Bush Flying Adventures in Alaska and Northwest Canada


Bill Odell  - Version 2



                Flying the Yukon River is a lengthy journey through the beautiful wilderness of Alaska.  Picture yourself as a Bush Pilot being sent on a recon of the Yukon River after the spring thaw.  Your job is to note any abnormal sightings such as erosion, blocked junctures with other rivers or streams by rocks or debris.  Be especially watchful for unsecured boats that will hinder safe navigation of the river.  You have the option of using a wheel plane or a floatplane from the company’s aircraft. Each airstrip listed on the route is adjacent to the Yukon and arrangements have been made to have fuel and other supplies available. 


                Since the headwaters of the Yukon River is in Canada. The closest strip to the beginning of the river is Carmacks.  We have not designated the starting point floats by coordinates, leaving this option open to the pilot.  A word of caution in selecting your aircraft, the river can be narrow at points and some of the strips are quite short.  To really enjoy the flight and see the rough terrain we suggest that you fly over the river at 1800' and make maximum use of the full screen view.  You should encounter no difficulty flying the river at that altitude, BUT beware if you get off course the little hills can suddenly turn into rather big hills.


                On the ground at Carmacks, Yukon Territory, Canada.  Ready on Runway 9, a 5000' gravels strip.  The scenery is spectacular with glaciers etc. Our routing with airport identifier follows:


                ID                           Name                                                     Fuel Available

                CEX4                     Carmacks                                             No                          

                CYDA                   Dawson                                                 Yes

Cross the border US/Canada here   

                PAEA                    Eagle                                                      Yes

                L20                         Coal Creek                                            No

                PACR                    Circle City                                            Yes

                PFYU                    Fort Yukon                                           No

                WBQ                       Beaver                                                  No

                SVS                        Stevens Village                                     No

                FVM                       Five-Mile                                               No

                RMP                        Rampart                                               No

                PATA                    Calhoun Mem. Tanana                      Yes                        

                PARY                     Ruby                                                     No

                PAGA                     Galena (Pika, Edward G.)                  Yes                        

                KYU                      Koyukuk                                               No

                NUL                       Nulato                                                    No

                KAL                        Kaltag                                                   No

                KGX                       Grayling                                                No

                4Z4 (HCA)            Holy Cross                                            No          

                RSA (RSH)          Russian Mission                                  No

                OAK                      Pilot Station                                         No

                MOU                     Mountain Village                                 No


Following the river from here on gets tough due to the wide expanse of water, multiple channels’ and many small islands. Try flying at a higher elevation for a further/better view ahead, i.e.: 4500'.


Flying westward, on the Northern bank, is:

                PAEM                    Emmonak                                             Yes

After Emmonak, a 217 heading will lead you to:

                AUK                       Alakanuk                                              No

Take a 191 heading for:

                SXP                        Sheldon Point                                       No                          


                The return flight will be a little different in that we will drop a few stops and replace them.  We will still be following the river.  This type of a flight is not out of the ordinary.  Each day around you, flights of this type go on and you never notice them.  Did you ever wonder what those small signs with numbers facing upward were?  They usually mark an underground pipeline, a high-tension electric line or a railroad.  Pilots fly these on a schedule basis looking for any thing not normal..  They might be flying the river after a thaw or melting of glaciers looking for dangerous conditions or checking on a flood condition.  So picture yourself as the one patrolling the river.


                SXP                        Sheldon Point                                       No

                PASM                    St Mary’s                                              No

                MLL                       Fortuna Ledge (Marshal)                   No

                K40Anvik Seaplane Base                                                  No

(The only registered seaplane base on the trip). If you did not choose to fly a floatplane, land at:

PANU                    Anvik                                                     No

                KAL                       Kaltaga                                                  No

                PAGA                     Galena (Pitka)                                      Yes

                PATA                     Tanana                                                  Yes

                RMP                       Rampart                                                No

                SVS                        Stevens Village                                     No          

                WBQ                      Beaver                                                   No

                VEE                        Venetia Landing                                  No

                PACR                     Circle City                                            Yes

                PAEA                     Eagle                                                      Yes                        

                CYDA                    Dawson City                                         Yes

                CEX4                     Carmacks                                              No


                If you have replacement river textures (newriver.zip) by Holger Busekros, the Yukon River goes beyond the default “cut off point” to Lake Labarge, near Whitehorse.  Also recommended is FS2000 elevated terrain mesh scenery of the Yukon by Richard Gascon.  There are two parts (9.83 mb & 10.5 mb) and a patch (2.15 mb) to down load.  Richards’s files, as well as Holger’s can be found on Flightsim.com.


