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Today’s Flight Plan

Have you ever wanted to explore the wilderness? What about doing so from an airplane? As you know, airplanes can land on all types of surfaces. Landing on those surfaces takes training, experience, and accepting some calculated risk.

Regardless, backcountry flying is some of the most rewarding aviating one can do. And that is why Zane Jacobson started BackcountryPilot.org.

At Backcountry Pilot, you can learn a ton of information from the videos, articles, trip reports, and more that are packed on the website. One of the best resources is the forum where you can glean knowledge from sage bush aviators. What better way to learn than from the guys that have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’?

If every there was an inspiring website for aviation- one that really gets your juices flowing- this is it.

Join us as we talk to Zane about many of the aspects of bush flying, and what makes backcountry flying such a rewarding way to fly.

Useful Links

BackcountryPilot.org
BackcountryPilot Twitter

Credits

Zane Jacobson

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A huge thanks to Zane or joining us on this episode.

Crew

Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Transcript

View transcript

Tundra tires, floats, skis and wheels, this is AviatorCast episode 69!

Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer, airplanes come in all different shapes and sizes. Of course as an aviation geek and pilot I love them all. It’s those that land on water, snow, grass, rocks, tundra and anything else that isn’t concrete and anything odd that really gets me going, those are bush planes. So welcome to this the 69th episode of AviatorCast, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome you here. We are here week after week to talk to inspiring aviators, people that you know really instill in us that passion for aviation. We give you aviation insight, maybe we reignite that flame and you as an aviator, maybe you’ve lost some of that passion.

So that’s another thing we do here and maybe you need the courage to fly. You know, get the finances to go out and do it or make sure you can get your medical and go out and do it. We share lots of information here, we share stories from all different backgrounds on how people became pilots and practical tips on how to become a pilot or stay a pilot, things like that. Basically the gist of AviatorCast is aviation passion. That’s why we’re here, we love this flying stuff and we want to share that with you each and every week.

So again, welcome to this, the 69th episode. We have a great episode lined up today, we have Zane Jacobson, he’s the founder of a very cool company that I just love, a website, it’s called backcountrypilot.org. Zane is such a creative and great guy, has put all this together you know, there’s this new thing out there where people are realizing that they can go out and have a great adventure in their airplane flying to very different places and really literally going out into the wild and flying.

So Zane likes that type of thing, he started backcountrypilot.org, he is a software developer for his main vocation. So he just does this bush flying thing on the side, kind of as an amateur so it’s great to have him on the show. He has what we love here which is a lot of passion. So before we get into that with Zane from Back County Pilot we have a review that comes to us from iTunes. Each and every week we share a review from iTunes, if you get your review read on the show, we will send you an exclusive and limited edition AviatorCast t-shirts, these are going to be numbered t-shirts.

I’m just in the process now of having those designed, I’ve got my designer working on them. And I know I’ve been saying we’re getting that going for a while now but it really is happening now, I’m excited, we’ve been talking to the guy that does the t-shirts as well, the guy that actually will print the t-shirts. So lots of cool conversations happening around these AviatorCast t-shirts.

The gist is we want this to be a t-shirt that you wear all the time because you love it. It’s not going to be plastered with AviatorCast stuff, it’s just going to be awesome. It’s going to speak to aviation so we’re excited to share that with you guys.

So here is this review, this comes to us from Future Aviator 18 from the USA, he gives five stars, he says, Interesting and Informative, that’s the title. He says, “I found this podcast a few months ago and I’ve been very impressed. While there are many aviation podcasts out there, Chris is unmatched in his abilities out there to keep conversations interesting and bring on high quality guests. This podcast helps keep the fire burning while I go through the long process of saving up adequate funds to finish my private pilot’s certificate”.

Thank you Future Aviator 18, I’m excited that you’re here that you’re keeping that fire burning as you call it, as you prepare yourself to get ready for your final push for that private pilot. You know I think that’s such a worthwhile endeavor. Becoming a pilot is a great thing you know, it’s not an end all, I mean you don’t become some super human just by getting a pilot’s license but there are freedoms and things that you can do as a pilot that you cannot get anywhere else and it’s such a great achievement.

So I’ll send you an AviatorCast t-shirt, just shoot me an email at me@aviatorcast.com. Just tell me, hey, you read my review on the show and we’ll put you in line to get one of those t-shirts as soon as we have them printed and we are sending them out here in the next several weeks. So now that we’ve done that, we’ve kind of done the beginning of the show now, let’s just dive right into it, let’s get into this conversation with Zane because he has a lot of just cool information.

And being from Alaska I’m a guy that appreciates bush flying. I’ve been working on my float rating recently and man, it’s really opened my eyes to a lot of different things in aviation I just didn’t know about. And it just gets me excited about all the other possibilities out there that I haven’t quite tried yet.

So before we get into that actually just a quick, quick note here, you’re going to notice that my voice sounds better. I’ve really gotten control of the office that I’m in, I moved into a new office a couple months ago, about six weeks ago actually my first ever office outside the home. So it’s kind of a cool big thing for me but going into this office, the walls were completely bare, you guys probably heard a lot of echoing in the last several podcast episodes.

But now I am getting control that I have some sound panels in here from a very cool company that kind of hook me up with them. I paid for them of course but these guys do great work and the podcast is sounding better than ever. So I’m excited I’m pumped, let’s get into this hangar talk episode with the Zane Jacobson from Backcountry Pilot.

Now, a special hangar talk segment…

Chris: Alright everybody we’re honored to have a special guest with us today Zane Jacobson from backcountrypilot.org. Zane welcome to AviatorCast, how are you doing?

Zane: I’m doing well thank you.

Chris: Awesome to have you, I was telling you a funny story because I really like your videos, I’m an Alaskan. I just love flying in the wild I just think there’s nothing like it so I really love what you’re doing with Backcountry Pilot. So I watched this video a few weeks ago it’s called 170s in the Wrangells I believe. You and some other guys, some guys that you got to know were flying just in the wild and you guys were camping out at night and discovering different airborne stuff.

But there’s this guy’s on your videos, and he was the sky of Japanese descent you know he had one of the aircraft there. And then I saw him just at lunch one day, I’m like, hey you’re a pilot aren’t you and he’s like, yeah, how did you know? I’m like I saw you in this really cool video that I watched from Backcountry Pilot. So great to have you on the show, I’m excited to talk about what you do and yeah, it’s great to have you here.

Zane: Yeah, I’m sure that anybody that’s been in one of my videos love to feel like it’s granted celebrity status upon them to the point where you know people in public will call them up.

Chris: I know. I should have asked for his autograph that really would’ve freaked him out.

Zane: I don’t know if that’s good or bad because I, you know, to tell you the truth, pilots, pilots personalities are all across the board. I don’t know whether people value their privacy or whether they kind of enjoy a little bit of celebrity from those. And that’s kind of one of the things that I really like to do with my videos is create a characters. Sometimes those characters are you know, reluctance characters.

