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The Adventure of a Lifetime: Bush Flying in Alaska

by ·3 Comments

The most spectacular parts of Alaska are only accessible by bush flying. There are no roads; there are no runways. Small villages dot the land here and there, but the natural world remains almost completely unspoiled. You fly a light single-engine propeller plane over snaking rivers, craggy peaks, and majestic glaciers. You see bears catching salmon, wolves on the move, and moose stripping bark from trees. You and your group are the only humans visible for hundreds of miles. Bush flying is an adventure like no other.

This past summer, six buddies spent twelve incredible days bush flying over 2,000 miles of the remotest parts of Alaska. Most of them had been in the air force, so they knew how to fly, but bush flying required special training on takeoffs and landings. When you’re challenged with landings and takeoffs on short pieces of dirt, in unpredictable wind conditions, you’d better train well.

“Most landings are in places no aircraft has landed before,” explained Saul Simon, one of the pilots. They learned to navigate all kinds of ground, from a fifteen-foot-wide stretch of a bending riverbank to a short patch on a mountain ledge.

Once they had mastered takeoff and landing techniques, they took off on a majestic ten-day trip, changing course whenever the weather got rough, a shower was desperately needed, or a country-music festival in a remote little village beckoned.

“Every day was just an unbelievable day. Alaska has some of the prettiest views you’ll see anywhere on this planet. Its geographical landscape is simply unparalleled,” said Saul.

One particular favorite view was Prince William Sound, southeast of Anchorage. The four planes crested a mountain range with peaks 7,000 feet high and then descended steeply, maintaining a couple hundred feet above enormous glaciers that drifted gracefully towards the sea. Giant statues of ice shot up where glaciers collided on their way to the sea.

Saul marveled, “This sight of nature at its mightiest can only be seen from the air.”

The group used two different kinds of video cameras: a GoPro camera—under the control of Eran Peleg, another pilot who would attach it to the wing or the cockpit—and a Canon PowerShot, which could be held outside the window, covering a wider range of landscapes and even taking shots of the pilots from the outside in. By the end of the trip, the group had amassed 120 GBs of video and about 1,000 photos.

It became clear to the group that they would never look at that much footage—hence their decision to narrow it down to the footage and photos with the most meaning and hand it over to VideoTov video editor Brent Rumble to create a high-quality video.

They agreed on the length of the video and types of songs they wanted to use. Brent culled the footage and put together a draft video that they could all comment on using VideoTov’s interactive video editing application.

“The goal for the video editing was to create an all-encompassing summary of the trip without focusing too much on the linear journey,” explained Brent. “We wanted to capture the spirit of the adventure.”

After a few revisions, they had an unforgettable video to watch and share with family and friends.

“Our main challenge was not knowing how to extract the right sections from the endless pile of footage and convert it into a video that did justice to our unique experience,” noted Eran. “Thanks to VideoTov’s professional editing, we now have an outstanding recollection of this amazing trip.”

To see Alaska like you’ve never seen it before—and get inspired to go on your own bush-flying adventure—check out the video at the top of the post.

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