Back To Work, Bushplane Style


Ever see a plane on standard floats at an airport and wonder how it got there? Or, even better, how it’s going to leave? Well, it takes a combination of common sense and air show bravado but, as the video shows, getting a water-equipped Beaver back to work in the spring is a fact of life for bush pilots. Hill Aviation, of Prince George, British Columbia, shot the sequence of the Beaver heading back to its natural habitat. When lakes start to freeze over in the winter, many operators want their planes hangared for the duration of winter — for maintenance and to keep them out of the weather. The alternative to disassembling the planes and trucking them to their winter home is a visually compelling but relatively common practice. (See NewsWire for the video.) Before the ice seals the lake or river in late fall, the plane is flown out and then landed, on the floats, on the grass median at the chosen airport. As dangerous as it sounds, it’s most often accomplished without incident. Then, in spring, the plane is hoisted onto a dolly and pulled down the runway by a truck. At takeoff speed, the pilot lifts off the dolly and heads for the water. A Hill Aviation spokesman said the company has received calls from all over the world since the video hit the Internet.