Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jim Hardin Prop Balancing

Jim came by yesterday afternoon to balance my prop and give it a good once over. Jim is a local aircraft mechanic who maintains many of the local air taxi aircraft and a few private aircraft. He is one of the only guys on the peninsula who has the proper knowledge and equipment to balance props. We started with a general prop inspection to look for anything obvious like unequal prop lengths and any previous balancing. After that he connects a photo sensing tachometer and the actual vibration monitoring device. Once all that was connected we ran the engine at a specific RPM and got a baseline reading. From there he added weights and we repeated the process till it was close to perfect at that RPM. Hopefully the result is reduced vibration throughout the airframe. The whole process took about an hour and a half and is similar to balancing the tires on your car.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

McArthur Mt. Trip Part 3

The next morning we woke up early for a great sunrise moonrise combo. It's odd to see the moon sneak up just before the sun. Our day was spent navigating the ridge up to about 5oo feet below the summit, the last stretch was a bit too technical for the gear we with us. It would have taken ice tools, a few more pickets and some more stable snow. One thing we have found while climbing in Alaska is that wind is a constant. We were counting on a wind packed summit ridge, but we were battling inconsistent snow with large rocks creating deep pockets just out of sight. Despite the deep, inconsistent snow, we had stunning weather and great views. The picture of Jordan sitting down is our top out point, we almost had it. On our way down to camp, we heard a plane out of the east, it was Mike headed over to check on us so I snagged a cool picture of him as he banked back toward the cabin. He came back a few hours later and shuttled a pack home for us. It was a great trip with perfect spring weather, I can hardly wait for more spring skiing. Enjoy the pictures,

McArthur Mt. Trip Part 2

After we got the engine cover and wing covers on the plane and some alders underneath the ski's to keep them from freezing down, we started up for our overnight spot. After gaining the ridge we would follow all the way up, we made our way to about 1500 feet, set up camp and cooked dinner.

McArthur Mt. Trip Part 1

Jordan and I have been planning a good spring trip across the inlet for a bit and this Friday we both had the time off to make it happen. We had a great couple days of weather, some of the best yet this year. I drew our route on google earth and then zoomed out and gave you a wider view of the area. Our trip started at Soldotna airport where we loaded up most of our gear in my plane and the rest in mikes plane. We stopped by mikes cabin on our way to our final destination, McArthur mountain, at the head of the McArthur river. I first landed at this location with Gregg M. this past summer. The summer landing is a little tighter with a small sand bar to land on, during the winter it all fills in nicely to make a perfect platform with a large area to accommodate wide ski turns and longer takeoff's in deep snow. After setting down, mike dumped out the gear he brought over and headed for home.

Monday, March 9, 2009


On Sunday I met Jordan and his girlfriend Barb at the fuller lakes parking lot, we loaded up in the Subaru and cruised back over to the skyline parking lot. From there we knocked out the skyline to fuller traverse. I have done the skyline to fuller traverse a handful of times and each time has been a challenge. We put a twist on this one by bringing sleds and skis to aid in the downhill. The traverse follows the ridge lines in a horseshoe form along the left side of the highway as you enter the kenai mountains headed to anchorage. As the traverse progresses up and down the ridges over to the lakes, about 6 to 7 thousand feet of vertical is achieved. Jordan is training for Mt. Hunter this summer so he loaded the pack a little heavier than normal. This traverse is a great training ground for any Alaska range climb because it offers a lot of up and down, and it also puts you through a good 8 to 10 hour day if done during the winter. Yesterday it took us about 9 hours.



Saturday, March 7, 2009

Other People's Children

Jim and his daughter Brooklyn came over the other night and I had all of Erik's lighting equipment so I took a few pictures for them. Learned a lot from Erik the other day while shooting Gregg's cub, I should add that I don't think I gave Erik enough credit in that last post, the majority of those pictures are his, and the ones I took were all using his equipment. I'll get there, but for now i'm usually along for the ride.

Gregg and his Cub

Gregg was kind enough to let Erik and I take a few photo's of him and his plane today. The Piper PA-18 is not only an essential piece of equipment for accessing the alaska backcountry, it carries an aviation legacy on it's shoulders. It's lines define a history of rugged aviation pioneers and can be credited for pioneering much of the Alaska wilderness. Gregg's Super Cub photographs really well and we were able to come away with some super good shots today. More to come. Enjoy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You can't put a price on a good time........

OK, There is a unintentional yellow theme in this post. Gregg got a ride in the helicopter and Amanda happened to catch me over at my plane to let me know he was landing soon so I grabbed a few pictures. The Cub is one that I hope to buy if I can sell my plane first. It's a big 'IF' right now until I sell mine.