View Full Version : Yukon Quest 2009 Air Force

02-19-2009, 05:33 PM
As soon as Russ Bybee left the start area I drove straight out to the airport. I had to get airborne for a team of photographs wanting to have some pics for the newspapers tomorrow, latest reports from Russ before he started as number 11 was that he did not expect any trouble up to Braeburn at all. The only thing that he was curious of was how the ice on Yukon would be. People talked about the worst ice in many years. Well, he just had to slow down the paste and try to pass thru the best he could.

Out at the airport the team had already warmed up my Porter and we was ready to go in no time. As soon as we was airborne and turning toward Yukon River we started to look for mushers.


When we passed one after another, they started from Whitehorse with 3 minutes interval they all seemed eager to win. We followed the track all the way up to Braeburn, where the photographs was going to catch some pics of the teams arriving later on.

It was a cold day, so I ran inside the cabin, hoping for hot coffe and a nice chat, probably there would come more pilots from AW in a while.

02-19-2009, 05:34 PM
My musher, Russ Bybee, left Braeburn at 07.25 and I was airborne heading for Carmacks at 07.30. He left with 14 dogs and even if he was far behind the leader he told me he would continue in his own pace and not stress the dogs.

Well, early morning flight up to Carmacks and I decided to see if I was able to find more mushers out in the trial.

Hey! I found the Yukon River, lucky me, then I will find my way to Carmacs as well!


Passing over Carmacks before a right turn to the airport.

Lining up on final at Carmacks

Very very short final, getting ready for a little bump.

Parked at Carmacks at 08.10and looking at the camp. Going for some more coffe, and maybe get a little more sleep before my musher arrive.

More aircrafts from the Yukon Quest Airforce - early arrivals.

02-19-2009, 05:35 PM
My stay at Carmacs became very long. My musher did not arrive until 21.21 night, and we got a nice long sleep in Carmacks hopefully. Suddenly my musher wake me up at 04.30 telling me he was ready to head off for Pellys Crossing and wanted me to fly ahead with supplies as well. I got into my clothes at once, headed out to prepare the aircraft.

He left Carmacks at 05.17 and at 06.30 I was airborne as well, leaving Carmacks.

After like 25 minutes of flight I suddenly lost all my lights and radios. Totally dark. Good I had my handset radio and was able to communicate. I decided to fly to Pellys Crossing and then fix the problem.

Everything was dark. lights and radio, but as the bush pilots we are, we manage!

Soon I had Pellys Crossing in sight.

Happy landing and parked at Pellys Crossing, just had to wait for my musher.

02-19-2009, 05:36 PM
My musher, Russ Bybee, arrived Pelly Crossing at 20:09 yesterday, he felt good but needed some rest before continuing. One of his dog didn't seem to be in shape, so he decided to leave one dog.

We discussed how we was going to do this, should I take the dropped dog to Whitehorse this evening and return, or what.

We ended up waiting until the next morning and maybe I could get the last report from checkpoint Stepping Stone before going to Whitehorse early the next morning.

I got to bed quite early and when I wake up at 06:0 today I got the message that my musher left Pelly Crossing at 02:30. I had my breakfast and checked if there was any news about Russ whereabouts. At 07:30 I got the news that he had arrived Stepping Stone and continued right away and did not leave any dogs behind.

Ok, only one dog to go to Whitehorse. During breakfast I was getting in touch with a crazy woman, she had followed Yukon Quest last 4 years by being there. She come all the way from Norway and she would really like to go with me to Whitehorse and then follow the track from Pelly Crossing to Dawson as I planned later on. She was even going to pay me, just name the price she said, winking to me. I told her, sure you can come along. Nice to have company and nice to have someone to talk Norwegian with on the trip. Had been a while since the last time. I gave her a warning that it might be a very rough landing at Scrooge Creek if we had to, and she told me that sure.. she was up to it.

After some preparation, the weather forecast was great for whole day and last news from the trial we was ready for take off to Whitehorse. I had fixed my aircraft yesterday and all lights and radios was functioning again.

It was a beautiful morning and the day was rising.

After about an hour we was descending to Whitehorse and the time went really fast, we had a lot of things to catch up and I got all the news from Norway.

After unloading the dog and handed it over to the handler, we decided to kill a couple of hours in Whitehorse before we headed back to the track and to Dawson.

