The de Havilland Beaver is one of the quintessential float planes associated with flying in Alaska. The video linked here is an interview with Willy Fulton based in Kodiak discussing flying for a living out of Kodiak as an Alaska bush pilot.
I don’t have a lot of time flying in Alaska, just enough to have flown up into the Arctic, along the Bearing Sea, around Kodiak Island and a few trips through Southeast Alaska. This kind of flying is a challenge and makes you realize how vital planes are to the residents of Alaska and how challenging it is to fly in Alaska. Many locations are only accessible by aircraft unless you want to mush or paddle or hike your way in. The Alaska bush pilot is still the lifeline for many people, bringing in the mail and groceries and is your way out when you go to town. In parts of the state, the “school bus” is actually a Cessna. You are also at the mercy of the weather, it changes quickly and often it is too dangerous to be out flying.
South of Anchorage, the float plane is the one of the critical components of the basic transportation system. Along the coast, many of the towns, villages and cabins are only accessed by water – and some of the distances make using a boat a slow proposition. Cruise passengers will often take a float sightseeing trip and enjoy the view, but they may not realize that float planes are more than just a pretty day excursion.
Here is the video, produced by the Anchorage Daily News. If you have ever thought about going on a ride in a float plane and are in the Seattle area – here is a blog post for you.