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Guest Jonathan Asher

The Alaska Getaway is better than you think

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Guest Jonathan Asher

In March-April 2011, BVA hosted a ridiculously long getaway in Alaska, something like three weeks long. So long, in fact, that our 2011 April Fool's prank involved moving the community's center of operations from Boston to Anchorage. Anyway, I decided then that the Alaska Getaway was the most pointless and boring event BVA hosts. But this year, I discovered something new that changed my view on said event.


Alaska Airlines is a pretty cool airline. I learned that a few weeks ago. They have an all 737 fleet consisting of -400s as well as -700s, -800s, and -900s. The -400s tend to stay within the boundaries of Alaska, while the NG's move in and out of the contiguous United States. After finding the FeelThere 737 Classic Evolution isn't half-bad, I began flying intra-Alaska hops. For example, Alaska Airlines flies the same aircraft from Anchorage to Barrow to Deadhorse to Fairbanks back to Anchorage, each flight no more than an hour or so, and each layover no more than 45 minutes. It makes for fun flying and fun approaches.


So I went nuts with these flights and turned my least favorite getaway into my favorite. Here I'll put my log of flights; I was able to get many other BVA members to fly along with me on many of these routes:









PANC-KMIA-KSEA (not Alaska Airlines)



PANC-KPDX-KBOS (to finish off the getaway).


I recorded a cool RNP approach in IMC conditions into Juneau:







My trusty 737-400 (Full-sized)




Myself and Josh ('TheNavyReapers') at Deadhorse (PASC) (Full-sized)




Barrow (PABR), the northern-most airport in North America (Full-sized)




Climbing out of Barrow (Full-sized)




Arriving at Deadhorse (Full-sized)




Parked at Cordova (PACV) (Full-sized)




Climbing out in Southeastern Alaska (Full-sized)




Lonely at Juneau (PAJN) (Full-sized)




Not quite as lonely at Juneau with Nate ('Cessna_172_KBOI') and Tim ('Jumpstartation') (Full-sized)




They followed me to Sitka (PASI)! (Full-sized)




Climbing out of Anchorage (PANC) at night (Full-sized)




Rainy and dark at Sitka with Evan ('Evanet') and Phil ('Ferrari308guy') (Full-sized)




Over Seattle (Full-sized)




Heading back to Anchorage one last time (Full-sized)




737-900 with no winglets heading back to Boston to end the getaway (Full-sized)

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Couldn't agree more about the fun of some of those Alaska airports. While fun to control, the really neat thing about these airports is the flight procedures that (as Jon's video demonstrates) bring you along valleys and through passes to a short final.


By the way, what were you doing landing on Runway 26 with an 18 knot tailwind? I'm sure it had nothing to do with wanting to fly that cool approach...



Evan Reiter

Community Director
Administration Team

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Nice, thanks for the screenshots and the information on Alaska Airlines!


I had a blast with the Getaway, I wouldn't have minded it lasting longer. I still have a Piper Cherokee there, working my way through a re-fly of the VFR Challenge route we did up there. It's actually parked at Johnson's Landing right now - that landing was hairier with a P28A than it was in the C172. but I didn't go in the lake! I also did a bit of reading about the places I was visiting up there, and the way things have to work up there from a transportation and supply perspective are in such contrast to what I'm used to on the East coast, it's fascinating to me.


I did a lot of VFR in GA aircraft during the getaway, but I'd like to try some of the routes you listed eventually. I should probably start taking screenshots to chronicle my adventures as well, that's a good idea.

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

I did a lot of VFR in GA aircraft during the getaway, but I'd like to try some of the routes you listed eventually. I should probably start taking screenshots to chronicle my adventures as well, that's a good idea.


I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only "weed wacker and bug smasher" around! If you're looking for more VFR Challenge type events in Alaska, check out the 2012 Alaskan VFR Challenge - Inside Passage. This challenge was an absolute blast, and had one of the best turnouts we've ever had for a VFR Challenge. If you're itching for more, check out some of the Colorado VFR Challenges elsewhere in the forums.

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