Age: 71

Occupation: RETIRED
Years involved with Iditarod: 17

Iditarod Role: CHIEF PILOT
Current Location: Willow Airport — Willow, AK
Date of Photo: February 20, 2021
Temperature: -23F / -30C Outdoors

What, who or how and when did you first get involved with the Iditarod?

I first got involved with the Iditarod about 17 years ago. I had an airplane I wasn’t using very much, and I went to the then Chief Pilot, John Norris, and said, “I’m interested in finding something to do with my airplane, if you’ve got any ideas.” And he said, “Well, why don’t you come to one of our meetings, at the Iditarod Air Force, and you can see if you like the group, and maybe come to a couple of meetings and see if you like us? Maybe you’ll join.” I came to the first meeting, I sat down, John called the meeting to order, and he said, “I want you to meet our newest pilot, Ed Kornfield,” and that was my introduction to the Iditarod Air Force, and I’ve never regretted it ever since.

What is your Why? Why are you here TODAY and involved with the Iditarod?

I’m here today, and involved with Iditarod, because it’s really a fun thing to do. We spend our winters in Alaska; it’s dark and a little depressing at times. Iditarod means spring is around the corner. We start out in the end of February, beginning of March, and go out there. It’s 40 below in McGrath, but by the time you get back to Anchorage, spring is here, the snow is melting, it’s slushy, and you know spring is right around the corner.

Tell me about just one of your most memorable Iditarod experiences.

My most memorable Iditarod experiences is really, just generally, they’re all pretty memorable for me. We haul dogs and people around. Some of the volunteers come from… People come from all over the world. Some of them have never been in a small plane before, so you get to experience that, the beauty of Western Alaska, or any part of Alaska, with them. Especially on beautiful days, you can see Mount McKinley, Denali, and it’s exciting to see the excitement in their eyes when they get to fly across Alaska in a small plane.

What do you know for sure?:

What I know for sure is that the Iditarod is here, we’re all excited, spring is just around the corner, and we’re all going to have a great time this year. Even in spite of the COVID, we’re going to enjoy ourselves, and we’re going to be safe.

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