Chris: Yeah definitely. It was just really funny that connection. Apart from that I’ve been trying to get you on the show here for a while and then know that you are a busy guy doing different things. You just offer a different perspective that I’m excited to talk about today so that will be fun.

Zane: I mean, before we go too far we got to call that guy out, that was Gregg Motonaga, he’s husky pilot out of Soldotna.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Yeah, good guy great pilot.

Chris: Cool. Yeah, yeah, you know I gave him my card and maybe he and I will go find together one day, just have to see.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: Alright, so the first big question I ask everybody, we’ve got to rewind all the way back to the beginning, and that is how did you fall in love with aviation so tell us that beginning story?

Zane: Well, my grandfather my dad’s father was a pilot. He had in 1949 Cessna 170A model which has the all metal wing.

Chris: Wow.

Zane: And then later on he moved up to a Piper Comanche. And so I grew up with photos of him, he died when I was two years old but I grew up with photos of him standing in front of these airplanes you know hanging on the walls of my aunt and uncle’s house. And my dad he’d ridden around in the back seat with my grandparents flying. You know my grandfather flew around the country for work in his Comanche. So my father kind of had that aviation foundation too and he’d gone on to do some flight training in solo when he was just out of high school.

Then he had kids and his kind of aviation career kind of got put on hold and so you know fast-forward to me going away to college my dad got into flying Quicksilver Ultralights with some people in his area. This is in southern Oregon, just outside of [inaudible][10:55].

And he felt like that was just the coolest thing, it was a very inexpensive, very un-, or less regulated way to enjoy aviation. You know you get into a Quicksilver Ultralight at that time for I think around like $10 – $12,000 for a kid you know maybe for $4 – $5000 for a Rotax 503 which was the preferred you know, engine for that single seat model. So he took lessons and you know, started flying that way. And then here I came home from college and I’m like, I thought that, suddenly just blew my mind, I thought that was the coolest thing so I took lessons too and I soloed. And there really was no certificate to get.

Chris: Right.

Zane:You just soloed you know and then you leave the nest and that was it. So we did all sorts of fun kind of camping adventures, we would go out to the Alvord Desert which is a big dry lake bed out in the South East Oregon. There would be flying’s, that was really my first exposure to the backcountry type flying which I have a different opinion of those nowadays. But back then it was an amazing thing to be able to fly a little airplane out in the desert you know. I guess I can’t confess the things that might get me violated in this show…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Kind of a, I feel like I am being I don’t know talking to the cops or something…

Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Zane: So yeah, so I learned to fly Ultralights but then I had to go back finish school, you know I’m kind of start my career and so that led to another big gap in my flying. And so then in the early 2000’s I just happened to go, I met a guy I was living in Santa Barbara, California, met a guy that rented a local 152 and we went off flying. And suddenly it snapped and at the time I was like, I was really big into motocross racing. I was buying new bikes you know racing on the Southern California motocross tracks. I went flying with that guy that day and turned around, put my bikes up for sale right the next day.

Chris: Nice.

Zane: It was like a light switch went off it was like I have to go fly that’s what I’m going to do now. I had done a little bit of it before but I was like I need to get my private pilot certificate and it kind of everything just came crashing down all at once. You know I was like I was consumed with bush flying, I was reading all these bush flying tales you know and biographies and stuff from the Alaskan bush pilots. Reading lots of the flying magazines in, what is that series called I learned, I learned about flying from that.

Chris: Oh yeah, there’s a great.

Zane: I just like you know, kind of survival series.

Chris: Kind of survival stories.

Zane: Yeah, survival stories, they were like stories of people screwing up and surviving and…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So, yeah, I completely immersed myself in my flight training and studies and stuff and knocked my private certificate out in a few months. Then I left for, I left Santa Barbara, I quit my job, left Santa Barbara, I wanted to go be a ski bum so I moved to Reno, Nevada. You know, and I hooked up with a couple instructors there and one guy I got my tail wheel endorsement from him in an 1851 supercub.

Chris: Oh wow.

Zane: And he taught me a little bit about mountain flying…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: You know, so we did some aerobatics and stuff. That guy was Tim Brill but then he was, it was funny because he would, I went to him because I wanted to you know, I wanted to fly bush planes, I wanted to learn to fly a taildragger but he was really big into aerobatic instruction. So you know he gave me the mountain flying rundown but then he would be like, yeah let’s go back and get the super decathlon because we need to go and do some spins and some you know some humpty bumps and some snap rolls. And I was like yeah, you know I’m just kind of happy to do some takeoffs and landings.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: No, we got to do some aerobatics.

Chris: That’s cool.

Zane: Yeah and so at that time I was really big into a website called supercub.org.

Chris: Okay.

Zane: Very, I mean anyone that knows backcountrypilot.org knows supercub.org. At the time that was kind of really the only show in town, there were a lot of type specific web communities and forums, using forums for the champs, you know 170s, the skywagons whatever. But the Super Cub community was by far the strongest and by far the community that identified with bush flying in off airport flying.

Like those where the guys that were doing it I just thought that was the coolest thing. But I was also you know a little I don’t know disenfranchised with the fact that it was so super cub centric. At least that used to be more so and also the fact that it was a there was a heavy pressure for people to donate money and achieve this member status. So there I don’t want to call it a caste system but there was a little bit of the gratification of the free members versus the people who were donating members or whatever.

Chris: Gotcha.

Zane: I was just a big believer in not, especially for pilots knowledge is free. I wanted to hangar fly with guys…

Chris: Right.

Zane: And not have any boundaries or barriers to sharing that information. So years later know that I have a popular website I begin to realize that in order to keep it up and running you do need money and so…

Chris: Right.

Zane: I certainly can’t fault Steve Johnson, the guy from supercub.org for having that kind of thing because at actually falling into a very similar model into what he’d already been doing that then.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: I mean I have to say, so I went to supercub.org first and then note to your website. One thing I really loved about backcountrypilot.org when I first got into it and I don’t know how I found it. I often peruse Vimeo so I think that was probably what happened is I was looking for aviation videos on Vimeo and found your stuff. But I just really like the design you know, like it definitely, like you’ve got these mountains in the background, they’re kind of just stuck there from parallax. I just get the feel that this is the back country flying website of course you’ve got all the bunch of articles and different things and…

Zane: It does you know, kind of helps in my day job and my user interface and my user experience designer software, software development team. So, I would never try to sell anyone my actual professional services based on backcountrypilot.org because you’ve ever heard the old adage, the cobbler’s kids go unshod. Backcountry Pilot it kind of tends to be you know, I have projects that you know kind of pay the mortgage…

Chris: Right.

Zane: Backcountry.org is more of a hobby business.

Chris: Exactly.

