An Alaska Airlines 737 arrives behind a Cessna Skywagon. Fairbanks is one of the very few major airports where you’ll find a water runway immediately adjacent to a paved one. Sharp-eyed enthusiasts may have also noticed the nose of a DC-6 below the 737 – it’s mounted atop Pike’s Aviator Greenhouse & Sweets, and is one of several you’ll encounter exploring the area.
When you chat about Alaska with aviation enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of things to talk about; perhaps the mind-boggling volume of east-west cargo flowing through ANC, or the the world’s largest floatplane base next door at Lake Hood. Military buffs will know about the goodies at Eielson and Elmendorf, and civil aviation folks will lament the recent demise of Alaska Airline’s combis on the fabled milk run.
An Everts Air Fuel DC-6A getting loaded at Fairbanks. N7780B was built in 1957 and spent its early career hauling oil drilling components for the Hughes (yes, that Hughes) Tool Company. 63 years later, it spends its days hauling fuels, mostly diesel, to rural communities in Alaska.
What if you’d like to get a little farther off the beaten path? What if you’d like to see dozens of DC-6s in America’s northernmost boneyard? What if you’d like to spot seaplanes operating alongside commercial airliners? Well, you’d need to visit Fairbanks, of course! If you can’t make it up yourself, follow along as I share my recent journey.
The coronavirus will have devastating consequences for the airline business that we all love. Since there are many great folks covering the impact, we have opted to keep publishing our typical fun and entertaining content to provide a bit of an escape, with some stories about COVID-19 mixed in. Our thoughts are with the many lives that will change forever.
A while back I got to fly in KLM’s World Business Class on one of their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. That flight was from San Francisco to KLM’s HQ hub in Amsterdam, and from there I connected onwards on another Dreamliner to Brazil. I took some photos and videos from that second flight and wanted to let them speak for themselves.
Once you start the story below, no more words from me. If you want the lowdown on the seat and service, head to that trip report from my SFO–>AMS flight. Otherwise read on for the photo and video highlights from my long-haul flight in KLM’s flagship premium product. And don’t forget: if you’re an audiovisual sort of person, subscribe to our YouTube channel.
With the Dreamliner typically stuck on international duty, it’s been hard to fulfill my Dreamliner Quest. In January, on a trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded! – Photo: John Jamieson
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by commercial aircraft. When I was a kid, I tried my best to learn everything about my two favorite jets: the Fokker F28 and the Boeing 747. Supposedly, when I was in grade one, my teacher found me on Cathay Pacific’s website trying to book a flight to Hong Kong. As I remember it, I was looking up facts about the airline’s new triple-7 fleet.
When Boeing announced plans to build the 7E7, I remember receiving a newspaper clipping from my grandmother. The article, plucked from the pages of the Vancouver Sun, described the aircraft as a “Long-Haul Gamechanger.” With its largely composite design, this aircraft was reportedly going to revolutionize fuel consumption.
Bonus: Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long-Haul Routes For Boeing’s 787
Despite having only flown on a few commercial aircraft (at the time), Boeing’s new jet captured my attention more than any other plane I had yet to encounter. Maybe it was the fancy name or all the marketing hype at the time… it didn’t matter! When the 787 took to the skies in 2011, I needed to fly on it. Little did I know that my Dreamliner Quest would last almost 10 years. On a recent cross-Canada trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded!
It was time to find out what I’d been missing and see if it lived up to all the hype…