Mike Stedman (Owner, VP of Flight Operations Wings Airways, President of Wings of Alaska)
Mike Stedman was born in Sitka as a 4th generation Alaskan. Both his Great Grandfather and Grandfather were homesteaders on an island south of Juneau. His wife Lori is part Athabascan native, with a family history that spans Alaska’s history. They have two grown sons, both electricians, both in Alaska. Stedman’s Father and Uncle worked for Alaska Coastal Airlines (see Waterfront History) introducing him to aviation at an early age.
The combination of interaction with many well-known
bush pilots and a true passion for flying created a natural career in
Alaskan aviation. His professional career began with Haines Airways out
of Haines, Alaska flying scheduled and charter flights throughout
Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. He joined Wings of Alaska in 1988
as a line pilot and worked his way through the ranks as Check Airman,
Assistant Chief Pilot, Chief Pilot and onto Vice President of Flight
Operations. Today Stedman wears two important hats as V. P. Of Flight
Operations for both Wings of Alaska and the employee owned Wings
Airways. Stedman also serves on the Board of Directors of the Alaska Air
Carriers Association. As a owner and board member of Wings Airways,
which operates under the historic Alaska Coastal Airlines certificate,
he is a part of the company that introduced him to aviation through
family tradition and is carrying on the Alaska Spirit.
Dan Corson (Director of Operations)
Dan Corson gained a degree from the Center of Aero Space Science from the famed flight training school, the University of North Dakota. After graduation he gained airline experience working at the Minneapolis International Airport as a “rampie”. He then gained flight time as a flight instructor with Buffalo Aviation. He spent any extra time working a wide variety of jobs including blackjack dealer and framing/matting for his fathers business. In 1996 he became a Corporate Pilot in Buffalo, Minnesota. Corson had known a pilot from the Juneau area, opening the door to Alaska and a dream of becoming a bush pilot. His wife Becky agreed to the adventure and Corson joined Wings of Alaska in 1998. Today he holds many titles as Assistant Chief pilot, Check Airman, and Safety Officer for both Wings of Alaska and Wings Airways. Perhaps the most important title of all is being father to sons Denny & Corbin, possible future bush pilots in the making.
Rusty Shaub (Owner)
Rusty Shaub first came to Alaska in 1968 to work for the families tire business. Work involved traveling throughout Southeast Alaska’s logging and construction camps servicing heavy equipment tires. Travel involved quite a bit of flying in floatplanes to access camps throughout the region with no road access. He moved to Ketchikan in 1975 and began flying his own Cessna 180 floatplane a few years later. In 1985 he switched from the passengers seat to the pilots seat and began flying as work instead of flying to work. In Ketchikan Shaub flew for Westflight until he and his family moved to Juneau. In 1986 he began working for Wings of Alaska and has been a valuable team member from that point on.
During his time with Wings he has been a Line Pilot,
Chief Pilot, Director of Operations, and occasionally lends an extra
hand in the maintenance hangar. At this point in his career he enjoys
the summers in the air and the winters in the hangar where it doesn’t
rain, snow or blow. His motto, as any pilot could appreciate, is
“working in a place where the ceiling is always in the same place is a
darn good thing”! With the creation of Wings Airways Shaub became an
instrumental element in the ownership and management of an employee
owned company. Throughout his years of flying he has operated a variety
of radial engines taking him to every corner of Southeast and beyond.
The exciting part of flying Wings Airways aircraft today is the advance
from the radial engines on the deHavilland Otters to the turbine
engines. The increased performance, power, speed and reliability have
these floatplanes flying better than ever. They have also been a vital
improvement in correcting environmental noise concerns our harbor side
neighbors had with the traditional radials. Shaub has been with Wings
through each change and advancement over the years and will continue to
provide his experience and expertise into the future.
Wayne Love (Owner)
Wayne Love was born and raised in the Eastern Oregon area. He served in the US Army from 1972 to 1976 with most of his time spent overseas. While stationed in Europe his Armor division was always accompanied by a helicopter unit, inspiring Wayne into the world of aviation. Once returning to Oregon he pursued an education and a career in flying. Beginning with an Associates degree in Aviation he went on to add a Bachelors Degree in Business/Economics from Eastern Oregon State College to his list of accomplishments. After graduation he researched his next move while gaining hours as a flight instructor.
