Legendary Alaska bush pilot Jim Tweto has been confirmed as one of two men who died in the crash of a Cessna 180 near Unalakleet, Alaska, on June 16. Tweto was flying the 180 and the other victim was Idaho guide Shane Reynolds, a family friend. Witnesses said the aircraft failed to gain altitude and crashed shortly after takeoff. No official details are available. His daughter Ariel confirmed the tragedy in a Facebook post, saying her dad died “doing what he truly loved.”
Tributes are pouring in for Tweto, who was considered a household name in the North for his bush and mountain flying exploits. He moved to Alaska on a hockey scholarship in 1973 and started flying shortly afterward. He eventually became the COO of Era, Alaska’s biggest regional carrier. But he was probably best known as the central figure in the 2011-12 Discovery reality show Flying Wild Alaska, which followed Tweto, his pilots and family through the challenges of Alaska wilderness flying.