Zane: So it, it tends to suffer a little bit kind of in that regard but certainly I love you know the beautiful web design for years the site was purely just a forum and I’ve always wanted to do an online magazine. I’ve always wanted to curate content, do interviewees you know, do rich media, as well as you know curate a knowledge base to help people that are you know may be interested in backcountry or off airport flying to be able to get directly to information that’s compiled by people that are doing that stuff.

Chris: You know the other thing is that I feel like you really hit this at an important time and I don’t know if it was intentional or it was kind of the stars lining but I think a lot of pilots are becoming enlightened now to the fact that the world is a big place. And I know that sounds kind of funny but it’s like I really don’t have to go and land on huge concrete runways all the time you mean I can land on grass and I can land on gravel and go check out different places.

Well of course you can people have been doing it forever but it’s like not until now when some of this stuff are being coming out on the Internet especially with your stuff. I think you’ve done great in this regard is people are becoming enlightened to the fact that man you can be pretty adventurous with and airplane and you can go some cool places.

Zane: Absolutely and you can see just by the fact that our tagline is explore your frontier then I really wanted to create something that inspires people to fly based purely on that sort of that underlying feeling of adventure. So many people I believe gets into flying and they get hung up and distracted sort of by all the technical stuff and the procedural stuff and they start to kind of you know lose the forest for the trees you know.

Flying at its very core is a way to get away you know see the world from a different perspective and above all to explore. And that certainly is my objective as a pilot to get out and explore the backcountry. I’ve struggled with trying to describe the site several times over the years. I’ve rewritten kind of our description paragraph and I’ve always struggled to compress that into just couple sentences just exactly what it means to me and you know why we exist.

Chris: Right, right. That’s always something that in a way kind of lives and molds and grows or changes I think that’s natural you know. But I think that it’s definitely serving its purpose it’s doing really well. And going back to what you are saying about kind of connecting to that the reason we fly you know it’s definitely a huge thing about adventure for sure. There is this quote I actually put on our Twitter channel the other day, I made up this little me I guess you can call it kind of shameless me.

But it says, I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things and I really love that because it’s so true. You know when I am really up there just flying to fly I just feel like I’m at my best you know and that’s like where I belong it’s pretty amazing.

Zane: Well yeah, like I mean like a lot of things operating a circular saw or you know anything that demands like your complete and full attention you know flying is definitely like that. And I would never definitely recommend it to anyone to escape, you know escape their problems if something is bothering them. My dad has always been like the angel on my shoulder because he’s like Mr. Safety and I think that he knows that I fly often and I never tell him that I’m going flying beforehand. I always tell them afterwards…

Chris: Really.

Zane: So he doesn’t have like anxiety while I’m flying. Yeah, but he’s always telling me don’t go flying if you’re you know feeling you know angry or sad or you have some other sort of menthol or other distractions. It’s like it’s just not a safe way to operate. You can certainly consume yourself in the flight once you’re up there but don’t go if you are otherwise preoccupied with thoughts that would prevent you from doing your best as a pilot.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Definitely you know that just goes back to the fact that they I am safe checklist right? The emotional part of that you got to make sure that you’re not going up when you’re distressed because it definitely affects your decision-making.

Zane: Right, yet I mean people are we’re just human you know. Some days I feel like things are just absolutely crystal care and I’m just operating without you know any impediments I’m just super on like some super jet. Other days it’s like I can’t even make a piece of toast in the kitchen in the morning without dropping it on the floor whatever you know I’m just Butterfingers. I’m like I’m not going near a car or an airplane today.

Chris: Right, right. I’ve never done I don’t think I’ve ever done that before where I’m like man I’m having a really bad day you know in a sense like it’s feels like the universe is against me and I’ve decided not to go flying because of that. I guess I’ve never thought of that before but that’s actually not a bad tip.

Zane: It probably has more to do with the coffee than anything.

Chris: That could be it. So it looks like you have some other people on your website that contribute. Tell us about your contributors.

Zane: Well yeah, I mean one of the first things that I will concede is that I’m not a terribly experienced pilot. I’m somewhere around 500 hours and that counts the time you know from back when I was flying ultralights so. I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that anyone would consider me an expert on this type of stuff because they are, well I do feel that you know I’m okay at it and accept the fact that I am an amateur and I often call myself that, that I’m an amateur bush pilot. To proclaim myself as anything else would be inaccurate.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: There are guys in our community who actually spend years you know careers in the North in Alaska…

Chris: Right.

Zane: Canada flying and they were actually professional bush pilots.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know they have got 20+ thousand hours flying around you know single engine aircraft doing everything from you know part 135 passenger transport like you know charter flying to wild life survey. You know all sorts of stuff.

Chris: Bow to the gods.

Zane: Yeah, I mean these guys are actually probably, for someone who is coming to backcountry.org because they are a new pilot are they want to learn more about backcountry and off airport flying these guys are the real attraction.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know I get the feeling that people skip over a lot of the articles that we have in the photos and all that stuff and you know that’s fine it’s frosting but they go straight to the community section to our discussion forum. And they want to interact they want to read some of the sort of the sage advice that has been archived you know for posterity by guys like Mike Vivian he’s a fellow that lives up in Montana. Nowadays he justifies with the PA 11 but he has like a 30 or 35 years career applying for various agencies up in Alaska. I think he flew like super cub and sky wagons the stuff for, he’ll kick me if I get this wrong but I think it was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife…

Chris: Okay.

Zane: Lots of, he did wild life survey and supported scientists, biologists whatever by transporting them out into the bush to do their job.

Chris: Goodness.

Zane: But he operated in you know every conceivable condition…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: I mean every conceivable configuration floats, wheels, skis, you know good snow bad snow…

Chris: That’s such a dream to me.

Zane: It is but I think you know you probably you know that’s kind of experience doesn’t come without you know its fair share of terror…

Chris: Oh gosh, yeah, no kidding. In fact, and I’ll get you back on track super quick but we interviewed at Guy Don Lee who is he is a very popular bush pilot he was on the National Geographic show. But he was saying that he took some customers to a glacier and they were stuck there for three days surviving in an ice cave is just stuff like that, it’s just and it’s, and you know those stories are actually pretty common.

Zane: Right. Well yeah, I’ll take us even further off track and say that you know justice last May when I was up in Alaska there is sort of the perception that when you go out on a perfectly clear you know, cavo VFR day, get in your airplane and fly 300 miles and fly someplace out to where you’re going to camp. There’s kind of the illusion that you have everything under control that this is a really, you know, this is an easy thing to do, the airplane’s running great, the weather’s great and that can all just go to shit in an instant.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know, bad weather, mechanical problems whatever. The airplane, flying an airplane like that you know, just for an hour or two it’s not like driving a car where you’re like, oh yeah well I’m really getting out of here you know. The road’s getting narrower and bumpier, I have this sense that I’m getting away from civilization. The airplane just keeps going it’s like you, it’s easy to miss, oh yeah, the last civilization was a couple hundred miles back.

Chris: Gosh.

