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Thread: Bush pilot ?

  1. #1
    Member BOWADDIC's Avatar
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    Default Bush pilot ?

    I am interested in becoming a Bush Pilot. I fly now in Florida. I just got my pilots Lic. and working on building hours. I'm 47 now and will be semi retired in about 5 years. Any advice?

  2. #2

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    Go to the Great Alaska "BUSH" Co.

    Slam a lot of cheap Tequila

  3. #3

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    ROTFLMAF... that is about the best advice I heard for a late bloomer..



    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Go to the Great Alaska "BUSH" Co.

    Slam a lot of cheap Tequila

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    I work at a flight school in Palmer, AK. Just getting started myself, but I've compiled some knowledge and networking contacts that might help. I'm getting started a bit late myself (I'm 40.) But it can still be done. I'd say shoot me a PM, but your post count isn't high enough for that feature to have kicked in yet. If you are interested, click on my username and use the email link.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Most Alaska Air Taxi Operators Are Regulated By Federal Aviation Regulations Part 135.

    To be employed as a pilot for any Alaska air taxi operator regulated by Federal Aviation Regfulations Part 135 (almost all of them) you would need to have at least a commercial pilot single-engine-land license with an instrument rating. Many Alaska companies are authorized for VFR only, but most company policies dictate having an instrument rating. A single-engine seaplane rating is good, but unless you have a minimum of 200 hours on floats, you wouldn't be hired to fly float planes. There is a possible way around this 200 hour requirement, and that is to find a job with a company that operates on both wheels and floats. After flying the company wheel planes for a while and pretty much proving yourself in several ways i.e. good judgment, work ethic, winning personality, excellent customer relations, etc., and of course stick and rudder skills, they might start you flying floats on an insurance waiver until you have met the time required by their insurance company.

    To fly as pilot-in-command under FARs Part 135 requires a minimum of 500 hours of flight time. Of that 500 hours, 100 hours has to be cross-country time. And of that 100 hours, 25 hours has to be night cross-country time.

    How Does The FAA Define Cross Country Time?

    The explanation below was originally posted by the Office of the Chief Counsel, FAA.
    "Cross country flight time is defined as time acquired during a flight that includes a point of landing that is at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure, not the original point of any flight leg. There is no requirement that any specific leg must be 50 nm. Moreover, a cross-country flight may include several legs that are less than a straight-line distance of more than 50 nm from the original point of departure. Nevertheless, at least one leg of the cross-country flight, however long by itself, must include a point of landing that is at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nm from the original point of departure."

    The above expanation was prepared by Adrianne Wojcik, an Attorney in the Regulations Division of the Office of the Chief Counsel, and has been coordinated with the General Aviation Division of Flight Standards Service.
    In other words, each cross-country flight used to meet the aeronautical experience requirements under 14 CFR 61.1(b)(3) must include one leg with a landing that is at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure.

    Some Alaska Operators Will hire a Pilot Who Has Just the Part 135 minimums of 500 hours.

    With all of the above being said, the reality is that there are some Alaska operators who will hire a pilot with just the Part 135 minimums of 500 hours. But, most Alaska operators require 1000 hours or more in a new hire. Many of them also prefer to see some Alaska time or equivalent i.e. mountain time and for Southeast Alaska flight operations, Pacific Northwest time is considered equivalent. For the most part, insurance companies are responsible for these pilot-employment requirements.

    The Best Way to Build Flight Hours After Your Commercial is to Get Your CFI-I and Give Flight Instruction.br>
    If you're a low-time commercial pilot and want to build flight hours toward an eventual Alaska flying job, the best way is to give flight instruction. There are several flight schools in Alaska. A couple of them specialize in bush flying techniques. The others are geared toward gaining the desired licenses and ratings. With CFI or CFI-I certification, you could land a job with an Alaska flight school. This is a great way to build up some Alaska time. If you decide to acquire CFI or CFI-I certification from an Alaska-based flight school, there is the possibility that with your newly acquired flight instructor certification, the school would hire you to give flight instruction.

