Master Guide Terry Overly, will you share your thoughts on being an Alaska Bush Pilot?
“I remember best what a good old friend of mine, actually my most important mentor, told me once about flying. “Flying is hours and hours of sheer boredom with moments of stark terror.”
I certainly have found this to be true.
There are truly not many “real” old-style bush pilots left in Alaska anymore. It’s illegal to do the things and the kind of flying we did decades ago. The kinds of flying that made bush pilots of Alaska incredibly unique.
Most of the modern bush pilots of today will never see real bush pilot flying. And, I am sorry and ashamed of the “Powers that Be” that have destroyed, through excessive regulations and out of control federal agencies.
This historic type of flying that set Alaskan Bush Pilots apart from all others.
A $200,00.00 Super Cub with all the seal of approval stamps on it does not make that Cub a Bush Cub. Nor, does it make the pilot flying it a bush pilot.
Real bush Cubs have scratches and dents on them, inside and out. They do real work and they are a tool. Not a status symbol. Rocks fly up and hit your prop, hit the tail services. Brush that grew up over the Winter, smacks at your wings and prop.
You have to carry external loads, it’s a must. I have carried 16’ -7” logs on my lumber rack as well as enough 1/2” plywood to build 3 separate 14’ x 16’ cabins with floors. I have carried snow machines on the bottom of my cub tied to the lumber rack. I know of pilots that I knew very well that carried Super Cub wings on their Super Cubs.
As for myself, I have never wrecked any aircraft. I was in one aircraft wreck, back in the early days, long ago as a kid of 16 years. My Step Father, Bud Hickethier and I were taking off of this very airstrip, even then known as Overly’s Strip, in a 90 HP PA-18 and we just did not get off the ground.
We hit trees, bent the prop, wings and gear. No one was hurt and we got word to a good friend that came over to help put the Cub back together enough to fly it back to his place to work on and repair what was damaged.
There have been two memorable incidents that come to mind. One involved a Super Cub and one involved a Cessna 206.
But, those are other stories.”