02-19-2009, 05:38 PM
I decided to do a lowpass over Pelly Crossing, just to tell the other pilots and musher that I was back and ready for the track, and I just wanted to have a little fun with my female passenger as well.

We headed out from Pelly Crossing and followed the track all the way, a beautiful day and really in mood for some low and slow flying today. My passenger enjoyed every minute. It was the first time she had been able to follow the race and the track from the air and we had a great time, and I was able to scare her a couple of times.

As we got closer to Scroogie Creek I started to think about how I could land my Porter. Reports from pilots wasn't promising, but I trusted my Porter to the fullest. I did a fly over and I have to admit, I was scared. but decided to try a dive and land at the river shore.

During the dive my passenger started to scream, I told her to try to relax, this was what I had explained to her earlier.. this is bush flying at the fullest, and we was safe. I had my Porter in full control and she was cooperating with me.

Almost down and I just had to hit the brake and I knew that she would stop in a moment and also give me enough room for take off.


Full stop, and a qucik check if my musher had passed or if he has arrived. Well.. No musher of mine had arrived, so we was off to Dawson. Just a quck cup of coffe, and off we go. But how had that Cessna ended up up there? I was really glad my Porter had excellent STOL capabilities. The "runway" was really really short.

Of course my Porter brought me back in the air, and I think that my passenger, with her screaming may have helped as well.
A low pass over Scroogie Creek and waiving good bye.

We followed the track all the way uphill to King Solomon's Dome at 4002 feet and passed the antenna on top before we continued following the track down to Dawson City.

It was a great trip, and a wonderful nice company. She will probably be a passenger on an another leg of the Yukon Quest as well. After a nice landing, a bit scary for her.. as I followed the power lines up to the airport we landed safely. We decided to meet for dinner later on that evening.

02-19-2009, 05:39 PM
Russ Bybee, my musher, left Scroogie Creek with 13 dogs. He had to leave one dog behind and I got this message directly from Russ when he arrived Dawson City this morning at 09:00. I knew what I had to do today, make another landing i Ross Creek, picking up a dog and bring back to Dawson.

I was talking to some other pilots about the landing possibilities at Scroogie Creek and decided to try out something else than the river shore which I used as a landing strip last time.

The weather forecast was a looking ok, but a bit more clouds than earlier.
After a precheck we was ready to hit the sky.

Passing over Dawson City before heading towards Scroogie Creek.

Good day for flying today as well, we have been lucky with the weather so far this year.

Closing in on Scroogie Creek and preparing my landing, this place scares me every time. Landing in the middle of nowhere, with no good landing strip.

Down we went and by missing all the trees we was able to park right outside the camp and say hello and get my mushers dog.

After a coffee break, and some news we were ready for take off and heading back to Dawson City.

Our take off headed us right over the camp.

A quite flight back to Dawson and relaxing together with Russ and his dog. He is leaving Dawson City by tomorrow at 18:54.

We are half way and more fun to come!

02-19-2009, 05:49 PM
Lots of great pics here, and a nice story. Great post and very welcome to this forum! :cool::)

02-19-2009, 06:17 PM
WOW! Quite the story and set of pictures. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the forums.

02-19-2009, 07:16 PM
Very entertaining! Welcome to FlightSim.com!:D

02-20-2009, 05:35 AM
Great story, super scenery, fantastic shots!
Welcome to the forum Wheeli!

Best regards,

02-20-2009, 08:05 AM
Nice shots mate

02-20-2009, 10:06 AM
Hi Guys and thank you for your warm welcome.

This series of pics is taken over several days as we fly in the Yukon Quest Air Force, started flying late January with cargo flights to destinations along the trial. There is a lot of food and supplies that is needed for this race.

During the race we handle dog pick up flights, and of course, vets, offical persons and VIP's.

When Yukon Quest is done, we continue to Iditarod 2009.

02-20-2009, 10:17 AM
Yes welcome, all the Way from Toensberg, Norway ! :eek: :cool:
Very nice Story and pics,
Best Ferry :)

02-21-2009, 01:41 PM
Russ Bybee left Dawson City at 18:57 yesterday, leaving one dog behind. He had asked me if I was able to bring him up to Fairbanks so that the dog could go directly to his home in Willow. After some discussions and making plans we decided that I would fly up to Fairbanks early morning today, and make a stop at 40 Mile to check if he had left any dogs there too. He did not think he would, but to be on the safe side we decided for me to stop. At 07.30 I was ready for departure from Dawson:

A little push back and we would soon be airborne

Leaving Dawson City for this time, we had a great stop and it was nice to have some good accommodations for the two nights.

