June 1st, 2001 of AOPA-J World Flight

Chitose(RJCC) - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii(UHPP)

On the evening of May 31, they had a good feast at Chitose, Hokkaido. A crew of 8 and two dosens of other AOPA-J members were joined by local pilots, friends, families, local government officials, and most notably, two Aeroflot nagigators, Sergay (54y) and Igor (38y). One Russian navigator onboard is mandatory for each of two Piper Malibu Mirage's which are equipped with GPS.

There are so many navigators in Russia. They belong to Aeroflot, which bills first-class airline tickets and $300 diem for a navigator service, of which a navigator himself earn $65 diem. When the AOPA-J members made a first general aviation flight from Niigata, Japan to Vladivostok (UHWW) in May 2000, followed by a group flight comprised of 11 GA airplanes, the navigator requirement was waved based on that they were overflying the Russian territory only for IFR approacn and departure.

The Mirage's had to stand-by at the Okadama general aviation airport until previous evening because they do not have enough GA apron at Chitose. Finally, as planned, in the morning of June 1st, the two airplanes departed for Petropavlovsk(UHPP).

JA4084 (Piper Malibu Mirage) departure 22:15Z May 31 (07:15 JST June 1)

JA4200 (Piper Malibu Mirage) departure 23:10Z May 31 (08:10 JST June 1)

Mr. Kazama, 40 years old, who is a commercial helicopter pilot and a professional mechanic, takes control of JA4084. Copilot is its owner Mr. Hisahara. JA4200 is piloted by its owner Mr. Oyama, 66 ears old, who logged 4,000 hours. Copilot is alternatively by Mr. Tomona (43 y) and Mr. Hamaya (61 y). After flying overwater at FL210 for 5 hours and 50 minutes, they safely landed at Petropavlovsk. CIQ was complex. Guess what they found? No AvGas there!

Of course they prepared for AvGas, which is a kind of precious species around the world except for Alaska. They transported 20 barrels by ship when they flew in to Vladivostok in August 2000 (May 2000 flight was made by a Mirage which can make a two-way flight.) This time they arranged to fly 5 barrels of AvGas on chartered Alaska Bering Air CASA cargo plane from Alaska. Guess how much it costs? It's like burning spacecraft fuel.

The transport aircraft from Alaska could not make it by time because of foul weather. As of June 2 they are stuck at Petropavlovsk. AOPA-J Tokyo office is trying to negotiate on another issue of fuel tariff with the Russian custom, which told them they can hold the CASA. The custom office is closed for weekend. We hope that they can resume their flight plan somewhere next week. They can fish or enjoy hot springs by then. Hotel is 'Abacha'. Beer is 'Kamchatka 1'. They drove 1h30min to a spa at the mountain foot.

The A-36 Bonanza team already departed Seattle for Yellowknife, Canada. They are figuring out where and when to meet the Mirage's.

PC-12 crew went to see the Mirage's off. They are to stand-by in Japan for a couple of days to coodinate their rendezvous with Mirage's and A-36.

By the way, those at Petropavlovsk found out they reserved a rotten hotel. They elected to choose another hotel, which is a trivial matter.

More serious issue arouse. ADAK, Aleutian Is. was supposed to have CIQ service (customs, immigration, and quarantine). They are just informed they don't. Flight plan can be modified to continue on to Dutch Harbor (PADU), covering another 350NM. The plan is under consideration.

Some navigation considerations.

This leg's waypoints. The two airplanes were separated by an hour to make themselves within VHF range, and also covers wide area by relaying. This way they could relay BUMEN passage to either Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in Sakhalin or Destination airport.

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