Well, I have not been in the mood to write, but
figured I needed to send you something this morning before I go down to the "mole
hole" (my basement work shop not much larger than a mole hole) and resume work on the
repair and upgrade of Miss P'fer, my faithful 1991 Kolb Mark III.
When I landed at Muncho Lake, British Columbia, 1 July 2000, the Mark III had 1,445 hours
on the clock. After I lost the left main wheel on touch down, ground looped to a
very unsophisticated halt, I discovered I had damaged the left wing and aileron, wiped off
the left main landing gear, broken off the right wheel, and did some minor damage to the
nickel steel leading edge to one of the Warp Drive Prop blades. Also had some minor
dings to the tail boom and fabric from the rocks and gravel that I stirred up on landing.
It was too much repair work to try to accomplish in the wilds of northeast British
Columbia, just south of the Yukon Territory border. But I figured that repairs would
be quick and easy once I returned to Alabama with the airplane and commenced repair work.
Well, I was wrong as usual. After the long journey
home, in the back of an enclosed trailer loaned to me by a good friend, I discovered the
glacier dust, rocks and gravel, and the Alaska Highway had taken its toll on my new
It would also have to be replaced. Another major task.
The more I disassembled the airplane the more I discovered needed to be repaired or
replaced. By the end of next week, should have the fuselage ready to move from the
"mole hole" to the hanger at Gantt International Airstrip, my 750 feet long
grass airstrip in my neighbor's cow pasture. At that time I will bring the wings
home and start repair of the left wing and recover and painting of both wings, flaps and
ailerons. I wanted to fly Miss P'fer to Sun and Fun, which commences 8 April 2001,
but at the moment does not look like she will be ready to fly in time.
Why am I going through all this explanation of recovery and repair? We are going to
make another attempt to fly to Oshkosh via Point Barrow, Alaska, the northern-most point
of the US and the North American Continent. During our (the airplane and me) first
flight in 1994, we were within 205 miles of Barrow, Alaska, when we had to turn around and
head south. Second attempt in 2000 ended at Muncho Lake, BC, with a broken airplane.
This Summer we will try again, having upgraded our landing gear and inspected,
repaired, and replaced any item of equipment or part that we deemed would possibly fail
and prevent us from accomplishing our mission.
I intend to depart my airstrip in Titus, Alabama (approximately 25 miles north of
Montgomery, Alabama), 24 June 2001. This will allow me 30 days to fly to Point
Barrow and back to Oshkosh by the first day of the Air Adventure Fly in, 24 July 2001.
By the time I return home, after a week at Oshkosh, I will have been "on the
road" for approximately 40 days, flown about 10,000 statute miles, spent nearly 130
hours in the air, and burned nearly 600 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. All this we
expect to accomplish in a Kolb Mark III ultra light that is 10 years old and will have more
than 1,500 hours flight time on the airframe. Our average speed with be between 75
and 80 MPH. I will fly the trip strictly solo with no prior established schedule for
when and where I will be at any specific time, except to try and make it back to Oshkosh
by 24 July 2001. I will carry all my required equipment for the flight with me in
the aircraft. I sleep under the wing most nights, staying in motels about once a
week to take advantage of hot showers. I eat when places are available, or rations I
have on board the airplane. I will be 62 years young when I make this year's flight.
I hope to have the Mark III flying in a month or so. This will give me time to get
back "in the groove", get the airplane "up to snuff", and have time to
do some warm-up cross country flying before I depart 24 June.
Hauck's Attempt to Barrow, Alaska
DEPARTURE | WEEK
1 | WEEK 2 | WEEK 3 | WEEK 4
2000 TRIP PREPARATION
John's work on the Mark III has
really turned into a major update for expendable items, e.g.
fuel lines (have gone to automotive neoprene), updated fuel
sight gauge (previous left him hanging once it hit the bottom
of sight gauge. It still had approximately 4 gallons left, but
could not see the level to determine how close to the big
"E" fuel level was getting).
Updated from 14A vented to 20A
sealed battery, replaced starter and master solenoids, engine
upgrade, reg/rec, some flight and engine instruments, throttle
and enricher cables, new larger oil cooler and oil lines, new
radiator hoses, increased size of rudder trim tab, King KX 99
VHF refurbished at factory, upgraded from Garmin 55AVD to 95XL
(have to send the 95XL back to Garmin for replacement of
internal memory battery, checkout and update), waiting for new
BRS 5, 1050 HD Softpack to replace aged Second Chantz Pocket
Rocket, Sigtronics SPA400 upgrade to SPA400N and new wiring
harness, replace Commant passive GPS antenna with active
antenna (26db gain) from Wolfe GPS Accessories. Last
September, changed out the windshield and glass door, elevator
and rudder cables, and replaced elevator and rudder hinges,
and tail wire bracing.
John has been hard at
work on his mountain bike, doing push ups and sit ups. This is
the same regimen performed before his 1994 flight and it paid
off then. The physical exercise helps maintain stamina, keeps
his head sharp (well, as sharp as can be expected), keeps him
going on those days he doesn't find a restaurant, and it
simply "makes me feel better".
JOHN STARTS WORK ON
MISS P'FER -- By John Hauck
My hands and fingers are so
stiff and sore it is difficult to type this morning. That's
what happens when we age, spend several days trying to get the
fuel system and lines in the right positions and
configurations. Its a bear pushing neoprene lines on AN
fittings, then pulling them off and trying something again,
and again, and again. Heck, I thought I had it right the first
time in 1992. :-) Finally got it together the way I wanted it
(the fuel system) about 2000 last night. I have a loop of fuel
line from the tank outlet (lowest point of 25 gal fuel tank)
down under the tail boom and up to the Facet fuel pump. At the
bottom of the loop is a "T" fitting, drain line runs
forward to the lowest point of the fuselage where there is a
drain valve. A very inexpensive "gascolator" that
gets the job done.
Lengthened the fuel site gauge to indicate when the engine is
going to stop because of fuel starvation. Old system was good
to about 4 gal remaining, but that was with the fuel at the
bottom of the site gauge. The last 4 gal was run on the clock
and guessing. Very uncomfortable feeling. New site gauge is
accurate down to .5 gal reaming when fuel is at the bottom of
the site gauge. Right now, before I get to actually fly and
test the new 912S, looks like about 6 minutes flight time left
when gauge indicates empty. No 20 minute warning light here,
Gang. Miss P'fer better be on the ground before fuel hits the
bottom of the gauge.
Still got to rewire intercom, radio (damage the squirrel did,
and something I have been putting off until the last because I
do not want to do it); install throttle and enricher cables;
fill with oil and prime oil pump; fill cooling system; check
out everything real good, then hit the start button for the
first time (maybe today, I hope).
Whoops! Forgot to put the 72" Warp Drive on. Better do
that before I hit the start button.
After we get the engine running we will finish up the BRS
installation in the center section. Took several weeks to
figure out how to install the new parachute. A little more
difficult than my old 2d Chantz. Coming up with the best
workable solution for installing equipment is time intensive.
As soon as we get everything "tidy" (wash 4 months
of dust and crud off the MK III) we will be ready to test fly.
One other thing and I will shut up, "the wind."
Don't know that there are any hard numbers for max wind or
crosswind component capability. My rule of thumb is, "I
don't fly if it is not comfortable." When it ceases to be
fun, time to land. All Homer Kolb's airplanes have the ability
to fly in a lot a wind. I do not know how much. We demonstrate
their capability, pretty much, at Lakeland and Oshkosh almost
every year. We feel this is a "feather in our cap"
because usually when things get real rough, only the Kolbs
will still be in the air.
