Aniak Travel Blog› entry 3 of 38 › view all entries
The company flew me To Aniak on a small commuter to help out with an inspection on one of our helicopters. Upon boarding the flight in Anchorage, I was impressed that I did not have to remove my boots. That always seemed a bit overboard to me … if that shoe-bomber fella had packed explosives in his underwear, we would all be commuting in hospital gowns. It was nice to be away from that mainstream of madness and to be back in Alaska.
Heading west and inland, away from the ocean waters of the Cook Inlet, the snow quickly disappeared. The spruce, white birch, and alder trees were bare. Aniak is a small fishing village on the Kuskokwim River which was still frozen-over in white as we landed.
While Joe, the pilot, paused flying just long enough to gulp dinner, Walt and I had time to pop open a few panels, to have a peek at structures and components that are only checked at each 100 hours of flight-time, keeping the ship ready to fly at fifteen minutes notice. The more intense maintenance would begin at night-fall when Joe's work was finished for the day. It was still too early in the season for the midnight sun, so we worked by the glow of our Mini-Mag Lites.
A knock at my hotel-room door woke me about 10:00 a.m. It was Joe and I mentally cursed a problem and the helicopter still sitting idle at the airfield. Missing flight time for maintenance would be inexcusable by my standards, especially having TWO mechanics on the bird. I was elated to learn that Joe had already flown three hours that morning and was there to take me to the airport for the flight back to Anchorage. It was great to be back to 'field' work and to be back in Alaska!