The Plane! Bush Communities Rely on Air Service


I pause in my outside chores and cock my ear—a faint, whirring roar from downriver. Across the village of Ambler, folks are doing the same; or maybe they heard the announcement on their always-on VHF radios. I know that a procession of ATVs is headed toward the airport, a mile-plus north of town. In this Inupiaq community of 300, meeting the mail plane is ingrained in the rhythm of daily life—as it is for more than a hundred small settlements and towns across the unimaginable sweep of off-grid Alaska. In a land beyond roads, an invisible network of highways stretches through the air, providing connection between villages and the

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