Into the wild— Salmon


Serving the No Return Wilderness Area, Salmon Air carries passengers seeking a taste of the outdoors, and the odd llama. The skilled pilots undergo intensive training to deal with the airstrips, or lack of.

Frank Church River, Idaho, Salmon Air

Salmon Air’s name and business model are inspired by its geography: Salmon, Idaho sits on the edge of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. In the poetry of the US Forest Service, “wilderness” means no roads or machinery, which makes Salmon Air’s 10-plane fleet essential for anyone coming and going to the 2.3 million acre zone. “Unless someone wants to walk or ­ride a horse, flying is the only way to get there,” says Laura Scott, Salmon’s ceo.

Operating since 1960, Salmon Air serves all of the 14 airstrips in the wilderness zone. In…

Salmon Air facts

Aircraft: Five Cessna 206s, two Britten-Norman Islanders, one Cessna 172, one Cessna 210 and one Piper Chieftain

Number of employees: Up to 45 in summer months

Number of passengers: 4,965 in 2010

Uniforms: Pilots wear polo shirts with Salmon Air’s logo: an eagle carrying a fish

Catering: For longer charter flights to Boise or Portland, passengers choose food from Salmon’s catering partners

In-flight entertainment: Planes are stocked with the local magazine McCall, but pilots encourage passengers to pay attention to the scenery


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