Every year, hundreds of volunteers take on various roles and effectively make the Iditarod work. Some estimate that more than 1,500 people volunteer per a race. Volunteer positions include dog handlers, security, veterinarians, trailbreakers, communications (“comms”), cooks, logistics, and more. Arguably speaking, one of the most important group of volunteers is the Iditarod Air Force, commonly known as the IAF.
From a logistical viewpoint, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race is dependent upon the IAF, a group of volunteer pilots who freely give up their time, use their own planes, and share their years of experience. The IAF accomplishes MANY things:
- delivering supplies and goods to all of the checkpoints
- transporting people to and from all of the checkpoints
- picking up and transporting return dogs
- and, consistently ensuring that all passengers are safe
A huge “thank you” goes out to all of the pilots of the IAF who are instrumental to the success and operation of the Iditarod Sled Dog race!
***Teachers*** When you’re teaching students about air flight, integrate the IAF into your curriculum.
The IAF has their own website. Learn about the pilots. Have students learn about the different airplanes that are used. Watch some videos to get an idea about what the pilots experience. Do you want to engage your students with some exciting narratives? Have them read some of the pilots’ stories that are available on the IAF website.