EPOCH Alaska Diary

Today is the big day! I’ve always wanted to pursue the dream of becoming a true Alaskan bush pilot, and opportunity is knocking. The kind folks at EPOCH Alaska Air are going to take a look at my resume and see if I’m cut out to operate in one of the last great frontiers of flying.

I head over to the airport in Asheville, NC (KAVL) to catch the first leg of my ride to Alaska. Climbing into Danklaue’s nifty Embraer 140 (a steal at $9.95!) I hop on the jumpseat for the short flight over to Memphis.

A little light rain is falling as we pull onto runway 34 at Asheville…

We climb out over the green hills of western North Carolina and I can only imagine how much different the terrain in Alaska is going to be…

We climb initially up to FL280 at Mach .64 or so while we turn on course to Snowbird VOR - VXV J46 - BNA - KMEM…

We cross over Knoxville in the climb and head down J46…

The lightly modeled ERJ-140 only contains the default X-Plane FMS, so we simply fly the jet airways and skip the STAR. At around 20 minutes out I start the letdown at around 1800 FPM…

While not totally cutting edge, Dan’s ERJ-140 is nice…

Needing a bit of help to make it down east of the field for the ILS to 27, the speedbrakes come out…

On the turn to intercept the final to runway 27…

At 3,000’ with the localizer coming in…

A dot below the glideslope and the gear comes out…

Don’t go with full flaps in the ERJ - if you exceed 140 you’ll lose a flying surface if you have failures on, and if you get much below 125, it will require near full power to get back up to 130. I found it much more preferable to fly at 140 with flaps one notch below full…

Of course, Memphis is a big FedEx hub…

Touchdown and the reversers come out and the speedbrakes pop open to slow the aircraft…

I have a slight layover in Memphis before I continue my journey. Where am I going? What am I doing? Stay tuned…

BeachAV8R

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Nice! Looking forward to the next leg!

I’m on my way - hope the weather stays nice - looks good right now…

ETA looks like around 1900Z…nice 6+45 leg or so…



BeachAV8R

PS - I started the flight out of Memphis at 0620 (L) ~ 1220 (Z) in sim time. So 6+30-ish puts us around 1900 (Z) sim time - but in real-time it looks like around 5 more hours or around 1730 (EST) or 2200 (Z).

Just passed Des Moines, IA at FL340 - .79M - 64,400 lbs of fuel onboard…(left with 78,500 lbs.) Winds aloft are being kind here at FL340 out of 034 at 9 knots…!


BeachAV8R

Is that a 777 or 767

Boeing 757 Professional Extended - HERE!

BeachAV8R

Interesting because X-Plane did not depict very much of the weather east of Omaha. It showed some cloud layers with increased density, but no storm type buildups…

BeachAV8R

That was my third guess. That one is on my to buy list. I love flight factors planes.

Anywho back to your story…

Haha…not two minutes after I posted that - I hear the crack of thunder from my X-Plane monitor… Nice!

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Were did you get that map showing your position? User made or web app?

I just entered my rough flight plan into this site, then I marked it up:

http://www.greatcirclemapper.net/en/great-circle-mapper.html?route=KMEM-CYPE-CYQH-PANC&aircraft=238&speed=

If I were super motivated, I think there are apps that will track your X-Plane position on Google Earth and stuff…

Time to stretch the legs…coffee anyone?

BeachAV8R

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Hit a bit of weather in the south portion of Saskatchewan that reached up into the high 30s…thus I had to put the engine and wing anti-ice on as a precaution…

After an hour or so the weather was behind us and it is clear sailing for a bit…


Just a few miles from crossing YPE VOR (Peace River)…

BeachAV8R

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Now this is a useful link…!

http://avcams.faa.gov/index.php

BeachAV8R

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Just crossed Watson Lake VOR (YQH) - solid undercast, so not much sightseeing up here right now…


BeachAV8R

I’ve arrived…! 6+59 of actual flight time…whew…! I’ll post the full trip report tomorrow…I’m beat…! PANC - Anchorage, Alaska…

BeachAV8R

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After my flight from Asheville to Memphis, I make my way over to the FedEx ramp to hop my next flight leg. The VMAX Boeing 757 Professional Extended is about as good as aircraft come for X-Plane - it’s just fantastic in every way.

