On The Wing

Traveling around Alaska and North America by small aircraft

 
 
 
 
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Diana and I have a passion for flying Alaska's backcountry

 As well as exploring beyond it's borders!

 

I grew up in little aircraft. My dad was a pilot and use to take me with him flying. I can remember endless hours flying cross California, Nevada, Idaho and Canada. First in a Cessna 140 then in Dad's Cessna 180 and later in his Piper Comanche 250. It was great fun. Dad would often take a nap after giving me a heading, AN-Range (A=- N=-) or VOR course to follow. I thought all radios were whistle stop coffee grinder, where you set a carrier on a frequency and tune for the screeching whistle, you were then on frequency.

My first 20 years flying in Alaska there was no GPS, most pilots, me included, considered plenty of fuel and a map the only necessities. The magnetic compass helped some but in tubular aircraft, which my PA-12 was, the steel caused errors and the magnetic dip error up North, especially in turbulence, rendered a compass useless. Many times, especially in bad weather, I headed across featureless tundra and arriving at the Yukon turned left or right, knowing I'd eventually recognize a feature or find a village, fuel was the necessity. If I had extra room it was filed with leaky gas cans.

GPS has definitely increased the safety of remote flying. They sure save us a lot of fuel by allowing a pilot to navigate more direct to a destination instead of flying the rivers and valleys. GPS has also prevented many pilots from developing good map reading skills or learning the lay of the rivers, mountains and valleys. When the batteries die or the GPS fails you still need to be a good pilot.

To me there is nothing better than loading up and taking off, for an overnight fishing trip or a month long odyssey across North America.

I think one reason Diana and I get along so well is we love of flying. Were both pilots and share the pleasure of being at the controls. To us a perfect vacation is loading our Cessna 185 with camping gear and bikes and taking off! For us it's the trip, not necessarily the destination.

It's an incredible experience to travel by small aircraft, spending your days below 5000 feet watching town, cities and farms as you traverse mountains, valleys, rivers and tundra with a constant kaleidoscope of the weather and seasons unfolding in movie you could never script, on a wide screen that never ends...

The page links that follow are a glimpse at some of the trips Diana and I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Flying throughout our home State of Alaska and traveling North America.

Sorry if some of the pages are Under Construction. I'll finish them as my time allows.

 

 
Flying floats in Alaska
A Summer of flying our Cessna 185 on floats
 
Sun-N-Fun
Bahamas 2007
April - May
Alaska to Florida the Bahamas and back, 81 hours
The ultimate vacation
 
Bush Flying
Bush Flying is not exclusive to Alaska. There is some great remote locations a pilot can fly to
We have the pleasure to sample Alaska, Canada, Idaho and Mexico
 
Oshkosh
July 2005
Diana flew to Air Venture 2005 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
 
Baja
April 2006 to Mexico
 
Reno Air-Races
September 2001, 2002 and 2004 Reno Nevada

 

 

 
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bruce@alaskawings.com
This site was last updated 12/17/15