Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bush Pilot


((PKG)) ALASKA PILOT
((Banner: Pilot))
((Reporter:
Natasha Mozgovaya))

((Camera: Aleksandr Bergan, Simon Ridgeway))
((Adapted by:
Martin Secrest))
((Map:
Little Diomede, Alaska))
((Source: SIMON RIDGEWAY))
((BANNER:
Alaska's Little Diomede Island lies less than four kilometers from Russian territory))
((BANNER:
80 Native Alaskans live in Diomede, the westernmost village of the US mainland))

((NATS))
((MIKE KUTYBA, HELICOPTER PILOT))

I guess I am a bush pilot. Flying in places that are remote where you’re usually by yourself. There’s no airplanes within a great deal of distance sometimes and the radio is the only way you can talk to people, and just going to unprepared places, you know, or just the remoteness.
((NATS))
((ROBERT SOOLOOK, PRESIDENT, DIOMEDE TRIBAL COUNCIL))

My name is Robert Soolook. I’m 52. I’m a hunter. I’m a dancer. I’m a singer. And actually, you don’t even really need money in Diomede, you know, if you live traditionally. And everything is there, except sugar, coffee. It’s liveable. I enjoy it. I grew up there traditionally.
((NATS))
((MIKE KUTYBA, HELICOPTER PILOT))

Because the entire world is developing and the villages can’t stay the way they use to sustain themselves back in the 1900s. So, they’re evolving as well.
((NATS))
((ROBERT SOOLOOK, PRESIDENT, DIOMEDE TRIBAL COUNCIL))
Water’s our ‘grocery store,’ you know, and the island itself is our ‘salad store.’ So, we get all the eggs, bird eggs. Millions of birds dwelt there during the summer, and mainly our diet down there is walrus, but we do a lot of whale hunting, polar bears during the winter.
((NATS))
((MIKE KUTYBA, HELICOPTER PILOT))

To unload? It only takes about five minutes, because when I get there and this helicopter is full of mail and food and cargo, it’s not just one, the village comes down. They all come down, they get it off as fast as they can, because they want me to leave and come back with more stuff. So, generally, five minutes. I am there, unload the helicopter, get on what I’m taking, and I leave. I don’t even turn it off.
((NATS))

XS
SM
MD
LG