Flying Wild Alaska: Season 1 DVD
SKU ID #297365
- Additional Details
- Format: DVD
- Rating: Not Rated
- Number of Discs: 2
- Run Time: 443 Minutes
- Region: 1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Language: English
- DVD Release Date: November 22, 2011
- Genre: Documentary
The Flying Wild Alaska Season 1 DVD, a series which follows the unconventional Tweto family that rules Alaska most dangerous skies. Operating their family-run airline, Era Alaska, they battle unforgiving Alaska weather and terrain to transport life necessities to one of the most remote and extreme regions of America. In a Flying Wild Alaska DVD, with no freeway system for hundreds of miles, Era Alaska is the lifeline for the isolated rural inhabitants of the Bering Sea coastline. From champion snow dogs bound for the Iditarod to medicine for sick children to groceries for miners working on an operation on the North Slope, the goods that the intrepid pilots ship on any given day are crucial to everyday life.
Shop for Flying Wild Alaska Season 1 DVD and see how the Tweto family risks it all by using their airline to deliver necessary supplies to the most rural and remote areas in the country.
Ep. 1) Meet the Twetos: In the frigid Alaskan town of Unalakleet, the Tweto's and their family-run airline battle the arctic elements to transport supplies and passengers to some of the most inaccessible areas on the planet.
Ep. 2) Life or Death: Pilot Luke Hickerson transports dangerous chemicals from Barrow to the remote village of Atqasuk. Then, in Unalakleet, the cold and dark winter claims its first casualty and Jim must make arrangements to transport the casket.
Ep. 3) Indian Summer: The joke in Unalakleet, Alaska is that if you don't like weather, just wait 15 minutes and it's sure to change. But on this particular late summer day you'd be hard pressed to find anyone not happy with the current conditions. There is not a cloud in the sky, the winds are calm, and the mercury checks in at a balmy"¦ 42 degrees. Era Alaska pilot & C.O.O., Jim Tweto takes advantage of the favorable conditions to head north to check on his base in Kotzebue. Not far from Kotzebue, in a village called Point Lay, thousands of migratory walrus have recently gathered along the beach. The walrus make this trek annually, but this year their numbers are unprecedented. Many think the increase is a result of melting polar ice caps. Regardless, the FAA has issued a T.F.R. or "Temporary Flight Restriction", over the entire area. If one of Jim's planes were to stray too close to the beach, not only would he receive a hefty fine, but the sound from the plane's engines could cause the walrus to stampede and trample their young. It's a serious issue that Jim must attend to personally. Already in Kotzebue are pilots Jared and Jesse Cummings. They are Jim's off-airport specialists. They are experts at S.T.O.L. (Short Take-Offs and Landings) from ridge tops, riverbanks and glaciers. Recently a park ranger's plane had to make an emergency landing in dangerous bear country. Jesse races to find the plane before the bears do. Fresh off of his long assignment in Kavik, former professional skateboarder and current Era pilot John Ponts arrives in Unalakleet to a warm welcome. He will remain in Unalakleet for the rest of the winter, but for now, he is enjoying the unseasonably warm weather by "bombing" down nearby Old-Army Hill on his skateboard outfitted with large off-road tires. And later, to give Alaska's summer a proper send off, Ponts, Ariel and her sister Ayla decide to go bridge jumping. They slip into swimwear and leap into the frigid 43 degree waters of the Unalakleet River.
Ep. 4) Tundra Taxis: Hurricane force winds roar into Northern Alaska. The windsocks indicators around the Unalakleet airport are stretched taut, and the bearing sea is a white-capped mess. Even the hearty Eskimo villagers who are accustomed to temperatures as low as negative 40 are starting to dress like it's winter. To the South, John Ponts transports an unusually skittish Department of Transportation worker to the village of Nunam Iqua. The winds gust up to 50mph, tossing the tiny Cessna 207 all over the sky. To land, John must "crab" the plane in. This is done by aggressively angling the plane into the direction of the wind. From the ground it appears that his plane is flying nearly sideways. This works well"¦ up to a point. If the landing gear touches the ground at this angle it will sheer off. To keep this from happening, at the very last minute John will have to straighten the plane out and try to compensate for the crosswinds. It's a maneuver that is as complicated it looks. In Bethel, Era pilot and C.O.O. Jim Tweto arrives to inspect the progress on his newest hangar. Right now it is nothing more than a slab of concrete. He hopes to have the structure complete before the snow arrives, but it's not looking good. The hangar is way behind schedule and Jim is none to pleased. He storms around the Era terminal flipping off light switches in the hopes of saving a few cents and easing his mind. Just outside of Bethel is the tiny village of Kwigillingok. It is home to 400 rural villagers, and also the most dangerous runway that Era services. From the air, the runway looks like a narrow, dirt hiking path. From the ground"¦ it still looks like a narrow, dirt hiking path"¦ but with large potholes. Today, Era pilot Phillip Sampson is transporting a teacher who must get back to the nearby school. There are no roads for hundreds of miles around; Kwigillingok is accessibly only by air. And on days like this, where the winds are gusting violently, it is accessible perhaps not at all. It will take all of Phillip's abilities to get his Cessna 207 safely on the ground. But the winds are not all bad news. In Nome, pilot Doug "Hollywood" Stewart takes advantage of the stiff head winds to partake in his favorite pastime: hang gliding. Aside from the pure enjoyment of it, he sees hang gliding as a good practice, should the "big fan" on the front of his aircraft ever stop spinning.
