The Flying North by Jean Potter

“Alaskans are the flyingest people under the American flag and probably the flyingest people in the world...The story of how it happened and what the pilots have meant to the people and what the people have meant to the pilots is one that no statistics can tell. It is a great saga of pioneer history.”

The Flying North

In 1924, the first mail plane was flown in Alaska and the era of the bush pilot began. Ben Eielson, Noel Wien, Bob Reeve, Harold Gillam and Joe Crosson are not well known today but they, along with many others, successfully challenged the wilderness and created a legend that endures even in the twenty-first century. The bush pilot is as much a part of Alaskan lore as the northern lights, and shows no sign of fading away.

Originally published in 1945, The Flying North returns in this stunning reissue which includes previously unpublished material from author Jean Potter. It is the only book written on Alaska’s early days in the air that draws on personal interviews with the men who were there. The Flying North presents Alaska as it was during the dawn of aviation, and how a group of dedicated pilots forever transformed the Last Frontier.


Jean Potter

Jean Potter was on the staff of Fortune magazine from 1936 to 1942. Her first book, Alaska Under Arms, published in 1942, was the result of an extensive trip made to Alaska on a Fortune assignment shortly before the United Stated entered the Second World War. Fascinated by the territory and the heavy use of aviation there, Ms. Potter returned on her own in 1943 and spent a year and a half talking and flying with the bush pilots.

The Flying North is the result of that research. In 1956, she published The Flying Frontiersman, a version of the book adapted for children. Ms. Potter, who met her husband Anatole Chelnov while writing in Alaska, died at her home in San Francisco in 1996, she was 82.