Last week while in Alaska I took a break in my bald eagle photography to drop in on Paul Swanstrom, owner of Mountain Flying Service. Paul is a local pilot who provides air taxi support for mountain climbers, sightseeing flights for tourists or in my case, charter aerial photography support. I found Paul in his hanger tuning up his new plane; a handsome, fully restored and rebuilt, de Havilland Beaver.
This classic Alaska bush plane is a beauty. While his other plane, a sporty Bush Hawk XP, is a great plane for aerial photography, I’m looking forward to shooting from the de Havilland Beaver. The Beaver is much bigger than the Bush Hawk XP and offers easier shooting options for a professional photographer like myself. The Beaver seats seven to eight passengers depending on configuration. It’s powered by a large nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney 985 supercharged radial engine. I’m always amazed (and glad to see since I fly with Paul) how meticulous Paul is with his planes and engines.
During my visit, Paul showed me some great photos of the Beaver in flight and when Paul was dropping mountain climbers off at a base camp on Mt. Fairweather (15,325 feet, 4,671 meters). Hopefully he will be posting the photos soon on the Mountain Flying Service website.
ABOVE: Paul Swanstrom, pilot and owner of Mountain Flying Service, takes a break from servicing the massive nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney 985 supercharged radial engine of his de Havilland Beaver to pose for a photo in his hanger in Haines, Alaska.