30 Dec Welcome to Tundra Pilot
There has always been a close connection between airplanes and wilderness in Alaska since the first bold pilots ventured north not knowing what lay ahead. Bush planes and a network of primitive airstrips provide the only practical means of access to Alaska’s remote, wild places, and they are a tangible part of the state’s aviation history. Even today, airplanes are vital for access, yet the majority of bush airstrips are not widely known. Government agencies share little information about uncharted airstrips citing liability concerns, and local residents may hesitate to share their knowledge in the interest of protecting privacy and resources. And yet, these places are discoverable. Just not in one place. Information is publicly available via the internet, social media, blogs, maps, satellite imagery, government publications, natural resource studies, and the pilot community.
To broaden the scope of knowledge and flying opportunities in Alaska, we created an intuitive web-based airstrip map, built on a GIS platform. The map shows potentially usable, uncharted airstrips and natural features in Alaska and western Canada. User insights include VFR routes, terrain interpretation, new areas to explore, and more options in the event of a precautionary or forced landing. This information is for you: aviators and outdoor adventurers with a shared passion to discover and explore Alaska’s wildest places.
Our focus is bush flying, discovering new airstrips, pioneering, and advocating for the continued use of airplanes to access wilderness. We know that many Alaskans depend on wild renewable resources for their livelihood and subsistence, and we want to respect their traditions and way of life by not sharing information about hunting, fishing, berry picking, or other resource harvest activities. If we include content that shows these activities, our intent is to illustrate airstrips and their landscapes, not to advertise natural resource availability.
By documenting, using, and maintaining existing airstrips, the aviation community can work together to preserve access. Historical precedents established through continued use, and a collective voice advocating for these freedoms will discourage land managers’ attempts to close airstrips located on public land.
We look forward to collaborating with map users. Check out the contributor’s page where you can add a new airstrip to the map or share new information about an existing strip. User engagement and contributions are needed to move this project forward. With support from friends, aviators, and other map users, we hope Tundra Pilot will become a trusted resource for everyone in the bush flying and outdoor communities.