Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Jimmix Samuelson
Jimmix Samuelson
Jimmix Samuelson talks about learning to fly, getting his pilot's license, and starting his flight service company - Jimmix Flying Service. He also talks about some of his scary experiences and using what's available to fix a hole in an airplane.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2011-27-02

Project: Bethel Communities of Memory
Date of Interview: Jan 26, 1996
Narrator(s): Jimmix Samuelson
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Humanities Forum
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Learning to fly

Getting pilot's license

Strange happenings while flying

Using bear fat to patch a hole in an airplane

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Barry Toelken: How did you guys learn to fly. Did you learn from other guys. Pick it up locally.

Jimmix Samuelson: We did for a while. Then I went to Fairbanks and took flying lessons and I soloed in 3 and a half hours.

Diane Carpenter: Jimmix, how did you get your flight service started?

Jimmix Samuelson: Well I was flying for Alaska Airlines for four and a half years. The boss and I didn't get along because they rented my airplane from me and I was making more money than he was.

And so I got fired so I, when I got fired, Ray Miller said I'm going into Anchorage tomorrow with the Norseman, to ferry it in.

So he says, come on with me. And I went back in and they wanted me to go flying again.

But I never did. Then I just went over and got my certificate and I bought an airplane, a Pacer and got started.

Barry Toelken: What's the strangest thing that ever happened to you while you were flying?

Jimmix Samuelson: Well, I don't know. I went up for an emergency one time to -- to Nightmute.

And it was really windy out there and they came out with a snow-go and brought the woman and a kid in.

On the way back the weather turned bad and I was flying along and pretty soon I felt my skis touching the bottom.

Man this was awful close.

Buck Bukowski: Smooth landing.

Jimmix Samuelson: I didn't land. I just came on in to Bethel. But, I didn't realize I was that low.

Do you remember that time I punched a hole up at Stoney?

And then you had a piece of bear fat.

Then, I couldn't patch it, so we put it against there and put a willow on it and I used it for a whole month.