He said he couldn’t meet me because he was busy. “Oh yeah?” I asked. “Doing what?”
“Well, I was in Eagle this morning, then Arctic Village and now I am at a place called Van Curlers Bar.” So, I was nervous. A bar? What is a pilot doing at a bar? I quickly Googled Van Curlers Bar. It’s located on the Tanana River not far from the Fairbanks International Airport. This bar does not sell drinks, but you can pick up plenty of sand for free.
Justin Therriault ‘10 graduated from the University of North Dakota this spring with a degree in aviation and his pilots license. While in school, he flew for the UND Flying Team where he claimed near fame; the team was runner up in the National Intercollegiate Flying Competition in 2015.
For the past several summers, Justin has worked for Everts Air. He started in cargo and now flies planes independently. “Can you believe they let me fly people around?” he asked me once with a huge grin on his face.
Actually, it’s not hard to believe. Since I’ve known Justin, he’s talked about being a pilot. It’s been a fun progression to watch take flight (pun intended).
On his first solo flight, the control tower radioed in, “Justin, it seems you are having a great time flying.”
“I am,” replied Justin, “but how can you tell?”
“Your mic is hot and we can hear you giggling.” This story earned Justin the nickname Giggles. Justin is headed back to North Dakota this fall to work as a flight instructor and compete one more year with the UND Flying Team.
He doesn’t have a copilot (if you know what I mean), but he’s not too concerned. “It will happen one day,” he said. “But right now, I’m living my dream of being a pilot.”