View Full Version : Kodiak Trip - Helicopter Recon

06-18-2017, 11:33 AM
Click the thumbnails to get the full-size pics... I'm using that new method of uploading pics to save Jim bandwidth.

Forgot to post pics of the trip to Kodiak.

This is the Robinson R-44 powered by an opposing 6-cylinder engine. It's by far and away the cheapest helo to use, and not even close to the caliber of chopper that the beautiful Bell 407 is - but still, I love all these wonderful machines. It's smaller, slower and vibrates because it's not a turbine powered machine, but it's very nimble, economical and reliable.

The R-44 has a clutch that the pilot engages after the engine warms up, and it makes an alarming growling/clashing noise as the clutch does it's thing and the rotors come up to speed. It's funny to watch someone unfamiliar with that clutch noise reconsider everything when they first hear it - they're thinking the same thing I did the first time I heard it : "No way in hell am I flying in this thing! Is that tranny gears clashing? Is the tail rotor hitting the fuselage? Let me out. Now!"

I had to reassure the big guy in the red shirt that everything was normal and that all was well about 5 minutes after this was taken after I noticed his eyebrows were 4 inches higher than they usually are when those horrible noises began.

Once the rotors are engaged without clutch slippage, all you hear is the engine & rotors - and eyebrows assume normal positions at that point.

https://s11.postimg.org/irkmehqyn/20170602_091955.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/irkmehqyn/)

06-18-2017, 11:39 AM

https://s2.postimg.org/uxl1vw3qt/20170602_094614.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/uxl1vw3qt/)

https://s21.postimg.org/9u0823goj/20170602_094617.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/9u0823goj/)

https://s3.postimg.org/ourn8wplb/20170602_095207.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/ourn8wplb/)

https://s17.postimg.org/4ua4fz9ez/20170602_095910.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/4ua4fz9ez/)

https://s3.postimg.org/5prtiujlr/20170602_095917.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5prtiujlr/)

A whale down below :

https://s13.postimg.org/5cor4571v/20170602_095927.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5cor4571v/)

06-18-2017, 11:47 AM
Sea Otters socializing in a floating party.

https://s21.postimg.org/r00piz6ir/20170602_100028.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/r00piz6ir/)

https://s11.postimg.org/u2eqhe6en/20170602_100128.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/u2eqhe6en/)

https://s30.postimg.org/qtb792tzx/20170602_100138.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/qtb792tzx/)

Gillnetters. You can see the white line of buoys coming out from shore for their nets to catch salmon traveling the shore line.

https://s29.postimg.org/7dgl010v7/20170602_100615.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/7dgl010v7/)

Approaching one of the remote sites :

https://s9.postimg.org/mpc9e21mj/20170602_100847.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/mpc9e21mj/)

06-18-2017, 11:57 AM
On approach to another site... note the Kodiak tracks going down the mountain.

They are curious bears, and something like this site in the middle of nowhere gets noticed and they'll investigate on their way past. Leave any kind of food that they can smell and you'll have a brand new entrance in the shelter in short order.

https://s3.postimg.org/bbaqmbazz/20170602_123428.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/bbaqmbazz/)

My foot as a reference to those tracks :

https://s4.postimg.org/mx0p3nqmh/20170602_124919.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/mx0p3nqmh/)

Yup, it was a nice sized Kodiak... we estimated he'd been through there the day before.

https://s2.postimg.org/6bnwl9kut/20170602_124930.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/6bnwl9kut/)

06-18-2017, 12:13 PM
A Kodiak patrolling the beach :

https://s9.postimg.org/c7r2norh7/20170602_144846.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/c7r2norh7/)

https://s30.postimg.org/t3zr6ojxp/20170602_144849.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/t3zr6ojxp/)

Another one :

https://s1.postimg.org/66550llvv/20170602_144905.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/66550llvv/)

Standing up on his hind legs to check us out... possibly even waving us down to visit. :laugh:

https://s9.postimg.org/jusplx37f/20170602_144907.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/jusplx37f/)

2 Kodiaks in this picture, one in that side channel and one out by the beach. Apologies for lack of zoom... but my phone just doesn't zoom very well. I need to start traveling with a legit camera with a decent lense.

https://s2.postimg.org/isws3pe1h/20170602_144942.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/isws3pe1h/)

https://s1.postimg.org/uq338vny3/20170602_145401.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/uq338vny3/)

https://s1.postimg.org/bvrts7pgr/20170602_145636.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/bvrts7pgr/)

On-The-Fly-Nav when someone hits a wrong button on the GPS and screws it up :

https://s24.postimg.org/6yh2k9981/20170602_150117.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/6yh2k9981/)

06-18-2017, 12:44 PM
Old Harbor, Alaska. Population : 218.

