|Tundra from helicopter
So air travel and mail has been unpredictable and sporadic. The semester ended on Wednesday, December 20th and several teachers including myself had set our tickets to leave on the evening flight.
Unfortunately between the morning flight and my flight, weather crapped out and nothing flew. So we moved everything to the next day. Thursday morning the morning flight for one of the airlines came out as scheduled but turned around when they were about 20 minutes out of the village because the runway was iced over and had not been taken care of.
It turns out the man who prepares the runway for landing was on that flight so the airline agent called the Department of Transportation to get permission for a nonDOT person to clean the runway. It took a bit of time but she got permission to do it and the runway got cleared. Unfortunately, by the time the planes got there, the ceiling had dropped, the wind came up, and snow blew every which way. So all flights were cancelled for the day.
|Loading up the helicopter.
However, one of the girls decided to check the local helicopter place because helicopters do not need a runway and can fly in weather planes can't. Five of us agreed to split the cost and by 1 PM, the helicopter had landed on the old runway. Yeah.
When the helicopter landed, half the village emerged from their houses and either ran up the hill or jumped on the back of a four wheeler to rush up and check out the event. A couple people let us know that if we'd told them we were chartering a helicopter, they'd have paid part of the cost to get family members home since it would probably be sometime after Christmas before they could get home.
It would have cut the nearly $1000 cost per person but we were desperate to get out and visit our families that it was worth it to us. As soon as the helicopter landed, we were told that they couldn't head out again due to weather. In addition, all flights out of Bethel to Anchorage had been cancelled and everyone worried that our flight (the last one of the evening) would be canceled.
Fortune smiled on us and we made it along with as many people from earlier flights as possible. The plane took off an hour late but we didn't care. We made out!!!!! We've decided that next year, we are going to charter a plane to take us out as soon as school ends for the holidays. We do not want to get stuck again.
Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear