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Ferry Flight to Alaska (Juneau)


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Hi All,

 

I might have the opportunity in the near future to ferry a helicopter from Louisiana to Juneau, AK. Just wondering if anyone has ever made a similar trip and if so, which route did you take?

 

Just from initial planning it looks like I'll be going through Albuquerque, NM, then toward Salt Lake City, UT on up to Boise, ID then through Seattle, WA, and cross the U.S./Canada border somewhere around Langley Airport.

 

That's probably the most direct route, making stops at airports in between about every 2 to 2.5 hours.

 

Looking for hints, tips, suggestions, or any advice!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Bart

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Bart-

 

I ferried a 206L3 from LA to Anchorage a couple summers ago, great wx the whole way (3 days & 24 hrs later). Pretty much striaght through Seattle the first day. Cleared Canadian customs in Abbottsford - make sure you call customs AT LEAST a couple hours in advance (where ever you make the entry), and DO NOT get out of the helo until greeted by customs. When initially calling in advance, They will likely give you a number to call in case the inspector doesn't show up; call the # about 10 minutes after arrival at airport of entry and you will be given a receipt code - write it down with any other instructions and you will be cleared. Tank up and you are on yer way. Also, DO NOT BRING FIREARMS. If you have any onboard and they are found, well, it's a NFG situation.

 

Through Canada, we jogged around the mountains and tried to keep direct from Abbottsford to Williams Lake (tank up) and flew another hour to Prince George & RONd there... a slow but cool town with lots of color. Airport is about a 10 minute car ride (FBO fueler gave us a ride in) and it is not walking distance to any hotels or food (FBO fueler was finishing up shift gave us a ride in, morning took taxi). Did the flt/nav planning and contingencies to AlCan Hwy if winds high & fuel getting low. Up early & off to Mackenzie for topoff and filled 35G in jerry cans, flew up the trench to Ft Ware (Ind. Res.), dumped the cans and direct to Watson Lake. Filled up, direct to White Horse. Filled up, to NorthWay (AK), Customs, filled up and direct to PANC. Really nice sights between Watson and White Horse.

 

US Customs will want $25 for the A/C sticker...sorry, you don't get a choice. For US customs, generally no advance notice is req'd.

 

At every stop, make sure you get a good Wx brief, file the flight plan and close it when you arrive at destination...Especially in Canada and into Juneau.

 

Get current Canadian charts (the colors make Canada look like a desert - you'll seewhat I'm talking about) even though everything's green.

 

Understand High Alt. performance/limitations (A/s & such). You will likely be flying above 9,000" for periods of time and winds/turbulance over ridgelines can be fun at times.

 

If you have a light load, keep some snacks and food and survival/cold wx gear. You will be flying in areas that have alpine glaciers (and often flying above them) - think being remote if things go bad.

 

Do thorough planning for the remote sections, but understand you could fly up the AlCan hwy if worried - just longer/more fuel.

 

At Canadian airports, they usually have a small phone booth dedicated to FSS. Also suggest you get a very accurate fuel qty & burn rate before the flight. Canadian airports have good qty's of 100ll & Jet-A (especially for summer burn season), but smaller airorts will usually have the great 'self pumps' with plenty of fuel, but no trucks. For these, bring a credit card.

 

A fun flight and a lot of wildlife and Kodak picture moments to see at low flights - bring a good camera and get some good shots. If going in the summer, daylight is nice and long, so you don't have to worry about the night flights.

 

Enjoy the flight - not too common these come by for most people.

 

-WATCH FOR THE WIRES-

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That sounds awesome. Stories like this get me excited about being a heli pilot, and getting to travel around, seeing things not many get to see. I can't wait until i can get my license :D It'll be quite a few years, but it's well worth it.

 

Arotrhd, do you have any pictures from your flight? Sounds like it was a beautiful trip.

