It’s Not a Crash If the Plane’s Still in One Piece

I’m in Anchorage airport right now, waiting for my plane to take me home after a week spent reporting a bush flying story for Popular Mechanics. What, you ask, is bush flying? Well, I think this video explains better than any mere words:

 

I made this yesterday, shooting over the shoulder of veteran bush pilot Terry Holiday as he sets down his Super Cub on a tiny patch of gravel near the Knik Glacier north of Anchorage. As we were coming in, I was thinking: “Where exactly are you planning to put this thing down, Terry?” Yet oddly the experience didn’t feel that scary; Terry has such a natural feel for the airplane that I sensed that it would do exactly what he wanted. Having said that, the take off was even more extraordinary, as we bounced into the air and scrabbled for altitude as Terry guided the plane between a large hillock and the face of a cliff. Alaska — it’s always an adventure.