With family already living in Alaska he added it as a possibility while sending out resumes. With the support of his wife Wayne began his first commercial flying position with Skagway Air based in Skagway, Alaska in 1986. In 1991 he earned a position with Wings of Alaska in Juneau where he has been ever since. Wayne became Chief Pilot in 1996 and now holds the title of Chief Pilot for both Wings Of Alaska and Wings Airways. His many responsibilities include the hiring and training of new pilots and overseeing the training program that includes recurrent training for all Wings pilots. With his experience and knowledge he makes an excellent employee-owner in the newly formed Wings Airways.
Wayne and his wife Marlene have three grown children
who have had the fortunate experience of growing up surrounded by
Alaskan beauty and the hum of aviation.
Sam Wright (Owner,Pilot/Mechanic)
Sam Wright began a lifetime of flight in 1964 in
Southern California. His commercial career began one year later. The
next 7 years were occupied by Cessna dealership in Southern California
flying their various products. Wright took a short break from flying
first as a GI, then
as a small business owner. After trying other careers he could no
longer deny his passion for flying. While working at Cessna he spent
seven years hearing romantic Alaskan stories by a fellow employee who
was a former Air Force fighter (F-89) pilot, based in Galena, Alaska.
The timing was right to follow a dream, so he packed up his car and
headed North to the land of the midnight sun. Wright is now a
twenty-five year veteran of Alaska with only a two-year break to fly
DC-3s out of Charlotte, NC. Wright made Southeast Alaska his permanent
home when he joined Wings of Alaska in May of 1988. Today Wings depends
on Wright for both scheduled flights and the glacier flightseeing tours
flying deHavilland DHC-3 on floats and the Cessna 208 on wheels. Wright
calls Haines his home, a small Alaskan town 70 air miles to the
Northwest with a population of 1,808. As Juneau is a city with no road
in or out Wright commutes to Juneau daily in his own plane. With over
forty years of flying experience he was an essential piece of the new
ownership when Wings Airways was formed in 2001.
Bruce Tice (Owner)
Adventure runs deep through this Southern California native. Bruce Tice had spent many hours skydiving over sunny California when he decided he wanted to be the one in the pilot seat. This desire led to his pursuit of a private pilots license. However his first trip to Alaska was aboard a sailboat as a part of the Orange Coast College Sail Training Program. With a USCG Masters license he lead the students from Hanalei, Hawaii to Glacier Bay, Alaska. Impressed with the scenery and the floatplane activity throughout the Inside Passage he realized flying in Alaska was his next goal. Tice continued with the college’s marine program and a professional career with the Newport Beach Police department. Not settled yet on what a he wanted to do “when he grew up,” he returned to Southeast Alaska to pursue seasonal aviation related employment.
Wings of Alaska gave him is first opportunity using
his boating skills on the waterfront assisting the tug and dock
placement when the floatplanes would take off from the side of the
visiting cruise ships as well as general ground crew duties. He
continued to pursue commercial and instrument ratings at the same time.
Today Tice flies a variety of Wings aircraft, with most of his time
spent in the turbine deHavilland Otters during the summer months in
Juneau. He continues to balance employment with three jobs in two states
and pursue world travels. His sail training has taken him on voyages
from the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia (where he participated in
the great Sydney-Hobart Race of 1999), and South even further to
Antarctica. Tice believes that these experiences combined with the
structure of the Newport Beach Police Department make his ownership in
Wings Airways another successful adventure each year.
Al Clough (Owner)
Al’s family moved to Juneau when Alaska was still a territory. He was raised in Juneau graduating from Juneau- Douglas High School in 1972. While in high school he spent summers on the Juneau Icefield assisting scientist with various research projects.
Al’s work on the Juneau Icefield developed into an interest in earth science and he attained an MS degree in Economic Geology from the University of Idaho College of Mines. He has worked in mineral exploration throughout Alaska, much of the Western USA and Australia. He continues an active interest in Alaska mineral resources by being a partner in a small mining company that holds and explores gold and other metal mining claims in various parts of Alaska.
Al’s field work on the Juneau Icefield and much of his mineral exploration was supported by small aircraft and helicopters and this lead to a growing interest in aviation. While exploring for gold and diamonds in Western Australia in the early 1980’s he started flying as a private pilot. After returning to Alaska in 1984 Al bought a Piper PA- 12 (Cub) that he still owns and operates. Al uses his cub like people use their 4×4’s in the lower 48 states; for access to hunting, fishing, exercising the dog or just enjoying the Alaska outback. He started flying commercially for Wings Airways and sister company, Wings of Alaska, in 2002.
