Thirteen years after our first visit we headed back to the upper most state of the US. In one week we would visit Alaska’s two biggest cities and biggest airports. What changed during the last decade? you wouldn’t be surprised, not very much, thankfully.
As Anchorage is one of the best spots on earth to watch aircraft, we decided to spend lots of time at the airports well known viewing spots. We landed 17.30 with Delta’s Dl2121 flight out of Seattle. Approach to runway 7R was bumpy as typical strong Alaskan winds were playing the 737.
The next day we headed out for the airport. Runway 15-33 has the best spots, and luckily this is the most used runway. This morning landing was done on 15, so we parked at spot 1, to have the sun, which was already shining, in our back.
N404XJ, Saab 340
Later that day, as the sun turned, we moved to the “hill”. This well known spot parallel to the runway can be reached by driving to Point Woronzof Park at the end of Northern Lights Blvd. There is a gate here, which you can pass. Just opposite the threshold markings you’ll find the hill. This spot gives unobstructed views of final approach and touchdown on runway 15.
N971EA, Beech 1900
Another great spot can be found just a few feet down the road, just opposite runway S. This spot is great for capturing aircraft upfront when using taxiway Y to take off from runway 33. The spot is also great for takeoff pictures when 33 is in use. The mountains in the back are spectacular.
N404CK, Vopar Turboliner
Boeing 747-8 Heaven
When you’re into freight Jumbo’s, Anchorage is (still) the place to be. Especially the 747-8 can be seen here a lot. As the 747-8 takes up most of the freight flights these days at anchorage we decided to dedicate a whole section to this type.
What makes Ted Stevens International as Anchorage airport is called, even more interesting is the adjacent sea plane base, Lake Hood. Lake hood is the biggest seaplane base in the world. It handles over 100 flights a day and has a dedicated waterway with viewing area and gravel strip. As a taxiway connects the facility with Ted Stevens, these runways are also used on occasions. Lake Hood is open to public, so you can drive around and check the floatplanes. Compared to 13 years back, there are a lot less Beavers unfortunately. The Cessna is the type of choice these days.
N626KT, Cessna 206
N675HP, Cessna 208
Next door to Lake Hoods best known airline Rust Flying Service, you can find the Alaska Aviation Museum. Alaskan 737-200 N740AS is parked in front. The museum’s Northern Air Cargo DC-6 N43872 is parked down the road next to the West International Airport Road.
Tired of the wide bodies at Anchorage? take a one hour drive to Palmer, 53 Miles North of Anchorage. Palmer Municipal Airport has two runways and very little traffic. What is interesting here, is the Forestry Division tanker base, with two Canadian Conair Convairs stationed during our visit. Also two Dakota’s are stationed here and two C-119 Flying Boxcars stored. N8501W was also stored here 13 years back!
C-FKFA, Convair 580
Back at Anchorage we checked out some other viewing locations and the South/East ramp. When runway 7R is in use for landing you can head out for a spot in the woods. Park your car at the end of Raspberry Road at the Kincaid park and hike along the cross-country skiing tracks north towards runway 7. It’s a 20 min walk, and watch out for Moose and Bears. As there are no facilities this isn’t a very good spot, so we left after a while.
N665PA, Saab 340
Further East the South/East ramp is interesting to visit. Lynden Air Cargo, Conoco Phillips Aviation and Ryan Air are located here. There are also two Dakota’s and an AETC C-130 stored here. Take the South Airpark Place to get here. Great catch was a TransAsia A320 B-22318 on a stopover to Taiwan.
When you’re at the South/East ramp, there’s an other spot at the end of South Airpark Place, to view the action on Runway 7 or 33. Park your car on the left of the road! and not in front of the security Aviation hangar.
Former Air National Guard Base Kulis, now closed, isn’t used for operational aircraft services anymore. The C-123 gate guard was also removed.
At the far East end of the airport we visited TransNorthern Aviation. That is, looking at the apron through the fence, we were invited in. And as TransNorthern is still flying DC-3s Super Dakota’s we gladly accepted. Also rare is the Volpar Turboliner (N404CK), a Beech 18 retrofitted with turboprops.
N404CK, Vopar Turboliner
Before heading back to runway 15/33 we stopped at the Northern Cargo Apron. The end of Lockheed Avenue gives good views over DHL and Everts Air Cargo ramps. A former Brooks Fuel C-119 is still stored here.
In part 2 we continue our journey towards Fairbanks. We visited Everts Air Cargo and checked what was happening at Eielson AFB.