Ep. 5) Greenhorn Ben: Yuri Ivanoff arrives in Bethel to begin his training in the Cessna 208 Caravan. He had been flying the smaller 207 "lead sled" up in Unalakleet, but the arrival of his newborn son has inspired him to pursue a job piloting the larger, better paying, 208 caravan. But before he can make the leap, he must first impress Ross Nixon: Jim Tweto's ever-intimidating 208 Check Airman. Ross watches closely as Yuri clumsily takes control of the aircraft and wrestles it towards the windy Alaskan town of Palmer. After a stream of mistakes, a sheet of ice begins to form on the leading edge of the plane's wings. Even the usually stoic Ross becomes a bit rattled when the "boots" (a deicing feature on the front of the wings) fail to engage properly. Meanwhile, back at Era Alaska's nerve center in Unalakleet, Pilot and C.O.O. Jim Tweto loads his Cessna 180 up in preparation for a supply drop out in the Andreafsky Mountains. There, a group of hunters anxiously await his arrival. Unfortunately, upon approach, Jim discovers that the recent weeks of rain have caused a nearby stream to swell, cutting the size of riverbank he intended to land on by nearly 50%. Left with no other option but to turn around and head home, Jim decides to take his chances with the river. He aligns his plane and prepares to skim his wheels along the top of the water to slow his momentum. If done right, he will come to a stop before the end of the shortened runway. If done wrong, the landing gear could sheer off, leaving Jim and the hunters stranded in the arctic wilderness. Jim is not the only Era pilot with off-airport woes. In the Unalakleet terminal, Greenhorn pilot Ben Pederson has been given the most challenging run of his short career: an off-airport drop at Granite Mountain. At Granite Mountain there are no lights, no wind indicators, and no help should anything go wrong. Normally, Jim Tweto handles these types of runs, but in his absence, Ben will have to step it up.
Ep. 6) Blow it Up: Nome, Alaska is where an incredible journey known as the Iditarod Sled Race comes to an end. And on this episode, it is also where an incredible journey involving two Era Alaska pilots will begin. Nome Pilot Doug Doherty and Co-Pilot Eric Rose have been hired to transport volatile explosives from Barrow to Savoonga on their Beechcraft 1900. Savoonga is a small village located on the Island of St Lawrence, just 46 miles west of Siberian Russia. Due to the sensitive nature of the cargo they will be forced to load the plane at the far end of an empty runway, then fly around all populated areas they encounter while en route. Meaning, to avoid western villages like Point Lay and Wales, they will be forced to fly alarmingly close to Russian airspace. Doug jokes that if the explosives in their cargo hold don't blow them to pieces, then the Russian Migs surely will. The explosives in need of transport are volatile harpoon heads necessary for Savoonga's fall whale hunt. The weapons grade projectiles create a kill shot that minimizes the whale's suffering. Normally these harpoon heads are transported by barge, but the Beaufort Sea has frozen up solid around Barrow, meaning air transport is the only option. Likewise, the Bearing Sea is quickly freezing up around St Lawrence Island, making this operation even more critical. If the harpoons don't arrive soon, whale hunting becomes impossible, and the villagers will have no way to feed their families during the long winter months. With this in mind, Doug and Eric plot their course carefully and set-off on the most unique and dangerous mission of their careers. But they are not the only Era Alaska pilots enduring white-knuckle flights. Greenhorn pilot Ben Pederson has been hired to transport two Department of Transportation workers from Unalakleet to the village of Stebbins. The forecast calls for sunshine and miles of visibility along the flight. Ben takes to the sky in his Cessna 207, but the serenity doesn't last long. He spots a large bird flying directly at his aircraft, and before he has a chance to react, the bird slams violently into the propeller. It explodes on impact and sends shock waves racing through the fuselage. Ben's 207 has but one engine, and the Alaskan Loon it collided with was nearly the same size as the Canadian Geese that sent the massive United Airways Jetliner into the Hudson River. So, much like Capt. Sully, Ben snaps to attention and does his best to avoid disaster.
Ep. 7) Deep Freeze: The town of Barrow is hit by a fierce winter storm, turning the runways into giant sheets of ice. As a result, the larger, commercial jetliners are forced to cancel all of their flights for days, leaving customers stuck out in the cold. But not Era Alaska, their smaller Bush planes can handle the toughest of conditions and are called upon to pick up the slack and the stranded passengers. Era's star pilot Luke Hickerson and his years of flying in Alaska's toughest conditions are essential to this operation. But even Luke's skills are tested when he tries to land in the remote village of Point Lay with minimal visibility. In Fairbanks, Pilot Doug Doherty visits his old friend and four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey with a planeload of canine hopefuls. Sled dog racing is serious business in Alaska. These coastal canine athletes are worth upwards of one thousands dollars each and are chartered direct from Unalakleet. Lance has one spot available on his team. He hooks them up to a sled and takes these Unalakleet dogs out for a test run, and a chance to join the very best in the world. Ariel Tweto and her friend and flying instructor, John Ponts, take to the skies in an impromptu flying lesson. But things take a dangerous turn when she directs the plane toward a giant flock of swans Back on the ground in Unalakleet, the Era staff prepares for their busiest day of the year. Teachers from villages across Western Alaska have descended on the town, filling planes and nearly doubling the area's population overnight. It's an especially stressful day for Jim. His client, the Bering Strait School District, is one of the airline's biggest sources of revenue. One misstep could mean a serious hit to profits.