In addition to being a commercial pilot Al is a registered professional geologist and also a fully certified Ski Instructor. During the winter months he teaches skiing at Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area on his days off from Wings.
Al and his wife Jeffra, a part time dispatcher for Wings, reside year round in Juneau.
Gary Thompson (Assistant Chief Pilot)
Gary Thompson was raised in Washington. He attended Western Washington University where he received his degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he worked in wholesale computer sales until he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of being a pilot.
He earned all his ratings at a flight school in eastern Washington, then spend 2 years building time working as a flight instructor. In 1993, with 800 hours logged, he moved to Juneau, Alaska, having heard that this was the place to build time toward flying for the big airlines.
Needing more than 800 hours to fly for the local airlines, Gary took a job with Wings of Alaska working on the ramp and as a mechanic’s assistant. He bought a Cessna 150 and continued to build his time until Wings made him a pilot in 1995. Gary has since accumulated over 6000 hours flying in Southeast Alaska, and is now an Assistant Chief Pilot for Wings. Having fallen in love with Southeast Alaska, he decided that this was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life, and abandoned his original plan to be a jet jockey. In spring of 2001, Gary started dating another pilot, Susan, who then flew for Skagway Air Service. They were married the following winter, and now reside in the Mendenhall Valley with their beloved black Lab, Cooper, and their calico cat, Tica. Gary has since traded in his Cessna for a 1946 Taylorcraft floatplane that he and Susan use to explore the beauty of SE Alaska. They share their love to Southeast by air, land and water with their son Lucas.
Troy McClanahan (Assistant Chief Pilot)
Troy McClanahan was born in Ketchikan, Alaska where float planes are a part of life. Flying has been a dream of Troy’s for as long as he can remember. His earliest memories include sitting on the shore watching the float planes take off and land in the harbor. When he was 20 years old he left Southeast Alaska to get his pilot’s license in North Carolina. He returned to Alaska shortly after. He started loading planes as a ramp hand for a local air taxi company, working his way up to dispatcher while building time to be a pilot. He has flown a wide variety of aircraft over the years including Cessna 185, 206, 207, Grand Caravan, DeHavilland Beavers and Otters, a Medevac King Air throughout Alaska and Montana, a Q400 for Horizon Airlines, and ending up full circle doing what he loves best, flying float planes in Southeast Alaska. He lives in Juneau year-round with his wife, an air traffic controller (aviation runs in the family), five children, and three dogs.
Our Floatplane Fleet
The Wings Airways fleet of 5 DeHavilland Otters have a unique history that is highly regarded by the pilots that fly them and the mechanics that care for them. We also have quite a following from former and current aviators who know and respect the story of the deHavilland aircraft.
The Otters were converted between 2004 and 2005 from Pratt and Whitney radial engines to Garrett TPE331-10 turbine engines. With these 900 horsepower engines the aircraft reliability and safety factors were substantially increased.
For an added margin of safety Wings has installed modern Chelton GPS based EFIS glass cockpits in all of the Otters. We also take one step further to ensure each passenger enjoys unrestricted views as everyone has a window seat.
First flown at DeHavilland Aircraft Company, Toronto, Canada on 12 December 1951, the Otter’s design was similar to but larger than the company’s Beaver. Both aircraft were designed to operate from rugged bush country as well as in cold weather operations. The Otter was in fact originally going to be named the King Beaver and it followed its predecessor’s configuration very closely. It featured a conventional stressed skin construction and had a braced -wing with full-span slotted flaps with the outer portions acting as ailerons. The design proved to be highly versatile and could be operated on wheels, floats or skis.
Impressed with the performance of the Otter, particularly its ability to operate with heavy loads out of unprepared airstrips, the U.S. Army purchased a large number of them under the designation of U-1A. After evaluating a “loan” Otter from the Army, the Navy purchased four of them in January 1955 as UC-1As to serve as an air arm for Task Force 43 during Operation Deep Freeze I in the Antarctic. Procurement of a further fourteen, later designated as U-1Bs, included some for other countries. Nine of them with wheel/ski configuration were to further supplement and replace Otters in the Antarctic. Most of these planes have either been retired or gone on into private service. Some of both aircraft have been retro-fitted with turbine engines instead of radial engines. Today Otter’s are in high demand around the world, especially on floats in Alaska, where the vast majority are based.