For the cover story of issue 4, Avaunt travelled to Alaska to fly with Talkeetna-based pilot Leighan Falley. While shooting the story, Avaunt also commissioned photographer Frédéric Lagrange to produced a short film, Alaskan Bush Pilot, that captures Falley flying over the glaciers of Denali National Park. Below is an excerpt from the cover story, where Falley discusses her daily routine as an air taxi pilot.
We generally fly three to five flights a day. In the months of April, May and June, the majority of these will be to transport mountaineers to and from locations in the Alaska Range. At this time of year, there is still a lot of snow on the glaciers and we will land in a wide variety of areas, and our de Havilland Beavers can transport four climbers and their equipment.
During July, August and September, we switch to scenic flight mode. The Alaska Range is a stunning place and we cater to visitors from around the world. I have had a number of passengers burst into tears at seeing these unique mountains and glaciers at first hand for the first time.
When the weather is good, the days can be long, with the last flight landing as late as 9pm, and by the time we taxi in, both the aeroplane and I are spent. I fuel the plane and make her ready for the next morning and enjoy a return to quiet after a day of thundering across the landscape.
If I ever find the routine tedious, sometimes I will jump in our own little plane and go for a quick flight before going home to my husband and daughter. Usually though, I return quickly from work to my peaceful little house in the forest.
We spend the evening gardening, catching up on each other’s lives, cooking food, planning the weekend’s (aeroplane-based) adventure and enjoying our idyllic Alaskan existence. It is a blessing to both have such engaging professions and yet be able raise our daughter in the quaint Alaskan community of Talkeetna.
Issue 4 of Avaunt is available to buy now. Avaunt is also offering Lagrange’s cover image for sale as a limited-edition Giclée print, using high quality Hahnemühle Photo Rag® Bright White paper that lends the photograph a painterly, decorative quality.