Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

For more recent posts, go to my site www.kentwien.com

Monday, January 14, 2008

Then and now... some perspective.

Someone just sent me a YouTube video from a special the History Channel did called "Big Alaska." The segment covered the role of the bush pilot in the state. When I think about how far aviation has come in such a short time, I only need to look at the flying my grandpa, Noel Wien, did in the early 20's until after WWII. He started Alaska's first airline, Wien Air Alaska, inspired not by money, but the hope of a steady job flying, which was all he wanted to do. Wien Air Alaska flew for over 60 years before folding at the hands of a corporate raider.

So when I really start to think going through security is overwhelming, or finding a place to stow my bag on a deadhead is too much of a pain, or there isn't a hot meal on the 3 hour flight, I just think of how the pilots and passengers of that era got around. Heating the oil over a stove before putting it back into the engine at a cabin somewhere on a frozen lake seems a bit more challenging than finding an agent to connect the jetbridge to the airplane in the morning. Even the flying my dad did in the 50's and 60's makes me feel like we've really come a long way. I look up to my dad probably as much as he looked up to his dad.

Take a look at the video. Some of the footage was stuff I had never seen before. All of the still photos came from my grandpa's collection that I've been working on digitizing though. The man in the hat during the interview is my uncle, Richard. The part about my grandpa is from 1 minute in to the 3 minute mark, plus a little at the end. There was a biography written about him if you're so inclined to read about the early days of bush flying. OK, 'nuff said about my family. Back to the trip reports!


Jamie D said...

wow, thats really something. I couldnt imagine what it would be like having a family who played a such an important role in history, then having books & documentaries made up about about them. It must have been really challenging for your granpa working in those weather conditions, not only that but putting his life at risk all those years. Technology now is nothing like what it used to be, they could have done with it all those years ago but saying that, they still use some very old aircraft for doing the same job today.

Neil said...

Really interesting video, Kent. Imagine the stories Noel could tell about his adventures- a real aviation pioneer! Fantastic!

Roger said...

Excellent video - thanks for posting it! I've read your Grandfather's biography - it's always interesting to see the video, too.

Alex said...

what an incredible history you have Kent! You and your family are true american aviators and pioneers and inspire us all to take to the sky!!!

Bob Gulluscio said...

An amazing video! It must make you feel so proud to have your family be such a huge part of aviation history.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on this post by a former United Captain and former Wien Air Alaska pilot. You can find it at


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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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