Alaska and the Airplane
For a century, each has shaped the other.
- By Julie Decker and Jeremy Kinney
- Air & Space magazine, June 2013
Eric Long / NASM
The Stearman’s tough construction enabled it to land on wheels, skis, or floats, so it was perfect for Alaska’s rugged terrain. This aircraft, the centerpiece of the Anchorage Museum’s exhibition, arrived in the Territory in June 1928, purchased by the Arctic Prospecting and Developing Company of Fairbanks. In October of that year, Noel Wien bought the aircraft, which was flown by well-known bush pilots including Merle “Mudhole” Smith and Joe Crosson.