I got to Juneau in April of 1976, after a long Econoline van ride from Florida. I was there for a job—I hoped. Back in those days, before the age of Facebook and Google, how was an aspiring bush pilot living in the tropics to find out about jobs on the other side of the continent?
Trade-A-Plane, of course. I ran across an employment ad offering a list of air taxi operators ($15). I received a page of 25 or so names, addresses and phone numbers of air taxi operators. I shot off a few letters describing my experience—mostly hauling emergency repair parts from the Vero Beach Piper factory to Miami International in a Cherokee 6, some dual given in Cessna 150s, a few seaplane and tailwheel hours scraped together renting over the previous years. In my dreams, I expected a few replies asking me some questions and an offer to hire me. Back then, there was no pilot shortage, no ads from commuter airlines offering signing bonuses, no flight schools begging for instructors, no airlines shuttering flights due to lack of pilots.