I scheduled two days of flying a heavily-modified C172 on straight floats (with a constant-speed three-bladed MT prop, 180hp engine, and cuffed wings with a Horton STOL kit) with Craig Kenmonth of Fairbanks Floatplane Company, flying west from Fairbanks to the Minto Flats area. Minto Flats State Game Refuge covers about 500,000 acres 35 miles west of Fairbanks. It is a large wetland lying along a northerly loop of the middle Tanana River, fed by waters from the Tatalina, Chatanika, and Tolovano Rivers and Goldstream and Washington Creeks. It drains into the Tanana River in a generally southwest-west direction.
Taking off and landing at Fairbanks International Floatplane Pond. This place is towered. There are two parallel runways, one with turf alongside for tundra-tired bush planes, and the floatplane pond.
Overflying the Tanana River south of Fairbanks:
Chena River landing
Landing on, step-taxiing, and taking off from the Chatanika River in the Minto Flats:
Gold Dredge 8 National Historical District. Gold dredge 8 extracted millions of ounces of gold between 1928 and 1959. It opened for tours in 1994. A gold dredge floats in the pond it has created. It scoops up gravel with a bucket chain, all the way down to the bedrock. Inside the dredge the gravel is sorted, sifted, and washed to collect the gold, which is trapped in riffles and mats in a sluice. The remaining gravel is sent out on a conveyor and deposited on a tailings pile behind the dredge.