On most of my long XC flights I encounter extreme winds, winds
I do not want to be up in. Sometimes I have to fly these winds
to make it to the next place to land. Several times during
1994 flight the wind overpowered the rudder. I mean I could
not overcome the "weather vane" effect of the wind.
Usually, if the wind is blowing that hard, the Kolb will land
into the wind in a couple feet, which means at a
"real" airport you can land across the runway
instead of down it. I was ready to land at Grenada,
California, but the wind, out of the west, was overpowering
the rudder. The single runway was 36/18. I decided to fly a
little further to Montague. They had a crosswind strip. No
problem. Next leg was to Ashland, Oregon, up I-5, through the
pass. Wind beat me up and scared Hell out of me. Landed at
Ashland with the wind on my nose. Did not roll out more than a
length. Very cautiously taxied to tie-down.
I think the important thing to remember when "caught in
high wind" is to stay "cool", keep the nose of
the aircraft into the wind, let the airplane fly, keep a good
margin of airspeed over stall, do not try to overcome or fight
the wind, take your time and find a safe place to put it on
the ground. A bush pilot in Alaska told me not to worry about
terrific downdrafts, I would not be blown into the ground. The
wind has to go somewhere and it is not into the ground. I
This is how I do it. I am not telling you to fly like I do,
but it does work for me.
| WEEK 1 | WEEK 2
| WEEK 3
| WEEK 4
We will be posting John's progress as available here.
The official send-off ceremony was held at The New Kolb Aircraft
Company in London, Kentucky on Monday, June 26, 2000.
Coffee and Doughnuts (Um, um... plates of great Krispy Kreme doughnuts!)
Pictured to the left: John Hauck's
family came from as far away as Florida to wish him well on his journey and show their
Mayor Ken Smith presented a Mayoral Proclamation proclaiming it Aviation Awareness Day.
He also presented John keys to the City of London for Mayor George N. Ahmaogak of
the North Slope Burrow and a key for Mayor Jim Vorderstrasse of the City of Barrow.
The proclamation read as follows:
City of London, Kentucky
WHEREAS, John R. Hauck is a retired US Army Special Forces
Helicopter Pilot, Vietnam Veteran, and Factory Pilot/Consultant for The New Kolb Aircraft
WHEREAS, John R. Hauck is departing from London, Kentucky in his
Ultralight Experimental Aircraft for a round trip, solo, unsupported flight to Barrow,
WHEREAS, John R. Hauck's aircraft has been awarded multiple
Championships throughout the country.
WHEREAS, he has distinguished himself with his skill in aviation and
in planning extensive excursions and is revered as a motivator of aviation adventures.
WHEREAS, his accomplishments will inspire fellow citizens to
endeavor aviation activities, which lead to the healthy development of the community and
NOW THEREFORE, DO I, Ken Smith, Mayor of the City of London,
proclaim Monday, June 26, 2000, to be AVIATION AWARENESS DAY in the City
of London, declare the City's firm support for the adventures of aviation, and urge all
citizens to join me in this observance.
Signed this 26th day of June, 2000
Ken Smith, Mayor, City of London
Pictured to the left:
John receives Mayoral Proclamation and Keys to the City of London,
Kentucky. (From left to right is John Hauck, Mayor Ken Smith, Bruce Chesnut, and
Bruce Chesnut, The New Kolb Aircraft Company Executive Board Member, presented Mayor Ken
Smith with a commemorative patch depicting John's adventure and two more for John to fly
with him and present to Mayor George N. Ahmaogak and Mayor Jim Vorderstrasse when he
arrives in Barrow, Alaska.
John was asked to make a small speech, but he was a little choked up with the special
ceremony. He gave a thumbs up, received plenty of hugs and well wishing for his
grand adventure. He departed Chesnut Knolls Aviation Foundation Airpark for Barrow,
Alaska. It just gave you goose bumps! He circled around for a farewell pass
and photo pass, and was off north to Alaska.
Pictured to the right: John
climbs in Miss P'fer and prepares for take off.
DAY 1 BACK
MONDAY: After leaving The New Kolb Aircraft Co. at Chesnut
Knolls, John encountered weather systems he had to get around. In contrast, he also
had sun and puffy clouds with HOT weather. He stopped in Joliet, Illinois for lunch
which included a hearty meal of liver and onions. That was a needed break since he
was loaded up with coffee and doughnuts from his departure ceremony. John lamented
not being able to thank everyone at the ceremony who supported and helped him. Miss
P'fer is flying great.
The first day was tiring for John and he wondered "again"
what he got himself into. He believes he will be in the "groove" within
the first week. After flying 7.9 hours and covering 528 miles, John landed about 8pm for
the night in Lone Rock, Wisconsin (lat 43.184465 lon -90.20171), which is
about 40 miles west of Madison.
The airport offered no restroom and the cafe was open Tuesday
through Sunday. He tent camped under the wing of Miss P'fer and had lots of coffee
in the morning.
DAY 2 BACK
TUESDAY: John's day started out discovering he left his
toothbrush at Kolb. He flew 8.4 hours this day. It seems like hard work with
constant 10-20 mph head winds. John tried climbing to 8000 feet to get away from the
head winds and found temperatures at 35 degrees along with the same head winds. He
decided to fly the deck, and has been doing so most of the trip. With the mid-west
terrain, John is not too excited and says he's just "grinding them out".
He feels like it will be hard work until he gets to Dawson Creek, British
John started traveling in long pants (Levi's) and leather jacket
today. The temperatures have been staying around 60 degrees. Lunchtime found
John at Alexander, Minnesota where he borrowed an airport courtesy car and drove to a
Chinese buffet, and found a K-mart to replace his toothbrush.
He stopped at Jamestown, North Dakota, intending to stay for the
night, but he couldn't get fuel. They were working all night resurfacing the runway,
so that meant not a good nights sleep. He headed northwest and wanted to make it to
Devil's Lake, but didn't have enough fuel and storms diverted him, so he stayed the night
in Carrington, ND (lat 47.450083, lon -99.123491).
He tent camped under the wing at a family run ag spray place who
just tucked him under their wing. They were really nice people, and had a brother
who runs a lodge at Northway, Alaska. John said if he gets a chance, he will stop
by. Again, the Kolb Mark III (Miss P'fer) and the Rotax 912S are doing great.
DAY 3 BACK
WEDNESDAY: John checked in with the webmaster about lunchtime
(EST), and was in Minot, ND. He intends his next landing to be in Canada at Estevan,
Saskatchewan. From Minot, John called customs in Estevan to make arrangements for
getting into Canada. Having done so, it made it real simple with no problems.
When he arrived, they gave him his number and that was it. He was really glad he
made prior arrangements as he witnessed another guy in an Agcat getting "torn
apart" by a customs official.
At Estevan, he rested (snoozed) at an FBO for a couple of
hours and was also able to grab a shower. It was the first one since he left, so it
was a treat for him. John threw in a reminder that he has been flying over
agricultural country for three days. He flew on up to Moose Jaw and there was
absolutely nothing there except a big agricultural operation.
He really had a hankering for that Cold Oven Pound Cake Shirley
Chesnut made and sent with him, but he couldn't find it. Finally, he unrolled his tent,
and there it was. So, to his delight, he was able to sit on the tire of Miss P'fer
at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and enjoy some wonderful homemade goodies. "It is
great to have something homemade that far down the road," said John.
John flew on to Davidson, SK (lat 51.27, lon -105.98) and tent
camped under the wing for his third night. Davidson Airport offered a neat 2000 foot
grass strip. Nearby was an Esso Truck Stop which supplied his hot supper. John
says he's "doing great, but not driving as hard as he did six years ago".
