A need for uninhibited travel plans propelled Chuck Perry to earn his pilot’s licenses. Little did he know, his weekend hobby would lead to a second career.
In the 80s and 90s, Chuck lived and worked in Ketchikan. Today, the town is a popular stop for many cruise lines. Back then it was a small and infrequently visited fishing village. Chuck was a member of local law enforcement.
“Everyone knew everyone. So I learned to fly and bought a plane. It let me get off the rock whenever I wanted,” Chuck explained over the roar of a de Havilland Otter.
Flying north of the border on a recent Evening Magazine trip to the West Coast Wilderness Lodge, Chuck was thrilled to be behind the yoke. (A yoke is a control column used to pilot some fixed-wing aircraft, like the members of our fleet.)
While he originally joined the staff in 2002 as a pilot, he was named Chief Pilot in 2012.
“These days I don’t get to fly as much as I’d like. I spend a lot of my time in the office. That’s the nature of my job. There’s just a lot of work that has to get done,” he said.
But a lack of flight time hadn’t diminished his skills one bit. When a fog bank kept our party from a border check at Nanaimo, he expertly diverted us to Bedwell Harbour. With a constant focus on the plane and the skies, Chuck was in his element. “My goal is always to get from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible,” he told our party after we docked.
What about the views? That’s just an amazing perk. “The days I get to fly are my favorite. How many people have an office that floats on the water and flies through the air?” Chuck said.
There also aren’t many folks who start each morning off with a four shot Americano.
“I roast my own beans. It makes all the difference,” Chuck said. (You’ll often find him sipping said Americano from a rather well-loved tumbler. According to Chuck, the sturdy beast of a cup has survived many a fall and a few splashes.)
As the busy season picks up, Chuck will be less in the office and more in the sky. He might even be piloting your next flight.