Traveling by air is part of the package in Alaska, whether you’re going on a flightseeing trip or traveling to a remote village on the Arctic coast. Me? I’m partial to helicopters. Check out this video of my trip up to the Mendenhall Glacier with TEMSCO Helicopters in Juneau. We got a full safety briefing before we stepped out on the tarmac!
Whether you’re taking a flightseeing trip of Misty Fjords National Monument in Ketchikan (my video here) or traveling to a remote village in Western Alaska, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Medallion Foundation want YOU to be part of the “Circle of Safety”.
What can you do? Plenty. For starters:
1. Ask for the Safety Briefing before your flight. And here’s the kicker: PAY ATTENTION while the pilot reviews the safety features of the aircraft and the emergency procedures.
2. Accept cancellations or delays. C’mon folks: nobody likes bad weather or last-minute fix jobs on the airplane. But yield to the pilot. Just like you, the pilot wants to make it back safe and sound.
3. Wear appropriate clothing. This is huge. Baggy shorts, tank top and sandals is NOT the perfect ensemble for remote flying, fashion notwithstanding. Think “layers” and sturdy, comfy shoes.
4. Don’t ask the pilot to fly lower. I know this seems like “common sense”. But even if you see wildlife or an interesting landmark, let the pilot determine the best, safest altitude.
5. Don’t ask the pilot to exceed weight limits. I know–you packed for TWO WEEKS, with a pair of shoes for each day. FORGET IT! Small aircraft are not designed for big loads. There’s no overhead bin–and every pound matters. Your air carrier will offer guidance on how much you can bring along. Don’t push it.
For more information on your role in the “Circle of Safety”, check the FAA’s page.
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