The weather has been beautiful, 75 degrees, and he has
had to resort to not wearing his jacket. He has been running his
engine harder with the headwinds at 5200 rpm which give him a ground speed
of 72. When the head winds worsen where he gets 65 mph ground speed,
then he takes a rest break and flies again later in the day. The
head winds seem to have taken their toll on John this day. He ended
the day feeling beat down and worn out.
DAY 4 BACK
THURSDAY: After having a hot breakfast at Esso Truck Stop,
John started out this day with a light tail wind until it warmed up and started blowing
out of the west. The population is starting to thin out. The headwinds picked
up by the afternoon, so John is retiring in Vegreville, Alberta for a few hours.
Vegreville is about 40 miles east of Edmonton.
John has calculated he is about 160 miles from Whitecourt; 303 miles
from Grande Prairie; and 367 from Dawson Creek which is mile "0" of the Alaska
He met the local flying club during a meeting and gave a talk with
them about his trip, and they all enjoyed looking at Miss P'fer after the meeting.
The flying club offered John a place to pitch his sleeping bag for a few hours before he
resumes his flight. John anticipates flying until about midnight. He indicated
he would make it to Whitecourt tonight and possibly Grande Prairie. West of Edmonton
the population will become sparse, so he will have to carefully choose how far to try and
After John took off after his nap (about 6:30pm mountain time), he
proceeded to fly past Edmonton, Alberta just to the north side. When he got west of
Edmonton, he saw 50-100 deer... all eating out of cattle troughs. All his life, he
had never seen so many in one spot. In the evening, the wind dies down and he has
less head wind.
He made it to Whitecourt, Alberta (lat 54.15, lon -115.68) and
stayed the night. Again, in his tent. He just really loves to travel that way.
The people at the flight service station were extremely nice to him and was just
"tickled to death" to have him there. They chatted and visited for awhile
and they let him use the kitchen and bathroom facilities. For dinner, he at one of
his MRE. He was "very, very tired" and got to bed about midnight (mountain
time). He got a good nights rest. The temperatures suited him. It was
nice and cool at 50 degrees.
DAY 5 BACK
FRIDAY: In the morning, he packed and loaded, had plenty of
coffee at the flight service station and was on his way. The morning seemed to start
off warm, so he left with a t-shirt on. After 10 minutes in the air, he decided he
had to land and get a jacket on. The highway was under construction for the most
part, but John did manage to find a finished area and he landed there.
He flew on to Grande Prairie and landed at the airport for lunch at
the airport restaurant. On final, he noticed a W.W.II A-26 next to the highway.
He thought it was a monument, and he circled around, but found it was a recent
crash site. It was a walk-away accident which happened the night before and was
still under investigation. The area has about 5-6 A-26s all painted the same which
they use as spray planes for the forest area.
Pictured to the left: John
stops at Dawson Creek, British Columbia which marks mile zero of the Alaska Highway.
John had a hot lunch and was on his way again. He saw his
first moose today flying at 1000 feet between Whitecourt and Grande Prairie. John
cut the engine and turned to go back and try to get a picture. He fumbled for his
camera but the silly strap got hung up and the moose outsmarted him and tucked away from
As he headed on to Fort St. John (from where he checked in), he flew
over Dawson Creek (pictured). At this time, he was having some coffee and getting ready to
file a flight plan for Fort Nelson farther northwest in British Columbia. He is now
about 60 miles up the Alaska Highway. John sounded quite chipper today; just
thrilled to be in British Columbia.
Pictured to the right: John
arrives in Fort St. John, British Columbia.
At this point he is not sure where he will be spending the night.
He thought maybe at the Sikani Chief air strip where Mae's Kitchen is located.
It would be a great place to have breakfast. He is less than 1500 miles from
Barrow, and will still have to deal with head winds for awhile.
Pictured to the left: John
intends on stopping for breakfast at Mae's Kitchen.
So far in John's travels, he has been averaging 7.4 hours a day of
flight time. He said, "that's not bad for an old guy!"
John made it to Toad River (lat 58.85 lon -125.23) before he decided
to call it a day and stay the night. For the first time on his trip, John stayed at
a Lodge. A real bed and shower was just what was needed and felt good.
SATURDAY: John had breakfast at Toad River Cafe with another Kolb
Firestar owner, Jerry, from Colfax, Indiana. Jerry is riding his motorcycle to
Pictured to the right: Toad River,
British Columbia, where John enjoyed breakfast with Jerry.
Thirty minutes out of Toad River, John decided to land for a break
at Muncho Lake. The scenery is breathtaking and they have a wonderful lodge right on
the lake with lots of amphibious aircraft
to the left: Muncho Lake, British Columbia.
Much to John's dismay, upon landing, his left axle
fitting broke off and his aircraft ground looped. John was fortunate
and didn't even sustain a scratch, but unfortunately Miss P'fer did.
Her left wing bow tip was damaged, the left outboard rib, and left outboard
aileron end was damaged along with the gear leg mounts. His own custom
axle gear had over 1200 hours on it. "You just can't predict stuff like
John was really amazed there wasn't more damage and felt fortunate,
even though his trip will be cut short.
Because of the wing damage, John feels it safest to call the trip
short. If it wasn't for the wing damage, John would consider going on, but he feels
the wing covering needs to be removed and additional examination performed.
John reported the incident to the Canadian Officials and was
preparing to contact his insurance company. At this time, John's preliminary plans
are to catch a flight to Fort Nelson, then on to Edmonton, back to Alabama where he will
get his truck and trailer and return, accompanied hopefully by his best friend Nell, and
pick up Miss P'fer at Muncho Lake.
According to Norm Labhart, president of the New Kolb Aircraft
Company, "The most fortunate thing is you are not injured. If it wasn't so
close to Oshkosh and us having committed to completing the release of a new aircraft, we
would send a truck with parts, portable welding equipment and get you back on your
From John Hauck -- A note to let you all know I returned home last
night, Wednesday, 5 July 2000. Started my homeward journey by hitch-hiking a ride in
a motor home the 150 miles from Muncho Lake, BC, to Fort Nelson, BC, where I RON'd
(remained over night). Next day flew on Teenie Weenie Airlines, eventually arriving
at Calgary, Alberta, where I RON'd again. BTW: I started my return home Monday
morning, 3 Jul 2000. Got up yesterday morning before daylight and flew to Denver,
then Atlanta, and finally, Montgomery, Alabama. Every flight was late. Every
connection required double-timing to get the connecting flight. Needless to say, I
was worn out when I got home yesterday evening.
No one is any more disappointed in not finishing this flight than me. I spent six
months preparing myself and my airplane to complete it. When I departed home last
month I was sure the airplane and I were up to the task. However, 1441.4 flight
hours and more than 4,000 landings and takeoffs, many from rough fields, most with maximum braking, hauling very heavy loads,
finally took their toll on the main gear leg/axle socket on the left main gear. The
socket failed immediately on touch down at Muncho Lake, BC, Saturday morning, 1 July 2000.
Took me totally by surprise when it failed. The socket was not standard Kolb
hardware, but a specially designed and built piece by my Brother Jim and me. Its
time of failure was reached on that last touchdown.
The loss of the left main wheel caused a ground loop which eventually wiped off the
superstructure of the left main landing gear. In the process, the left wing tip, aft
portion of the outboard rib and aileron were damaged, the right main axle socket broke,
and the antenna and landing light were also wiped off the bottom of the fuselage.
The damage is severe enough to warrant ground transporting home rather than
attempting to repair in the field.
