Bush Pilots of Alaska
Fred Hirschmann, photographs; Kim Heacox, text, Bush Pilots of Alaska, (Portland, OR: Graphic Arts Center Publishing), 1989.
I love airplanes. I love small airplanes. I love airplanes that fly from unimproved strips and explore wild places. Alaska is the territory for real bush planes and Hirschmann has done a masterful job of capturing them. Heacox's text does honor to the pilots and the pictures of the airplanes are a treat for those of us who love to look at flying machines.
One of the things about this book is that both Hirschmann and Heacox avoid the trip of glamorizing or glorifying bush flying. They present it as it is. Serious business with serious dangers that requires more judgment than bravado. They don't gloss over the fact that many good people have been killed in airplane accidents in Alaska. The weather is demanding and machines fail. Furthermore, rescue from the outside is a difficult and sometimes impossible challenge. The ability to survive with one's own resources, abilities and judgement are essential to those who fly in this beautiful land.
This is a book that I just can't keep paging through. It brings memories of airplanes I have known and the people who fly them. It is a book that will stick around my home for quite a while.