The bush pilots of Alaska risk their lives to transport people, mail, medicine, animals, dead bodies and everything else in between to keep the isolated villages linked to the outside world. Perils abound since Alaska is a land of mountains and canyons with weather that can bring dense fog, clouds, and temperatures that freeze machines and people. Nature aside, the company that employs these pilots only makes money when there are flights so pilots are expected to fly in sub zero temperatures or in planes that are overloaded with cargo.
Even with all the dangers these bush pilots choose to fly in these highly stressful conditions and the motivation behind this varies from broken down relationships to the desire to get ahead. The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska by Colleen Mondor is a testament of the four years she was dispatch operator for one of these airlines. She shares the triumphs, the oddities, and the tragedies in this narrative where the pilots and their flying become personal.