    In my opinion, teaching at an Anchorage-based flight school might be the best route toward your getting a regular flying job. The reason being, that the Anchorage area has the biggest aviation community in the state and you would get to know people who would be in a position to help you find that job when the time came. By giving instruction, you would also learn a bunch more than you already know. And, as you got to know more fellow aviators, you might also learn a lot about which companies are really cool to work for and which ones may not be so cool.

    Am I Too Old to Be Hired?

    Many Alaska flight operations prefer older pilots. Older pilots are generally more mature, are less likely to take unnecessary chances and give customers the impression of maturity and experience. Nevertheless, there are a few really young pilots out there who grew up with airplanes in Alaska and are excellent pilots with well-honed skills and touch, and who elicit complete respect from the much older customers and clients who fly with them. There are also a few Alaska flight ops that prefer younger low-time pilots. The reason being that a younger less experienced pilot is more easily trained to company procedures and hasn't developed any uncorrectable bad flying habits.

    Bethel Is Often the First Alaska Location Where Pilots New to Alaska Are Hired For Their First Flying Job.

    The town of Bethel is one of the first Alaska locations where pilots new to Alaska obtain their first flying job. There is a fairly high turnover of pilots in Bethel because it is not an ideal place to live for most pilots. Nevertheless, Bethel is the main aviation hub for more than 50 Eskimo villages within the greater Yukon-Kuskokwim delta area. A job flying out of Bethel is busier during the winter months than in the summer and is consequently a year-round job. Most of the flights in and out of Bethel are not tourism-related, but primarily provide mail/cargo delivery and transportation for villagers travelling to and from other villages. During the summer months many villagers are employed in other parts of Alaska i.e. commercial fishing, fish processing, mining operations, and other Alaska businesses and industries. See Info about Bethel for lots of information about Bethel.

    A Face-to-face Meeting Is the Most Effective Method.

    When the time comes to begin a serious job search, the most effective way is a face-to-face meeting with the Chief Pilot, owner, or Director of Operations (whoever does the hiring of pilots). If you're living elsewhere, this would require a trip to Alaska and would require some careful planning to optimize your time and expenses. Anchorage or Fairbanks would be the best places for launching a face-to-face job hunt. If you are unable to plan a trip to Alaska, then the next best method is by sending out cover letters and resumés.

    Limit Your Cover Letter and Resumé to One Page Each.

    A one- page cover letter should be tailored specifically to each company you're contacting. If possible it should include words indicating that you know quite a lot about the company. Company websites are good sources of information. Your one-page-only resumé can be more generic but you might consider tailoring your "Objective" to each individual company. Take a look atresumé advice for some excellent up-to-date tips about resumé writing.

    Alaska Air Taxi Operators Are Mostly Interested in Your Flying Experience.

    In composing a resumé, keep in mind that Alaska air taxi operators are mostly interested in your flying experience and possible pilot-employment background. A college degree is not as important for a bush flying job as your flying experience is, nor is any mention of non-aviation-related jobs. There are exceptions to that (non-aviation-related jobs) and it is important to find out as much as you can about each company you're thinking about in order to decide whether to say anything in your resumé about non-flying-related jobs.. There are some companies who keep most of their same pilots for many years. There are other companies who hire mostly new pilots every year. There is a huge range and variety of company cultures.

    In a face-to-face interview for an Alaska flying job, you should dress neatly, but not in a suit and tie.


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    Get your five hundred hours and come on up... Once you get 1500 and your ATP, you can move into twin turbine as a copilot.... From there you can do medevacs or schedules.

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    Join OddBall Pilot.net. Lots of good info on this subject. There are interviews with folks that are working in the field on just this question.

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    Advice? Turn off the reality programs and visit Alaska to see if real life resembles your romantic notion of what a bush pilot does. Spend a summer in a village. Watch the mostly worn-out 207s come and go. Talk to the pilots. Some guys like that life. Some don't.

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    Advice? Turn off the reality programs and visit Alaska to see if real life resembles your romantic notion
    Roger that!!! I do not watch TV but I receive calls all the time from folks who watch all the BS tv shows about Alaska and they have some very wrong ideas. Some folks here may remember how National Geographic wanted me to stage some phoney flying scenes for them...

