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Outdoor Channel's "Alaska's Ultimate Bush Pilots"

Written by: Posted on: December 31, 1969 at 7:00PMPosted in: Main Topic

For those of you who have not seen Outdoor Channel’s "Alaska’s Ultimate Bush Pilots" it is an amazing show about the courage and the adventure that comes with being a Bush Pilot in Kodiak Island, Alaska. It stars four of our very own pilots that fly for Island Air. Bob, the owner of Island Air, is our main host for the show and he tells his tales of flying as a Bush Pilot for over 30 years. We even get to see a few of our Discover Kodiak members in the show like Larry Carroll from Kodiak Adventures Lodge, Luke & Shannon Randall from Afognak Wilderness Lodge, and Pam Pingree from Quartz Creek Lodge. It is truly amazing to hear the stories and to watch what goes on when flying through the unpredictable Kodiak Island weather.

I got to interview another star of the show, one of the leading ladies, Emily Pack. She is Island Air’s Dispatcher for the Island Air pilots in Trident Basin. Emily has been a Kodiak resident for about 3 and a half years and she started at Island Air when she first arrived in Kodiak. I started off with the question, “How has the show (Alaska’s Ultimate Bush Pilots) affected you?” First off, there are so many ways that being on a television show can affect a person. With Emily, they were all positive and she was absolutely thrilled about the show. She stated that Island Air has gained a lot more attention than it normally had. She has been really busy with bookings and most, if not all, people book through them because they have seen clips from the show.  

It has been such a positive experience for Island Air with the amount of business they have been receiving. They have really been getting out there and Emily hopes that the show will bring out more attention to the Bear Viewing or other special trips that they offer. The show had done some fantastic advertising for Island Air and she also said that they had received lots of attention from hunters and lodge owners at a Show they had attended in Anchorage.

Even though Emily is one of the leading ladies in the show, she has only seen one episode. She claims that she is nervous about what she would look like on the show. I have seen the show myself and I enjoyed watching it every Monday night and I assured Emily that she looked just fine and that any bad hair days were probably from the constant stormy weather.

From what Emily had gathered from people watching the show and giving her feedback, she said that the emergencies that the pilots of Island Air had were dramatized. The viewers did not get to see the fun side of flying in a bush plane and that it is not as worrying and stressful as they made it on television. She said that they needed to see the fun side of flying, like, bear viewing. Because the harsh weather was a main focal point for the show, there have been many that have been too afraid of flying. The swells and wind are real factors, but, the pilots will not fly if they do not think it is safe. I have flown in a bush plane myself before and it was so much fun. I have lived in Kodiak my entire life and I saw more of Kodiak than I have ever seen in my short 22 years on that flight trip than I had my entire life. It is truly amazing.

The bush pilots enjoy what they do and if they did not think they were safe, they would not be doing it every day of the week. The show may have affected the pilots a little bit because the film crew had to get the right shots, but, they assured me that it was all worth it. Even though they did not know what was going on and what to expect from each other most of the time, the camera crew and the stars of the show really enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great learning experience and both the crews say that they would absolutely do it again to show the fun side of flying and hope that it will remain a positive experience.  


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