Flying Wild Alaska’s Wild Girl
The story line for the second season of The Discovery Channel’s reality show, Flying Wild Alaska, features Ariel Tweto’s journey to earn her pilot certificate and join the other members of her family who are all pilots. The Tweto family owns and operates Era Alaska, Alaska’s largest regional airline. Although the show chronicles the harsh environs and hazardous flying in Alaska, Ariel has become a “star” of the reality show as her bubbly personality and winning looks lend a lighter side to the series. Throughout the season viewers have watched her struggle through flight lessons under the ever-watchful eye of the television camera; the only place the camera doesn’t go with her is to the bathroom. In addition, she had a bet with her instructor, John Ponts. So did she pass her checkride? Watch The Discovery Channel on January 20 to find out.
Started in aviation…I was born into it. My dad runs a company in Alaska and the only way in and out of my village is by airplane. So naturally I was introduced to flying right out of the womb.
Challenges…Landing and the wind! I started out in a Cessna 207, which is a pretty big airplane to learn in, and it was just so darn heavy! And my village is on the coast, so it is always windy. Unalakleet means “where the east wind blows.”
Obstacles…The hardest thing for me to learn was not to focus on the instruments. Building a relationship with the airplane and trusting it took some work.
Aviation activity…I just love going up in the air and looking around. Alaska is so beautiful and there is so much nature and wildlife. You are always exploring and learning something new. I also like going off-airport with my dad.
Favorite aircraft…My little [Cessna] 152. I started flying it after the 207. It is like a little airplane go-cart. So fun!
Advice…Just do it! Quit talking and start flying! Make sure you have an instructor you trust and are comfortable with. I had to make sure that I didn’t have a crush on my instructor; otherwise I would have been constantly worrying about how dingy I sounded or that the headset made me look odd.