Our Episode #12 – Japanese backcountry + float flying adventures in Hokkaido and JAPAN with Ben Kerr.
“Everywhere we are landing on water now [in Japan] is basically a first!” – Ben Kerr
Originally from Sydney – Australia, Ben Kerr moved to Japan almost thirty years ago, to pursue his dream of racing motorcars up to formula 3.
After having discovered one of the deepest and lightest powder snow in the world on the northernmost island of Hokkaido in the mid 90`s, Ben started his backcountry ski and snowboard operation next to the small town of Niseko, right at the foot of the magnificent Mount Yotei (which is of course a volcano).
A short hop from mainland Honshu, Hokkaido’s natural beauty offers spectacular views from the air with an extreme variety of different landscapes and of course the proximity to the sea.
Having flown general aviation a little bit in Australia, especially with his dad, Ben recently discovered bushflying at its birthplace in Alaska and went on a mission to be the very first to import, register and fly not one but two Cub Crafters Xcubs in Japan… one on 31’s AK bushwheels in 2018 and the second one on amphibious floats in 2020.
Niseko Aviation [https://www.nisekoaviation.com/en/] was born, with its multilingual team having a passion for flying, snow skiing, cycling and promoting Hokkaido’s natural beauty. As a full AOPA Japan member, Niseko Aviation goal is to grow the local general aviation community and promote backcountry and float flying in Japan also to international pilots.
Since 2017, Ben and Niseko Aviation opened several airstrips in Hokkaido and have been pushing the exploration of Japanese fresh water spots all around the archipelago up to the point of being the very first to land a float plane on many rivers and lakes! … all of this in 2021!
In this episode, Ben Kerr shares with us his love for Japan’s northernmost Island – Hokkaido, his dedication to grow the backcountry and float flying community in Japan as well as his constant search for new water spots all around the country.
This episode´s book tip, recommended by Ben, is: Imperial Japanese Seaplanes, by Shigeru Nohara – 2007 – ISBN: 4769813376, 978-4769813378
This episode’s song recommendation (by Maxime after Ben’s playlist) is: “CYAAN STOP”, Thunder – THUNDER BEST 2011 – 2017, 2017
Music credits: “Slowly”, Amon Tobin – Supermodified, 2000
Cover Art: Ben Kerr reworked by The STOL Collective