duct tape repair of bear-ravaged plane


We don’t know where we would be without duct tape, the ultimate solution for many a seeming disaster. Just when we think we’ve imagined its possibilities, a friend emailed an article from the South Africa Times’ about a bush pilot in Alaska who neglected to clean his 1958 Piper Cub after a long fishing trip. The fishy aroma attracted a grizzly bear who chewed and clawed the wood-and-fabric plane apart (as well as its tires) trying to find the source of the delicious smell, then went on its way.

The resourceful pilot radioed for three cases of duct tape, rolls of cellophane and two new tires to be flown in so he could repair the plane and and fly home, which he did; witness the before-and-after pictures!

Duct tape is one of those everyday items we don’t think about much, but it has quite a story, beginning with its invention in World War II, when its then-revolutionary waterproof stickiness was used to seal ammunition cases. Since then, its been famously used by astronauts in space to repair damaged space craft, to make art works, accessories and clothes, and as a cure for warts…

typing “duct tape” into Flickr or Google Images yields a wealth of great improvisations both practical…



and arcane…



Duct tape is so inspiring, we’ll be featuring unique duct tape improvs regularly on ‘the improvised life…

You can buy it here, in all sorts of colors!

With thanks to eagle-eyed Pamela Hovland!

Duct Tape Body Suit photo via Creative Commons License

4 Responses to duct tape repair of bear-ravaged plane

  1. Andrea Raisfeld 02.01.2010 at 3:19pm #

    I just watched a video on you tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eajmaexpWo) and noticed a homemade underwater camera casing utilizing duct tape! We are also the proud owners of a man’s shirt created by the peripatetic Stephen Doyle which he calls the “Homeland Security” shirt.

  2. Penny 02.02.2010 at 1:47am #

    Duct Tape is like the force. It has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together. 🙂

  3. Sally 02.02.2010 at 8:11pm #

    That should be in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations…


  1. Travel -A chance to improvise? - 08.07.2013

    […] when things go wrong. High on the all-time great-example list would be the Alaskan bush pilot who repaired his plane with duct tape after a bear attacked it, trying to get to the fish dinner stashed […]

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