Wiki : The community of Old Harbor has its origins in the era of Russian conquest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_America). On August 14, 1784, Grigory Shelikhov (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigory_Shelikhov) with 130 Russian fur traders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promyshlenniki) massacred (see Awa'uq Massacre (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awa%27uq_Massacre)) several hundred Qik’rtarmiut Sugpiat tribe of Alutiiq (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alutiiq_people) men, women and children at Refuge Rock, a tiny stack (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_(geology)) island off the eastern coast of Sitkalidak Island (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitkalidak_Island). In Alutiiq, this sacred place is known as Awa'uq ("to become numb").

https://s30.postimg.org/xid94ex4d/20170602_150238.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/xid94ex4d/)

A few years ago when the nearby mountaintop site was being constructed, the construction crew camped out at the end of this little spit. One morning about 2am, everyone was woken by the sound of a tremendous battle and screams of bear cubs... so the next morning before they went up to the top of the mountain in the helicopter, they swung over to the beach to the left in this picture. What happened is a big male Kodiak attacked and killed two cubs during the night and the mother desperately tried to protect them to no avail. Males will kill cubs that are not theirs in order to bring the female back into the breeding cycle.

Pretty brutal, but that's nature.

https://s29.postimg.org/72bt9m1n7/20170602_151612.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/72bt9m1n7/)

On approach to the site above the spit in the previous picture :

https://s23.postimg.org/5qtvd69hz/20170602_151653.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5qtvd69hz/)

It's standard procedure to circle the site a couple of times while everyone on board scans the area for bears before setting down. For some reason our pilot didn't do this here, and as we flared to touch down, the guy to my right elbowed me in the ribs and pointed - I looked, and there was a 10 footer hauling ass away from the site. I called over the intercom to the pilot that we had a Kodiak at 9 O'clock, and he powered back on and lifted back up to check it out.

Here's the sobering part : 45 minutes later, we finished our task and lifted off, flying down the opposite side of the mountain. Guess who was 500 yards away and closing? Yep, it was this same bear.

It's not the first time I've seen an aggressive bear circle around for a surprise attack from the rear, and that's what this one was doing. Another 10 - 15 minutes on the ground and I'd have one hell of a story to relate to you.

Hard to get any reference here, but this slope is incredibly steep - and that bear is really flying down the mountain. Look for him in the upper part of the picture in the middle. That's one extremely dangerous bear :

https://s24.postimg.org/9awqoyf8x/20170602_151818.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/9awqoyf8x/)

06-18-2017, 12:52 PM
https://s11.postimg.org/41ivi42an/20170602_152121.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/41ivi42an/)

https://s2.postimg.org/i86ww1d51/20170602_163202.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/i86ww1d51/)

A curious bear left his calling card :

https://s2.postimg.org/5hkrdg69x/20170602_170218.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5hkrdg69x/)

https://s9.postimg.org/pr36gsty3/20170602_172515.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/pr36gsty3/)

https://s9.postimg.org/natf4v9m3/20170602_172519.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/natf4v9m3/)

06-18-2017, 01:00 PM
https://s29.postimg.org/q18ebgj83/20170602_172615.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/q18ebgj83/)

https://s13.postimg.org/cxvn2g437/20170602_172648.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/cxvn2g437/)

https://s9.postimg.org/5x762r42z/20170602_172756.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5x762r42z/)

https://s16.postimg.org/4ywaaueg1/20170602_173035.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/4ywaaueg1/)

https://s16.postimg.org/8711ljj8h/20170602_173051.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/8711ljj8h/)

06-18-2017, 01:13 PM
Here's a couple of pics of the Pacific Spaceport Complex where the missile launches take place on Kodiak. Unfortunately it was socked in with fog so the actual launch pad wasn't visible when we rolled through.

https://s22.postimg.org/hm4zghg31/20170603_122512.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/hm4zghg31/)

https://s9.postimg.org/5bz0yzk4r/20170603_122518.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/5bz0yzk4r/)

06-18-2017, 01:25 PM
https://s9.postimg.org/ldpweofbv/20170603_123726.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/ldpweofbv/)
Elessar Bilgerat Picture of USCG ships in Kodiak :

https://s3.postimg.org/q084mcvwv/20170603_131221.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/q084mcvwv/)

Coasties warming up one of their helicopters - these guys are revered around Kodiak. Many fishermen owe their lives to them :

https://s16.postimg.org/mxj3f80fl/20170603_131238.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/mxj3f80fl/)

Next to the main entrance to the USCG base :

https://s8.postimg.org/vuwts9a2p/20170603_131258.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/vuwts9a2p/)

That's enough uploading for now... I have a bunch more of outlying towns & scenery and if there's enough interest I'll upload more.

06-18-2017, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the PICs NightTrain....as usual, very nice scenes!

06-20-2017, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the great pics, and the cool bear story. If that bear had successfully snuck up on you, well let's just say it's a good idea to hire pilots that can't run very fast. ;)

I, for one, would be interested in seeing more of your pictures. :cool:

06-21-2017, 02:21 AM
Great pics!