This is my Dad, Wes Keller. I had just picked him up off a river bar after a 10 day moose hunt, and we went for a little cruise around the area just for fun. I had never landed on a glacier with my Dad, so I set down and we walked around a bit. Nothing is more fun than taking your own Dad out and showing him around. My Dad is also a pilot with several thousand hours of flight time in the Air National Guard and Air Force. And when I was a little baby he had a construction company up on the North Slope and we lived in both Wainwright and Point Hope. He flew a Cessna 207 all-over the North Slope of Alaska hauling building supplies. Dad and I have flown together a fair bit, but I had just never taken the opportunity to do this.
He was a little white knuckled when he saw nothing but steep ice over my shoulder out the front, I know this because I felt him grab my seat back just moments before we touched the ice. Maybe it was pay back from when I was 15 years old and he had me hanging my arm out the door of our Stinson-3 air dropping propane bottles to our cabin. HA ! that is a great memory. It was a full five-gallon propane bottle. I wanted to make sure I was ready for the drop, so I forced the door open 2 miles before the drop-point and got the bottle outside the plane. I was feeling pretty good about it for the first few seconds, but then the wind started blowing the bottle around and banging against the side of the fuselage and my arm was getting really tired. I kept hanging on, but I was scared I was beating up the side of the airplane and I was loosing my grip after what seemed like an eternity Dad said, “drop!!” and I let the bottle fly, and pulled my numb arm back inside the cabin. We were both laughing pretty hard. The propane bottle made it but it took two men 30 minutes to pull it out of the 4 foot deep hole it had burrowed into the swamp. Now Dad is a State Legislator working as the representative for Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin’s home town. This picture is one of my best memories, I love my Dad.
Below is a video of landing on the glacier pictured above.
Thanks to Cat Powers “Cross Bones Style” for a great song.
Patrick Flannigan says
Until I saw this video I had no idea that you could safely land on glaciers. It must be a different world up there – most of us wouldn’t even dream of landing on a paved runway with light snow.