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After months of planning and preparation, tomorrow will mark the start of our big adventure. The plane has just been through a thorough inspection , and in light of its eccentricities in starting, special attention has been paid to the fuel injection system and boost pump. The Lycoming IO-540 can be cranky and temperamental, but once started has proven to be remarkably rugged and reliant. A Tanis heater has also been installed, but this is more for my peace of mind than anything else -- and it will be needed for winter.
Alaskan law requires planes to have a gun and ammunition on board. Canada, on the other hand, strictly prohibits hand guns. The solution is to have either a rifle or a shotgun on board. Also you are required to have survival gear on board, and the lists of required items for the two countries naturally do not match. Therefore you do a lot of collating of information. The rifle we will carry is a Winchester 30-30 with eleven rounds of ammunition in a separate metal box. A bicycle lock has been installed in the aft baggage compartment to secure the rifle. After much discussion it was decided to place the survival pack in the aft baggage compartment. Our survival gear comes from Intertech Aviation Services, of Littleton, Colorado. Their Res-Q Pak appears to be excellent and is highly rated by various consumer reports. All four of us have examined the Pak and are familiar with its contents.
Weight and balance computations indicate the baggage must be distributed between the forward and aft baggage compartments to stay within the envelope. In order to meet max gross weight, it will be necessary to fly with only 74 gallons of fuel instead of the normal 94 gallons useable. Since we can't top off the tanks, I have calibrated a fuel chart for each wing, to be read with a fuel stick. (I got mine from Sporty's but a paint mixing stick would work equally well.)
Each of us is limited to 25 pounds of baggage, and I have collected at least 25 pounds of charts by now. Log books are in the plane plus a statement of insurance coverage. Be sure to check the coverage on your insurance if you plan a trip to Alaska; some insurance companies require separate coverage for flight to Alaska. (It was discovered during the course of the trip that tie-down ropes should also be carried.)
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Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 010208