Zane: I’m in the real backcountry, there are no services, there’s no cell signal, you know really, nowadays it’s probably a lot easier because we have these like you know satellite. These 406 Megahertz…

Chris: Right.

Zane: PLBs, PLTs and stuff, spots, whatever so we can maintain more contact with the outside world than we used to be able to.

Chris: And a lot of bush pilots do that now. They have a subscription service with a phone or whatever and if they get in trouble and they can’t get back then they can at least make someone know. I know that’s pretty common among the guys that I know that do it for a living. You know, just send a quick text message.

So it’s not way better but still, you’re going out into the middle of nowhere and what we don’t realize, what a lot of pilots don’t realize is that really people in general, I mean all people in general is how big the world is and how even though in an airplane you can cover a lot of ground and you can get to and fro you are still such a small, small piece that is so difficult to find. It’s, there is a lot of things that involved, maybe that’s what speaks to the adventure of it all I don’t know. I guess this is part of it.

Zane: Absolutely that is the, you know. There’s safe adventure and then there is real adventure. Real adventure involves a lot of unknowns and a lot of inconvenience. And I often think about that when we fly our camp somewhere I think it would suck to walk out of here.

Chris: Oh gosh, it’s almost impossible.

Zane: I mean that’s an entirely you know, possible scenario. They are a feasible scenario that you know, can’t get your airplane running, can’t get a hold of anybody. Either wait for someone else to fly in. There’s a lot of those with the airstrips out there, there are pickups and stuff you know. And bush flying is popular enough as a recreational activity that people are out there just bagging strips…

Chris: Right.

Zane: Having a good time. It’s probably best to kind of wait it out and see if anybody comes by but some of those off airport places yeah I mean, you got to be prepared to walk. I do have a good friend who bent his airplane had a mountain airstrip and he is, really his only option to get out of there was to hike. And it was only like eight or 10 miles or something like that but it was really like over rough terrain.

Chris: Right. And if it’s through Alders then that’s tough too it’s not like it’s a straight shot so that can be…

Zane: Oh yeah, it’s not like you have a nice human trail…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Or you know, bike path or something. There is a lot of bush walking really slows you down. I think a lot of those things, people are going out and trying their hand at back country flying. Places like Idaho, excuse me, wherever those are some of the things that they need to remember that part of the equation. You might have to let down somewhere you’re going to be bush whacking you might be hurt so that’s, you know that’s a very popular topic and I think just as pilots in general, we always consider the worst. We like to be prepared so.

Chris: Right.

Zane: That’s one of the most popular topics at backcountrypilot.org is Survival Preparedness. Yeah, it’s all too because as I was sitting here thinking about it it’s like well sure you can prepare but then you can’t take the kitchen sink with you, you know. You’ve got to prioritize what you take and just for weight and balance and things like that. So there’s only so much you can do you have to do the best you can and prepare yourself for the worst…

Chris: Right because different situations.

Zane: Nothing works against the Bush pilot more than weight. Keeping the airplane life you know and not loading it up with that bunch of unnecessary stuff you know that’s part of the recipe for success in any kind of short operations so. But at the same time you know, if you the worst comes to past and you got to have some of those stuff and it just helps you sleep better at night.

Chris: I’m sure you’ve read all the stories of guys having to put down on a frozen river and then somehow they fixed their airplane overnight and then they go to start a fire like under the cowling to warm up the engine. Just like the craziest stuff you ever heard. There is another story and maybe we can just swap a couple crazy quick stories here of things that we’ve heard of. But my grandfather used to really love to come to Alaska in the 60s and gosh if it’s wild now I can’t imagine what it was like then.

And he had a bush pilot that he would come to every time he’d come up and this guy survived the for four days he had to land on a frozen lake, he essentially cut a hole in the bottom of the airplane and then cut a hole in the ice and would fish in the ice. And he just sat there in his airplane and he essentially got buried in snow because it was snowing as well over those three days. They eventually found him what he you know I mean literally like one of those caveman situations where he was just like fishing out of the ice like trying to survive.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: And it’s not uncommon, especially in those days it’s not fun, and. And the crazy thing about flying in Alaska is that it started pretty early in aviation. Maybe I can go back and look at some of the history but I feel like they started in the 20s if not sooner doing things up here.

Zane: Oh yeah, no, no definitely it was, aviation was the key to expansion in Alaska. There really was no infrastructure of roads you know there was, there wasn’t really much for scheduled airline service of course back then.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Being able to get you know, one of those guys that started in the late 20s 30s you know Carl Ben Eielson. Who’s the other guy, Jack Jefferd?

Chris: When did Wayne start, maybe that’s a little later but.

Zane: You know I, I want to say he was in the late 20s early 30s, no Wayne.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: And a lot of those guys what they would you know, they were flying you know, Jenny’s and I mean can you imagine an old biplane like that with a, I can’t even remember what model engine it was that made the OX5. Was it a Wright? I mean he was taking prospectors out to drop them at their claim you know. The list of jobs and flights that they did it was all across the board.

But what a time to be an actual bush pilot that when you have these you know massively underpowered airplanes you
know. They were nowhere near as reliable as what we’re used to nowadays you know with our nice like Cummings, the Continentals. We often poo poo the modern airplane engine technology for being from the 40s or 50s. But it’s incredibly reliable to what those guys had back then.

Chris: Yeah and gosh I just think of everything that I rely on as a pilot from navigation for planning for just ease of mind and I think about them it’s like how did they even survive at all like how did any of them survive it just makes you think that you’re not made of any of the right stuff because you couldn’t ever, ever do that. I don’t know I guess we could if we had a death wish these days I don’t know. I guess we could just forge out on our own and on our powered airplane and with zero navigation and no communication that the sounds crazy to me.

Zane: Well you know unfortunately a lot of them didn’t survive.

Chris: Oh yeah the mortality rate was terrible.

Zane: There’s a long list of guys that purchased, they bought the farm and the classic scenario. But the difference is that you know, over 100 years of innovation, nowadays we have this kind of mentality of safety above all else. Back then, those guys were forging a new path, aviation was so new, you know. There wasn’t the sort of nanny state you know, type mechanism to you know, indoctrinate new pilots with this mentality of super safety.

And I think in modern backcountry bush off airport flying to some extent requires a pilot who is willing to assume that to some extent. Because there are so many unknowns you know. People just don’t take off and on asphalt airport and have everything under control everything is a known quantity where some of us relish the fact that there are four fewer unknown quantities and you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get out there.

There was a really popular conversation in our forum now about dragging airstrips or landing zones prior to landing there. And it’s a technique for being able to evaluate what the surface is like, whether it is smooth enough to actually land without you know ripping your tail you off or dropping attire and getting you know ground looped. So it’s just a very sort of exciting realm of the unknown that if you are going to land somewhere you know it’s your forging your own path you’re figuring out what’s the hell it’s like you’re all by yourself without the benefit of better people to come before you.

Chris: Yeah, that just blows my mind. I’m looking at that dragging thread right now I think that this might be a dragging thread about the dragging thread.