As soon as I obtain the use of a enclosed trailer, 5th wheel or bumper hitch type, minimum
24 feet long inside, I will return to retrieve the MK III. I have several friends
searching the local area for a trailer to get the job done. The Alaska Highway to Muncho
Lake is in good condition this summer, with only two short construction areas of several
Time is of the essence to retrieve the MK III. The lodge where my personal gear is
stored, along with some to the MK III parts, will begin charging me $20.00 per day
effective 17 July, two weeks from my departure. Also of concern is the fact that the
fuselage is still located where it came to rest, in an area that is not completely secure.
The New Kolb Aircraft Company would let me use one of their trailers, but the timing is
such that all their trailers will be used to haul aircraft and supplies to Oshkosh.
I can not wait until after Oshkosh to go get my airplane.
I am grateful that the problem happened where it did and that as the result I was not
injured. Had it happened at the next landing I would have probably been at Liard
River Emergency Air Strip, 10 miles from the nearest telephone, with no way to secure the
airplane or my gear, or make outside contact. Someone was looking out for me.
I thank everyone for the support of my flight, for your faith in us, Miss P'fer and me,
that we would try our best to complete our mission. We did that.
Take care, fly safe.
From John Hauck -- As of right now, I have a trailer
lined up to retrieve Miss P'fer and my personal gear from Muncho Lake,
BC. A friend and fellow retired Army Aviator has offered me his 24 ft
enclosed trailer. Am driving down to Enterprise, Al, in the morning to
pick it up and get it ready for the trip.
I want all of you to know how much I appreciate your concern and
support. I would like to answer each email personally and
individually, but I am pressed for time and just can not do that now.
The clock is ticking. Monday after next the Swiss proprietor of the
Northern Rockies Lodge will start charging me $20.00 per day. That
adds up quick, even in Canadian dollars. If I get out of here Monday I
will probably arrive Muncho Lake 8 days later if I have no problems in
route. A couple days at Muncho to get loaded, squared away, and a
little rest, then back down the highway to Alabama. Trip will involve
approximately 7,600 miles in its entirety. One high light will be a
trip to the Liard River Hot Springs about 25 miles north of Muncho.
The water is so hot you have to get down stream from the source to keep from
getting boiled like a lobster. However, it even makes old bones and
muscles feel good.
Again, thanks for your help and support. Makes an old guy feel good to
know he has so many friends out there. Maybe I can make it all up to
you all one of these days.
I am sorry we (me and Miss P'fer) could not have finished our flight.
Everything was going so good. However, we still have an unofficial
record from the 1994 flight. No one has come close to that
flight in any type of aircraft that I know of. I have a feeling
it will stand for a long time. A tribute to our little Kolb airplanes that can do just about
anything we want them to do. They are safe, strong, fun, and for the
most part, will always get you home. :-) Even the best horses
get sore ankles once in a while.
PS: Do not know if I will have time to make Oshkosh this year.
If I do not make it, I will see you all in Lakeland or Oshkosh next year.
Hauck Completes Trip to Barrow, Alaska
1 | WEEK 2 | WEEK 3 | WEEK 4
JOHN STARTS WORK ON MISS P'FER -- By
I am ready to paint the last red sunburst
on top of the repaired wing today, if it quits raining. Then all I
have to do before first flight, since 1 July 2000, is stick the wings and
some little things back on. Probably end of next week before I start
Got my new sectionals and publications yesterday. Will be ready to
go before you know it.
Miss P'fer, The Hauck Special, flies.
After resting in the nest for more than 11 months, the Hauck Special has
not forgotten how to fly. Felt great to be back in the air again.
Engine ran great. Did about 30 minutes taxi tests and static WOT
Several things have changed since we last flew:
a. Main gear legs 2 inches longer.
b. Repositioned engine on the mounts in the standard position, rather than
with the front of the engine raised 5/8 inch.
c. Seats are 2 to 3 inches lower and 2 inches further aft.
d. Replaced 2 inch prop extension with a 4 inch extension.
e. Upgraded wheels and brakes, with 3/4 inch axles and tapered roller
Changing seat and gear legs changes my perception of where the main gear
are when landing. Will take a few more landings to get comfortable
with that, but I like the new improved seat back frames and
position. Will be a lot more comfortable and less tiring on long
days in the saddle.
The engine coolant and oil temps seem to be running warmer. Guessing that
the prop extension or change in engine position has influenced this
Air speeds seem slower, but I have not calibrated the static system since
I replaced the pitot/static hoses. I am also getting indications of
lowered stall speeds in all configurations by about 4 or 5 mph, so I think
it is indications and not true speeds that have changed.
New landing gear and wheels work great on pavement, better than my old set
up. Did some fast taxi tests on pavement. She tracks straight with
The new wheels and brakes are rated at 1,100+ lbs. The old UL
were rated at 600+ lbs. Brakes are much better. On pavement, they
pull the heavy MK III to a halt in just a few feet. Nice smooth stop
with no tires screaming and smoking. Feels good. Didn't have a
chance to do any cross wind landings on pavement yet. That may be
I plan on raising the front of the engine back to where it was last year,
Calibrate static system to get the true airspeed closer to IAS.
The 4" prop extension seems to have reduced prop noise. I'll have to
get the engine repositioned and calibrate airspeed before I can tell if
there is any change in performance. I am hoping that we may have
increased thrust, but won't know until we get set up to make another test.
With all the work and changes, I am happy and satisfied. A little
tweaking here and there and she will be her old self.
I plan to put about 50 hours on her before I depart for Barrow. I
must fly enough to feel that everything is going to remain operational for
the duration of the flight. The 1994 flight was accomplished with no
mechanical problems other than midrange carburetion problems. If
the 912S leans out in midrange in cold air, I will be able to put the fix
on it by raising the fuel needles a notch. I haven't had a chance to
test the engine in freezing weather, nor my Chille Vest, but I am sure I
will before the flight is over.
Tentative departure from Gantt International Airport is 1 July 2001.
Twenty days and counting.
Getting ready has got to be the most difficult, time
consuming part of long cross country flights.
Yesterday I replaced the 4" prop ext with the 2" ext I flew with
last year. Some how I have lost some cruise speed since last year.
The only changes I have made that could in any way affect cruise
Warp Drive prop blades returned to factory for refurbishment.
Increased main landing gear legs 2".
Increased wheel and brake weight by 3 lbs each side (6 lbs).
Recovered, repainted left wing, aileron, and flap.
Removed Firestar aileron counterbalance weight rods
and replaced with MK III weight rods (don't know what the difference in
weight is, but the amount of rod extending from the socket is a couple
Prop is pitched 11.5 deg, same as last year, turning 5,000 rpm cruise.
ASI is calibrated with GPS to within one or two mph.
With the 4" ext and engine on the mounts in the stock level attitude,
I was aprox 80 mph. With the front of the eng raised 5/8" aprox
82 mph (this puts the thrust line, static, 90 deg to the bottom of the
Yesterday with 2" ext and front of eng 5/8" above level, she
cruised about 86 mph at 5000 rpm.
I guess I will stay with the 2" ext which is noisier, but gives me
the edge on cruise speed. The 4" ext did seem quieter, but not
enough to give up increased cruise.
The MK III also seems to climb better with the 2" prop, but still not
getting the numbers I was last year.
Maybe my instruments are like me. They have been sitting around for
a year doing nothing and are a little stiff. Or maybe that long ride
on the Alaska Highway and home to Alabama through Oshkosh last summer in
the back of the trailer bounced them out of calibration. :-) I
know it did
I did a 120 xc last yesterday evening to Ted Cowan's airstrip south of
Opelika, Alabama. Felt good to fly somewhere instead of going around
I received the carb heat kit from the Pegasus guys in England. The
parts look good, but I do not see how they can charge what they do for
what one receives in the kit. Maybe it is the difference in exchange
I need to get the carb heat installed in order to thoroughly test prior to
departure for Barrow. No matter how much it cost, if it save me from
an engine out because of ice, which I can confirm I encountered at Toad
River, BC, last year, then it is worth it. Sort a like a parachute.