I had a satellite image marking a possible landing spot close to 40 Mile. Hopefully I would be able to land here, and reports told me so.

Safely down and a quick talk to Russ just minutes before he was planning to head for Eagle. He would continue with all his dogs. Well, nothing else for me to do than continue to Fairbanks and then return to Eagle.

It was a great flying weather this early morning, even if it was windy and some turbulence we had a great flight. The dog was calm and I had coffee on my thermos. Could life be better?


The flight went on without any problems, my Porter had no surprises installed for me on this flight. We would enjoy most of the day in Fairbanks before returning to Eagle. Russ estimated arrival to Eagle was 12:00 22rd so we had the time.

Parked and dog unloaded and handled over to one of Russ handlers. Now I just had some paperwork to do, get a coffee at Alaskan Winds office here in Fairbanks and then off to enjoy the city.

02-21-2009, 01:58 PM
Thats beautiful, i never know any proper places to go bush flying, i love the mountains and the alps, ive did some Small airport hopping before in austria, but landing on river banks and picking those kind of places to land has to be a challenge!

02-21-2009, 06:25 PM
After a few hours in Fairbanks it was time to get my Porter and myself down to Eagle to be there when my musher arrived, reports I've got during the day was that Russ Bybee was strong and ongoing on his way to Eagle.

After a pre-check of the aircraft, collecting weather data and said good bye to the AW-office we was ready for take off and heading to Eagle. The weather forecast wasn't the best, and as a precaution I filled up my fuel tanks if we had to go back again. Here we are waving good bye to Fairbanks.

Turning to a direct course to Eagle and the bad weather.

She really is a beuty. Oh.. they both are.. my female passenger and my Porter.

Bad weather at Eagle. Passing over the Yukon Quest Camp in Eagle.

In final for the airport at Eagle.

Parked and ready to get the last updates of all the mushers and especially Russ Bybee.

02-23-2009, 03:01 PM
My musher arrived Eagle at 2:27 yesterday, I was in my deep sleep that night and didn't have a chance to speak to Russ Bybee before early morning. He told me he needed to rest the dogs some hours more before heading out to Circle.

I helped him and the team with food, walking the dogs and at last.. warming up the dogs before Russ left Eagle at 12:04. He told me to stay behind in Eagle and we decided that I would fly to Circle the next morning.

Early Monday morning I got up at 6:30 and asked for the last news about Russ. Nothing had reached the camp, so I continued with our plan and after preparing my Porter I was ready to leave Eagle at 8:00.

It was a beautiful morning, cold but great flying weather. The forecast was good for the flight up to Circle. No worries.

Passing over Slaven's Dog Drop. No sight of my musher.

After a right downwind into Circle we landed safe and in good shape.. time for more coffee and more trail talk and getting the last news.

02-27-2009, 06:20 PM
And the news arrived. Russ Bybee was scratched with a race judge at Mile 101 yesterday morning. Well, I had to leave Circle planned to fly in to Mile 101 to see if I could pick up my team and take them to Fairbanks.

I found the check point without problem and we went on to Fairbanks. Had to leave the sled, but his dog and Russ went with me. It was crowed but we managed.


During the flight Russ was eager to get back to Wasillia as soon as poossbile and we decided to see if there was a possibility to hire an aircraft to take the lot.

02-27-2009, 06:20 PM
All dogs of Russ Bybee and all the gear arrived to Fairbanks but trucks and we started to load the aircraft for the trip to Wasillia and his home.
We was able to hire a short to take the load for us.

Soon we was ready for take off and the weather was great for today.


Those mountains are beautiful

Soon we was established on final for Wassilia

Parked and ready to unload.

With this the job for Yukon Quest Air Force ended for 2009.

Now I would take some days off and first visit my friend at Prudhoe Bay and then down to Sanspit for another visit.

Then it will be back to The Iditarod Air Force 2009

Thanks all!

02-27-2009, 06:51 PM
Great looking work! Sweet shots and a very good narrative.