Discovering Alaska Volume 4: ASA 55 – FAI to SSC

Well, I want to start by saying that today was probably not the most exciting leg. There were no stunning landscapes, no interesting points or remarkable places we passed. We basically flew over some kind of icy desert with small frozen lakes inbetween. Also the airports of Fairbanks and Deadhorse are not very beautiful. It doesn’t help either that there is only a very basic Freeware scenery for FAI and none at all for SCC. Shortly after take-off, Active Camera stopped working and I couldn’t move around the cockpit anymore…bummer. And finally, to give you one last argument against todays flight: The Wilco 737 Classic is also relatively outdated if you judge her by the looks.

But now enough with the arguments against today’s leg. Let’s have a look at what was cool. And with cool I literally mean cool. You better bring your coat. Or two. Or better three…
If you think the 5F in Fairbanks are cold, well, let me tell you what to expect in Deadhorse: -25.6F! It actually was cold enough for us to land with a contrail. This only happens in the world’s coldest places like the North and South Pole. If you want to see this happening in reality, here’s a video for you to start with. It’s a USAF LC-130 taking off at the South Pole. It won’t let me link via a timelink, so just skip forward to 5:00 minutes to see the actual take-off:

But back to our flight. Not only did we encounter the coldest temperatures I have ever encountered in my FS career. We also went to the northernmost point I have ever flown to. 70°11′41″N 148°27′55″W are the exact coordinates of Deadhorse airport. I never made it into the 70 N’s before.

The flight details were as follows. FL was 340.
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Take-Off in FAI will be on runway 02L. Our only waypoint is CQR in the middle of nowhere. We will be landing on 22 in Deadhorse. Apart from the freezing cold temperatures, the sky will be crystal clear with great visibility.
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It all starts at 7:15 am as we board this old Boeing 737-400. Compared to the NG this flight deck really feels like from another century.
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The skies in Fairbanks are also friendly. This doesn’t look a lot like the airport we landed at yesterday in low visibility and a snowstorm.
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After our preparation we received clearance and are lining up on 02L.
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About to push that thrust lever forward…
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And off we go! Positive rate of climb, gear up please.
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One last view at the airport before we disappear into the sheer endless ice desert.
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The sunrise gives you the impression of warmth. This is an illusion.
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From the outside the Classic doesn’t really have to hide from the NG.
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All that’s missing here is Cocktails and palm trees…oh wait, wrong part of the world.
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I spare you the thrill of 250 miles ice desert. What you can see in front of us is the north coast of Alaska. I guess there are not too many people in the world that made it here.
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You can only imagine how cold the sea must be around here with an OAT of -25.6F.
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We have the runway in sight.
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I have never seen that before and was not aware that it was possible. Contrails during final approach. Only at the poles (actually we’re still 20 degress south of the pole by defintion…).
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360 above. If you’re wondering what’s going on with our A/T. I have no idea! It reengaged on short final even though I switched it off earlier, and also reset the speed to 340. Seems like our B737 became alive. Luckily I noticed that immediately and could avoid a Go Around…
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Again the reflection of the sun creates a warm impression. Not really. If you take a look at the temperature indication you can only imagine why they call this place Deadhorse…
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And rolling out on 22.
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We have reached the gate. Our only companion is this Everts Air Cargo DC-6.
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Here’s the proof. We’ve been to 70 N.
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And this is it for today. I hope you enjoyed our little flight, even though there was not a lot to see. The next leg will take us back to Anchorage, and from there on we will fly via the Alaskan capital Juneau back to Seattle in the lower 48, so stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “Discovering Alaska Volume 4: ASA 55 – FAI to SSC

  1. Many simmers knocked the FT/Wilco classic but I loved it. I did many flights in her and found I got used to her quirks. Sadly the VC is not fully clickable (is that even a word?) in FSX so I don’t use her much.

  2. Yea, she can definitely be a handful to fly due to all her quirks. Did you try the Wilco 737 Evolution in FSX yet? I didn’t, but the screens look not too bad and maybe they resolved the VC “clickability” – I don’t know!

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