"We get handed the keys to an airplane we've never seen, we fly it across the ocean, we hand it off and we never see the airplane again. We've got one shot to figure out how the plane performs and then we're done with it."
Brad was a young guy fuelling jets at Fairbanks International Airport when he got the kick in the pants he needed to get himself off the tarmac and into the cockpit.
"A captain from Luftansa Airlines said to me, ‘Brad, if you don't go to flight school and chase your dream, you will be here 20 years from now, fuelling planes and still making $10 an hour.' I went home that day, found a flight school, made a plan and was on my way to school less than a month later."
Brad started his career, like most pilots, working as flight instructor. From there he moved on to Tanana Air Service flying mail, cargo and passengers in the Alaskan bush. He also flew as a Medivac jet pilot throughout Alaska. Though Brad still refers to himself as a bush pilot, his career has taken him very far from the Alaska bush and into some intense situations.
Brad was a jet pilot for the United Nations in Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Russia. He flew covert missions with presidents and terrorist leaders. In Colombia, Panama and Honduras, he flew anti-terrorism and anti-narcotic trafficking missions for the local as well as the US government. And in the Philippines he flew anti-terrorism missions for the Philippine and US governments.
After 14 years in the business, more than 6750 flying hours and more than a 100 countries stamped in his passport, the Alaska bush pilot has come a long way from that tarmac in Fairbanks.