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Bart - that will be a great trip. I've flown an AStar B2 to Whitehorse, Yukon and back, crossed the U.S. border many times and flown around southern B.C. a bit. While arotrhd has given you lots of great info, there are a couple of things there which would cause you trouble. If you're a memeber of AOPA, lots of good info at AOPA's Pilot Information Center - CANADA & AOPA's Pilot Information Center - ALASKA

 

...Cleared Canadian customs in Abbottsford - make sure you call customs AT LEAST a couple hours in advance (where ever you make the entry), and DO NOT get out of the helo until greeted by customs. When initially calling in advance, They will likely give you a number to call in case the inspector doesn't show up; call the # about 10 minutes after arrival at airport of entry and you will be given a receipt code - write it down with any other instructions and you will be cleared. Tank up and you are on yer way. Also, DO NOT BRING FIREARMS. If you have any onboard and they are found, well, it's a NFG situation.

To clear customs into Canada:

"Entry into Canada

You are required to provide advance notification to Canadian customs by
calling 1-888/CAN-PASS (226-7277)
. You must provide notification
no less than two (2) hours
but no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival.
A filed and activated IFR or VFR flight plan
is required for border crossing, and your
first landing in Canada must be at an airport of entry
. You will be required to provide the customs office with information about yourself, passengers, your flight, and airport of entry.
After arrival at your airport of entry, immediately contact the Canadian CANPASS office again at the same number and receive an arrival report number or be advised to await a customs inspection
."

While arotrhd's advice about NOT getting out of the aircraft before being greeted by customs is correct for U.S. Customs (some U.S. agents WILL pitch a fit!) if you follow that advice in Canada you could get old waiting! :D Usually (other than Vancouver - CYVR) there will be no Customs agent at the airport. There may be a designated Customs area on the ramp, advise the tower (if there is one) you need to clear customs. Once there, call them back at 1-888/CAN-PASS (226-7277) and you will be given your code and cleared on your way. As arotrhd says, DO NOT BRING FIREARMS! There has been a huge increase in cross-border smuggling of B.C. bud (and other dope & guns) via helicopter so you'll want to follow the procedure correctly.

 

Canada Customs Telephone Reporting - General Aviation Aircraft

 

Through Canada, we jogged around the mountains and tried to keep direct from Abbottsford to Williams Lake (tank up) and flew another hour to Prince George & RONd there... Did the flt/nav planning and contingencies to AlCan Hwy if winds high & fuel getting low.

 

At every stop, make sure you get a good Wx brief, file the flight plan and close it when you arrive at destination...Especially in Canada and into Juneau.

 

Get current Canadian charts (the colors make Canada look like a desert - you'll seewhat I'm talking about) even though everything's green.

 

If you have a light load, keep some snacks and food and survival/cold wx gear. You will be flying in areas that have alpine glaciers (and often flying above them) - think being remote if things go bad.

 

Do thorough planning for the remote sections, but understand you could fly up the AlCan hwy if worried - just longer/more fuel.

As far as your proposed route goes, makes sense as far as Boise, but then why come as far west as Seattle?? Though we'd love to see you in Seattle, I don't think you want to follow a coastal route north of Vancouver. As arotrhd suggested you want to head for Williams Lake, so from Boise head to Spokane then make Canadian entry in the Okanagan Valley at Kelowna, BC (CYLW) or Penticton, BC (CYYF), or if you have the range, Kamloops, BC (CYKA), all Canadian AOEs (Airports of Entry). On up to Williams Lake, BC (CYWL) --> Prince George, BC (CYXS) --> Smithers, BC (CYYD) --> ??

 

I'm not sure from Smithers whether you would head out to the coast (Prince Rupert) and up through Ketchikan - Wrangell - Juneau, or if a better no-floats route is up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (Hwy 37) and out to Juneau? Rey or someone with experience up there should be able to advise.

 

In addition to Canadian Charts you will need a Canada Flight Supplement (CFS). Don't consider a CFS optional! Canadian Aeronautical Charts and Publications You can get all through Sporty's or Aviation Book Company in Seattle.

 

US Customs will want $25 for the A/C sticker...sorry, you don't get a choice. For US customs, generally no advance notice is req'd.

YIKES! :o arotrhd must have caught a break with a mellow agent on a quiet day! US customs is generally much stricter than Canada. You MUST advise arrival at least one hour, no more than 23 hours, ahead if landing at a US International airport (formerly known as an AOE). You can land at a Landing Rights Airport (LRA) if you provide enough notice for a CBP (Customs & Border Patrol) agent to meet you. DON'T rely on "ADCUS" on your flight plan, call customs for your airport of arrival directly and get a badge number of the customs official you talk to. That little tid-bit HAS saved my bacon! Into the US you CAN NOT arrive early, and only up to 15 minutes late. STAY IN YOUR AIRCRAFT until the agent greets you!

"Returning to the United States

U.S. Customs requires advanced notice of arrival. These requirements may vary. Be sure to check the requirements for the specific airport used. This information can be found in the U.S. Customs Guide for Private Flyers. The telephone numbers for U.S. Customs offices are listed in the front pages of AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
Most airports of entry will require no less than one (1) hour but no more than 23 hours advanced notification.

 

You
must
be on a VFR or IFR flight plan with ADCUS (Advise Customs) listed in the remarks section. We
strongly suggest that you use a telephone and not rely on the Advise Customs Message (ADCUS).
AOPA recommends a telephone call to Customs due to violations reported to us by pilots when Customs has not received the ADCUS message in a timely fashion. Typically these violations will
start at $5,000
for the first offense. When calling customs, we suggest that you
get a badge number of the customs official
who took your information, and if you have a telephone credit card, use it so that you will have a statement that shows the date and time you made the call.

 

Keep in mind that it is
important to be on time
. It's always better to be a
little
late than too early. Pilots should update their estimated time of arrival by contacting U.S. air traffic control and requesting them to advise Customs of the new arrival time in the United States."

U.S. Customs Guide for Private Flyers or U.S. Customs Guide for Private Flyers

 

Need or want a copilot? B)

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Bart,

 

Is that one for the Blue guys in Juneau?

 

vertrefadmin,

 

negative, white red and black tour helicopter :D

 

Everyone else,

 

Thanks for the good info. I will be leaving for this trip in the beginning of May. Until then I will be gathering as much information as possible. Unfortunately there won't be an opportunity for someone to get free turbine time as there is only one set of controls :( . One of my fixed wing buddies is riding along to help with the flight planning and also be a camera man :P

 

Any additional info is greatly appreciated!

 

Bart

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  • 1 month later...
Guest rookie101
Thanks for the good info. I will be leaving for this trip in the beginning of May.

 

Okay Bart it's now May 31st and we got to know how the trip was and if your fixed wing friend brought his camera so we might be able to see the trip ourselves!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I know its been a while...

 

The trip went really well except for crappy weather most of the way. I didn't get a chance to take many pictures because of it. I didn't have any maintenance issues which made the trip much easier!

 

Here's a description of the route:

 

1st day...Lake Charles, LA to Grand Prairie, TX. I had to stop at Eurocopter for a small, planned maint. issue. Fricken Yankees were in town so no hotel rooms, had to stay in Ft. Worth...huge pain in the arse for many reasons I won't go into here.

 

2nd day...Crappy weather all the way to West Woodward, OK, 500 ft agl most the way. Then on towards Colorado when FSS told me about a line of T-storms on my route of flight, so I diverted to Garden City, KS to wait them out. Turns out they were moving pretty slowly but I was trapped anyway. Got a hotel in town that night, had a tornado warning, one almost formed right next to the hotel :o . Lotsa lightning, hail, wind and rain...thankfully no damage to the helicopter sitting on the ramp at the airport. BTW, if you ever have a chance to stop at a Flower Aviation FBO in KS, do it :D .

 

3rd day...OK weather to Cheyenne, WY, then on to Sheridan, WY for lunch (neat town), then to Great Falls, MT, stayed the night there.

 

4th day...First stop in Lethbridge, AB for customs (nothing big, just a phone call once I got there). Weather to the north so I went West to Cranbrook, then on to Kelowna...or was it Kamloops...I keep getting those two mixed up, don't have the charts handy, it was the one that's further Northwest. From there to Prince George to stay the night.

 

5th day...Tried to get to Terrace but got stopped in my tracks trying to get through the Kelwa Pass (WX) just west of Smithers, so I turned back and landed at Smithers. Stayed there for an hour or so and then pressed on to Prince Rupert where I called customs. 1st stop in AK was Ketchikan for customs (no biggie there either, the lady came over and reviewed the info I submitted over the phone and off I went). Next stop after some pretty heavy rain (read really bad vis) up through Stevens Passage all the way to Juneau.

 

The trip took a total of about 27 hours. Really fun even though some crappy Wx. Canada was just beautiful!

 

That's all for now, I'll try to post some pictures later

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