|Publisher:||West Margin Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||6 MB|
About the Author
Lindbergh’s flight from New York to Paris in 1927 cemented Rudy Billberg’s determination to fly. He learned to fly in a Curtiss Robin in 1934. He then flew as a professional pilot for 46 years. Born in Roseau, Minnesota, in 1916, Billberg’s first plan ride in 1927, was in an open-cockpit Travel Air biplane powered by a Curtiss OX-5 engine. In Minnesota he flew as a barnstormer and instructed student pilots in a pre-war federal civilian pilot training program. During World War II, he flew C-47’s in Alaska and northwestern Canada for the Air Transport Command. Before and after the war, he was an Alaska bush pilot. An adventurer at heart, Billberg, often with his wife, Bessie, explored wilderness Alaska by riverboat, amphibious plane, and snowmobile. While Rudy flew the bush, the Billbergs lived in Nome, Fairbanks, Galena, Bethel, Anchorage, and Homer. Billberg died in 2007.
Read an Excerpt
Alaskans took to airplanes like no other people in the world ever have. From the beginning, they flew 30 to 40 times as much as other Americans, measured in number of flights per capita or by the passenger mile. Today, Alaska has more then 10,000 pilots, one for every 45 residents. One aircraft is found in the state for every 50 Alaskans. There are six times as many pilots per capita and 12 times as many airplanes per capita as in the rest of the United States. Only five years after Noel Wien established sky trails from Fairbanks, the Territory of Alaska (population 50,000) boasted 57 graded landing fields. Using these fields were 29 airplanes. All Alaskans didn’t immediately welcome airplanes. Contracts for hauling mail had long gone to drivers of dog teams, to horse teamsters, to stern-wheeled riverboats. Much of the economy of Interior Alaska revolved around ground transportation. Furthermore, in winter powerful dog sled mail teams broke trail, and others were able to use these trails—not insignificant in snow country with long winters.