Chapter 790

Lake In The Hills Airport (3CK), Lake In The Hills IL.

Winds Aloft Blog

Brad is Back for a Moment!

Posted by EAA 790 Webmaster on March 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM

By Nancy Blazyk

Brad DeLisle is back in the "lower 48" for a visit after starting a new career as a bush pilot for ERA Alaska. You may know of this company, it is featured on the Discovery Channel program Flying Wild Alaska.

Brad recently checked out in the right seat of a Caravan based in Aniak, Alaska. Aniak, a tiny village of about 550 people, is located 400 miles northwest of Anchorage.

The cold has snapped his credit card (literally) and makes preheating the aircraft a project, because they are NOT kept in hangars in Aniak. Brad says he has never worked as hard as he is loading, unloading and reconfiguring the airplane for passengers. He calls it “turn and burn” with a laugh. He works 14-hour days and a shift is 15 days on and 15 days off. Brad says it’s all worth it though, and he’s looking forward to returning after some much needed rest.

Congrats, Brad!

Categories: Debriefing, Fun Things to Do

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Reply Elton L. Eisele
8:27 AM on April 14, 2012 
From Brad on Facebook:

I've seen the entire north slope, but what's interesting about the arctic is everyday it looks a little different. We had some howling winds today and that made for some exciting landings. The challenges are unsurpassed to anywhere else I've flown. My shift is pretty much over so tonight were having a movie night and brownies to celebrate another good shift, no major maintenance problems or incidents. looks like I'll start getting packed and try to get out Sunday. Onward to Washington for a little while, and then back home.
Reply Elton L. Eisele
5:44 PM on April 11, 2012 
It's funny I've talked to a few people now that have either been to Alaska or lived in Alaska and they all said the same thing when it comes to the cold. They say it doesn't have the same bite like Chicago cold. If I was in anchorage or even Bethel, or even as far into the interior as Fairbanks I would agree with them. But take a trip to Barrow when the winds are blowing 30+ and the temp is well below zero. The cold here certainly has a bite to it and I'll take 10 below and no wind in Chicago over above zero and blowing in Barrow. That wind just CUTS right through my jacket, arctic gear, and my gloves. My hat and boots are windproof so they hold up pretty good. Fortunately it is warming up though. It's supposed to be above zero for the rest of the week. Hopefully I'll come back here next month and the ocean won't be frozen anymore. The natives here are really looking forward to the journey out on the ice. They'll walk miles off shore on the ice out to the open water where the ice shelf breaks off and they catch a whale. One whale feeds many in the village here. With much luck I'll get my chance to try fresh cut whale meat right out of the ocean.
Reply Elton L. Eisele
9:15 AM on April 8, 2012 
From Brad on Facebook...
I just spent the last 3 hours shooting about 10 different types of guns outside the village by an abandoned tug boat with my PIC Andrew, the amera crew(not filming), and a couple of the rampers. We made a range out there. We brought some palets from work and used those to start a fire and hung out for a while. I bought some .45 and tried that for the first time, as well as 30-6. Both were awesome to try. There were snow scares we were taking down the hills, and I took a walk out on the Arctic ocean. I walked about a half mile off the coast. I've never heard such silence in my entire life. There was no nose, no wind, no sounds at all. Imagine that for a minute. All I could hear was my own breathing and footsteps. The sun a setting on the pack ice and the view was incredible. Pressure ridges everywhere, chunks of ice rising from the base layer. The ocean is not so easy to walk on, even frozen. It's incredibly difficult terrain to manage. There's shanks of ice in ridges miles long that rise anywhere from a couple feet to 20ft high. I was exhausted by the time I got back to shore. Unfortunately I couldn't get any pictures cause my battery died just before I got out there. I took my last shot about 10 steps away from getting over the hill to the shore. Oh well! I took tons of the range though, and I got some shots of the caribou today. I've also got some photos of an old military cold war Russia spy station. It was an early detection base for threats from Russia. There's a bunch all along the coast here. Sorry I can't make it home for Easter, but I'll be flying east tomorrow to Nuiqsut, Deadhorse, Barter Island (can't wait for this one), Deadhorse, Nuiqsut, Barrow. Deadhorse is when the Alaska pipeline starts, so hopefully weather will be nice tomorrow and I'll get some shots of the pipeline, and Barter Island is supposed to be a huge Polar Bear hangout, so I'll do my best to get some Polar Bear photos. I'm told it's hit or miss, but that's the run you're most like to see them. I was filmed a little bit today, loading and unloading triple mailers of Pepsi, 50lbs at a time. They can't film me while I'm flying, but they can film on the ground. Whether or not any footage makes the final cut is up in the air. No pun intended. The sun is now setting much later and no longer sets in the west. It sets in the northwest, and rises in the north east and comes all the ay around the horizon to the northwest before it sets. Everyday it sets and rises just a little further north until where is sets and rises are the same place. After that the sun no infer sets and the sun moves 360 degrees around the horizon for about two months. I hope I'm here long enough to see that. Looks like I'm here for at least another weak, so let the adventure continue. Later.
Reply Elton L. Eisele
6:27 PM on April 7, 2012 
It wes great seeing Brad!
Reply Shane Stolarik
6:44 PM on March 26, 2012 
Congratulations, Brad, and best of luck to you! Keep warm and safe.
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