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Bush Flying Background
Bush flying is a term for air operations carried out in remote and sometimes inhospitable regions of the world such as in Alaska, Africa, Australia, Canada, the Pacific Islands, South America and the Caribbean. Bush flying typically involves operations in rough terrain, frequently requiring bush planes to be equipped with oversized tires, high-performance engines, and aerodynamic enhancing modifications to the airframe. This type of flying, combined with unpredictable weather and distance from help means that bush pilots have to be very resourceful to be successful, and in some instances to brave the elements of nature and potential misfortune encountered on particular flight missions. Given all these elements, bush flying has entered the world of aviation and popular culture as a rugged, romantic lifestyle that combines elements of great beauty and independence with the thrill of piloting a powerful machine into exotic locations.
Bush pilots are known to be highly independent people as they must fend for themselves because they are so often far from help. Their survival skills may include anything from trapping prey for food, to building shelter, to making major mechanical repairs in the bush. The life-and-death nature of bush flying also means that bush pilots frequently resort to untested methods for accomplishing the job. Whether this means repairing a wing with duct tape or landing on any flat surface serving as an excuse for a runway, the result is that many common aviation practices are pioneered in bush flying. The true professional bush pilots are those who manage those risks, without taking any that are unnecessary, and continue to bring their passengers and cargo home time after time.
Bush flying originated in the Canadian North, where for many small, isolated communities of indigenous people and prospectors, air transport was the only method for delivering food, medicine, supplies and mail to remote locations. Bush flying still remains the primary method of transport across the Canadian and Alaskan tundra, the Australian Outback and the African Sahara. Bush flying operations in the United States and Mexico are mostly recreational nowadays, however, as both countries are highly 'domesticated'. As such, 'domestic' bush flying has more in common with adventure-seeking recreational activities such as rock-climbing, white-water rafting, parachuting, or bungee jumping.
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