Well, Uek, it looks like I MUST BE IN THE FRONT ROW!!!
Brad wasn't a huge guy, so maybe he was doing some weight distribution math for seat assignments. I give most of the credit to all of the gravy and pie in my diet.
We climbed into the Buddy Holly Express and got another review of safety and equipment. There was a yoke right in front of me, but I wasn't given any special instruction on how to fly the plane or land on the glacier in case of emergency before we left. Perhaps Brad had already read my boat stories and knew I'm a land-based mammal, so why bother giving me any tips on flight stuff? I decided my role was to more of a Carlton The Doorman than Navigator Howard Borden. Just be in the background and throw something in occasionally if the situation warranted. Afterward, people may remember you, but they won't remember anything specific.
The trip was outstanding! If you get the chance to do it, I would highly recommend a "flightseeing tour" when you're in Alaska. I love small planes, but Sherill absolutely despises them, so it's not often I get the chance to get in one without her around. Getting up at that level to see the mountain up close is beyond spectacular. Photos don't do it justice. Then, getting to land on the glacier and walk around at several thousand feet in elevation is another tremendous opportunity. My goal is to not have it be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Meanwhile, there's one other thing to keep in mind. A few hundred yards away from our landing point on the glacier was another small hilltop with a cabin on it. We're talking several thousand feet above ground level here. The cabin was built by an early explorer. His descendants now rent it out to tourists. You can get yourself a room in it, not far from the peak of Mt. McKinley, for only about $125 a night. That's dirt cheap by Alaska standards.
Of course, the taxi fare in and out gets a little salty.
As always, it never hurts to know a guy, because retail is for suckers!