Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Washing Planes and Meeting Ted Turner's Son

I mentioned that I worked part-time at a bush airplane company. It's owned and run by a wonderful family with two kids. 
The boss is a highly skilled pilot and has pioneered many of the remote airstrips in the Brook's Mountain Range. They both have three generations of mechanics and pilots in their families.

The two Beavers they fly can land anywhere: riverbeds, glaciers, mountain passes. The summers are busy flying climbers, hunters and river navigators into the depths of the wild. For the winter the family packs up and leaves for a four-month traveling spree. What a life. 

The boss

Dropping off a North Face Expedition

During the summers their niece helps them out. She's also 19 and we had some great times together cleaning planes, transporting giant heaters, unloading bush planes, swimming in the river and other miscellaneous activities. 

Faith washing the reluctant wolf-dog "Hobbes", after he got into trouble, again. 

The wolf-dog "Hobbes" getting a bath

Faith scrubbing filth from his fur

Unloading a plane full of food and supplies for some backpackers. Filling the planes with oil and aviation fuel.

Helping maintain the family garden. Below is a giant cabbage. Things grow amazingly fast when the sun never sets. 

If they weren't busy, he would let me ride along with him to drop off supplies for remote trekkers. The Beavers can fly close to the mountain ridges and valleys, so it feels like you're almost touching the ground. There's nothing quite like the sensation of flying in such a small aircraft, plus the views are mind-blowing, but it comes at a cost. The statistics are that 1 out of every 9 Alaskan bush pilots is killed. Granted it's pretty easy to get a pilot's license and to buy a plane in Alaska, but still.....

They cater to backpackers and exclusive Hunting expeditions for caribou, dall sheep and grizzlies. They've flown senators, CEOs, governors, etc.... 

This summer there was some bad weather, so Faith and I had to entertain Ted Turner's son Beau Turner. He's VERY self-centered and talks a lot about himself. He also asked if I wanted a foot massage after work, so he's also creepy. No surprises there, but he left me a $60 tip, so I didn't' mind. 

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