    Plus there is a local show being filmed here where the local odd-balls who live over by my dad's house are pretending to live off the land. They go film down at grandpas old cabin and then afterwards they walk up the hill to their real houses along the paved road just a few miles from down-town. One group of them lives in a big brand new house within 1 mile of my house... And they have real jobs.... But I guess they play dress up and pretend to be homesteaders from years ago.
    The only problem is that outside folks think it is true.

    My wife gets calls in her office every day from welfare folks living in other states who now want to move here based upon the darned TV shows.


    Since I grew up in Alaska, I used to dream about moving south and working on a ranch or farm... It sounded real romantic until I tried it for awhile...
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    Build a time machine to go back to the Bush pilot era.
    Tim

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    I figured I would have been blasted pretty hard for asking such a newbie question. Some good information here. AKsoldier Thanks for the PM.
    Never let anything stand in the way of your goals.

  12. #12

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    I only ever knew one genuine "BUSH PILOT" his name is Robert "Bob" Reeves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    I only ever knew one genuine "BUSH PILOT" his name is Robert "Bob" Reeve.
    The Bush is still there, and there aren't many more roads since Bob's time, so bush pilots still fly the Alaskan bush. Aviation has changed, but the bush pilots haven't. There are still plenty of them out there, and Alaska would not be what it is today without them. The meaning of the term "bush pilot" has changed over the years, along with advances in aviation. Without slighting the pioneers, respect should still be given to the ones carrying the flag today. Make no mistake - there are still plenty of "bush pilots" out there today, providing an indispensable service to the remote Alaskan population.

    It's a tradition that carries the history and memories of the early pioneers of aviation in this state, and Bob Reeve lives on in every one of them.

    By the way, I corrected the spelling for ya. There's no 's' on the end of his last name.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

  14. #14
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    A friend of mine built up lower 48 hours which were recognized by some Alaskan 135 outfits by flying 206s and 207s to island communities around the Great Lakes areas and surrounding rivers.

    You would think that a commercial SES rating and some island flying hours near your current locale would also look good on a resume....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    I only ever knew one genuine "BUSH PILOT" his name is Robert "Bob" Reeves.

    . . . Then you've lived a ****ed sheltered existence, my friend.

  16. #16

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    Can I buy a vowel......??


    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post

    . . . Then you've lived a ****ed sheltered existence, my friend.

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    Define bush pilot.
    Flying a sled from airport to airport?
    Pioneering new country like wein and eielson or reeve?

    Heck of a difference. I'm guessing he means sled driving since there's not much undiscovered country now.

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    Define bush pilot.
    Just my speculation here, but I don't think there is any "official definition". It means different things to different people. To me, it means a pilot who flies small planes in rugged, remote places and must be at the top of his or her game, 100% of the time. A bush pilot is often the life-blood for remote villages in Alaska, and likely parts of Canada, etc. The early pioneers (Read the book Heroes of the Skies.) pioneered aviation in Alaska, and I've said it before: This state would not be what it is today without them. Bush pilots fly in conditions that would ground most other pilots. Grizzly 2 is a retired Alaskan bush pilot, and has written a couple of excellent books. Unfortunately, they are difficult to find. I have one on Kindle and it's an excellent read.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    Define bush pilot.
    Flying a sled from airport to airport?
    Pioneering new country like wein and eielson or reeve?

    Heck of a difference. I'm guessing he means sled driving since there's not much undiscovered country now.
    It's a bit sad to see some of you relative newcomers bent on being so caustic with your comments. There is NO undiscovered country in Alaska these days. Neither was there any back in 1926 when the first pilots landed in Fairbanks. But there's still a whole lot of it that has yet to see a small airplane land in it. Go have a look and make your own airports. That's what many of us did.

    And, no, we weren't driving sleds from airport to airport during my 35-years of flying the Alaska outback.

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    I don't know what was "caustic" about that. My point was there are obviously different
    opinions. (Yours and AGL) That's all. I didnt realize yours is the only one that matters.
    I said "not much" undiscovered country. Not "no".
    And i wouldnt compare what we do today to the pioneers. Still fun tho.
    I don't have time for this. Have to get cub wings done before spring bear hunters show up. U flame on an log some keyboard time.

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