Flying Wild Alaska: Jim, Ferno, and Ariel take a final bow in series finale

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

To the surprise of many fans, the Tweto family decides to move on from life in front of the Discovery Channel cameras.

As fans now know, that’s it for Flying Wild Alaska.

After three years of showing fans what life is like in Unalakleet, running the largest regional airline in Alaska, the Tweto family said goodbye to life on the small screen and, perhaps, Era Alaska, as well.

It is too bad that the show is ending; it was one of the good ones in reality television, and in TV programming overall. It was nice, family-friendly, entertaining and a learning experience, all wrapped up in one Friday night package. But, apparently, the Tweto family is going in a new direction with their lives, and it doesn’t appear that there would be a show for filming next season.

It was a bit unclear, exactly what Jim Tweto plans to do. He does not seem like the kind of man who can just sink into retirement and put his feet up. Well, he does have his cabin project—not a small project—but he was the top dog at Era for a lot of years. That is a lot of responsibility off of one’s shoulders day-to-day—the good part—but also a lot of importance and power to give up, as well—the bad part. No one wants to go from being in the center of the spinning hub to feeling unneeded.

So, he’ll have to find out what his happy medium is.

Era Alaska started as a single operation by Jim and Ferno. “Just because you start something and it gets bigger, doesn’t mean you are qualified to run that anymore,” Jim said of his flying empire.

He does have a point.

Unqualified or Unwilling?

Well, it’s not so much that Jim Tweto is “unqualified” to run Era Alaska at this point. No, it seems that he is as singularly knowledgeable and qualified as any one person could be. Rather, Jim is just the kind of man who likes to run things, as Ariel suggests, on a piece of paper he keeps in his shirt pocket. But, with 800 employees, the works have just gotten a bit beyond the shirt-pocket-checklist method, and Jim Tweto isn’t interested in going there.

Nothing wrong with that.

It would be impossible for most of us to do our jobs nowadays without our computers. Some jobs, like my own, simply would not exist to be done without the Internet. And, most people have either acquiesced to that or have never lived in a world where it wasn’t that way. But, there are still a few hold-outs, like Jim Tweto and my own dad, who are just not interested in doing it any other way than the way they have done it for 30+ years.

Again, nothing wrong with that.

Jim Tweto has been running Era Alaska from that shirt-pocket checklist for a lot of years, and one would suspect that, if he really wanted to, he could keep on going. But, as he seemed to have finally accepted, it was becoming too difficult, too complex, to do reasonably—probably had been that way for a long time. And, as he and Ferno both indicated, it was taking his entire life being wrapped around the business for him to keep up and do it all. So, he seemed to have found himself at a crossroads: Move into a new phase of management, or into a new phase of life.

Seems Jim chose the later. What that means exactly—stepping down slowly, breaking away from daily operations completely, or actually selling the family business—was unclear, perhaps even to him at the time of filming. But, fans, no doubt, wish him and his family happiness, whatever the path might be.

Fans will no doubt miss the Tweto family, especially since Ariel did, in fact, finally get her private pilot’s license; it would have been nice to see where she went from there. But, she sounded as if she may want to be venturing away from the everyday at Unalakleet, as well, so it would not be surprising if we hear more from her in the future. She has, after all, been involved with the production of the show itself, as one will see by reading the credits of the episodes. And, perhaps Discovery will even throw us fans a bone with a special now and then, to catch us up with our favorite flying family.

Good luck, Tweto family; Friday nights just won’t be the same without you.

Image: Discovery Channel


Submitted by jo borchardt smith (not verified) on
what a show it was so interesting to see a part of alaska i did not even think about the remote villages the lifestyle and stuggles of the people that live there the beauty,hardships and wildlife and learning about flying this was television at its best i can only hope that something this wonderful comes alone to fill the place of flying wild alaska oh and last but not least the hot pilots

Submitted by Bill W. (not verified) on
I discovered this show very late in the game and only saw a few of the last seasons episodes. I kept watching for it on the schedule but didn't see it. Now I hear it's gone! As a Private Pilot I thought it was extremely well done and a wonderful showcase for General Aviation and Alaska as well. I became an instant fan, especially of Ariel and her pursuit of the Private Pilot Certificate. I respect the Tweeto's decision and wish them the best. They will be missed! I think I'll see if the series is for sale on DVD. It could be a suggestion for a Christmas gift!

Submitted by Blair (not verified) on
What a great family. I learned to fly in Kodiak, and understand the challenge of Alaska flying. I fly in the lower 48 now, and Alaska made me a better pilot. Always a student. Would like to see the progression of the Tweeto cabin as a series. God bless you all in whatever you do.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
The only reality show I have ever watched more than once. The Tweto family is great and I cannot imagine the challenges they have faced in running such a big operation in such a vast and wild wilderness. I wish them all the best and a big 'Thanks' for allowing us to share a little bit of their life.

Submitted by Fly High (not verified) on
Excellent series and one that will be missed greatly. Thanks to the Tweto's for sharing a glimpse of the Alaskan way of life. I wish Jim and his entire family both related and extended the best in the future.

Submitted by Darla (not verified) on
Thank you so much for sharing your lives with all of us! You have become Friday night friends that we looked forward to seeing every week! I am so sad it's over. Such a down to earth family with good values and work ethic. I wish you all the best and really hope to see follow ups esp. Ariel and her endeavors! You are a daughter any parent would be proud to have!!!

Submitted by Creighton (not verified) on
As a Pilot and as a Family Man I am saddened to see this Show end. I enjoyed watching the Tweeto Family and all of the other Pilots and friends and family that actually made me feel like family. This was probably one of the best reality shows I have ever watched. Little Ariel ,getting her Pilots liscence is a huge accomplishment. I only pray for blue skies above and keep the dirty side down.

Submitted by David94597 (not verified) on
So sad I loved hat show and will write Discovery to tell them. I mean how many stupid guns shows and reptile/critter shows can they have. Bring back this good one.

Submitted by Wolf (not verified) on
Goodbye and best of luck to the Tweto family with whatever they choose to do. Thanks for having us and all the good time with you. It's really sad to see a great show like this end...

Submitted by Nancy and Carl (not verified) on
TV is just not the same without the Tweto family. We surely understand your wanting a little privacy after the past years. We miss you and wish you all the best. We hope you understand how much you have become a part of our lives and our hearts here is W.Va. We would watch you on Friday and then when getting together with family on the weekend, we would talk about you all. (only good things) God bless you and your family. Please keep us updated.


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