Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Published on December 13, 2012 by in Essays

Noatak Grand Canyon Fire

Fire season always brings lucrative work to air services in Alaska. When Ross Nixon headed to McGrath for his first season flying fire contracts, he had no idea how much he’d like the job … or what music had to do with it.

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Jumpseat to Mekoryuk (Video)

Published on November 26, 2012 by in Videos


A loud boxy airplane, a hard-working crew, and you in the jumpseat …

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Dispatch: Work!

Published on November 21, 2012 by in Dispatches


A lot of people get into aviation because they don’t want a “real” job. In his latest Dispatch, Aidan ponders the meaning of “work,” and realizes that he’s happiest in the sort of flying jobs many pilots would run from. There’s some great food for thought here, as well as some inspiring photos from his time working in Nepal and Western Alaska.

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Aidan and CloudDancer

A chance encounter with a bush pilot in 1973 sent a low-time 19-year-old pilot from Texas north to Kotzebue, Alaska. He flew the bush for 16 years before returning south to fly for a major airline. If you’ve spent much time in Alaska you may have seen CloudDancer’s books about his adventures. If not, you’ll want to read them after getting to know Cloudy in this great interview!

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Southeast Alaska offers some stunning scenery, challenging weather, and great jobs for the right sort of pilot. Last April Aidan sat down with Cable Wells and Pat Goodrich of Island Air Express to discuss the flying opportunities in Southeast (and on Kodiak Island, where Cable grew up).

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Our look at Island Air Express in Southeast Alaska continues with a quick tour of their Klawock base, and an in-depth walkthrough of a Garrett-powered Cessna Caravan with Chelton avionics.

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There aren’t many operators looking for pilots with turbine and amphib experience, who also have polished instrument skills. Island Air Express in Southeast Alaska is one of them. Last Spring, Aidan met up with Chief Pilot Pat Goodrich in Ketchikan to hear more about what he does and what he looks for in the pilots he hires. If you like floats, turbines, and IFR, this short interview is well worth a listen.

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Dave Wywell

Dave Wiewel has pretty much done it all: he flew a DC-3 around the world, worked for many different regional airlines, flew 737s for Continental, and now flies tourists around Denali National Park in a Navajo and a turbine Beaver. Recorded last summer, this interview features some great discussion about a changing industry, the impact of technology in the cockpit, and the pros and cons of flying jets for the majors.

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Dispatch: Bethel, Alaska

Published on April 21, 2012 by in Dispatches


Aidan’s back where he started, flying a Cessna 207 out of Bethel, Alaska. Bethel isn’t for everyone … yet as a busy regional air taxi hub to dozens of bush villages, it’s where many Alaskan flying careers have begun. Get an overview of what it’s like to live and work there, in this latest Dispatch.

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Mike Hageland started his company back in 1980 with a single Cessna 180 based in Mountain Village, Alaska. At the time, he had no idea that Hageland Aviation would one day be part of Era Alaska–the largest air carrier in the state. Back in 2010 Aidan sat down with Mike to talk about his journey. Enjoy this chat with one of the pioneers of modern Alaskan aviation!

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