My Whelen strobe system that has operated without a problem for almost
1500 hours went inop on the way back from Ted Cowan's last night.
Since strobes on both wings are inopt, it is probably a power supply
problem and not the power pack. Maybe a bad switch, switch
connection, or power plug to the power supply box. I do not feel
comfortable with those strobes flashing.
Times a wasting.
In the final stages of preparation for
departure. This morning will install the carburetor heat system I
obtained from the Pegasus people (Rob Rollinson in Indiana). The
carb heat kit was fabricated and shipped from England. The system
uses hot water from the cooling system to heat coils wrapped around the
air filters to preheat intake air and prevent carb icing. This
system was used by Brian Milton on his round the world flight and another
gentleman from Britain who flew a trike to Dead Horse, AK. Until I
experienced icing during my approach into Toad River, BC, last year, I was
not overly concerned with it. Now I want to be prepared for any and
everything that Mother Nature and this flight can throw at Miss P'fer, the
Hauck Special Kolb Mark III, and me.
If all goes well and I am satisfied that the Kolb Mark III and I are
ready, I will depart from Gantt International Airport (all 750 feet of
grass in the cow pasture) next Sunday morning, 1 July 2001. I wanted
to depart yesterday, 24 June, but repairs and preparation did not allow
it. It is quite time consuming when one person is responsible for
everything involved in preparing for a flight of this magnitude.
Much more time than I had anticipated, even though this is the third time
I have prepared for a flight to Barrow.
Repairs went well, the aircraft is flying great. I will have a few
days to test the carb heat system to insure it will perform satisfactorily
prior to departure.
The new main landing gear system is working well, as are the upgraded
wheels, brakes, and tires.
Weather on the North Slope has been hitting the 40's and occasionally 50's
the last few days. I have my fingers crossed that this warm trend
will continue during my stay in the Arctic.
My latest estimate for this flight is approximately 10,000 miles (by the
time I return home), 130 flight hours, and 650 gallons of fuel. With
good weather and winds, I should be in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 7 days flight
time (at 8 hours per day). Then another two days to Dead Horse and
finally Point Barrow. However, there is a good possibility bad
weather will be encountered which will keep me on the ground at some time
flying north as well as south. I pray for favorable winds and clear
skies, but Northern Canada and Alaska has a reputation of inclement
weather with little or no warning. I have to take what I get.
Time is short and I still have a lot to do. I am excited about the
flight. I know from past experience these long days and nights in
preparation will be worth every minute of it when I push the throttle
forward and start my take off roll next Sunday morning. What a
joyous relief that will be.
I look forward to making daily contact with you during the flight. I
know there are a lot of people out there, especially my family, that will
be anxiously waiting for the daily SITREP (situation report) on Where's
John? I hope he knows. :-)
Just a quick note to bring you all up to
date. Everything in on track and going well. I should have no
problems getting out of Gantt International Airport first thing Sunday
morning, 1 July 2001.
I am getting ready to go to the airstrip to do final prep on Miss P'fer,
my MK III, a gracious old lady. All that is left to do is change
spark plugs, oil and filter. Then, she said she would like to have a
nice bath and she will be ready to load for the flight.
The spark plugs have 115 hours on them. Recommended replacement time
is 100 hours on the 912S and 200 hours on the 912. I left them in so
I could start out with fresh plugs and also to see if there was any degradation
in performance. None noted, as I suspected. They
looked good when I pulled them out at 94.5 hours.
My airplane will be loaded a little heavier than Will's and Dave's
airplanes. To start with I will have on board 150 lbs of fuel (25
gals useable/25 gals ultimate), 3 man tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, 3
liters of water, arctic and tropical clothing and survival equipment,
first aid kit, 14 days rations (MREs), pack stove & fuel, cook pot,
coffee cup, axe, 22 cal survival rifle and ammo, bug spray, mosquito head
net, 40 US, Canadian, and Alaskan Sectionals, Alaska and Canada Flight
Supplements, 2 qts ALCOR TCP, 3 qts. Marvel Mystery oil (will get 3 more
qts. on the way south, in Fairbanks, AK, for the trip home), camera w/35
rolls film, aprox'ly 10 lbs of mixed nuts and trail mix, granola bars,
shaving kit, 2 towels for me and 2 for Miss P'fer, tools, two spare sets
of spark plugs (16 each), pillow, misc nuts and bolts, safety wire, nylon
tie wraps, electrical tape, duct tape, spare prop bolt, travel alarm
clock, survival blankets (2 ea), windshield cover (Wall*Mart oil cloth
table cloth with polyester bottom), two sets of tie down stakes and ropes,
poncho, flight jacket, gortex shooting gloves, spare set of gloves to keep
my hands warm if I go down some where up north, shaving kit, medicine, wax
and rags for windshield maintenance, etc. You all get the idea.
I won't take anything that I do not need to take, but I will not leave
anything at home that I need. The above list was taken real quick
from memory, so it is not all inclusive. I have a check list that I
will go over methodically prior to departure from home to the airstrip to
load the airplane. I carry 7 days clothing. As I get further
north and the weather becomes cooler, I can wear the same clothes for two,
three, and four days at a time. Just remembered an important item.
When one "roughs it" as I do on long XC's, disposable "baby
wipes" are ideal for a quick and effective French shower. There
have been times when it has been a week between showers, but the baby
wipes do their job before I bed down in the tent. Almost as good as
a hot shower.
If I luck out with good weather I should make it close to Kansas City, MO,
the first day, Minot, ND, second day, Fairbanks, AK, seventh day, Dead
Horse, AK, eighth day, and Barrow, AK, day eight or nine. That is if
everything, including me is 100%. Realistically, it may take me
longer to get there.
The carb heat system from Pegasus is installed and seems to be doing its
job. I can control its operation from the cockpit. Placed the
on/off valve in the center section over the left seat (I fly right seat).
It operates on hot water from the cooling system. When it is on,
ever so slightly deflects the tack needle. Hardly noticeable.
This will be good insurance for me, as I encountered carb ice on approach
to the air strip at Toad River, BC, last year.
Talked to Dana Labhart, web master, for Kolb Aircraft. She will
begin updating the "Where's John" page Sunday, the day of
departure. If she doesn't keep the log up to date, you all know what
to do. Flood her with email. :-)
Better get busy or I will miss my ETD, less than 48 hours from now.
|WEEK 1 | WEEK 2
| WEEK 3 | WEEK 4
We will be posting John's progress as available here.
DAY 1 BACK
Had fog and low ceilings with some rain when I left
Gantt International AP. Had to fly to the east and north of
Birmingham, AL, because of weather. Got put down by low ceiling at
Pell City, AL, approximately 56 miles north of my strip. Finally got
to Olive Branch, MS at 1340 hours, where I was met by Kolb List member David
Jones of Hernando, MS. He took me to Cracker Barrel for a Sunday
dinner and then filled Miss P'fer to the brim with 100LL. What a guy.
He has one of the old Kolb Factory FireStars, think a KXP or whatever they
were called back then. It is primarily a Boston Maroon color.
You all ain't gonna believe me, but I fell into it here at Lebanon Airport,
MO. After having a feeling of not wanting to land here, I landed a few minutes ago after flying 7.5 hours
today... about 580 miles.
I am about one and a half hours out of Kansas City, MO.
