In the real world, I live in Edmonton, Canada (CYEG) and as I set out into the yonder in light aircraft I’m tracking, posting, writing, and otherwise documenting my virtual around-the-world trip in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. This is another log entry from the Pilot Project

Alaska Traverse, Part 1

1 year ago
Alaska Traverse
PANC (Anchorage, AK)
AK40 (Nixon Fork Mine, AK)
Flight Time
1 hour 47 minutes

I’ll probably write this here a hundred times, but whenever I expect a dull flight, it’s always anything but...

Today was the day I began my Alaskan traversal... a multi-leg flight diagonally across the main landmass of the state from Anchorage towards Nome. It was impossible in one flight. It would have taken four and a half hours and a fuel cheat of some kind. And never having been to Alaska my expectation of that journey was one of an endless flight over a snowy wasteland.

Finally through the thick clouds as I pass over the mountains.

Perhaps it will be more snowy and more wasteland-ish in the winter.

The flight out of Anchorage was a chilly take-off in a light rain and low cloud. I was barely off the ground before visibilty dropped to a page grey fog enshrouding the plane. On a side note, I do admit it seems a bit of a shame to fly these epic flights across beautiful landscapes in the worlds most advanced consumer-level world simulator but to do so in a fog so thick I’m just flying through a grey screen... but it’s a simulation! It’s the story of it all!

Alas, as I reached a mid-point mountain range, the clouds had less energy than I did to leap over and on the far side a lovely, clear day awaited me.

The Alaskan tundra? Or some mottled landscape...

I was racing a kind of external clock. I cook a lot of the household dinners, but my wife was making this particular sunday meal and I was hiding in the basement with twenty minutes on the ETE clock... and about twenty minutes until dinner was ready. It’s not easy to speed in a flight simulator, the plane only goes so fast, but it is easy to rush.

This is not an official taxiway.

Like when you see the runway out appear on the top of the screen and you tell yourself you need to make THAT landing, not a flyby and a second attempt. That one.

So you take a quick and low dive approach and everything lines up... but it turns out you’re going a pinch too fast. That wouldn’t be a problem at a proper airport, of course, but you picked a tiny bush airport, barely more than a landing strip in the middle of nowhere, with room for error but not intended for checklist-free attacks.

I didn’t crash. The screen goes black and it essentially gives you a fail if you hit something or wreck the plane.

I did touch down, I did hit my brakes while on the actual runway. I did eventually stop. But I took a tour of the small parking lot a few meters off the end of the runway, and then a bit of a meandering drive down the gravel access road.

See, it’s always the one’s you think are going to be dull...

Flight Number