July 24, 2006

Flying Alaska: Part 1


I had always felt flying was just a necessary evil that one endured to get to some far off destination. I never dreamed that flying an airplane was something I was capable of doing. When Gray and I first met, he had been a pilot for several years. He and his father owned a single engine Cessna 172 based at Merrill Field in Anchorage, Alaska. Shortly after we met, Gray offered to take me for a sightseeing tour through the mountains surrounding the Anchorage area. Having never flown in a small plane before I was curious, but not really too enthused about going along for the ride. However, one canĂ¢€™t really say no to an invitation like that.
Gray and his dad eventually sold the 172 and had completely rebuilt a Cessna 180. This was the ultimate Alaska Bush plane. It had the room and the power to haul anything you needed, and the range to really go places. We would load up the plane with camping and fishing gear, or our mountain bikes and head out across Alaska, Gray, occasionally letting me take the controls. It was probably the time that he flew us up the Knik Glacier Gorge, 100 feet off the ground with a wall of blue ice off one wing tip and a sheer rock wall off the other, that I thought, this is too cool. I have got to do this!

I came across a video the other day of some intrepid flyer running the Knik gorge. See it here.
If you should go. Flight Advisory

Next time. Flight training.

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