralize” is a verbalisation of the sequence of events on take-off and must never be forgotten. Many techniques of float plane flying contradict what we were always taught about ordinary land-based flying.

The take-off starts with the stick (bearing in mind we are dealing with a Super Cub) held fully back. Power is applied and the nose rises (first rise). The aeroplane accelerates and the controls suddenly become effective as speed increases. The nose rears (second rise) and its time to relax the back pressure and attain the perfect attitude for take-off otherwise it will never happen – considering that there are 360 degrees of high ground surrounding you.

Next we are airborne being instructed to hug the mountains for two reasons: Firstly to gain lift using natural updraft and secondly to have a wider berth for manoeuvring in case of trouble.

 In no time at all, Vern points out several landing options, re-iterating the importance of reading the changeable winds. A selection is made. Carb heat is applied ( GOLDEN RULE at low temperature water operations) We land. In Alaska the world is literally your runway. For example, in Johns last session he managed 8 take-offs and landings in 0.4 hours!!!!!

This is it: Mountain float flying at its best !!!!

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