I am still in the flying business. Presently I am flying a Citation V (C-560) all over Alaska for AT&T Alascom, Inc. We even fly into such exotic places as Sparrevohn, Cape Newenham, Cape Romanzof, Cape Lisburne, and, of course, Indian Mountain. These names should bring back some memories. Last week I was in Tin City, Point Lay, and Barter Island. Point Lay now has only one person, and Barter Island has two. Most of the other sites are run by a team of five...all under contract.
As of March 31, 1997, the Navy is out of Adak, and the base is being handed over to a native group. They are looking for imaginative people to suggest what to do there. The Navy built about 200 new houses, a hospital, a school, and there was a McDonald's operating there up until two years ago. The buildings are of a new type designed to withstand the high winds. No more big rocks on the roofs.
Shemya is also being handed over to contractors and reduced to about forty-five people. Amchitka was reactived for about three years, where there was an over the horizon back-scatter radar. Now that the Ice Curtain has melted and we have lots of travel to Russia, the radar was dismantled a few years ago, and Amchitka once more has been returned to the birds and sea otters.
With the forthcoming demise of LORAN, the Port Clarence and St. Paul Island Loran Stations will close. Wainwright, south of Barrow, has closed and the village has its own 3,400 ft runway away from the LRSS Station. Barter Island will soon be handed over to the North Slope Borough. The Lonely and Oliktok airfields have closed.
Since the oil revenues came along, most villages have or are getting runways 3,500 ft long. They all have beautiful schools with gymnasiums which are used by the villagers in the evenings. Everyone has TV and a telephone. Most have cellular. ELT's are passe' as most have hand-held GPS and a cellular phone for rescue purposes. Village schools, especially in the North Slope Borough areas, all have computer classrooms with live video to Barrow, from which they receive some classes. There are also connections to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and, of course to the native hospitals in regional areas as well as to the major hospital in Anchorage. Incidentally, there is a new native hospital under construction on Tudor Road. Yes, that same Tudor road which used to be a gravel road is now a major artery from Muldoon to the airport. There is also a new hospital on the way at Elmendorf.
Anchorage has changed much over the past twenty years. We have a very modern theatre complex...with three theatres in the "Town Square" along with a large Convention Centre or should I spell it Center. We also have the Sullivan Arena, which hold about 6,000, and draws ice hockey, commercial shows, and music (rock) shows.
Some of these items should bring back memories to the more senior Firebirds.
Felix M. Maguire
RAF Firebird Pilot