Alaskan bush pilots have been around long before Alaska was a state. Over 90 years ago pilots in Alaska pioneered flying small aircraft into the wilderness transporting both people and goods. Growing up in Southcentral Alaska, all I ever wanted to do was be a pilot in the great state of Alaska. My love for aviation dates to my early childhood. I was always fascinated by the aircraft flying all around me. Living in Alaska gives a person the unique opportunity of regularly seeing aviation everywhere they look; everything from military fighter jets cutting across the sky, to private airplanes leisurely making their way to a weekend away from the city.
In Alaska, often the only way to travel in and out of locations is by air. From traveling to the lower 48 to visit family or flying throughout Alaska for sporting events, I was exposed to aviation at a very young age. As a kid I was always captivated by flying and the science behind getting an airplane into the air. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always the same, a pilot.
After graduating from high school, I left Alaska to continue my education at a small college in Montana. I chose to get my bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science and received all my flight training in college. Having an airplane cockpit as my classroom was awesome, to say the least. While my friends went to an afternoon chemistry class, I went flying over town honing my flying skills.
After graduating, my goal was to return to Alaska to begin my career as a pilot. After waiting 6 months I caught a break and managed to get a job with an airline that transports cargo all along the western coast of Alaska. I am based out of the village of Kotzebue which is has a population of about 3,200 and is located 30 miles above the Arctic Circle.
Over my last 10 moths flying I have seen more of Alaska than I ever saw in my 20+ years living in Alaska. Alaska is a unique and wild place and I am extremely grateful to be able to work and live in this beautiful state. Being an Alaskan bush pilot is a dream come true and I can’t imagine doing anything else; I am having the time of my life and enjoying every minute of it.