I advise everyone that cross countries to RON at
Lebanon, MO airport. This is the most hospitable FBO I have ever been
in in all the years I have been banging around little airports. Upon
landing, I attempted to get camping gear out when staff of the FBO came out
and invited me in, showed me a different place to tie down, and even tied
down Miss P'fer for me. I am
hooked up to my email through their computer. There is food in the
frig, hot coffee, a shower, telephone, TV, air conditioning, etc. Don
Baxter gave me the run of the place. He left a few minutes ago.
Even provided me with towels for my shower, and had a disposable shaving kit
for me. I am overwhelmed.
Miss P'fer did good. She was extremely heavy coming out of my grass
strip this morning, plus the new 6X6 aircraft tires only had 15 psi.
It was a marginal take off and I am not accustomed to them. I landed
at Hamilton, AL, to take a pit stop and while there increased tire pressure
to 25 psi. A world of difference on pavement and should handle the
large baseball size gravel on the strips in Canada and Alaska.
All systems are go. I am worn out, but will relax, get a hot shower
and a good night's sleep and be ready to go in the morning. After a
hot breakfast, of course, downtown Lebanon.
I called Dana Labhart this afternoon from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, to update
the "Where's John" page, but no one home and left a message on her
machine. Will call again in the morning.
DAY 2 BACK
Fogged in this morning. Hoping fogs lifts and
able to leave by noon. I am feeling 100% better about the trip this
John checked in about noon today from McCluskey, ND
airport after flying about 3 hours this morning. He is about an hour
S.E. of Minot, ND. His goal for the day is to make it to Davidson,
Saskatchewan. He has a headwind now, so not sure he may be able to
"I feel good. We have beautiful
weather. We just need to turn this headwind around," said John.
DAY 4 BACK
Norm Labhart got to talk to John
today. He called in at about 8:00 PM EDT.
John only got to fly 69 miles
today. A cold front was coming through the area. The winds at one point
gave him a 125-mph ground speed with an 80-mph IAS!
He is currently in St. Alberta just
north of the Edmonton Air Space. He met some very nice folks who allowed
him to stay the night in the fields office and put the Mark III in a
hanger. He is planning on getting caught up on rest after flying over 9
hours yesterday. Current temperature is 53 degrees. This morning the
temperature was 65 degree at 11:00 am.
Had a little worry with some
leaking coolant. Tail and baggage compartment got some of the new orange
coolant on them. Problem turned out to be a loose clamp. Seems when he put
the carb heat on one of the clamps hid itself when it came to tightening
John gave some numbers on the
plane and the flight.
Totals through day 5
32.7 hours of flight
6.5 hours averaged per day
162 gallons of gas
5 gallons per hour
Cruises at 85 mph @ 5200 rpm
John says he gets to think of his
buddies on the Kolb Mailing list often while flying, and said to tell them
He estimates he is 3 days from
All is well for now. I just talked
to Jim Hauck, John's brother. He seems to think John is much more relaxed
than last year. After talking to John I would have to agree. John seems in
very good spirits and is enjoying the trip.
DAY 5 BACK
At 3:12 EDT John checked in from Grand Prairie,
Alberta. He is 56 miles from the Alaska Highway. He has
stopped here and will stay for most of the afternoon because winds are
25mph gusting to 35mph. He is going to wait for a few hours and
begin flying tonight when the wind dies down.
PICTURED ABOVE IS DAWSON CREEK, BC
Ain't technology great!
I am in Grand Prairie, Alberta, 65 miles from Dawson Creek, British
Columbia, Mile "0" of the Alaska Highway. Miss P'fer is
sitting outside the FBO, her tummy full of 100LL, waiting patiently for me
and the wind to die down a little. I landed here at 1200, wind
steady at 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph. I told the guys at the FSS to
"Check this out!" I landed on the approach end of runway
25 with about a 25 ft ground roll. Jokingly over the radio I heard
the FSS guys say something about showing off. I told them that I had
no choice but to land like that with that much wind.
It is almost 1500 hrs, wind has calmed to a pleasant 15 gusting to 25 mph.
I had breakfast at 1300 hrs after I fueled the MK III. Had hoped to
make Toad River today, but the wind will preclude that. I will
depart here shortly and make Dawson Creek. I can RON there is I have
to. If the wind dies more, it is right on my nose out of the NW, I
can fly all night and not be able to log night flight. It will stay
light from now on until I return further south.
I only made 69 miles yesterday because of a cold front that was moving
towards me. I made a good decision to stay put at St. Albert, AB,
just to the north of Edmonton. I have made about 250 miles this
morning, and hopefully more this afternoon or tonight. I can sleep
during he windy afternoons and fly when it calms, if it calms.
The airplane and I are doing great. I feel better about this flight
than any I have ever made before. I am being extremely careful and
cautious. There is no room for error. The further north I fly
the easier it is to get in trouble. It is easy to get bit before one
knows it. Other than the coolant leak caused by pilot/mechanic error
in failing to make sure all coolant hoses were tight after installing the
carb heat system, there has been no other problems with the airplane or
The 912S has used no oil, is burning about 5 GPH at $1.25 per liter CDN.
:-) Thanks everyone that sent me some help to pay the gas bill.
I will probably have the largest Master Card bill ever when I get back to
Hauck's Holler, Alabama. :-) I haven't taken time to convert
price to US dollars.
I am using a computer in the Shell FBO at Grand Prairie. The young
man working here, Ray Trudel, gave me a set of Esso wings when I stopped
to refuel at Fort Nelson, BC, on my 1994 flight. It is a small
world. And, in this part of the world and especially further north,
there are even fewer people. Have not seen this guy since 1994.
Dave and Wil, I hope you all are having as much fun on your flight as I am
on mine. Was sorry to hear of the IVO prop problem and return to
Grants Pass. I landed there in 1994, but I was flying my usual Warp
Drive Prop which has a nickel steel leading edge that has not peeled, yet.
:-) Had to throw that in there. :-)
It was 46F when I got up this morning at 0530 and 50F all the way to Grand
Prairie. Field elevation here is about 2,600 feet. I got into
long pants, Levis, and hiking boots yesterday. This cool dry air
beats the Hell outta 100F muggy weather in Alabama.
I refueled in Whitecourt, AB, this morning. Spent the night here
last year. From Whitecourt I started following the highway, and will
do so from here all the way to Dead Horse, Alaska, unless I have to
deviate to cross the Brooks Range to Anaktuvuk Pass, approximately 60
miles west of the Dalton Highway (Pipeline Haul Road). Again I will
have to leave the highway at Dead Horse to fly to Helmericks, 48 miles NW,
then the final leg to Point Barrow over tundra and water.
I think of you all on the Kolb List often. Will try to keep you
updated on my status as often as possibly.
I can assure you that this little Kolb airplane and I are doing our dead
level best to do what is necessary to successfully accomplish our mission,
our goal, to fly to Point Barrow, Alaska, and back to Alabama successfully
and in one piece.
My heart felt gratitude to everyone on the List for you interest and
support. We fly the best, one of Homer Kolb's creations modified by
the Hauck Brothers, the Hauck Special Mark III, Miss P'fer, a proud,
capable old lady with 1,600+ hours on her airframe, showing the World her
true colors on the way to Point Barrow, Alaska. BTW: We are
doing it completely unsupported, solo, self sustained, the way God
intended folks to fly cross countries. The way Dave and Wil are
doing it also.
Harrington, Lethbridge, AB:
"I spoke to John on the phone yesterday when he
stopped at my father's farm strip near Ardath, Saskatchewan. He had supper with my folks and
then continued on due to favorable tail winds. My dad said "It
made his summer" to have John stop in and "One of the nicest
kind of guys you would ever want to meet". John did tell me that did lose
some time backtracking due to forgetting one of his bags in Weyburn, Sask.