Zane: Yeah I think it is. It’s a companion to the dragging thread.

Chris: Yeah, because the guy mentioned at the top. There is a big thread talking about dragging, it’s kind of bringing it up back again. Yeah you know I think you defined that really well and if I’m being honest I am somewhere in between I definitely like the adventure of flying and I think that a lot of us forget where we came from or we never learned where we came from. In the sense that there was a day when aviation was 100% unknown.

I just recently read the Wright Brothers book and I know I mentioned it a lot on this show but it was just amazing to be in that book how would nothing in aviation was figured out. I mean the Wright brothers literally figured out how to control the airplane, how to create lifts correctly those sorts of things. And those are the things that have happened over the last hundred years it just kind of blows my mind you know you talked about safety at it’s a bit.

You know when Charles Lundberg flew from New York to Paris on the famous trans-Atlantic flight that everyone knows about the flight that made him famous initially he only took enough food for like the 24 hours are whatever people were like when what are you doing what happens if you go down he’s like this and if I go down in the ocean it’s over I don’t need to bring an extra set of cheese or anything else. Like this is it so it’s just…

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: Pretty cra- and he completely new, he knew that was what was up and I don’t think he was really concerned about weight and balance or anything. It was more so this is what I need and this is what I don’t need.

Zane: It’s an utterly different state of mind from even your weekend or your recreational backcountry final pilot that just wants to go out. Maybe do a little exploring you know camp at the cool grass airstrip, he’s planning on returning a lot of the variables are known to him or her. Stuff like, you know, those guys in Lundberg I mean, they were there were sort of the astronauts at the time. There was a very high chance that they were going to die.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: They were good at what they did but yet I mean that’s the really good anecdote, I kind of need only one sandwich because if I go down I don’t even need anything else.

Chris: Well and yeah you think about it, right the middle of the Pacif-, Atlantic in those days no chance. I mean even today there is almost zero chance that you will survive. Even if someone you where you were.

Zane: Yeah, I met a really, I was really fortunate to meet a guy when I was up in Anchorage I was out at the Lakewood gravel strip in the parking area. So we were, we just left the airman’s show with my, it was me Whoop Wind, the guy from, used to be with AK Bushwheels now is backcountry connection. And my friend Greg, Greg Rand he goes by Bigrenna at Backcountry Pilot. He’s the one that’s done that really cool and polished and red skywagon.

Chris: Oh yeah, beautiful.

Zane: Yeah, and Larry of course, Larry was with us, the guy with that navy blue 170 with the nice oxidation patina.

Chris: Sweet.

Zane: Yeah, so we are all out there and here pulls up a very distinct skywagon all red. It’s the ultimate tooley skywagon. I can’t even remember the end number but you know, out hops Paul Claus and so, you know, I don’t know, I, I don’t know Paul well enough to run up to him and be like, hey buddy you know, long time, how’s it going?

But the guys who I was with were like, you know there were some chatter. He was like hey, you know, that airplane Paul and this other guy flew it to Greenland. And I can’t remember the exact nature of the flight like why they were doing it. I’m sure it was just some support you know with the aviation services like some other type thing but…

Chris: Well I mean the first question is why?

Zane: Right.

Chris: And the second question for guys like us is why not? You know so.

Zane: Yeah. That’s a good point. So this guy what and ended up in Greenland but then it had to come home to Alaska. So Paul is busy or something couldn’t do it so he hired this guy named Aidran and I’m at a loss for what Aidran’s last name is. But he’s the guy that runs Oddballpilot.com.

Chris: I haven’t heard of that.

Zane: Yeah, so I had been meaning to try to hook up with Aidan for a long time because his website is like so interesting. He’s a climber, he’s a professional pilot but he has like, he’s done these pilot jobs all around the world and they literally are like oddball pilot jobs.

Chris: Oh yeah, look at this yeah.

Zane: One of those apparently is to ferry Paul’s skywagon from Iceland, somehow the airplane got from Greenland to Iceland. But to ferry it from Iceland all the way back to Anchorage…

Chris: Goodness.

Zane: He did it in three days I think they had a huge ferry tank on board so he had tons of fuel. I can’t remember the stops but he was flying solo over the North Atlantic and you know over Canada and stuff all by himself. To do something like that in three days…

Chris: Fast, insane.

Zane: As a pilot in a single engine aircraft is a, I mean it seems superhuman to me.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So he’s another guy you may want to talk to I plan on getting together with him to thread a decent content for all websites. But he’s a very, very interesting guy, he’s the epitome of a modern bush pilot.

Chris: That’s crazy and it just sounds so cool to me it just that sounds like such a great thing to do. I had a kid on literally a kid on the show who used a while ago who he was the youngest pilot to ever fly around the world. His name is Matt Guthmiller and you know, he had a lot of technology on board. He was flying a Bonanza I don’t even think its turbo charged.

He was flying a Bonanza and it wasn’t, he had like the ability to text message and to have people see live where he was and that sort of thing. But still I mean like he took off from American Samoa with a ton of fuel onboard and had to rotate it’s like a hundred and something knots like climate just a couple feet per minute I said goodness and that’s still pretty adventurous to me so.

Zane: It is, you know, and for I don’t know like, this conversation came up last year when there was another Bonanza pilot, father and son team, I can’t remember the guy’s name. It was like VJ something.

Chris: Oh yeah. Yeah this actually happened a couple weeks before Matt’s flight I think.

Zane: Yeah, yeah. So the father and son duo were flying their Bonanza you know on around the world trip and they were lost at sea. And it, you know I, in a sort of a state of emotion I made that crack to the effect of what were they thinking? That was sheer stupidity.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Then afterward one of my good pilot friends somebody I respect Brent, he said you know that’s a little harsh you know these guys are doing you know what we what we are doing just in a different way you know. He was a very good pilot they are just sort of on another end of may be the same spectrum of adventure.

They’re doing, they’re out there pushing the limits in the unknown they really are kind of exploring the frontier. So from that standpoint I can see you know making those types of you know chance oceanic flights in a small single engine aircraft something cool but at the same time I don’t know if I was going to go set the record that’s just been done. It’s like what is there to prove other than to yourself which may be that’s the only thing that matters.

Chris: Right and that does matter. I think in the case of Matt he was the youngest to do it, the youngest ever to do it. So that has and it’s a bit of a cool connection to it but I don’t know everyone has their flavor for what they would like to do. I don’t necessarily enjoy flying over open water in a single engine I guess if I was going to do it I wouldn’t want to do it in a Cirrus and then if I had to put it down I would want the Coast Guard to get it on film for me, so.

Zane: I’m sure that you could recreate that pretty easily.

Chris: Oh yeah. I guess I could, of course I couldn’t do it intentionally. But yeah I mean, I think what we’re getting at here is a lot of this, there’s just still this sense of adventure that is still in aviation and not only is it something that a lot of people are doing. But it is something that maybe some of the listeners here today aren’t necessarily aware of and maybe it’s an option for them to expand their horizons and expand their ideas.

