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Planning an Air Adventure: Alaska Summer 2005 Ilan Reich COPA 3 rd Annual Migration Duluth, MN June 3, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning an Air Adventure: Alaska Summer 2005 Ilan Reich COPA 3 rd Annual Migration Duluth, MN June 3, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning an Air Adventure: Alaska Summer 2005 Ilan Reich COPA 3 rd Annual Migration Duluth, MN June 3, 2005

2 Factors to Consider in Planning a Long Distance Trip The Big Picture: Time of year: weather, weather, weather Alone or with one or more buddy planes? Select activities enroute and at the destination How many flight hours in a given day? Allocate enough time to avoid “get there-itis” Develop contingency plans for weather or mechanical delays

3 The Devil is in the Details As private pilots, we’re responsible for route planning, weather analysis, maintaining an airworthy plane, customs & visas, as well as contingency planning We also need to arrange the lodging, transportation and activities for a trip, both enroute and at the destination


5 Develop an Effective Planning Technique First, overcome the psychological impediments to a long- distance trip It’s a sequence of many two to four hour cross country trips, spaced out over several days Visualize covering a comfortable distance each day Plan activities and stops along the way that will relieve stress and fatigue for both you and your passengers

6 Develop an Effective Planning Technique

7 Second, scope out the broad outlines of the trip: time commitment, locations to visit, activities Third, collect information and talk to others who’ve been there: COPA website is a great resource

8 Use a Planning Tool To keep track of the myriad of details “Stress is directly correlated to the number of last-minute tasks” (Confucius) “The more you rush around just before a big trip, the more you forget” (Chicken Little) To split up responsibilities in planning the trip and making all the arrangements To ensure a safe journey, need to keep track of: Pilot proficiency Airplane readiness Trip-specific details Detailed daily itinerary, for both flying and non-flying days

9 Case in Point: The Alaska Adventure for Summer 2005 Alaska Flying Guide for Cirrus Pilots posted online several months before the trip Contains information on how to get there, places to visit and things to do: also accessible to non-COPA members Includes suggested routes, approach plates, lists of equipment and charts, links to lodging and activities Volunteers enlisted to lead the east and west coast segments: travel with many buddy airplanes Regular email communications from the group leaders, as well as among participants, with ideas about activities, lodging info, etc.

10 Screen shot of Alaska Flying Guide home page (

11 Alaska Adventure Planning Tool Sent by email to each participant four months before the trip, so that they could block out their own itinerary and keep track of group activities Designed to serve as a checklist of issues that are common to every long-distance trip Pilot and airplane preparedness; trip details Daily itinerary for both flying and non-flying days Timeline covers the months preceding the trip, with target dates to be filled in for completing each item Another timeline covers each day of the trip as an aid to plan routing, lodging and activities

12 Screen shot of Planning Tool home page Click here to open and save the full Excel spreadsheet (Yes to open macros)here

13 Section One: Pilot Factors Keep track of proficiency and set deadline dates to update any deficiencies (day, night, IFR) Update personal minimums for the trip Flight hours per day Frequency of stops Consider unfamiliar terrain and airspace Incorporates FAA’s PAVE checklist and COPA’s Critical Decision Making analysis

14 Screen shot of Pilot Checklist page


16 Section Two: Airplane Factors Keep track of when updates are due (Garmin, Avidyne, Jepp, VOR checks): get them done before the trip Take care of maintenance issues before the trip Open squawks, SBs Oil change/50 hour/annual inspection Obtain extra consumables (oil, TKS, oxygen) Bring along current charts: track expiration dates Don’t expect to find charts at FBOs in Canada or Alaska Assemble all necessary survival equipment, clothing, travel documents Complete a projected Weight & Balance


18 Screen shot of Airplane Checklist page

19 Section Three: Trip Details Set deadlines for making reservations (e.g., lodging and transportation enroute and in Alaska) Obtain legal documents (e.g., U.S. Customs sticker, passport, invitation letter & visas for Russia) Who minds the house while you’re away? Pets & plants Suspend newspaper delivery Pay bills before the trip Compile a contact list of buddy airplanes, group leaders, emergency numbers


21 Screen shot of Trip Checklist page

22 Itinerary for Each Flying and Non-Flying Day Details for flying days: Departure city/time, stops, alternates FBO at each stop, transportation to reach hotel Details for non-flying days: Hotel and transportation details Activities planned (e.g., fishing, glacier watching, hiking) Group activities (Mt. McKinley/Talkeetna fly-in, farewell dinner) Dining arrangements: join group activities or go out alone?


