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Winner of the 2021 Canon Female Photojournalist Grant

Across Alaska’s rugged, diverse, and sparsely populated terrain, one sound can be heard almost anywhere: the distant drone of an aircraft. Only 20% of Alaska is accessible by road, and dozens of its remote settlements, predominantly Alaska Native communities, rely on aircraft for essential services including mail and groceries, medical care, and emergency transport.

Since the first mail-delivery plane took off in 1924, small aircraft capable of landing on short runways or on natural features like tundra, glaciers, beaches, and water have played a critical role in Alaska’s development. Today, nearly all of Alaska is highly dependent on aviation, both for essential transport between communities and to access remote wilderness areas. For many pilots, flying is simply a way of life, a way to connect with the landscape and each other.

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