I took my first flight on a bush plane yesterday and it was incredible. I took a while for it to materialize. First, I flew into Dillingham from Anchorage. Alaska Airlines flies from Dillingham to Anchorage during tourist and commercial fishing season (May or June - Sept).
Although I am going to talk about flying on a bush plane, I was shocked that even flying into the bush from Anchorage on Alaska airlines - a major airline - there is no security check. The gates are located near the entrance of the airport on ground level. Let me repeat that; I got onto an Alaska Airlines plane without a security check. You just check your bag, get your ticket and go downstairs to your gate (platform 9 and 3/4 I think it was called) where you wait until your flight is ready. If you are going to the bush you probably have guns and knives, so I guess there's no sense in checking for something that is expected to be there. It's like doing a wallet or purse check on a normal flight, it wouldn't make sense, "of course I have my wallet, I might need to buy something!". Until I was actually on the plane I was thinking, "I guess we do security check as we walk out to the plane". Nope.
The wind was gusting and the fog was rolling in so the bush planes went on weather delay. This is determined by the pilot, basically on whether he feels safe to fly or not based on his read of the weather. So I go the district office in Dillingham and meet some people and wait around for a few hours. As I notice a break in the clouds the bush pilot calls and says he wants to fly out in 30 minutes. The wind is still blowing and gusting pretty strong, but we are going. I get picked up by the pilots wife and niece and they take me to the plane. We get there and park amongst a few planes. The pilot pulls up in another truck and gets out with four other people. He walks over to the plane and begins fueling it up. When I see the plane he is fueling and the people standing around, I am wondering how we are going to get all the people and all the luggage onto this thing.
Despite the sketchy flight I was so amazed by everything I took a lot of pictures, here are a few.