Don Bowers

Firebird Pilot




Back of the Pack


"Don's book is absolutely excellent." Francis "Frank" Allen, Firebird Navigator: 1978-82


Don Bowers lived at Montana Creek, Alaska, in a cabin he built himself. Born in 1948 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Don was an Air Force Academy graduate with masters degrees from the Air Force Institute of Technology and Alaska Pacific University.

For most of his Air Force career he was a C-130 Hercules transport pilot, flying Hurricane Hunters in the Caribbean and Spectre gunships in SoutheastAsia as well as "trash haulers" all over Alaska.

Don arrived on the Last Frontier in 1975 and became involved with the Iditarod as a member of the volunteer Iditarod Air Force. Upon retirement from the "real" Air Force, Don set about to run the Iditarod with his own team, even though he had virtually no experience as a musher.

He was a certified elementary teacher as well as a commercial pilot in Talkeetna during the summer. Don was the author of Alaska Airmen's Logbook for Alaska, Northwest Canada, and Russia, published by the Alaska Airmen's Association.

Former Firebird Don Bowers was lost in an aircraft accident on Monday, June 19th, 2000.  “Tears flowed freely and the sound of subdued sobbing filled the National Park Service ranger station here Tuesday as the news came that a single-engine airplane missing since Monday with three rangers and a pilot aboard had been found broken and burned near the Yentna Glacier.  There were no survivors.”

…Molly Brown, Anchorage Daily News


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