Brand New Blue Ice Aviation Website and Blog!! Follow the link.

For the new Website and Blog click here!  http://blueiceaviation.com/  Or, scroll down and enjoy nearly 80 PAGES of Blue Ice Aviation photos and stories!!

A few months ago my buddies at Sideprojectco.com and I decided to giveBlueIceAviation.com a new look.  We have completely redesigned everything and I am stoked about it.  This is the 4th version of the Blue Ice Aviation web site and I couldn't be happier.  We did a major simplification of the site, and made it reflect my business more accurately.  If you need "web stuff" done contact my buddies Dave and Jon fromSideprojectco.com, they are awesome!

I have been out of town most of the month of April.  I was on a flying job in Southwest Alaska.  I toted my new DSLR camera with me everywhere I went, and came away with some fun new pics,  you'll see them below.  

Overall the job went well, but it was not without it's challenges.  After 5 days of flying, the weather got bad enough that we spent Easter Sunday sitting in the bunkhouse in Dillingham telling lies to each other in the form of flying stories. (a pilot's favorite pass time when not in the cockpit).  We eventually gave up on being productive, left our airplanes in a hangar in Dillingham, and flew home commercially while the weather sorted itself out.  This was a nice break because I was missing my girls anyways.  We returned to Dillingham on the 11th and spent another 6 days cruising around the AK peninsula and Tikchik mountains.  All-in-all the weather treated us well-enough and we were able to accomplish the goal.  I got home on Ali's 5th birthday which was awesome!

So this is the very first blog post on a new format.  All new blog posts will now be found here, at this address.  But, the nearly 80 pages of photos at  blog.blueiceaviation.com will live on forever more at that location... at least that is the plan for now.  Below I will list links to a few of my favorite posts from years gone by.

To see all 40+ Alaska Flying photos from the last two weeks just click HERE.  Or, scroll down and enjoy nearly 80 PAGES of Blue Ice Aviation photos!!


http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/photo-of-the-day-oops

http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/photo-and-story-of-the-day-more-things-found

http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/photo-of-the-day-story-friday-broken-animal-c

http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/typhoon-haiyan-my-studly-brother-and-a-thankgiving-reminder-15-photos

http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/flight-of-a-lifetime-30-photos

http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/photos-of-the-day-headed-for-the-beach



Capturing Sheep.

I just spent spent 5 days in the air, and I don't remember seeing a single cloud.  It has been a stunningly warm stretch of cloudless calm days.  I was working with Troy Cambier, owner of Chena River Aviation, and ADFG.  We stayed at our house on Sheep Mountain and worked in the surrounding mountains.  It was a successful project, and we were all very thankful for the perfect weather window.  Below are several photos of the helicopter working with the animals.  I was in the Super Cub overhead flying cover, and locating new animals in workable areas.  The fixed wing generally has the easy job.  While the ground crew is working their butts off, I'm circling overhead eating a PBJ sandwich and making snide remarks about their efficiency.  It's only because I'm jealous, I know I'll never be as cool as a helicopter pilot or a net-gunner.  :)  And they always get their revenge.  Good times had by all!

Making the move.

Troy picking up the biologists.

You can see the sheep in front of the helicopter.

It's hard work moving the animals out of the steeps and into terrain like this.

Departing Meekin's strip at Sheep Mountain.

This was almost an awesome photo ... but I was not fast enough.

After a long weekend's work.

Landing at the house.

One workup zone was not quite as ideal ... it all comes with the territory.

Not a bad back drop.

Troy trying to decide if he is going to sun himself, or go fly the helicopter.

One Of My Favorite Photos Ever. Wolves, wolverines, Wind.

I flew all day looking for sheep.  It was a gorgeous afternoon, and I also found a couple of small wolf packs.  They were up in the high country running around with the sheep and caribou and probably having the time of their lives with this thin snow pack.  The most impressive thing was watching the dark wolf (pictured below) climbing a nearly vertical snow face!  There is no doubt, us two legged critters just can't compete.  Really fun stuff to watch.

Last week we tracked down a few wolverines and I posted a couple photos below.  This job followed our largest 2015 snow fall in South Central Alaska, so the landing zones were a little sketchy at best.  The lakes were over-flow traps, and the hill sides were bottomless ice crystal pits.  The problem is that you can't fly for eight ours with out eventually stopping to pee ... so, my buddy Ernie was kind enough to finally land and stomp us out a place to stop with his snow shoes.  

I'm thankful to be working again, it's been another long Alaskan winter ... But that's why we love it up here :o)

This is the picture that is one of my favorites.  Look at that black wolf going nearly vertical in the snow headed for that huge cornice.

Another dark wolf.

First day back up at Sheep Mountain.

Another pair of wolves I found today climbing around at 6400'.

Headed home after a beautiful day at work.

Descending into the Matanuska Valley this evening from high in the Talkeetnas.

This was taken last week after the snow-fall.

One of the wolverines we found.

Same wolverine far below my ski.

The wind blew pretty good for several days, but it was manageable.  Of course it is always discouraging when a zippy 60 mph ground speed is reason for rejoicing.

