Cowboys of the Sky: The Story of Alaska's Bush Pilots

Cowboys of the Sky: The Story of Alaska's Bush Pilots

by Steven C. Levi
     
 

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For more than 80 years, bush pilots have carried supplies, delivered mail, and transported emergency personnel over Alaska's rugged terrain. They've flown with felons handcuffed to the seat, with corpses strapped to the wing, and with drugged polar bears sleeping in the cargo compartment. Ever since aviation came to Alaska planes have been far more important

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Overview

For more than 80 years, bush pilots have carried supplies, delivered mail, and transported emergency personnel over Alaska's rugged terrain. They've flown with felons handcuffed to the seat, with corpses strapped to the wing, and with drugged polar bears sleeping in the cargo compartment. Ever since aviation came to Alaska planes have been far more important that cars or truck to the residents of the far flung bush communities.

In Cowboys of the Sky: The Stories of Alaska's Bush Pilots, humorist and historian Steven C. Levi takes you on a wild ride through the heyday of aviation in Alaska, from the golden years, before federal regulations curbed the more dangerous and outlandish flying practices, all the way to the present. Through photographs and anecdotes, you'll meet brave and colorful pilots, the true cowboys of the sky who carved the face of America's Last Frontier.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tim Whitney
Ever since aviation came to Alaska, planes have been far more important than cars or trucks to the residents of the remote bush communities. Accompanied by authentic black-and-white photographs, the text traces the evolution of the use of bush planes from the 1920's to the present decade. The humorous and amazing anecdotes of the bush pilots through the years are a major strength of the text. A glossary, bibliography, and index are also included.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 UpA delightful nonfiction romp. Nowhere else will you find Alaskan aeronautical anecdotes related with such humor for an adolescent audience. From Harold "Thrill `Em, Chill `Em, Spill `Em, But No Kill `Em" Gillam to Archie Ferguson, "The Craziest Pilot in the World," the author describes in colorful, humorous detail the daredevil lives of the early pilots who braved the elements and distance to service remote villages in the vast Alaskan "bush." Going by decades from the 1920s to the present, the history of the heyday of Alaskan aviation comes alive. The exploits of the daring "Sky Cowboys" glorify a vanishing breed, now considerably tamed by FAA regulations; however, Levi does not glorify the pilots to the point of deification. He notes the old Alaskan adage, "There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." Numerous historical black-and-white photographs illustrate the text. One discernible errora photo caption states that Wiley Post and Will Rogers were in Juneau in 1938, when the text states that they died in a crash in 1935.Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
Debbie Carton
The title aptly sums up the appeal of this fascinating topic. But unlike cowboys, whose heyday ended with the advent of barbed wire, bush pilots are still going strong, a vital and necessary link in Alaska's difficult climate and immense area. Levi uses wonderfully humorous anecdotes to introduce the often idiosyncratic characters who deliver medical supplies, mail, passengers, and even the occasional Big Mac to remote villages. Little-known history also comes to light as he describes Alaska's role in World War II, including the Japanese bombing of Dutch Harbor and the subsequent occupation of two other islands in the Aleutian chain. Unfortunately, there is no discussion of women bush pilots, past or present. The only nod to women pilots is a photo of one, with a caption informing readers that there were only a few women in the early days of aviation. Still, with a handy glossary, an extensive bibliography, and many black-and-white photos, this will attract aviation buffs and anyone who enjoys real-life adventure tales.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802783318
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
03/01/1996
Pages:
114
Product dimensions:
7.52(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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