Outside Magazine Online: Winging It with the New Backcountry BarnstormersThroughout the lower 48, recreational bush pilots are using their nimble planes and social media influence to spread the word about bold frontiers in flight: touching down on remote federal lands, flocking to little-used runways in designated wilderness, and drag racing one another for pure sport. Their capstone event each season, the High Sierra Fly-In, never fails to deliver hair-raising thrills.
“I sat to Palmer’s right, a motion-sickness bracelet on my left wrist, anti-nausea gum in my mouth, and a gallon-size ziplock at my feet. The copilot’s control stick started bobbing around between my legs in sync with Palmer’s. The Freedom Fox, an immaculately maintained, high-wing, single-engine tail-wheel plane with burly 29-inch bush tires, monster shocks, extended wings, and a 140-horsepower fuel-injected turbocharged engine, climbed from Reno-Stead Regional Airport at 1,500 feet a minute. The stamped alkaline flats of the Great Basin gave way to the dense pine forests of California’s Lost Sierra, a huge swath of mountainous country northwest of Reno. On the horizon, the jagged crest of the Sierra Buttes came into view. Palmer, who was piping a Shakey Graves tune through the headsets, exuded competence, bonhomie, and (in the confines, I couldn’t help but notice) a pleasant, soapy smell.”
Find the 10,000-word feature published by Outside, here.