Supplier of bush plane tires working overtime after Merrill Field vandalism

 Mallory Peebles / KTUU
Mallory Peebles / KTUU (KTUU)
Published: Jun. 2, 2016 at 8:23 PM AKDT
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Editor's note:

An earlier version of this story said Airframes Alaska is the only Alaska supplier of tundra tires. Seaplanes North, located at Anchorage's Lake Hood, said it also supplies the tires.

Story by Dan Carpenter

An Alaska supplier of the large “tundra tires” used on many bush planes is working overtime to meet demand. Airframes Alaska manufactures various Bush Wheel sizes all by hand.

“Each tire can take two days of man hours to actually build on average,” said Heather Montgomery. She says the calls began at 8 am from pilots looking to replace the ones vandalized.

“A lot of these pilots, they make their living on this aircraft and for somebody to do that is just, I don’t even have words, said Montgomery.

A set of two tires can cost between $2,500 and $4,000 depending on the size. The company has ramped up production to meet the new demand, and selling them at cost for victims of the vandalism.

“We’re doing everything we can to get these pilots back in the air. We are working overtime,” said Montgomery. She says 40 sets of tires were sold Thursday and a waiting list is growing.