24 Screen shot of Daily Itinerary page

25 Enjoy the Trip Planning Tool is available online for download and included in the package of materials on CD-ROM distributed to M3 participants CD-ROM distributed to M3 participants Your comments and suggestions are welcome: contact Ilan Reich (COPA username: ireich, or at Bring your camera and take lots of pictures!

26 Homeward bound: Scenes of glaciers enroute to Yakutat, Alaska

27 Planning an Air Adventure Case Study Summer 2004 Boston – Europe – San Francisco Curt Sanford, SR22

28 Used the SRM Framework for Planning Plan Plane Pilot Passengers/Payload Programming “It is a beautiful trip. But if things go wrong, they go very wrong.”

29 Weather – July / August for best conditions Route Publications – Jepp E. Canada, Transatlantic, European tripkits, Flightstar Worldwide update ($1500+) ATC Communications – Satphone in lieu of HF Fuel – 674nm on longest leg (but 250nm to nearest alternate) Pretrip – Planning

30 Pretrip – Plane Annual – Feb’04 Full 100 hour – June’04 Garmin European updates (cards) Avidyne Terrain update (flash card) Avidyne Airports update (zip disk) Jepp update delivery to Euro address Critical spares, consumables

31 Pretrip – Pilot Coursework: “Flying the North Atlantic” – Ed Carlson Primary Aviation Survival School – Anchorage,AK Weather or Not – Scott Dennstaedt Currency IPC, BFR Flight Simulator – key approaches

32 Pretrip – Passengers/Payload Outbound – w/Torben Kiese, experienced Cirrus ferry pilot In Europe – Touring with the family Return – Solo Full Maritime & Arctic survival kit Winslow 4-man Island Flyer Raft 10,000kcal preserved food/person

33 Outbound – Canada to Greenland Planned – Goose Bay to Narsarsuaq Departure – As planned, with live COPA coverage! With two way internet:

34 Outbound – Greenland Arrival 300nm out Narsarsuaq goes below minimums (per cellphone conversation with tower); 1500’ ceiling, 1800’ mins Diversion to Nuuk (800’ ceiling, 375’ mins) adds 100nm Approach to Nuuk as fog rolls in, 400’ ceiling:

35 Outbound – Crossing the Icepack Issues: Low ceilings at departure airport Multiple layers aloft Freezing level 6000’ Possible ceilings at destination Strategies Alternate at Sondrestrom Pireps enroute on clear altitudes Air Greenland pilots on same routes Fuel Mgmt to keep options

36 Outbound – Kulusuk Greenland Climbed enroute staying on top Descent to warm air over water Off-field NDB approach to gravel runway Fuel by the barrel Up-hill soft-field takeoff

37 Outbound – Greenland-Iceland- Scotland-London Uneventful by comparison 60kt headwinds on departure Reykjavik Reentering controlled airspace in UK

38 Travel in Europe IFR Straightforward to fly Difficult to file Questionable equipment requirements VFR Varies dramatically by country; eg: France – like US (cardinal + 500’ altitude) UK – No VFR in controlled airspace. Period. Costs If you have to ask….

39 Return Get the family on the way home Prop repair, Oil change Reorganize charts, survival gear Take a deep breath Pick some routes

40 Return Holland-Scotland -Iceland First leg a struggle with the system Getting the clearance Avoiding London Getting back into controlled airspace Diverting when Wick below mins

41 Return Iceland-Greenland Fuel in Kulusuk or Sonderstrom Direct

42 Return – visiting Ilulissat (68˚N)

43 Return – Greenland – Canada Iqualuit options: ILS/DME35 w/200’ mins BC/LOC17 w/600’ METAR 35035 4OVC

44 Return – Hudson Bay Rankins Inlet Rwy 13T/31T 5000x150’ Metar 040T25G30 After landing forecast 90km/h gusts No tie-downs or hangars available Interesting fuel

45 Return – The Road not Taken Rankin Inlet – Cut Bank, MO Flightstar suggestion: Lynn Lake(CYYL) Has AvGas Confirmed by phone Rankin feedback: NOT SAFE! La Ronge (CYVC) Fine choice

46 Return – Cut Bank, MO Civilization at last!

47 Lessons / Reflections Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” No substitute for local knowledge Interview everyone you meet! The return is as challenging as the outbound Avgas is a scarce & perishable resource

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