He did not make very many miles today no doubt because of a cold front with associated thunder showers came through his path today
near Edmonton Alberta."
DAY 7 BACK
John checked in at 2:23 EDT from White Horse, Yukon
Territory where he had spent the night. He has now flown 7 days, 49
hours... averaging 7 hours a day. "That ain't bad for an old
guy!" said John. Before stopping for fuel and the night, John
flew from one rain shower to another. He flew with his right hand on
the stick and left hand on the edge of his seat to hold on. At his fuel
stop, John found a nice bunk house with a nice bed and a hot shower.
A restaurant across the street welcomed him with a hot meal. John
hates to leave a nice cheap, dry room with hot food across the street.
"I met a gentleman flying with his old dog
while at White Horse. He is a Park Service person moving from Death
Valley to Bettels, Alaska. I can't imagine what a change that will
be for his family."
John was waiting on weather before heading on to
Northway, Alaska for the afternoon. He is excited about getting
there. Right now he has good tail winds, and if that keeps up, he
will make it to North Pole, Alaska (just south of Fairbanks). He
will have no trouble flying at night, because the sun sets at
1:30am. In Northway, there is no official sunset time.
There are mountains on both sides of the airport at
White Horse with snow capped peaks. The temperatures have been 45 degrees
with 15mph wind. At 6000 feet, temp is 32 degrees. At 7000
feet, temp is 30 degrees. This has given John plenty of time to use his
new Chilli Vest. It is 12 volt powered and John says, "It works
John feels a bit tired, but he says "It's a
fact of life. I'm not getting any exercise and it makes me feel
lethargic." Miss P'fer is performing wonderfully. She is
burning more fuel than last year. He has 160 hours on the engine and
1600 on the airframe.
Along the way, John is meeting great people and
enjoying a view of wildlife few have experienced. He saw his first
moose by Grand Prairie, a mamma and baby. In British Columbia, he
encountered an eagle, caribou and a black bear. While flying across
the Dakotas he found coyote.
PICTURED ABOVE IS CARIBOU
DAY 8 BACK
John checked in at 1:54 EDT from North Pole,
Alaska. He met with J.D. Smith at the airport. J.D. provided
John with lodging, food, and transportation. From White Horse, John
said his flights were just beautiful. He didn't remember the
mountains being so beautiful. This day he landed for fuel and/or
food at Haines Junction, Burwash Landing on Kluane Lake, and his last stop
in the Yukon was at Beaver Creek.
Upon arrival to Alaska, John went through
customs. "Actually, it was only a phone call," said
John. He described the customs official as sounding young and
grumpy. His remark to John upon a description of Miss P'fer was,
"Oh no, not another one." John celebrated his arrival in
Northway with a giant hamburger. At 10pm, the sun is still high in
Currently John's headquarters is in J.D. Smith's motor
home. It is about 2.5 miles from North Pole. John plans on
staying the day here, heading to Eielson AFB and rewarding Miss P'fer with
an oil change and clean up. Getting ready for the rough stuff, John will
head north in the morning towards Dead Horse, weather permitting.
This area is known as the Atigun Pass. He will be headed to Bettles
and from there to the Pipeline Road/Dalton Highway. Bettles is about
75 miles north into the article circle.
Once John arrives in Dead Horse, Alaska, he will
travel about 48 miles to Helmericks for a visit. This is a family and
town. The town is named after the family... being the first white
family to settle in these parts of Alaska.
850 miles to go!
DAY 10 BACK
John checked in at 7:23 pm. He is still at North
Pole, AK. There is weather on the north side of the Brooks
Range. Ceilings are at 200 feet and visibility is down to 1/8
mile. John needs to wait until weather is good enough on both sides
of the Brooks Range before heading that way.
John has still been staying at J.D.s place and
spending time with him. J.D. is an airport manager at Fort Wainwright
where John called from. He is also a retired CW4 and flew Kobras and
Apache CH64s. "I'd be miserable waiting for weather to clear if
I didn't have J.D. to spend time with," said John.
John spent the day running errands -- Went and got
his customs stamp. It was not available in Northway when he was
there (another $25), purchased another calling card at Sam's Club, etc.
Yesterday, after completing work on Miss P'fer, he
took her for a spin over the Nenana River area and saw about 25 moose of
all sizes, adult females, adult males, and their offspring.
Am still in North Pole, Alaska. Another heat wave today, got up to
70F. Had to take off my leather flight jacket. :-)
Still waiting on weather system to move out of the North Slope. IFR
from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. Have been extremely
careful this flight and am going to continue to do so. I want this
one to be successful.
Am in a good "safe house" here. Have a wonderful family to
stay with and all my needs are being met. JD Smith, retired Army
Aviator, and I have spent the last three nights telling lies until
midnight. We met through another List and laid eyes on each other
for the first time when I landed at North Pole, 2200 on 8 July 2001.
Miss P'fer and I are ready to head north as soon as the weather turns VFR.
This is not the place to push weather. Weather is the greatest
hazard to aviators in Alaska and I do not intend to be a statistic because
I became a victim of it.
Have had a wonderful flight so far. Am looking forward to returning
to the Arctic Region of Alaska. I love it. I do not remember
the mountains through Canada and Alaska beings so beautiful as they were
on this flight. Got up the other day and could see Mt McKinley,
125 miles south west of here.
Weather in the Fairbanks/North Pole area has been great. Temps
around 65 in the day time and good sleeping weather at night.
Have been making a pig of myself on halibut, Korean food, Alaskan food,
and Mac Donald's coffee in the morning.
Hope to have some good news for you all in the very near future.
When I depart here I should be in Barrow in about two days.
checked in this morning at 10:45am EDT.
He got into Dead Horse last night.
He had a nice hot breakfast this morning before calling.
“It’s amazing I had to fly all that way to eat grits!” said
here’s John’s 13th day... He woke up with a good feeling, went to
McDonalds for coffee and biscuit, and headed to Ft. Wainwright to get a
weather report. They reported
it would be a go. John left North Pole at 2:00pm EDT and flew to Bettles.
From Bettles he headed to Anaktuvuk Pass, which he found out was
shorter than the Atigun Pass. The
scenery was “utterly awesome” said John.
While at Bettles, John encountered “a rubber necker tourist”
from one of the tourism aircraft who said, “This is the strangest
airplane I’ve ever seen.” John
explained he has gotten lots of attention and questions at just about
going through the Anaktuvuk Pass, John took lots of pictures.
[Note: webmaster will post some when available.]
In comparison with remarks he found by tourists in Bettles, John
landed at Anaktuvuk, an Indian Village, and met lots of onlookers.
One in particular was an Eskimo in a water truck with a big, huge
grin on his face and remarked, “I like your plane!”
there, John headed on to Galbraith Lake.
It was rainy and really ify going in, but John had to go.
The most serious problem John has had this trip is having to go to
the bathroom. John headed on
to the Dalton Hwy./Haul Road and arrived in Dead Horse about 11:00pm EDT
with a temperature of 39 degrees. Flight Service reported a 22 mph wind, so John had to taxi in
carefully. “It’s nice
coming back to a place I’d been before because I already knew my way
around,” said John.
putting Miss P’fer to rest, John walked over to the Prudhoe Bay Hotel
where he stayed the night. The
hotel was swamped with people, but the kind manager Jori made sure John
got a room. Hot meals at the
hotel were very welcomed. “This
was the turn around point for me for my ‘94 flight due to cold weather
and engine problems. This
trip, the engine is performing perfectly,” said John.
this update on his position, John will be checking with flight services
for a final weather report. He
expects to be in Barrow in a couple of hours.
