Discovering Alaska Volume 3: ASA 183 – ANC to FAI

After Era wouldn’t let us fly with them for a while, we had to look for other opportunities to explore Alaska. It happened to be that Alaska Airlines was hiring new pilots, so we decided to give them a try. We signed a contract for 6 flights to begin with. Our first assignment was to fly with N526AS, a 2009-built Boeing 737-800, from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Our destination is the second largest city in the state of Alaska, after Anchorage, and is located some 220 miles northeast of ANC.

ETD was 10:00 am. Here’s the full info.
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The routing for today: Take-Off on runway 07R in ANC, then we perform a left turn to avoid the mountains and fly towards our first waypoint “TAGER”. On our way we will overfly Talkeetna Airport, located in the vicinity of Mount McKinley, and Nenana Muni Airport. Closing in onto the latter, we will start our descend into Fairbanks. We will be landing on runway 02L and make good use of their ILS system. Weather conditions will be terrible for PAX and awesome for us. Snow and visibility below 1 mile.
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Good morning Chester! That’s the name of the famous Eskimo on the tail.
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I’m glad to be back on a jet! And I really missed flying my beloved 737NG. It might not be the NGX (there is none for FS9…), but the iFly can be called the “NGX of FS9” in my opinion.
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We are sitting at Gate B4 and together with our F/O Johnny (that’s what I call my FS2Crew buddy) we set up N526AS for our short trip to Fairbanks. The weather in Anchorage is beautiful – few clouds and chilly 23°F.
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The passengers are onboard and the jetway has been disconnected. Johnny helps me to go through the last checklists before it’s game time!
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But first it’s de-icing time. And after that we’re ready to go.
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Pushback with a Bobby-Car. I’m used to bigger tugs from my last flights on the widebodies…
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Currently Anchorage is ranking number 2 in departures in my logbook, after London Heathrow. But it’s a beautiful place to be. Thanks for this wonderful scenery!
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We’re creating some sort of traffic jam on the apron. Everybody has to wait for us to pass the driving lane during pushback.
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Engines are running, flaps are set and Anti-Ice is required! On our way to 07R.
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While we’re lining up this 747 just departs 14. I have a deja-vu: Every time I line up on 07R a 747 departs 14…feels like in the movie Groundhog Day!
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Johnny says: Rotate!
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Don’t get used to this weather. We will be in some pretty rough conditions soon.
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Climbing out. Did I mention that I just love the 737NG? If anyone is hiring, I’m available!
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A lot of traffic on our ND.
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We get a nice aerial view of Anchorage airport during climb.
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Blue skies for now.
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I’m definitely a Boeing-man. Alaska Airlines thinks so too, it says “Proudly all Boeing” below the cockpit windows on the fuselage.
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Cruising over Alaska.
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Some peaks are breaking through the clouds below us. Sadly we can’t see Mount McKinley though, we’re still too far away.
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7,000 feet above we have some traffic coming at us.
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It’s not quite a B747 or MD-11, but definitely better than the B1900 space-wise.
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Below us is now a thick overcast cloud layer.
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And we’re about to enter it soon. ATC cleared us for ILS 02L and we’re descending and turning during approach.
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Don’t you love this weather? I sure do. Clouds, low visibility and snow. Awesome! And I feel more comfortable flying in my B737 under this conditions.
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Without the ILS we couldn’t land here.
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That looks rough outside.
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1,000 above and no runway in sight. No wonder considering vis is below 1 mile.
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I see something! It’s actually not that bad.
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If you came for the view…well, sorry! Not much to see except for some runway lights and dense fog.
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We made it to the ground safely. About to turn off the active.
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Time to leave the plane. We’re at the gate in Fairbanks.
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Well, it started with a tail-shot and it ends with one. But this time with clouds instead of blue skies in the background. See you soon, Chester.
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Thanks for taking the time to read today’s report. The next flight will be from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, this time with the “classic” B737-400. The flight to Fairbanks already marks the northernmost point I have landed at in FS so far. Deadhorse will be an additional 325 miles north of this. It doesn’t get any “higher” than this on the map.

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