Bush pilots are known as rough, tough, resourceful people who fly their aircraft into tight spots in the worst of weather. Alaska’s bush pilots are all of that and more. Acting as pioneers in a land with 43,000 miles of coastline and North America’s largest mountains, Alaska’s bush pilots were and are visionaries of a lifestyle of freedom. Flying came late to Alaska but caught on quickly. The first flight was made over a three-day exhibition at Fairbanks, July 3–5, 1913. James Martin first flew that aircraft, owned by him and his wife, Lilly, and investors Arthur Williams and R.S. McDonald. Ever since, Alaskan bush pilots have found that they were calculators of their own fate, flying in fragile aircraft over vast stretches of tundra or through towering mountain passes. This book examines the pioneer aviators and the aircraft types such as the Stearman, Stinson, and Lockheed, many of which were tested and crashed in the far north regions of Alaska.
About the Author
Rob Stapleton moved to Alaska in 1975 and became an award-winning photojournalist at the Anchorage Daily News. He has covered the Iditarod, climbed Denali, and is a board member of the Alaska Airmen’s Association. Stapleton also volunteers for the AOPA Airport Support Network at Birchwood Airport in Chugiak, Alaska.