“This is the big deal right now.
The really, really, really dangerous part of the flight,” said
John. “I’ll probably go
there, spend a short time, turn around and fly 185 miles back to
Helmerick’s. I don’t want to be weathered in in Barrow.
called from Barrow.... HE MADE IT! He
arrived about 4:30pm EDT. He
said it was a great flight with 20-25 mph tail winds.
Most of the flight showed over 100 mph ground speed with a top
speed reading 130mph ground speed. He
did make one stop (illegally) on a gravel runway at Lonely.
(One of those breaks you know.)
Barrow is the “absolute end of the earth” describes John.
The pack ice is in, so there isn’t much shore.
On the way here John flew by Helmerick’s place and circled.
He couldn’t raise him on the radio, he circled and continued on
arrival to Barrow, John tried to find flight service and was intercepted
by a security person because he didn’t have a flight line pass.
The officer gave John the 25 cent tour of the flight line.
Included was the North Slope Burrough Search and Rescue aircraft...
2 Bell Jet Rangers and 1 Lear Jet.
his cheeseburger at Ken’s Chinese Restaurant, John intended to fly to
Point Barrow, a sand bar and northern most point.
From there he will head back to Helmerick’s.
Flight service is reporting only a 5 knot wind from 6-9000 feet.
“I’d hate to be up here when it’s really cold and not in the
middle of July,” said John. It
is 40 degrees now. He is acclimating
well to the climate with his warm gear and exclaims, “the electric vest
does the job.” Another
reason for not staying over in Barrow is the cost of the rooms $150.00
verses $90.00 in Prudhoe Bay which includes hot meals and all the snacks
you can eat.
did confess the few days time off in North Pole waiting for weather to
clear was probably a good rest for him… one that he would not have
chosen to take.
concludes with “I’m mighty proud of my aircraft for carrying me this
DAY 15 BACK
checked in from Dead Horse at 1:00pm EDT. He stayed at Helmerick's
place last night. Their hospitality was great and John got to enjoy Musk
Ox Sausage for breakfast.
John remarked he was disappointed with Barrow. It
wasn't what he expected. He feels the impact of oil money has had a
very commercial affect on Barrow. However, on the flip side, John is
beaming with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment of a lifelong
Dead Horse, his intentions are to fuel, file a flight plan and head south
through the Atigun Pass. He will probably stop and visit Jack
Reikoff near Coldfoot, AK. It is just a little north east of Bettles
so he plans to head to Bettles for fuel again and back to North Pole.
DAY 15 BACK
checked in from North Pole about 4:00pm EDT. He is taking one more
day off for rest and spending some time with J.D. Smith. He plans to
have Moose Steaks for dinner. It would not have been a good day to
head south because the weather was "sour", said John. The
temperatures are getting better... 57 degrees this morning.
The Barrow Flight has now changed to the Oshkosh Flight. Actually,
last year we were advertising the flight as "The Flight to Oshkosh,
Via Barrow, Alaska."
My flight has been a tremendous success for me personally and also for the
Kolb aircraft that I fly. We have demonstrated we have what it takes
to fly the remotest, hostel terrain in the World. My little Mark III
has the guts to take me places that most only dream of. I am a very
grateful man for having the opportunity to represent all of you in
demonstrating to the rest of the aviation world that we ultralighters have
what it takes to get the job done no matter where it is. The
airplane and the engine have performed flawlessly.
I took an extra day here in North Pole, Alaska, to recoup and get ready
for the flight south. I will fly to Whitehorse, YT, then either the
Stewart-Cassiar Highway or Alaska Highway to eventually end up in Prince
George, BC, and back into the US at Oroville, Washington, sometime this
weekend. An overnight stop with a Special Forces friend in Twisp,
WA, then to Whitefish, Montana, to visit friends and deliver a special
email I have had in my possession (in my zip lock bag with my aircraft
papers) since last year. From Whitefish, MT, to Yellowstone NP.
Now, if I dip south before Yellowstone, I can pick up Nevada, Utah,
Colorado, and the rest of the States required to say that Miss P'fer has
carried me to every State in CONUS plus Alaska. All 49 of them..
Also 5 or 6 of the Canadian Provinces and Mexico. All that coverage
was flown in two or three flights in 1994 (maybe some in 1993) and 2001.
I have had no mechanical problems with the aircraft or engine except a few
loose radiator hoses which took a few minutes and a screw driver to adjust
for correction of the problem.
The carb heat system is working. I taped half of the radiator to
keep cyl head and oil temps up to at least 180F and 190F. The 912S
has not skipped a beat since day one, hour one.
My 12 year old King KX99 VHF has performed on the same standards as
"real airplane" radios. On the way south from Dead Horse
last Sunday night I was receiving clearly from stations more than 100
miles. I have had no problem transmitting 25 to 50 miles in Alaska
and Canada. On my approach into Olive Branch, Mississippi, on the
first day of this flight, a young CFI or student made the comment on
UNICOM that my radio was the most terrible he had ever heard. Have
had no complaints from anyone else the last 17 days. :-)
I am continually grateful for your support of my flight. With your
help it has been a much more enjoyable adventure. I am doing my best
to represent all Kolb builders, pilots, and "hopeful"
builders/pilots. Because we had a DNF last year has no influence on
our ability to complete the flight this year. My Kolb Mark III has
carried me to the top of the World. I am extremely proud of her.
The Hauck Brothers can build, modify, design, and update airplanes that
get the job done. Thanks Brother Jim for your expertise and help.
I called Homer Kolb today to tell him Miss P'fer and I got to Barrow, but
he was in the hanger working on his 1985 Oshkosh Grand Champion Ultralight,
the factory Firestar. Clara Kolb said she would relay my msg to him
as soon as we hung up. Homer and Clara will not be a Oshkosh this
year, I am sad to announce.
I better get my gear in order for tomorrows departure.
Take care and I hope to see many of you at Oshkosh. I should arrive
there on the first one, two or three days of the show, weather permitting.
DAY 17 BACK
checked in at 5:08pm EDT from Northway, AK. He is 38 miles from
Beaver Creek entering the Yukon Territory. He just finished a big
hamburger and is about ready to be on his way. He did run into
another pilot which he met before on his 1994 trip. The fellow was
flying a Beech when then met before at White Horse. It's a small
reported the moose steaks were delicious and moose is the game of choice
saw Mt. McKinley today. He had to climb to 11,000 to get above the clouds
and see it.
has 298 miles to fly to get to White Horse where he intends on staying at
the bunk house.
DAY 19 BACK
checked in at 12:15pm EDT from Smithers, BC where he had stayed the night
last night. Yesterday's flying took him from White Horse to Watson
Lake to Dease Lake and to Mesidia Lake. Smithers was a nice place to
camp and John had a MRE GI ration for dinner. At his time of checking in,
he was checking on weather because there was a system around Prince
George. He was now on his third cup of coffee and ready to go.
summed up his flight yesterday and the most excellent part of his flight
yet. The scenery of the lakes between the mountains capped with snow
and beautiful pointed glaciers was just breathtaking. The terrain
today is beginning to level out.
checked in again at 5:25pm EDT from Prince George. His radio decided
to go belly up. He can still hear, but can't talk. The weather
was iffy south of Prince George. He said if he could manage getting
out of Prince George okay (a controlled airspace) then the he would just
land at uncontrolled airports because of his radio problem. If he
gets held up by weather, he may tinker with it for awhile. John commented
he is now making better time and may probably make the US border tonight.
The webmaster is travelling for a couple of days and
will not update until I hear from John on Monday. Sorry guys!