Since Flying Wild Alaska’s debut in January, the highest-rated debut in Discovery Channel’s history, we have gotten a number of emails and comments regarding KUIU and Lance Kronberger’s involvement with the show. Jim Tweeto, the owner of Era Alaska and the star of the show is also an accomplished bush pilot operating out of Unalakleet, Alaska. As such he’s been landing and picking up Lance and Lance’s hunters for several years now, always in his red and somewhat famous (as a result of the show) Cessna 180.
That we decided to document a Grizzly Hunt with Lance and his brother, out of Unalakleet, and during the time Discovery would be filming there, was nothing but chance. But it’s really worked out as the exposure has been great. In one recent episode, Greenhorn Ben, Lance, his brother Adam, and photographer and writer Daniel Pasley, are featured for several seconds, with all three wearing KUIU from head to toe.
After he got back and we had a chance to talk, I asked Daniel what is was like being on set while coming into and out of Unalakleet.
“While waiting for our flight out of Anchorage, so basically day 1 of our trip, Lance recognizes one of the other passengers, there were six total, as a television show producer from of Los Angeles. Apparently they had been working together on a new show about Air Taxi’s. And Lance’s go-to pilot/contact out of Unalakleet, this guy Jim Tweeto, was the star of the show. Adam, Lance’s brother, and I didn’t think much of it until we were greeted immediately after landing, like literally on the way down the stairs of our plane, by cameras and dudes with boom mics and all this equipment. And then we were asked to sign a release. And there was TV crew everywhere. In the hanger, in the office, on 4-wheelers coming and going – they were everywhere.
Our flight was late, and we were loosing time and daylight, so the crew hooked us up with bagel sandwiches for dinner as we got into our kit and loaded up Jim’s plane to be dropped off out in the bush. They were good. Really good. They were Hollywood bagel sandwiches with pastrami and capers and all kinds of other stuff.
Jim’s red 180 was wired with camera’s and mics everywhere. On the end of the wings. On the landing gear. Under the back of the plane. On the dash pointed back into the cab. Everywhere you looked you saw cables and helmet cams tapped to this or that.
The next morning, after our first night in the bush, Jim came back with the rest of our gear and a Discovery dude with a camera. They landed and took-off several times. At one point, on a particularly wet landing, a camera broke off and we all spent 20 minutes kicking rocks around to find it. The Discovery dude didn’t care about the camera one bit, he just wanted the flash card. It was funny, he just wanted the shot he had just gotten during the wet landing. We eventually found it all, including the card.
It was cool, they were all super nice. After the hunt, Adam and I spent a night sleeping in the Era hanger in Unalakleet. It was quiet for about seven hours until the next morning when Era was back up and online and Discovery had dozens of people coming and going and shooting and doing their thing. By the time we left, we got the idea that they might actually be making a Television Show. But still, I was surprised when a few months later someone looking through my KUIU Hunt photos, goes “Hey, I recognize that red plane, I saw it on the discovery channel last night. Did you do that Grizzly hunt out of una’la’klet? Yes. Yes as a matter of fact, we did.