“I had to pinch myself the first time I had a layover in Honolulu,” CIRI shareholder and Alaska Airlines pilot Christopher Dahl reminisced. “All that hard work and there I was.”
Dahl, who is Yup’ik and Aleut, has been a commercial airline pilot for 11 years. His mother is CIRI shareholder Linda Dahl. His father, Jerry Dahl, passed away when he was 10 years old. His mother remarried Owen Freeman. He lived in Bethel until he was 12 years old and then in Anchorage, graduating from West High, until he left the state to earn a college degree in geology.
“My college degree is the foundation of my career. In college I honed the practice of fully applying myself,” said Dahl. After graduation he purchased a set net boat and became a commercial fisherman based out of Sand Point, Alaska. But his love of aviation that grew since he was a boy never left him. “I started focusing on what I needed to do to achieve my goal of becoming a pilot.”
He earned his private pilot’s license and ratings, the first building block for anybody who wants to become a commercial pilot, in a quick 18 months. Financial support from The CIRI Foundation helped substantially with his flight training costs, and his passion and love of flying made any other professional obstacles imperceptible to him. Dahl started his career as a pilot flying for Alaska regional airline PenAir and joined Alaska Airlines in 2006. Flying for Alaska is an honor, he says, because Alaska Airlines pilots are all highly skilled aviators and the airline outfits its planes with cutting-edge technology.
The journey Dahl took to become a pilot mirrors his flying style. Good choices means that he’s never had a scary flying experience. He’s goal-oriented, but has never had a “gotta get there, no matter what” attitude, and minimizing risks and mastering his trade sums up his professional approach.
“Resources are available to CIRI shareholders who want to achieve their goals,” said Dahl. “I felt a responsibility to maximize the support I was given from The CIRI Foundation by applying myself 110 percent.”
He’s flown all of Alaska Airlines’ routes, but his favorite places to fly are in Alaska where he can visit with friends and family during a layover. In his free time, he enjoys biking, cross-country skiing, running, hiking and thinking about flying.