Alaskan Bush Flying
Virtual Flying Club for MSFS2020
We use Misty's Place as our Home Base. ICAO PF20, and for seaplanes, PF21
As a member you will have access to our "Virtual Fly in" events at Misty's Place!
Visit our YouTube Channel and watch the Promo/Tour video.
The mythical background of Misty's Place
One summer in the late 60’s, a young woman named Misty came to visit Alaska with her husband and their daughter. Though they only stayed a short while, they fell in love with Ketchikan and its dazzling natural beauty. When the time came to return to their life in the lower 48, Misty made her husband promise that they’d return someday.
Misty’s husband, Cliff, was an Air Force pilot, and it wasn’t long before he was sent back to the war in Southeast Asia. Cliff flew the A-1 “Skyraider,” an aircraft that many people had never even heard of. Of course, Misty knew that it was old, flew close to the ground, and had some crazy nicknames like "Spad", "Sandy" and "Zorro". She also knew that her man was a great pilot, with one of the hardest jobs in any cockpit during the war: close air support for search and rescue missions in hostile territory. She understood that his work was especially dangerous, and the thing she feared most was opening her front door to find the chaplain and his assistant in their dress blues.
And then it happened.
While her daughter, Mindy, played upstairs, Misty sat in her living room, listening silently as the chaplain told her that Cliff was missing in action. He said that Cliff had been shot down during a "Sandy" mission that originated at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. "NKP" was the hub of all Air Force A-1 missions and his aircraft hadn't returned to base. Cliff’s wingman made it back to base and reported heavy contact with the enemy. He heard Cliff call out a "Mayday" but never saw a parachute. Several attempts were made to locate the missing pilot but only the wreckage was spotted. Was he killed in the crash? Or had he survived and been captured by the enemy? The Air Force didn't have a clue.
Misty took the news hard. She held out hope for good news, but it never came. After the war ended in 1975, she and Mindy left their small home near the base and headed back to Ketchikan. With what little savings she had, and the balance of her late husband’s estate, Misty bought a small piece of land at the mouth of Bostwick Creek on Gravina Island. It was nothing but grass and trees, but Misty had a vision: to create a place of happiness and camaraderie. They broke ground in the summer of 1976.
Misty worked tirelessly for the next year. She cleared out some of the land and made a small dirt airstrip along the water’s edge. She built a cottage for visitors, and before long, a friend named Joe came along and helped her build a cozy little bar and grill, which Mindy named, appropriately, "Misty's Place." Joe helped out around the property and did most of the construction on a second-hand, Quonset-style hangar where he’d sometimes repair an airplane or two. Word spread around the Ketchikan area of a new place where pilots were welcome to stay for a small fee, as long as they helped Misty around the place.
A lot of pilots came and went, and the reputation of the "Nice Lady" with the beautiful smile spread. Joe's repair business helped fund a bigger hangar, and once that was finished, his repair business started operating full time. When Misty started selling fuel, quite a few of the local pilots interested in this tiny hangout began to base their "bush" operations there.
These days, Joe takes care of maintenance and groundskeeping. Mindy handles operations from the radio to refueling, and her husband, an ex-Air Force aircraft mechanic and a great pilot in his own right, runs the airframe and powerplant repair shop. Last year, their daughter won a STOL competition in a SuperCub she rebuilt with her dad. They hired another mechanic fresh out of the Navy, and while nobody’s sure about the guy, he has a rare gift for finding impossible-to-get parts.
Misty mostly tends bar and works the grill. Every now and then, when she thinks no one’s looking, you might catch her kissing her fingertips and pressing them to the picture of the smiling, young Skyraider pilot that hangs behind the bar.
It's not an easy life in the Alaskan backcountry, and while Misty wouldn’t have chosen the path that led her here, she’s happy with how it’s all worked out. Just last week, as she watched her granddaughter swing a prop for a visiting pilot, she realized that this little community will live on after she’s gone.
Of course, it’ll always be “Misty’s Place.”
[Alaskanbushflying.org] Sam Penwright
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