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Running into poor visibility when flying an airplane
Making the landing, gauges on empty, and how Creamer's Field saved his life
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In February of 1955, I, in the late afternoon I took off from Fairbanks to go to Fort Yukon.
The ceiling was about 4000 feet until I got over in the Yukon flats, at which time it became zero. And about a 200 foot layer of fog was lying all the way through the flats.
And I, being young and foolish, I kept going to Fort Yukon. And I got there, and I figured I could land right through it, but I couldn't; couldn't even see the field right down through the fog.
So I wasted too much time and started back to Fairbanks. Got down to the White Mountains, and it was socked in right from the base. Well, I was trapped. So I climbed up to 8000 feet, and got on top, and flew toward Fairbanks.
And eventually, on the way down, my gas gauges started to flapping, on empty.
I had no direction finding equipment, so I called Murphy Dome and asked them to spot me, and give me a course directly into Fairbanks.
And they said, "Continue as you are." So I flew another 10 or 15 minutes, and I called them and, "How about that fix? And give me a course."
They said, "We're working on it. Continue as you are." So I flew about another 10 or 15 minutes, and my engine quit me.
And I’m sitting up there at 8000 feet with a solid undercast underneath me, and I called in a mayday, and the guy says, "Continue as you are!"
Well, anyway, I put it on the gauges and started down; it’s not a nice feeling going down when you don't know where you are or anything. But I broke out at 1800 feet over Creamer's Field. That was it!