zhollander@adn.comAugust 29, 2013

The engine on Will Johnson’s float-equipped Cessna 206 cut out a thousand feet above the tree-studded tundra near McGrath.

The plane started losing altitude.

Johnson let it.

The 66-year-old commercial pilot knew enough to push the plane’s nose down and let gravity take over.

He looked for a place to land in the rugged terrain near the headwaters of the Innoko River. Avoid ravines, Johnson told himself. Stay out of dense trees.

Among the stunted stands of black spruce, a thinner patch came into view. Johnson pointed the plane that way.

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