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The Last Bush Pilots Paperback – November 17, 2012
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"Eric Auxier is the next Tom Clancy of aviation."
--Tawni Waters, author, Beauty of the Broken; Siren Song;
1st Place, Top Travel Writers of 2010
"With 12,000+ hours of arctic Alaskan bush flying to my credit during the 1970's and 80's, reading The Last Bush Pilots was like a glance in a forty year old mirror. Nice work, Eric."
--CloudDancer, author, "CloudDancer's Alaskan Chronicles."
"I flew through The Last Bush Pilots in one sitting, keeping my seatbelt securely fastened. A fast-paced tale, thoroughly enjoyed."
--John Wegg, Editor Airways Magazine
"As a page-turning adventure novel, you won't want to put down THE LAST BUSH PILOTS while the midnight sun still shines."
"The author paints a pictures with words that are every bit as beautiful and moving as anything ever drawn or photographed. "
From the Author
Readers are always asking me just how much of this book is true. While this novel is entirely fictional, many larger-than-life characters and "tall tales" are inspired by real people and events I encountered while flying the Alaska bush in the summer of'87.
For example, in Chapter 3, Eagle & Salmon, the scene where an eagle with a salmon in its talons flies inches over the boys' heads while they're chatting on the Juneau Airport ramp, happened to me. It remains one of the most breathtaking scenes in my life. And in Chapter 22, The Sky Fell, DC faces the bush pilot's ultimate fear. That experience also happened to me, and proved to be a watershed moment in my flying career. Readers of my blog at capnaux.com will recall the true story in my post, The Sky Fell. Moreover, the way both pilots handle their emergency landings come from hours plying the Southeast Alaska skies, contemplating exactly just what I would do if faced with those situations.
In another incident that inspired a subplot for this book, I did indeed fly three orphaned bear cubs. As in the novel, a poacher killed their momma sow. While those real-life cubs found homes in zoos in the Lower Forty-Eight, I wanted to spin a fun yarn exacting poetic justice on said poacher; hence, the Doyle brothers in the book. And, by the way, bear cubs really do stink to high heaven!
Some minor facts have been altered to serve the story. For example, Etolin Island, not Pleasant Island, contains the Roosevelt Elk herd. I also have to confess that real-life credit for character Ralph Olaphsen's genius "volcanic" April First hoax goes to one Oliver "Porky" Bickar.
A major theme that shapes this book is Alaska; the land, the people, their way of life. But Alaska's dominating trait, in this book and in real life, is the weather. In The Last Bush Pilots, Mother Nature is personified as the Ultimate Adversary, and modern day bush pilots would do well to think of Her as such. She dominates every decision we make, from how much fuel to take, what route to fly, even whether to launch or not. To that end, the most accurate scenes in this book, I believe, are the ones that take place in the air.*
I may have only spent a scant summer season in that magical land called Alaska, but the lessons and impressions stuck with me for life.
And inspired this novel.
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I grew up in Alaska, and Auxier's narrative took me back to my days living on the southern coast of the state; I can almost smell the pine trees and fish, and feel the light summer rain and mist from low ceilings on my skin. It takes just a few pages to realize he's someone whose writing is based on actual experience. I had a trip to Alaska shortly after reading this book and it only reinforced how perfectly he captured life in a small town up there!
I think this novel is suitable for the youth but also for people of all ages who like to learn more about the pilots responsibilities and passion for their task and job.
For me as native German speaking it is well understandable and I couldn't interrupt in reading.
I already ordered some of the "physical" books a Christmas gifts for my friends,