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What better way to spend a day then to go get a $100 hamburger? Of course, these days it’s more like a $500 hamburger. This term basically means you’re spending a bunch of money in AVGAS just to go and get a meal. Restaurants are often located very near airports, making them popular pilot destinations.
Today we’d be heading from Homer to Cooper Landing, about an hour and a half flight. The weather is beautiful and clear, but as we approach Skilak Lake, we notice that fog had settled in. Desiring to know if it extended up into the mountains, and into Cooper Landing, I called up Flight Service to see if they had any more info. Turns out it WAS clear, so we continued out.
Along the way we saw many glaciers, some mountain goats, sea otters, the leaves changing, a hydroelectric dam, and overall just a different route than we’d taken and new places to see.
There was a bit of turbulence, and low fog coming through the mountains to Cooper Landing, and the Quartz Creek airport (JLA). With no safety concerns, we pressed on and inevitably found the airport.
Before the flight I had done some ‘recon’ by asking various Facebook groups about the airport. This gave me some real world info on the airport, mixed with what the AFD (now Chart Supplement) had to say. Armed with this information, our approach was made easier.
Landing at the airport one has to be aware of the winds, terrain, and also know how to control the airplane into some tight spots. While the runway is 2200 feet, and plenty long enough for a 172 with a few passengers, I still took care to make sure I landed early and on-speed.
Just as I was about to touchdown the air ‘dropped out’ from underneath me, something common when flying into a protected ‘bowl’ of trees. We settled in nicely, and completed our flight.
A short walk to the nearby Sunrise Cafe, and lunch, was a real treat. And, Chelsea laying next to Kenai Lake and taking a nap was a true memory we’ll cherish. Alaska is just so beautiful and healing to the soul. It reaches out and grabs one by the heartstrings, and draws you in.
Our flight back was uneventful, going through Soldotna for fuel, and then on to Homer.
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Chief Flight Instructor and President of Angle of Attack. Founded in 2006.
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