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Jumbo Jets Put Alaska Town on Map

October 14, 1987|United Press International

KING SALMON, Alaska — This out-of-the-way little town buzzed with activity Tuesday when fog forced five jumbo jets to land here instead of at a scheduled Anchorage refueling stop, federal aviation officials said.

The airport at King Salmon, gateway to the even more out-of-the way Katmai National Park, can get busy with planes picking up fishermen's catches or with Air Force jet fighters scrambling from the strip to intercept Soviet warplanes flying maneuvers near the U.S.-Soviet border.

But five Boeing 747s in a row, including one that went too far down the runway and had a tough time turning around, jammed things up at the airport for this town of 430 people.

"The entire town was out with their cameras and video cameras," said a Federal Aviation Administration flight service station employee. "Having five 747s in an hour is something. It doesn't take much to get this little place excited."

When fog closed Anchorage International Airport, the refueling stop for jets traveling the polar route between the Orient and Europe, the pilots of four jumbo cargo planes and one passenger jet had to look for somewhere else to land and chose King Salmon for its long runway, FAA spokesman Paul Steucke said. The planes flew on to Anchorage in the afternoon.

King Salmon is on the Alaska Peninsula 290 miles southwest of Anchorage.

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