With tanks near full (roughly 80,000 lbs. of fuel) we head out for our long cross continent flight to PANC (Anchorage, Alaska)…

Climbout is slow over the urban sprawl of Memphis while we take up an initial heading to the north-northwest…

We arm the autothrottle and bump it up to 300 knots after passing through 10,000. Initial climb altitude will be FL300…

Once out of the terminal area, we head on course. Our FMC flight route is YPE YYE J515 YQH DB JOH.ELLAM4

The VMAX 757 cockpit is simply jaw-dropping…

As we head up north we cross into Iowa and the Dakotas, the farmland stretches in all directions. A bit of weather lays along portions of our route, but nothing severe…

Eventually the weather starts to build into our flight levels. We’ve climbed now to FL360 but we are skimming through some of the tops, so anti-ice comes on as a precaution…

Crossing into Saskatchewan the terrain changes from farmland to mostly forested areas…

Approaching Fort Nelson, B.C…

Soon we are crossing into Yukon territory. I try to catch a glimpse of Kluane Lake through the cloud deck - Silver City (CFQ5) is down there and I have a professional interest there…

Through the breaks in the clouds I can see the terrain is getting more and more rugged - and beautiful…!

My center fuel tank pump lights illuminate, letting me know that I’ve exhausted all of the fuel in the fuselage tanks…

The scenery just gets more and more beautiful. The mesh is enhanced by the awesome alpilotx HD Mesh

Approaching JOH VOR (Johnstone Point) it’s time to start a gradual descent. Not being very familiar with the area, I choose FL230, knowing that will keep me over the highest terrain in the area. The STAR suggests 12,000’ for the transition from JOH, so I know that elevation will be safe once I get past JOH…

Throughout the descent the scenery is just awesome. Glaciers, rugged peaks, valleys, passes… This is going to be awesome!

A bit of rain showers as I continue the descent. I wish I could point out landmarks, but I’m not familiar with the region yet…

Crossing JOH, I elect to fly direct to ENA VOR to fly the full transition to the ILS 7R at PANC. This will take me a bit out of the way, but it will get me established on final without any drama…

The scenery continues to unfold in front of us…

Soon we are past the mountains and over what looks to be coastal plains as we approach JOH…

After crossing JOH, we fly the long transition and get set up to intercept the ILS. The VMAX 757 is nice because you can control the left and right side instruments independently, so you can set the ILS on the flying pilot side, and keep the FMC map on the non-flying pilot side for reference and situational awareness…

Approach flaps going out…

We intercept the localizer and a dot below the glideslope we swing the gear…

The autopilot and autothrottles (set to around 150 or Vref+15) handle it all with no problems…

Through the murk the Ted Stevens International Airport / Anchorage (PANC) comes into view…

I’ve always loved the way the 757 looks in the landing configuration - the broad slotted flaps and outstretched main landing gear looking as much like the local Bald Eagle’s wings and talons…

Autopilot and autothrottles off…

Touchdown - spoilers and thrust reversers deploy…

As we roll out - I’m not super impressed with the Aerosoft PANC scenery. The airport structures and textures are fabulous, but they didn’t put any static aircraft! What a glaring omission! (I wonder if I can fix that somehow?)

I exit the runway, and taxi north toward the FedEx facility (again - empty!). As I pull into the stand, I sigh with relief. Amazingly, I’ve been able to run X-Plane and task switch all day (for nearly 12 hours!). Actual flight time in-sim is on the chronometer - 6 hours and 59 minutes! I land with 24,200 lbs. of fuel after having departed Memphis with about 80,000 lbs.- roughly $25,000 worth of fuel for this leg alone!

We pop the doors and I look out across the airport towards the Chugach Range…this is going to be an adventure! I’ve never been to Alaska in real life. I’ve never been north of Seattle. I gotta get there someday. I’m looking forward to meeting my hosts at EPOCH Alaska Air.

BeachAV8R

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Awesome!!!

And yes you can fix the glaring aircraft omission I think.

Xplane Airport Customization

Check that link out. It gives you an overview. I dont have the Aersoft scenery set so I cant verify if it would work. Maybe if I feel motivated I might set up a quick how to.

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Cool - I wonder if I can populate the airport with relatively low poly airplane models to give it a lived in look. I need to explore some of those utilities like X-Traffic or whatever as well. I sure would like to liven up my X-Plane world a bit…

BeachAV8R

You should be able too. X Scenery, I think thats what its called, gives you a bunch of stuff to place at airports in the WED program. Tons of aircraft ranging from 172s to 777s. I fly x plane without traffic so basically i just have static A/C on the ground. I hate the traffic system in X plane.