Ep. 8) Bush Brawl: Jim Tweto and his wife Ferno enjoy a rare opportunity to fly into the wilderness of Alaska together as a couple. After a tricky landing on a frozen riverbank, they check in on the properties of two feuding neighbors. Despite having miles of uninhabited tundra between them, it's still too close for comfort for these two paranoid Alaskans. They've each (unknowingly) enlisted the help of the Twetos to spy on their adversary. Back in Unalakleet, Ariel helps out DJ Sam by broadcasting live from the "Bush Brawl" annual wrestling tournament up in Kotzebue. After a hard day of work she takes to the air in a Cessna 207 with her friend and flight instructor John Ponts. Her goal is to successfully complete her first unassisted landing. But flying out over the frozen ocean and landing at an unfamiliar airport proves to be more than Ariel had bargained for. Tough as nails pilot Sarah Fraher works out of a remote hub in the village of St Mary's. Today, she is entrusted with a food delivery for school children in nearby Mountain Village. But on the way there, a massive storm blows in. She guns the throttle of her older 207 and does her best to outrun the gale force winds. But unfortunately for her, this particular plane has seen better days. It lags badly as the storm nips at her heals. To the north, her boyfriend and fellow Era pilot, John Ponts, is dealing with problems of his own. On his approach to the tiny Eskimo village of Stebbins, a massive herd of Caribou migrates onto the runway. With the storm closing in, he is pressed for time. He anxiously circles overhead while the local herder clears the animals. The storm front sweeps the entire western side of the state, blanketing it with snow and buffeting it with hurricane force winds. Soon, airport after airport shuts down, including Sarah's base in St Mary’s. She is left with no choice but to reroute north, praying that she can reach Unalakleet before the weather does.
Ep. 9) Trick or Tweto: It's Halloween in Unalakleet and pilot John Ponts is using the opportunity to bring some smiles to his passengers. He exchanges his normal uniform of Carhartt pants and a hoody sweatshirt in favor of a giant yellow chicken suit, hoping to cheer up the kids during the cold dark winter. At Era's busiest hub in Bethel, pilots Erik Snuggerud and Phil Ekdahl are dealing with the brutal winter winds that plague rural Alaska. On his way to Chefornak to drop off vital food supplies, Erik's flight takes a typical Alaskan twist when he gets a radio call to pick up a couple of seals to make native clothing for the winter. A reasonable request, except that Erik will have to battle deadly 40 mph crosswinds just to get his plane on the ground. Elsewhere in Bethel, Phil faces his own challenges flying a mother and her infant daughter to the village of Russian Mission. The deadly crosswinds are compounded by flat lighting conditions that make it impossible to gauge distances, a combination that has proven fatal for many bush pilots. Back in Unakleet, Ariel tries to learn more about the family business. When Ferno heads to a meeting in Anchorage and Jim is called to re-supply hunters up near Koyuk, Ariel is put to the test as she is left in charge of the Era nerve center for the first time. Nothing is simple in Alaska and Ariel's problems steadily mount, culminating in a power outage that threatens to cost Era thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Later that night, Ariel and Ferno go on their daily run and find out that ghosts and goblins aren't the only things to be afraid of today, as they get an up close visit from some Alaskan wildlife.
Ep. 10) Goodbye Sun: The winter darkness is closing in on Alaska and many residents are heading south to avoid the two months of night that is almost upon them. In Era's northern most hub in Barrow, station manager Tom Elkins discovers illegal alcohol hidden in a frozen food box. The police are called and a trap is set. The bootlegger will be nabbed when he comes to the Era terminal to retrieve the contraband. Down in Unalakleet, Ariel Tweto makes one last attempt to land a Cessna 207 on her own. Only this time, Jim is in the passenger seat. After her nearly disastrous first landing attempt with Ponts earlier in the month, her stress level is sky-high. She hopes to make her dad proud while simultaneously achieving an important milestone in her flying career. Jim gets a late season call to pick up a group of moose hunters stuck on a snowy hill North of Koyuk. Their hunt has dragged on twice as long as expected and they are anxious to get back to civilization. However, the deep snow surrounding the camp may be more than the plane's engine can handle. Once on the ground, Jim must fight the powdery conditions and hidden obstacles to get airborne, all while a looming storm threatens to strand them all. Back in Barrow, pilot Luke Hickerson is on his last flight of the season when he gets a report of a missing snow machiner. With temperatures well below zero, Luke must race polar bears and the setting sun as he tries to find the man before 2 months of darkness consume the region.