Because there are definitely as with a lot of things in aviation at some of things to learn from bush pilots and if I was going to say today who the real aviators are and there are a lot of different types of aviators out there so I fully know in making this statement of what I’m saying if I was going to say who the true aviators are today it’s the bush pilots. I mean these guys are still doing it they are still getting after it and they’re doing things that are essentially repeating how aviation, what people went through to get aviation to start up and to become such a huge thing so.

Zane: True, I would say, and I would respond to that and say that we’re lucky that we have sort of aviation sub interests. So you can easily go out there and learn to fly in the 172 and then continue graduating on up the ladder until your you know flying you know Piper twins you know find yourself in the seat of a King air or a CRJ or something.

If that’s where you want to be if you want to be an airline pilot or someone that’s covering the long massive distances and the flight levels you know things more of the earth that’s certainly possible. For me you know I kind of I’m happy to exist at the end of the spectrum where my focus is exploring you know. I mean that sounds silly but exploring the terrain you know it’s like 80% of night flying is just bumming around the Landon Valley here in Northwest Oregon.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Landing on grass airstrips and you know we have some good gravel river bars here and from that stand point I feel like it’s more of kind of like the, if you were to compare maybe the bullet train of you know airline flying I am on sort of like the BMX end of it. It’s like and likened it to riding a BMX bike, flying small slow highly maneuverable planes to you know just do these kind of silly little things like that and on gravel river bar.

It’s still flying you know you still kind of have this same fundamental you know aviation fundamentals. But it’s just it’s quite a bit different and when I look at the skill sets involved I’m not instrument rated honestly I don’t really have much interest in instrument flying are you know flying at night even. But the guys that are good at that you know maybe they are not so good at you know dragging a new off airport LZ.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know. Landing in you know 100 feet.

Chris: Yeah, crazy. When you talked about BMX all I could think of was like Tony Hawk pro skater and I could see you landing on a river bar or sand bar and this little popup coming up that says “Sick Combo” or something like that.

Zane: Yeah, you know a lot of it is like that. When we joke about bagging airstrips it just kind of a like at controversial term actually. It’s kind of like that although I mean to be honest there is quite a bit more thought…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: Going into it. Because when you have you know, $100 – $200,000 aircraft that you’re flying. It’s different than trashing your BMX bike.

Chris: Yeah, exactly. Yeah I mean, yeah, we don’t want to sound responsible here, unresponsible here at all. It’s…

Zane: I will talk a minute about the bagging of the airstrips thing.

Chris: Yeah sure, go for it.

Zane: Couple years ago we had kind of a controversy erupt surrounding, we were having an annual flying at Johnson Creek Idaho that was, you know it was organized on the website. I try to sort of stay out of it because I’m always afraid of the liability sort of stuff. But the guys on the website organize that and they would all meet up at Johnson Creek you know usually in late June.

I have attended several times but for a lot of guys they getting you know they have a week vacation they go there and they want to go, they want to be set Johnson Creek and go out and like land you know as many airstrips in the area as they can. And that area of Idaho, the Frank Church a river of no return…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Wilderness, it is sort of a mecca for that you know. It’s a, it’s one of the only wilderness areas in the United States that has an exemption for aviation. So…

Chris: Really.

Zane: Out of those airstrips have remained open to aircraft. Yeah, Senator Frank Church back whenever that area got its wilderness designation recognize the importance of you know aviation and aviation services into some of those communities. So he you know as part of granting that area wilderness factors that was the exemption that he required with several governments with the Forest Service that the airstrips remain open.

And it’s been a very tenuous relationship you know the Forest Service is for the most part pretty cooperative you know and organizations like the RAF and Idaho aviation foundation have been really, really critical they’ve been really helpful you know to have sort of keep the good relationship with the Forest Service is and the open but for a time people were bending their airplanes and leaving their crash airplanes out on these airstrips unfortunately. And it sort of, it was a black eye for what we want which is a, you know a reputation of being responsible land users.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know we, when this topic comes up, we like to pride ourselves and say you know what the wheels in an airplane don’t drive. You can peel off with their wheels you kind like you know you can’t do a doughnut in your airplane and mar the surface. Like an ATV or a Jeep or something like that can. So from that standpoint, you know we’re actually a lot easier on the surface.

Chris: Yeah. Low impact.

Zane: We try to, low impact, try to leave no trace. Leave a disabled aircraft out in the middle of the airstrip or something like that.

Chris: That’s a different story.

Zane: Goes against that reputation. So the bagging of the airstrip thing sort of became controversial in that around the time of the fly ins and there were two fly ins. There was the supercub.org fly in and the backcountrypilot.org flying. They were back to back weekends where they were separated by two weeks or something like that. Thar area was seeing an incredible amount of pressure from lots of different airplanes, land on these airstrips, multiple people bending their airplanes.

So we got a lot of heat for that and the term bagging airstrips came up with, look I was just going up doing the Tony Hawk pro skater thing. Landing on airstrip, taking off and moving to the next one. And part of me thinks that you know, that’s certainly okay. I made a reference to that in my article about the 170s in Wrangells, it’s like you’re so far out there there’s like no one to see you, no one to complain, there’s no nimbies. That kind of thing is like it’s totally okay. But down here in the lower 48 in an area like Idaho. You know, it’s a little more concentrated.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: There are a couple more interest groups you know that are all kind of vying for the same resources and the perception that we are just going out bagging these airstrips without a real true objective like camping there are fishing or remaining on the ground for a while. Just making noise it’s sort of a point of contention.

Chris: All that’s interesting to me because if I’m a fisherman I’m going to go into that same area and I’m going to almost literally bag a trout or something right? And for a pilot you want to go, your goal is to land in a different airstrip so I guess from my naïve perspective of being an Alaskan I’m not a bush pilot at all by the way. Being an Alaskan and kind of seeing that community it’s just like, you know what? That’s just what you do, that’s just how it works.

Zane: Right and I think that’s the sort of the recreation philosophy of it is I just want to go out and land in
a difficult airstrip, challenge my skills, try to grow myself as a pilot. But then there’s the other the other hand that says flying is a means to an end, you know. If you’re going to use something for an airstrip it should be for a greater, it should serve some greater purpose or greater perspectives.

Chris: Interesting.

Zane: I can see it from both ends because I certainly like to accomplish both those goals.

Chris: Yeah, I guess I can understand that perspective there.

Zane: If we could all, it all comes down to who is telling you what you can or cannot do and which asses you have to kiss in order to maintain your personal liberties.

Chris: Yeah for sure.

