I have a question from my new human friend Charlie. He asked, “What is the Iditarod Air Force?” Great question Charlie. The Iditarod Air Force (IAF) is made up of a group of volunteer pilots who donate their time and airplanes to the Iditarod before and during the race. Before the race begins, they load up their planes with drop bags and fly them to the checkpoints along the route. This way when each musher gets to a checkpoint, they are guaranteed that their drop bags, with items they need for the race, are there.
During the race is when things get really interesting. Volunteers, vets, race marshals, and the Teacher on the Trail need to get in and out of checkpoints in a timely manner. Because of all the variables – weather, trail conditions, etc. – the flight schedule is hard to plan, so pilots need to be prepared to come and go when and where they are needed. Aaah-ooooooh! This sounds exciting, I would love to learn to fly, but you need opposable thumbs to work all the gears.
Finally, the Iditarod Air Force picks up dogs that are dropped off at checkpoints. They fly them to Anchorage or Nome to get picked up later in the race. That, my friends, is the most important job of all. Thanks for asking, Charlie. If you have a question, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.