Bush Planes of Alaska

You may have noticed the shots of the planes skimming the glassy surface of a lake in the promo video for the Peregrine.

Those are not just any planes, and those are not just any pilots. With some of the wildest and remotest terrains of the world, flying in Alaska is not a luxury, but a necessity. The limited road network means flying is often the only way to reach some communities.

The type of planes used are specifically built to deal with these environments. Their landing gear can cope with varying and rough surfaces, their engines are designed for extremely short takeoff and landing (STOL), and they have a rugged construction capable of surviving the bush.

Different planes cater for different purposes. Some have greater carrying capacity, while others are more manoeuvrable. The Piper Super Cub is one of these, and even after 70 years since its introduction, it is still the best plane for bush flying.

The key differentiator though, is the type of flying. Pilots are more skilled at flying by feel, as opposed to flying by numbers. This is something that can only be learned by years of experience, out in the bush. Pilots will often have to do extremely short takeoffs and landings on snowy mountains, sandbars, beaches and tundras.

They need to be able to judge whether a landing spot is viable from the air, as it may be the first time a human has even set foot in that area. To hear more of what these pilots get up to, check out the video below.

One of the beauties of bush plane flying, is the ability to experience true wilderness, going where no mad has gone before. While this is something that very few of us will get to experience, we can still strive to get out into the wild if only for a short hike on the weekend.

Kia kaha.

Mike

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