Zane: It becomes a very scary political…

Chris: Yeah you got to be careful you don’t want to ruin your chances that’s for sure.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: That’s interesting, cool. You know I really like how this conversation has one and getting to know you a little better. Do you have any kind of final advice as we kind of wrap things up here for those that maybe looking to get into bush flying, those that maybe are just looking to get into flying for general, in general? I don’t know if you it from your perspective you also have experience taking guys that had just been airline guys their whole lives and the seeing how they do in bush flying and how they enjoyed. But just give us some thoughts there is some encouragement some inspirations just to kind of wrap up the show here.

Zane: Right, yeah I mean, I think that for the hobbyist especially somebody like me learning how to fly kind of the traditional way is still the best way to go. If I was starting out nowadays I mean it’s hard to say this because you don’t know what you don’t know but if I was to give someone advise and I’m actually doing that right now. I recently met a friend who is interested in building a plane and he is really stoked on bush flying.

So my advice to him has been doing like I did go down to a small public country airport try to find a par 61 flight school which is going to be much less regimented, a little less organized, it would be just kind of a one on one relationship with an instructor.

Chris: Tailored to.

Zane: Yep, try to find the grumpiest old goat to be your CFI. Make sure he’s got tail wheel experience. A lot of the guys will come on and read stuff on our website and that’s what they want to learn. They want to learn how to be you know, tail wheel pilots, they want to learn how to be effective stick and a rather pilots, they want to learn how to go and you know evaluate the surface in order to like the land off airport and stuff. I think that you got to find the right instructor that’s aligned with that kind of thinking. Because a lot of instructors they’ve never done that stuff throughout…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Their whole careers, their whole young carriers probably on asphalt. You know they’re pretty constrained by what they know and going outside that and doing those kinds of things probably you know seems a little bit scary and you don’t want to push them to do it…

Chris: Oh sure.

Zane: If they haven’t already done it yet.

Chris: If they’re smart they won’t do it.

Zane: Yeah, absolutely. And so but above all else you know I’ve been chastised by other guys you know go for this, go slowly. If you’re a hobbyist or just a recreational pilot there’s nothing to be gained by getting in over your head too soon.

Chris: Right.

Zane: I have another friend that often says you know discretion is the better part of valor. But you know there have been many times in my personal flying career where I’ve run away from weather, I’ve landed because it was too windy and just kind of waited it out. I didn’t go flying at all because of the weather or something and totally fine.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Especially with flying tail wheel you know I read Reddit.com and there is a sub reddit on their r/flying.

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah.

Zane: Continually see posts from guys that are you know they’re going to land in grass for the first time ever and they’re getting their tail wheel endorsement. And these are a monumental achievement for people that are coming from much more conventional, it’s weird to use the word conventional because conventional gears, all the things but…

Chris: Exactly.

Zane: Modern conventional training programs you know, where tail wheel flying is not really tied, you know heavy rudder use is really not emphasized. So these are after they’ve got their private certificate they’re going on getting exposure to really fly an airplane. Real stick and rudder stuff you know landing on grass and it’s just funny to see guys exposed for the first time.

Chris: Funny and cool.

Zane: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: That’s largely, I mean that largely defines me. I was trained traditionally if you want to call it that. A 141 University for my private, did a lot of 61 stuff for my instrument, 61 for my flying mostly. And it turns out that I’m in that position now where I know I love this back country stuff. I mean I honestly don’t have a choice I mean I live in Alaska so I better learn how to do it or just stop flying. So I’ve been working on my floats and it is just so rewarding to fly into the back country and be all alone with to just you and the lake and have to figure it out you know.

Flying above and figuring out the wind and the waves and those sorts of things and the distance is just so immersive to me I just love it. And it’s really connected me again to the reason I fly and why I totally believe a lot of what I talked about on this what I did interject why I believe that true aviators are bush pilots because there is just so much more going on when you have to worry about the elements to that extent and that danger to that extent. It’s just a lot more known and I love it you know. It’s not everyone but I definitely love it.

Zane: I absolutely agree, float flying in particular is really good for opening people’s eyes to the fact that you’re operating off of something like water. I mean all the constraints are taken away. There’s no runway center line, there’s no obvious runway, there’s rarely a wind soc. You suddenly have to become a true aviator and evaluate the winds from tattle tails on the ground sort of pic out and make your own airstrip and pick out and think about what the departure’s going to be like before you ever let down on that lake.

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah.

Zane: I, to be honest I don’t have my floats rating yet I got a couple of hours to do 185 and 182 on floats it’s one of those things that. I really think like you said sort of really epitomizes what bush flying is because when you just take away these constructs the runway and the airport and you know you can land on the lake you can land in the river you know whatever. Some of the greatest stories in those bush pilots books that I have read when I was starting out where stuff like that tail of the on Sheldon landing are at think it was on our rock or sedan or something. He just kept doing it over and over again, hauling them out like one by one.

Chris: I heard that. Where did I hear that story?

Zane: I don’t know.

Chris: It must be pretty famous but essentially if I remember right he was landing up the river right and then he would maneuver the plane down river and then grab them.

Zane: Yes.

Chris: And God it’s just like what the heck?

Zane: Yeah, one of the biggest challenges in float flying is sort of the sailing maneuvering docking part.

Chris: Oh my gosh, yeah you learn a lot about wind.

Zane: So you can imagine doing that on a river with some significant current. Go read Wager, anyone that’s into this go read Wager with the Wind: The Don Sheldon Story. It’s one of the best bush flying books available.

Chris: Gosh, I’m going to have to go grab that one.

Zane: To return to where we originally kind of got off on a tangent in this, people starting out you know, go slow. I’ve been fortunate enough to not bend any metal this far in my flying career, find some wood to knock on. This is a glass desk though. I haven’t bent any metal yet and I owe that I think probably to just being a big wuss. You know, I’ve pushed it a few times but above all else I want to come home to my family.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: Alive, uninjured and I just you know, I don’t have a big enough savings account to be able to afford to bend airplanes. So, I’m just really conservative in that regard.

Chris: Well cool, you know you can have fun doing this stuff. There’s a certain amount of risk to it but you can also be safe doing it. And I like that idea of taking it slow, that’s definitely what I have been doing, taking it slow, going for confidence and competence not just the ticket or whatever. Because that’s not what it’s about you know, you are literally going to be going out into the wild and doing this. So you may as well know how to do it.

Zane: I owned a Cessna 170 for years and I loved that airplane and I finally had to sell it when my wife and I were buying our first house. I’m building a Bearhawk in my garage which is a several year project. But back when I was flying the 170 I always had the sense that I’m you know, I’m not really that competent of a tail wheel flight pilot. I would go out you know in calm conditions, I was praying that the wind was going to be nicely aligned with the runway you know, whatever my destination was.

That whole thing of getting your tail wheel endorsement and then immediately going out and challenging yourself to do some of these other things that’s why I say take it slow. Because at least for me the growth of my tail wheel competence took several years.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: And you know I would slowly challenge myself with more and more crosswinds and stuff and really if you get your tail wheel endorsement the instructor should be subjecting you to you know, some pretty serious cross winds to make sure you’re competent. But in my case I never really got that opportunity to operate in significant crosswinds. And so it was years of operating by myself slowly, slowly stepping up you know what the conditions were like.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: And I think it’s a lifelong, a lifelong growth process for every pilot no matter what that particular challenge is. Whether its crosswinds whether it’s surface evaluation you know, challenging weather whatever.

