Into the Wind

The Unsung Heroes

Each day, a team of personnel play a vital role behind every flight. They are an integral part of the flight, an unseen seat in the cockpit, and the unsung heroes.

Aircraft dispatchers are the on-the-ground copilots. Their typical morning starts by reading the weather reports for the day and checking conditions on Federal Aviation Administration weather cameras. Before a plane is fueled, loaded and boarded, dispatchers have already planned the entire flight: fuel, freight, passengers and response to weather and altitude.

Dockhands arrive at least one hour before the first flight of the morning. In the summer, that means being there at 5:00 a.m. to begin pumping water out of floats, untying lines, fueling up, wiping down windows, and loading freight.

Before a plane leaves the water, Air Traffic Control Specialists at the Flight Service Station at Ketchikan International Airport brief pilots of weather conditions, register flight plans, and advise pilots for the safe and efficient flow of air traffic.

At the end of the day when the planes return to the dock, mechanics begin their work to prepare the plane for the next day's flights. The planes and helicopters of Southeast Alaska are workhorses. Mechanics provide regular overhaul and repair service. Hours of work rolled into experience and skill, to ensure the safety and comfort of each flight.

"Mechanics are supposed to be invisible...If we are successful, nobody knows we exist."
- Bart Meyer, Mechanic, TEMSCO Helicopters

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Into the Wind exhibit display - Unsung HerosInto the Wind exhibit display - Unsung Heros
Into the Wind exhibit display - Unsung HerosInto the Wind exhibit display - Unsung Heros