Not Scenic, but Super Cool, A Bunch of Wolves

I was on a job a few weeks ago and we were looking for wolves.  We found a couple of caribou kills, and then followed the tracks.  We were pretty pumped when we caught 16 wolves climbing up out of the drainage.  I think they were full enough on caribou meat that they were not moving very fast.  The first photo shows 11 of the wolves, but there were 3 more above them and 2 below.  That was the biggest pack I have ever seen, and I've got to admit, I was pretty excited.  

This photo reminded me that a few years ago I was radio tracking dall sheep in the Chugach mountains when we found a couple of wolves camped out on a mountain peak lounging in the sun.  Interestingly, not far below them was a dozen sheep standing very still above the cliffs, trying not to move.  They were probably pretty safe from the two wolves, but I did not envy their position.  Luckily, I managed to get a picture and you can see it here. http://blog.blueiceaviation.com/photos-of-the-day-wolves

Lots of really cool stuff to see in this state, and I have not even begun to scratch the surface. 

Yesterday Sure Was Nice.

I spent the daylight hours airborne.  I never hit a bump and I never saw a cloud in nearly 7 hours.  Denali was huge on the horizon, and the temperatures were a mild 15 degrees.  It may not be much of an authentic Alaskan winter ... but it certainly has it's upside.  

Talkeetna Mountains with Denali on the horizon.

Descending down into The Mat-Valley.

Long shadows on the Talkeetnas.

Denali, with the Talkeetnas in the foreground.

No Snow. No Problem. Fat Bike.

This tradition is at least a decade old, maybe two decades.  It's MLK day, so we celebrate.  Usually it involves skis and guns.  This year, with the lack of snow, skis were not really an option.  So we went Fat/Stud-biking.  I did not fall under the "stud" category, so I tried to slip into the "fat" category.  Not a problem.  My friends were starting on a slippery lake, so I by-passed the lake with the Super Cub and tried to meet them on the gravel bar of the Knik.  I ended up navigating a frozen creek trying to locate them on the ground, and it's a miracle I did not break a hip.  If you've never peddled a bike wondering if ice thickness or traction is your greatest enemy ... you're smarter than me.  Good-times had by all.  Here's the pics.

Thanks Speedway cycles for selling me an affordable fat-bike!

Correction: DSLR Does Fit Out Cub Window.

I took both planes out for a walk this morning.  Ali's been hounding me to go flying so I figured I needed to quit being a bad dad and take the girl up!  You see, this time of year is really slow for us.  Both planes pretty much just sit there, and it's not good for the engines.  So occasionally I will tape the oil cooler off (in order to ensure my oil temps actually reach at least 180 degrees), and then take them out for a cruise.

I took big dog (the DSLR) with me ... and Ali was not impressed when I opened the window.  Cabin temperature dropped significantly, but she is a tough girl.  I also went up the Knik, and was impressed by the utter lack of snow.  Then I came home to my nice warm hangar which I am so very thankful for.  The heated hangar is largely to blame for the lack of photos being posted these days.  I've pretty much had my tool belt on since October 1st.  My only complaint is that I am so excited about my hangar I can barely sleep at night, and I'm getting tired.  I'm very thankful.  Here's a couple pics.

My fingers got cold.

The Chugach.

The "Blue Ice" of the Knik.

Lake George and Colony Glacier.

The Gorge

The Matanuska River, and Palmer's lack of snow.

My Little Buddy.

I'm very fond of this view.

The Hangar.

Family Pictures. No Airplanes.

It was an excellent holiday season.  I love the family time, the cold, the dark, the food (when I wasn't sick).  Christmas is just awesome.  We took every opportunity to celebrate and be thankful this holiday season.  Feeling blessed in AK, now on to 2015, Bring it!!

Pocket Rocket Vs. DSLR. I'm lost.

Here is a random picture from September 2014.  It was taken near our base at Sheep Mountain with the Glenn Hwy. under my wing.  I was looking at this photo thinking how disconcerting it would be to stick my new Nikon D7100 DSLR out the window with one arm.  I'm not even sure it would fit out the window.  I love my little point and shoot $200 canon but I recently decided to take the plunge and purchase my first "real" camera.  I kind of love it and I mostly hate it, but I'm intrigued.  Looking at all the buttons on the DSLR makes me feel smart, but pressing the buttons immediately highlights my stupidity.  I want to learn how to take great pictures with nice equipment and maybe even someday sell my photos, but for now I will walk the line between recklessly shoving my arm out the window of the plane with a pocket rocket, and trying to take an actual quality picture with a $1600 monstrosity.  

Mostly Just Scenic Alaska Pics from This Week

Illiamna Volcano.

Looking South over the TikChiks.

Mae's pet bull MooMoo hanging out in Tuluksak Alaska.

Sometimes I even land to take a break, Tuluksak is nice.

Goodnews Bay, Alaska.

Sunrise near Togiak.

Sunrise near Togiak.

Early Alpenglow near Togiak.

I love early morning flights in Alaska in Late October (still using a headlamp at nearly 10AM).

The Tikchiks.

Sunset on Cook Inlet.

Sunset on Cook Inlet.

Sunset on Cook Inlet.

Sunset on Cook Inlet.

Dusty wind at Big River Lakes.

Northeast end of Lake Clark, at the sand bar.

Near Keyes Point.

The Nushagak river beginning to freeze.

Clouds over the Alagnak River.

Confused islands on Lake Illiamna.

Clouds and light freezing rain near Pedro Bay.

Crossing the Alaska Range.