Alaska covers a whopping 663,268 square miles – that’s larger than Texas, California and Montana combined. And when only 20% of that land mass is accessible by road, aviation is crucial.
While the pretty lakes and pointy peaks might make four-wheeled travel across Alaska near impossible, they also make flying a very dangerous thing to undertake. Pilots of the single engined, single propeller ‘bush planes’ take on a huge amount of risk, with an average of 94 plane crashes per year. It’s a way of making a living that’s in fact ranked 4th in CNN’s list of‘America’s 10 Most Dangerous Jobs’.
“I’ve said more prayers in the cockpit of an airplane than anywhere else.”
From the glacial pilots of Talkeetna, who specialise in flying throughout the Alaska Range, to the iconic float plane pilots who service Kodiak year round, the men and women who find themselves crossing this awesome terrain are inevitably some impressive characters, with a few memorable anecdotes to boot. So much so in fact, the good folks at Filson have gone and documented their badass lives in what could easily be one of the most visually stunning locations in the world – as you’ll see in the video.
“People come to Alaska because they don’t quite fit in anywhere else”
This short, inspirational, edit might just make you want to quit your job, find the nearest flying school, get your wings and jump on a one-way ticket out to AK. OK, maybe your reaction to it won’t be that extreme but I’m sure it’ll make you wish you were out there with the crazy yanks rather than stuck in the office doing your normal nine to five.
For those that don’t know, Filson are the ‘Original Alaska Outfitter’, set up in 1897 to specialise in goods to outfit the gold rush ‘stampeders’ travelling from Seattle to Alaska in pursuit of the American Dream. Filson manufactured Mackinaw Wool clothing, blankets and knit goods so that people could survive the perils found up in the north – back in those years when clothing wasn’t just a matter of choice, but also survival. What worked 120 years ago still works to this day, and Filson remain well known for their honest, quality, and durable clothing.