Since I started this blog a year or so ago I have been able to track down a few more Alaskan Bush pilots to add to it, so I decided to re-post. The Flight Service Station in Dillingham keeps these pictures on their computers as a slide show screen saver. I take them over on a thumb drive and they load them up. They said it is nice to actually see the people they communicate with over the radio!
Have you ever wondered what an Alaskan Bush Pilot looks like? Here is what one does NOT look like!
That's me posing in front of my Cherokee Warrior II. I have flown out in the Alaskan bush nearly five years and have racked up about 570 hours. Basically, I can't really call myself an Alaskan Bush Pilot . . . maybe a bush pilot wannabe.
The pictures below will give you an idea of what the "Best of the Best" Alaskan Bush Pilots look like. Bush pilots are a rare breed, especially in Bristol Bay. The weather changes so rapidly that pilots must be at their best to navigate through freezing rain, mist, fog, 30 to 40 knot winds, snow, and - 30 degree temperatures.
The Dillingham Airport manger is nicknamed "Cooley." He is a long-time resident of Dillingham and lives up to his nickname. Among the many duties of airport managers, Cooley also flies his Cherokee 180 around to all the nearby villages so he can get condition updates on the runways and fix whatever happens to be broken, such as lights, equipment, etc. I park my airplane next to his, which is directly behind his office at the Department of Transportation.
True Alaskan Bush Pilots carry almost anything deep into the Alaskan Bush and the several surrounding villages. They transport hunters, fishermen, campers, sightseers, survey crews, contractors, hospital workers, snow machines, tools, building materials . . . basically anything they can fit into an aircraft.
Here are a few of the people who have dedicated their lives to flying in the Bristol Bay area. These unique, skilled, and courageous people, combined, account for well over a hundred years of flying experience. Unfortunately, I was not able to get all the bush pilots, but these are most of the "Best of the Best." I would recommend calling any of them to fly you around the Bristol Bay area.
One of the long time flyers around Bristol Bay is Bo. That is the only name I know him by and well, everyone just calls him that. I don't even know what his last name is. Bo has thousands upon thousands of hours of flying time. When I took this picture Bo was mounting skis on his maroon de Havilland Otter. He flies fuel into the surrounding remote villages and is also the agent for Northern Air Cargo.
Click here to read more of bush pilot profiles written by Father Scott.
Father Scott Garrett is the Pastor of the Holy Rosary Mission in Dillingham. His unique mode of transportation is a 160 Cherokee Warrior which he uses to fly to the many remote areas within his parish. With the unpredictable weather of southwest Alaska, Father Scott's schedule is always written lightly in pencil.