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Flying to Clarks Point, Alaska

  • Author: Scott Garrett
  • Updated: June 30, 2016
  • Published March 1, 2010
bush-pilot-mat-vandeventer-3-1-10
Mat Vandeventer, owner of Van Air.
Scott Garrett photos.

On Friday I flew to Clarks Point, Alaska. I fly to Clarks Point every Friday. Clarks is a short 12 mile hop, skip, and jump southeast from Dillingham. It was such a beautiful day I decided to fly east until I hit Bristol Bay, then northwest up the coastline to Clarks Point. It was an additional 25 miles or so.

I heard through the grape vine that Betty, a Clarks Point resident, needed to get to Dillingham. Betty is afraid to fly with just anyone. Most villagers, after finding a safe pilot, will stick to them through thick and thin.

For example, people from Manokotak fly with John Bouker of Bristol Bay Air, and Yupik villagers from Clarks Point fly with Mat Vandeventer of Van Air.

To make a long story short, Betty actually agreed to fly with me back to Dillingham. It took me over two years of flying out here before I finally felt comfortable taking up passengers. After flying out here for four years people in the villages are actually starting to take note of my experience.

Alaska bush pilot in Bristol Bay.1
John Bouker, owner of Bristol Bay Air Service.

With only about 550 total hours I still do not consider myself a bush pilot ... maybe after a thousand or so. Upon landing in Dillingham I was lucky and my approach was nice and slow and I landed smoothly, i.e. without bouncing and without a controlled crash landing. I think Betty was actually impressed.

Fly Safe out there, and hope you are having a prayerful Lent.

Click here to read more about Garret's flight and his time in Clarks Point.

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.

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