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Captain Coffee

Smoke smuggler

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We are experiencing catastrophic fires in the Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa areas near me...smoke hangs thick in the air. Of course my first thought is for my neighbors and local friends, some of whom have evacuated and are waiting on news of their homes...others are in shelters certain their homes were burning behind as they fled in the wee hours of Monday morning when these broke out.

People and businesses are pulling together and helping out. Wifi all over the city has been set to "Guest" so those who don't have service can contact family, restruants are putting together care packages for the sheltered people.... .... and Idiots are flying drones around today, hampering fire fighting aerial efforts...humanity is both it's worst enemy and best friend sometimes in these situations...Nature just doesn't care, it is senseless, and it just want more fuel to feed the fires and smoke, and plenty is to be had after our heavy rains this last season. You may recall we almost busted the nearby Oroville dam between shoddy prior spillway repairs and relentless rainfall this past season. Firefighters were unable to contain the blazes carving through the thick woods between our gorgeous tree-lined highly flammable neighborhoods.  :(

 

But speaking of thick smoke, and smoking in general...this is perhaps a perfect time to smuggle some narcotics up into the hills of N. California...and maybe haul some smoke back out.

 

I left San Francisco in my Camo Liveried C337 Skymaster, presumably as a volunteer Fire Scout to assist with the fires. I filed an IFR plan to Santa Rosa with a very low altitude assigned for fire spotting, but cancelled it shortly before take off, switching to VRF. When I drop off of radar they will think I am canyon spotting. I have no return trip filed...I may be spending the night.

 

Here I am shortly after working my way around Travis Airbase airspace at my 1100 foot previously filed altitude (Airhauler allows up to 1200' AGL for smuggling missions max)...I am well east of the fires at this time, but have long since left San Fran ATC space. I am anonymous at this point heading up the valley, slowly descending...lights off and hard to spot.

smug1.jpg

 

smug2.jpg

 

Banking towards the foothills for more cover.
smug3.jpg


smug4.jpg

 

Running parallel to the hills.
smug5.jpg

 

I popped over the foothills into a small valley to get out of the Central Valley. I can almost taste the smoke in the cockpit. I can literally smell it from my Flight Sim.
smug6.jpg

 

Keeping it very low as I work my way into the hills.
smug7.jpg

 

Entering canyons and heading up to my destination...none of your beeswax where. :(
smug8.jpg

 

Negotiating my final canyon, keeping close to the walls so I don't accidentally bust my AGL limit...up ahead a bend or two is my destination.
smug9.jpg

 

There it is ahead...a small dirt strip, no facilities...and the clients are hiding in the trees, no doubt till certain I'm not a cop plane.
smug10.jpg

 

Unloading, and getting paid. I am staying put till the morning, hopefully these good ol boys will have some beers for me tonight,

and a load out tomorrow.

smug11.jpg

 

 

Thanks for looking....please keep this between us however.

 

shhhh.

Coff.

 

 

Edited by Captain Coffee

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Nice low flying shots Matt,:thum: but I think you have to fly below four hundred feet.^_^ 

 

We can only hope those fires are put down as soon as possible, to many folks have been hurt and killed already.

 

Oh, and remember, don't do the crime unless you can do the time(and lose that sweet plane).:D

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20 minutes ago, brett said:

Nice low flying shots Matt,:thum: but I think you have to fly below four hundred feet.^_^ 

 

We can only hope those fires are put down as soon as possible, to many folks have been hurt and killed already.

 

Oh, and remember, don't do the crime unless you can do the time(and lose that sweet plane).:D

 

I checked, Airhauler gives a notice after take off warning of the AGL limit...it is currently 1200 ft. I sure hope the bank limits have been relaxed...that canyon flying is not a low g activity at times. I had one "Warning" notice when I popped over a steep cliff...had to dive immediately about 500 ft to turn the warning off in time...it popped up a 'you are safe at this altitude' confirmation when I got down far enough...phew.

 

Regarding the fires....omg. Homes just burned like grass as the flames rolled over whole neighborhoods. The entire town of Calistoga has just minutes ago been ordered to evacuate...they have until latest 5pm to get out. So horrible. Several thousand people are even now in a long que trying to escape Calistoga via only 2 one lane roads south out of town. So very sad. Energency shelters are taking in floods of people...many who have lost everything. :(

I sure hope our Leadership can get them paper towels as soon as possible. :(

Edited by Captain Coffee

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Bad stuff going on out your way, Matt.  Hope the worst of the damage and deaths are over with.  We get our turn with wildfires in the Spring, some years worse than others, but nothing like that.

 

John

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Are you telling me AH2 actually has smuggling missions? Who would have thought.:huh: Still, 1200' is pretty high for flying "under the radar".

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17 minutes ago, brett said:

Are you telling me AH2 actually has smuggling missions?

 

Oh yeah, but there are also humanitarian missions, currently to St. Martin and Mexico City, following the hurricane and earthquake, respectively.

 

John

 

EDIT:  Humanitarian Missions are presented like this...

 

y4mugLascbhRr_aiQiQyla-FHScRFUvNAhJmVHM9

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Heh...I have been cranking out Emergency Housing at KNUQ...supported by a Plastics factory at KOAK and cheep supplies at both KOAK, KSFO, and KNUQ.

I have produced over a million pounds of Emergency Housing and flown most of it to mexico and st maarten....a 747 is standing by constantly at KNUQ loading the surplus, and transferring it to L1011's and 707's for transport to where needed.

 

I have 1/2 million pounds each of Emergency Clothing and Emergency food for future Humanitarian Missions.

 

 

I am hoping Slopey makes a Sonoma County mission or two or three...we need emergency food, clothing and housing for our locals...I am standing by ready to deliver it. :(

Edited by Captain Coffee
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