SEATTLE, Nov. 18, 2009
--During the summer of 2008, Seattle pilots Doug DeVries and Mark Schoening assumed the controls of their De Havilland Beaver floatplanes and departed Lake Washington for a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of Canada. The 45-day "Great Arctic Air Adventure" took them to the some of the most remote places on Earth; and along the way they met some remarkable people. The two adventurers detailed their trip during an immensely popular program at the Museum in February, 2009. DeVries and Schoening will return with another look at the adventure at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the William M. Allen Theater. Their stories will be illustrated with stunning photos and film clips shown on the theater's big screen. An audience question and answer session follows the program. The presentation is free with Museum admission.
Reflecting in his blog during the last days of the flight DeVries wrote, "The need for change and variation is a basic human need, though it often goes unrecognized and as a result unmet as our lives unfold. How many times have we seen the careers of our fellows begin as a passion, transition to a responsibility, and ultimately end up as a burden? For me, our travels through the arctic, though at times harsh and unforgiving, satisfied that need for change, as it was a land of unknown people and places."
Doug DeVries founded Pulmonetic Systems in 1997 to develop and manufacture portable ventilators supporting people who live with conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and severe paralysis. DeVries' inventions in this field lead to 16 patents. He sold the company in 2005 to allow more time to his passion for aviation. The aircraft he flew on the Canadian flight was a De Havilland Beaver that was wrecked for the 1998 Harrison Ford movie, "Six Days Seven Nights." DeVries finished restoring the plane in 2006.
Mark Schoening grew up on Lake Washington, where he developed an early interest in seaplanes. He is a University of Washington graduate. In 1987 he and his wife founded Sound Flight, Inc., a seaplane charter service with flights throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. He has logged thousands of hours flying the B.C. coast, and in 2000 he circumnavigated Alaska by air. The Schoenings sold their seaplane service in 2004. The plane he piloted on the "Great Arctic Air Adventure" was a De Havilland Beaver he flew many times for Sound Flight.
For more info see: http://www.greatarcticairadventure.com
Image: De Havilland Beaver moored on an Arctic lake. Photo courtesy Jim Clark.