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Jim is the C.O.O of the Era Alaska airline. He was born in Wichita, KS in 1954, but grew up in Silver Bay, Minnesota where he discovered a love of ice hockey. This passion led him to enroll in the ice sports-mad University of Anchorage, Alaska - where he also learnt to fly. In 1980 he moved to Unalakleet to build fishing boats but in December 1984 he returned to the skies, joining the small local airline where he met his wife Ferno. He later started his own aviation company with just one aeroplane which merged with ERA Alaska in 2008 - creating Alaska's largest regional airline. Jim is known as one of the state's best small plane pilots and has logged over 30,000 hours behind the yoke of an aircraft. Flying small planes in Alaska can be dangerous but Jim has only had one accident, when, during a 2007 off airport landing he crashed and broke his neck. Not one to sit still for long, Jim returned to work within months of the accident!
Ferno is the wife of Era Alaska C.O.O Jim and is the company's station manager. Born in August 1961 and raised in Unalakleet, Ferno is part Russian and part Inupiaq Eskimo. An athlete like Jim, Ferno competed in cross-country in high school and has continued to run almost every day since then - even when the winds in Unalakleet blow over 30 miles per hour and the temperature drops to -20F. Ferno, a trained pilot, met Jim through her father's aviation company and the couple married on a sand bar just outside of town in 1988. Their dedication to their aviation company meant that on the day of their wedding Jim didn't return home from work until 6am, exhausted after a long night of flying cargo across Alaska. The groom managed to make it through the wedding ceremony, but afterwards went straight home to bed while Ferno celebrated the day with his brothers!
Jim and Ferno's first daughter Ariel acts as Ground Crew for Era Alaska when she is in town. Born in 1987, Ariel grew up in Unalakleet and, like her parents, is an enthusiastic athlete - regularly competing in her high school's co-ed wrestling team and cross-country running competitions. One of her most vivid memories was when she shot her first caribou with her grandma at age 9, when the gun's recoil was so strong that she was left with a black eye. Ariel studied communications at Chapman University in Southern California, where she fell in love with the warm weather and she now travels between there and Unakaleet to assist in the family run business, Era Alaska. She is the only member of the family who does not have a pilot's license, but gets in flying time whenever possible with the hope of qualifying some day.
Ayla Tweto is Jim and Ferno's daughter, born and raised in Unalakleet. In high school she was the powerhouse of the athletics department, competing in cheerleading, volleyball and cross-country. She now lives in Anchorage and is studying to be a paramedic, but returns to Unalakleet every weekend. When in town she helps out at the family business as a member of the ground crew. Like her parents, Ayla also owns a private pilot's license.