|(Left to right) Luke Hickerson, John Ponts, Ariel Tweto and Doug Stewart, cast of Flying Wild Alaska. PHOTO BY STEVE CUKIERSKI
The cast of Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska has infiltrated EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Flying Wild Alaska follows the Tweto family, of Unalakleet, Alaska, who run cargo airline Era Alaska. The show premiered in January 2011 with six million viewers, the best-rated debut ever for Discovery.
Four cast members—Ariel Tweto, Doug Stewart, Luke Hickerson, and John Ponts—arrived Thursday night for their first visit to AirVenture.
Because they’re secluded in Alaska, the group had no idea just how popular the show is. “This is nuts!” Hickerson observed.
Student pilot Tweto said she’s seen a couple of episodes, but thinks it’s weird to see herself on TV. “You watch yourself, and you’re just like, ‘I don’t like my voice,’” she said.
“Yeah, you whine a lot,” one of the others chimed in.
Since the show first aired, Hickerson said, they’ve gotten plenty of applications to work at the 200-pilot, 70-airplane operation. All it takes is a commercial certificate, and flying time in Alaska is a plus.
The best advice they can give to get a job at Era Alaska? Be persistent.
“Show up,” Hickerson said. “There have been more people that have gotten jobs by showing up and knocking on the door” every day until there’s an opening.
However, employees have to be ready to work in the bush; some places in “wild Alaska” don’t even have running water.
“This job isn’t meant for everybody,” Hickerson stressed. “It sounds cool in theory—hey, I’m going to go up and do what these guys do—but when it’s 50 below zero and you’re throwing boxes and fueling airplanes, it’s not as fun as it looks.”
The cast of Flying Wild Alaska will be signing autographs at the Cessna exhibit in the Main Aircraft Display on Celebration Way today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again from 3 to 5 p.m. Season two of Flying Wild Alaska airs on the Discovery Channel beginning in October.