                Landing airfields up river from Carmacks are:


                CFP8                      Cousins/Whitehorse                            No

                CVXY                    Whitehorse International                   Yes


                In reality, the Yukon River flows by/through the City of Whitehorse and runs parallel to Second Avenue, a main road within the city.  In gold rush days, stern-wheeler boats docked at Whitehorse, which was as far up river as they could go.  Gold miners traveled from Skagway, Alaska, over Chilkoot Pass, past Bennet Lake in northern British Columbia and on up to Whitehorse.  From Whitehorse to Dawson, for the miners, was via riverboat.  Miles Canyon, just up river a couple of miles from Whitehorse, prevented riverboats from proceeding farther.


                With newriver textures replacing the default files, and with ET Mesh scenery installed, the virtual Yukon River basically ends at Lake Laberge (pronounced Lake La_Barge), however if you fly “over the ridge” westward from Whitehorse, the Yukon River begins once more and will lead you to Atlin Lake.  Atlin Lake Airport (CYSQ) has fuel available there  


                There, you did it and I will venture to say it was a real experience and a lot different flying than you have experienced in FS.


                Now for an addition, some very interesting history and geography courtesy of Curt Jardey.


                “Once the new river textures are installed, the Yukon River in FS 2002 stretches as far as Lake Laberge; quite a ways up river from Carmacks - although the Yukon flows a lot further in reality.  Microsoft’s Encarta World Atlas also “stops” the Yukon at La Berge.  Even the add-on mesh scenery does not do this area justice at all.


                In real terms, the Yukon River flows by/through Whitehorse and far beyond.  If I am not mistaken, Atlin Lake in British Columbia is the Yukon River’s source.  In my FS scenery, with new river installed, the Yukon “picks up” again, west of Whitehorse - just over “the ridge”.  In the gold rush days, stern-wheeler riverboats could navigate up the Yukon to Whitehorse.  Just past Whitehorse a couple of miles up river, there is a place called locally as Miles Canyon - the river boats could not navigate through Miles Canyon - too narrow, fast water, vertical rock cliffs on both sides.  Today, a dam was built slightly west towards Whitehorse from Miles canyon.  In the water above the dam is a seaplane base. It’s coordinates and data are:


                CEZ5                     Whitehorse Seaplane Base

                N 60 40' 52"         W 135    01' 47"


                Opr: City of Whitehorse

                Wwy S/N 4000' x 500'

                VOR/DME 116.6 YXY (003 deg/5.8 nm to Whitehorse Int’l Airport)

                NDB 302 XY (146 deg/4.9 nm to Whitehorse Int’l Airport)


                In FS 2002, the seaplane base would be in the hills above Whitehorse on Solid ground.  However, if yuh know someone who does scenery - you’ll have the seaplane base info to pass along.   “Special note: if anyone knows someone who could do the scenery, maybe Tom Fica?  We sure would like to have it to compliment our adventure.


                In FS2002, the Yukon picks up again, from ending at Lake La Berge, just over the “ridge” past Whitehorse a piece and continues to Atlin Lake, British Columbia.  You’ll have to use your imagination a great deal when in the Whitehorse area, up river from La Berge.  After Whitehorse and really at the eastern edge of the city, the Yukon curves a tad southward then curves back slightly northward on a northerly course.


                In the real world, the airport (Whitehorse Int’l) is up on “a Mesa”, near and west of Utah Flats, slightly to the south of Whitehorse city - actually it overlooks the city and the Yukon Valley.  The river flows on the north side of the city center and parallel to Second Avenue - a main drag.  A bridge crosses the river on the east end of Whitehorse. Across this bridge are the Whitehorse General Hospital (off to the west) and a residential area called Riverdale (off to the east).  I lived in a three-bedroom “row house” complex in Riverdale many, many moons ago.


                The Alaska Highway goes right by the airport (east to west, on the south side of the airport - the Alaskan Highway is so close to the airport that the terminal, terminal parking lot, and tower are a stone’s throw away - literally.  On the south side of the Alaska Hwy across from the airport, are trucking terminals, the Airport Chalet (motel/restaurant - great food) and both residential and commercial lots.


                I can picture everything in my mind’s eye cuz I was there in Whitehorse.  My description isn’t terrific, but it might let cha “see” a little bit what the area looks like for real. 


                FS2000 had an abandoned airstrip named Squanga Lake in the airport’s menu.  The American Army built the airfield when the Alaska Hwy was under construction.  Squanga Lake is a “real going concern”.  It consists of two log cabins.  One is owned by my father-in-law, Bill Good, and the other by his sister, Daisy Hall (she’s pushing daisies now).  One of these days, I am going to break open Airport 260 and recreate Squanga Lake airstrip for old times sake.  The old strip is pretty rough, but is still land able in an emergency situation.


                If you don’t have the new river textures, run, don’t walk, to your favorite FS files library web site”.


                Thanks a million Curt.