Chris: And yeah you know that’s a big reason why on this show we get people from all walks of life because there’s all walks of pilot life because there’s so many different things to learn in different areas. You know, you as a bush pilot you have things to learn from airline guys you know and vice versa. And there’s, I just love when the flow of knowledge is going through all different areas and…

Zane: And let’s be clear, I’m not a bush pilot, I’m a software developer…

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: So I am an amateur bush pilot because I know if any of my buddies listen to this they’re going to roll their eyes.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, I get it man, you defined you’re the amateur bush pilot I get it. But you know, you’re out there in you’re going after it and in your own way you’re a Pioneer. Really we are all we all need to be pioneers in aviation and figure this stuff out in our own mind how to get this stuff done so.

Zane: And that’s part of the fun of it, it’s the adventure.

Chris: Yeah. Well I love it, thanks for joining us on the show. For you listeners I’m going to be pointing you toward Zane’s website here, backcountrypilot.org. I’ll definitely be linking to that on the show notes as well. You guys should all go there, check it out, there are some amazing, amazing documentary cool cinematic videos on the website, you absolutely need to check out. Go support it, go sign up, subscribe, I’m guessing you guys have some sort of email list that automatically push this stuff out, Zane.

Zane: We do, we have a newsletter you can sign up for. I rarely send much out via the newsletter.

Chris: Okay.

Zane: I’m going to get into that soon because you know, people come they visit the site periodically or whatever but whenever we have something cool that drops…

Chris: Right.

Zane: It’s kind of cool to get that in your inbox.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: I guess one last thing I would say too…

Chris: Sure.

Zane: Before we end is that we’re always looking for contributors for content. So, I, in order to get content myself I’m constantly having to kind of work my own personal network. You know, people I meet in the industry, people that come to the site. I can identify someone who I think knows their stuff and sort of work with them and direct them to you know, write something. Maybe it’s a knowledge based article about something they know. You know like Mike Vivian, he’s written some cool articles about ski flying and off airport landing zones. You know, surface evaluation.

We have another guy who is a professional pilot, who operates a Pacer up in British Columbia. He wrote a really kind of cool article about flying you know, north to Alaska or Canada but then also putting together you survival vest.

Chris: Wow.

Zane: So I’m constantly looking for people that have either one, some expertise in backcountry flying and they just kind of want to share some of that with the world. But then two, anyone that’s had a cool adventure and they want to write a story about it with photos or whatever, we call those Trip Reports. The others like the ones that on the home page right now is what I all a live to tell tale. A guy crashed his Husky in Montana couple years back and he was good enough to share the complete unabashed tale with everybody you know.

Chris: Awesome.

Zane: Kind of as a learning experience.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So stuff along those lines you know. If you’re interested in contributing and you want to see some stuff published on backcountrypilot.org you know, shoot me an email zane@backcountrypilot.org.

Chris: Awesome. Well keep up the great work, you and I will stay in touch. And everyone go check it out, it’s a very, very cool website worth following. You guys are active on social media too so go check that out. Zane thanks again for taking timeout from your busy schedule to meet with us today, I really appreciate it.

Zane: My pleasure, thanks Chris.

Chris: Alright talk soon. See ya!

Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at AviatorCast.com. All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on AviatorCast.com where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at me@aviatorcast.com. We’d love to hear from you.

For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to www.flyaoamedia.com. If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at www.angleofattackpro.com. Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.

Chris: A huge thanks goes out to Zane Jacobson for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. You know I’ve been watching and reading the stuff that comes out of baccountrypilot.org for a while now. The first time I found that website I was just so excited that there was something like this out there and I was envious that I didn’t come up with the idea first.

But Zane does a fantastic job with this, if you guys haven’t seen it yet make sure that you go there to backcountypilot.org that you follow their stuff you know. I follow them on Twitter, that’s kind of how I keep in touch, they do a good job on Facebook as well. Watch these guys they do awesome stuff.

Actually after our interview I went through the forms and I learned a thing or two there just in the short time that he and I had or the short time that I was on there. So, pretty amazing you know it’s a great, great resource for those that are looking to do things outside of your regular everyday concrete landing strips. And I just think it’s a great way to connect with aviation in a different way. So, again, huge thanks to Zane for joining us on the show, I really, really appreciate it and thanks to the, you know you out there, you the listener, you guys are awesome. Thanks for joining us each and every week.

Thank you for leaving those reviews on iTunes that means a whole lot. We hope you’re enjoying AviatorCast, we hope that you will go out and share it, share the episodes that you really love. I know that coming up here we have some pretty special stuff going on. You know, I set out some goals here at the beginning of the year that were big and I’ve still been working on those.

One of those being, going toward the video direction and doing some video stuff here on AviatorCast. That’s kind of a difficult endeavor to do because I don’t really do anything halfway and I want it to look really good and I want it to be entertaining if we’re going to be doing video.

And not only that, it is difficult to get people on air that can do video but I’m figuring all that out and that is one thing we’re going to be doing soon. But by and large, most of all just thank you for coming here each and every week and I hope that you guys continue to enjoy it, that you continue to share it and that’s the payback for me is that you guys actually enjoy it. So there’s nothing else I really need to continue this except for that encouragement that you know we’re actually doing some good stuff here.

So thanks also to the Angle of Attack crew for all the hard work that they do. These guys are awesome they keep us going ever week and lets you and I have fun on podcast like this. So join us next week, we have a really great episode coming up with American Airline First Officer it is Father’s Day and we get into a little bit about what it’s like to be a father and an airline pilot among other things. So that’s going to be a great episode join us for that.

Until next time, throttle on!

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  • Giovanni

    Very interesting topic, especially when compared to the airliners life and concept of flying…
    One quick question for both of you: I know that in Flight Sim community the airliner path (up to virtual airlines) is very popular.
    What about “virtual bush flying” ? Obviously with today add-ons this is completely doable and enjoyable. Just imagine flying a Piper Cub by A2A Simulations in the PNW Full Region by ORBX, with weather simulated by REX and ASN… You don’t need to limit yourself to real strips, don’t you?

    I am wondering if there are any communities out there for virtual bush pilots, a bit like the virtual airlines for virtual commercial pilots. I am thinking of forums and hangar talks about techniques and places to visit, all in sim.

    Many thanks for the great interview, as always!

    Giovanni (UK)

    • tripslip38

      If I remember correctly, there is a virtual bush pilot community. Back when I was training I used to enjoy using flight sims to create fun bush flying scenarios to exercise the mind, and there were a lot of cool bush plane models available for download. It is a good tool for fight planning and navigation practice, but in terms of flying, nothing can take the place of the real thing.

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