School of Hard Rocks

Loni Habersetzer teaches pilots how to land on the harshest terrain.

Habersetzer operates out of Marabou Landing, a lodge about 230 miles southwest of Anchorage. (Clark Mishler)
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"It's opened a lot of opportunities for me that I never would have expected," Habersetzer says. Since the videos came out, pilots in Kenya and Mexico have paid him to come teach them his techniques, and he will be traveling soon to Israel and New Zealand to instruct more pilots. His customers are, like him, in it for the challenge.

It's late now, and as the sun drops, long shadows stretch across the landscape. Habersetzer heads toward another low ridge of hills. The ground quickly rises toward the airplane, but he makes no attempt to climb. He adds a notch of flaps. Then he suddenly adds power and pulls the airplane up. The Cub is following the grade of the hillside, and as it loses speed, it nears the ground. With a gentle bump, it touches down, rolling to a stop just as the hill peaks.

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