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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Step One: Check to see if you can pass at least the 2nd class FAA flight physical. You can look-up all the requirements for free, then ask your doc. If you can't pass a 2nd class, then forget the whole thing.

    FAA Physical scheduled for Wednesday. Should I go ahead with 2nd class now? I was thinking 3rd class was all I needed.?

    Step Two: Take one intro instructional flight with an older ( gray or white hair) CFI and make sure you like it and make sure she or he thinks you have any aptitude for this business. If you stink at it, take up sailing. I said instructional, not a flight seeing trip with your kids, and not another hour for a young CFI who really wants to be a space shuttle pilot.

    I have taken a "Discovery Flight" years ago. Basically a 30 minute flight where the CFI let me take controls and showed me the basic ropes, etc. of maneuvering the plane. After that I did take a few lessons, but had to stop for unforseen financial reasons.
    (I do also sail a bit, Lol)

    Step Three: Find a used DVD or computer CD written test prep course. King Course. It should be only 18 months old at max. (ebay) Start working on that every night so you can pass the written.

    When I previously took a few lessons, I did a weekend ground school class and passed the FAA written. I think I would pass again with a little refresher and some studying. (it has been about 6 years so the one I passed is no good now).
    Once I get a CFI on-board I will see which books he\she recommends..I am currently reading Rod Machado's PP book..


    Step Four: Start piece-milling together some flight lessons with an old CFI who does not need to build hours.

    There is a local flying club I can join that has 2 planes, a 172 and 182. Once a member you can rent wet cheaper than any school around here. They also have about 5 CFIs that are members. I am not sure which are "gray hairs" at the moment...other than me.
    Hopefully I will have all of this in place and started within the next 2-3 weeks. I even sold my Harley to free up some financial responsibility...if that is not dedication I dont know what is. Lol.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaviator View Post
    ...You would put hours in your logbook like you may have never imagined and be at ATP minimums in about 2 years...
    That is good to know, Thanks. I guess once you actually get a job that becomes a possibility..at the moment I just need to get the foundation for an employer to even consider taking a chance on me.

  3. #23
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    A second class is what you will need for a commercial and it reverts to a 3rd. My point was that if you cannot pass the second class, you will never fly commercially.

    How many hours do you have logged?

    I sold an old Sportster and a Low Rider to buy my first legitimate airplane.

    I just sold off a bunch of late 1800s Winchesters to help pay for my last ( 7th) airplane.

    Now I need to sell a kidney on the black market to afford a pair of Aerocet floats.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    A second class is what you will need for a commercial and it reverts to a 3rd. My point was that if you cannot pass the second class, you will never fly commercially.

    I will go for the 2nd class then.

    How many hours do you have logged?

    Only about 2-3 actual flying hours..no solo.

    I sold an old Sportster and a Low Rider to buy my first legitimate airplane.

    I just sold off a bunch of late 1800s Winchesters to help pay for my last ( 7th) airplane.

    Wow, bet those were tough to let go of.!

    Now I need to sell a kidney on the black market to afford a pair of Aerocet floats.
    ...............

  5. #25
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    Funny. I sold my Wide Glide to buy my Aeronca Sedan which I used to get up to the magic 1000 hours that, at that time, was said to be where employers would start talking to you. I have a feeling you might have better luck with less hours now. Making a sacrifice like getting rid of the Harley shows you're getting serious about this. I also sold guns to help finance airplane expenses....I regret that now. Selling a Mauser and a Springfield back in the early 90's didn't cover too much of what I had to pay for an annual.
    Louis Knapp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    A second class is what you will need for a commercial and it reverts to a 3rd. My point was that if you cannot pass the second class, you will never fly commercially.

    How many hours do you have logged?

    I sold an old Sportster and a Low Rider to buy my first legitimate airplane.

    I just sold off a bunch of late 1800s Winchesters to help pay for my last ( 7th) airplane.

    Now I need to sell a kidney on the black market to afford a pair of Aerocet floats.

    I sold 2 BMW motorcycles to buy my first airplane, a Pacer, and used it to get my 135 minimums. With that I started my first commercial flying job at 40.

  7. #27
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    Just passed my 2nd Class medical exam.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    Just passed my 2nd Class medical exam.
    Sounds like you're good to go. On your next one, you might consider seeing if you can get a 1st, just to see if you can. There are a couple things in 135 that do require it, though it sounds like you're unlikely to encounter them. It's good just to know. The only real difference is the EKG. And when the 1st expires, it reverts to 2nd, then 3rd.

    As far as getting to ATP mins, you most certainly will if you fly for a living. When I was flying small planes I was always up against the 1000 and 1200 hour limits per year. You'll get to 1500 pretty fast at that rate. Even now I usually fly 6-700 a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    I did see that on their website. I will certainly never make it to ATP at my current age and economic level. More interested in small aircraft..doesn't have to include flying people around on scheduled flights. Flying for a guide / lodge, or supplies, etc. would be of interest..assuming I could afford to eat doing that. Lol.
    The website might not be around, but they still operate on two separate certificates. The 121 side has just the dash, the 135 side is everything else. If you call them up for a job as a warm body with a wet commercial, you'll be in the right seat of something on the 135 side. You need an ATP to do anything at all under 121. When talking to other pilots, most people refer to the 121 flying as Ravn and the 135 flying as Hageland.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by z987k View Post
    Sounds like you're good to go. On your next one, you might consider seeing if you can get a 1st, just to see if you can. There are a couple things in 135 that do require it, though it sounds like you're unlikely to encounter them. It's good just to know. The only real difference is the EKG. And when the 1st expires, it reverts to 2nd, then 3rd.

    As far as getting to ATP mins, you most certainly will if you fly for a living. When I was flying small planes I was always up against the 1000 and 1200 hour limits per year. You'll get to 1500 pretty fast at that rate. Even now I usually fly 6-700 a year.


    The website might not be around, but they still operate on two separate certificates. The 121 side has just the dash, the 135 side is everything else. If you call them up for a job as a warm body with a wet commercial, you'll be in the right seat of something on the 135 side. You need an ATP to do anything at all under 121. When talking to other pilots, most people refer to the 121 flying as Ravn and the 135 flying as Hageland.
    Yes they do....I worked for Hageland, Frontier, and Era so I'm fairly familiar with the operation.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaviator View Post
    Yes they do....I worked for Hageland, Frontier, and Era so I'm fairly familiar with the operation.
    I assume most flying jobs are paid per "flight hour". What would you say is the normal "hour to flight hour ratio" at most operations that you have worked with. What is the number you'd expect to fly per week, and how many hours on-duty would it take you to get that number? Basically what I am asking is- In order to get "x" number of flight hours you will be on-site "y" hours..Just curious what the average is in that type of business..I assume it is a lot like long-haul truckers where they get paid by the mile and any time not driving is basically "free" to the company. What do you do during that time you are not being paid? Sit in a lounge and drink coffee, or are you expected to work around the base of operations providing free labor?

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    Can’t speak for all but those I’m familiar with pay an hourly rate for flight time and another for standby. I’d opine that the pay has to be fair, given the shortage of pilots. From what I hear the air ambulance and regionals are siphoning off the ATP guys as quick as they get a ticket.

  12. #32
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    I wouldn't say there is a normal flight to non flying hour ratio, it depends a lot on who you're working for, where you're stationed and your seniority. You can usually plan on a 14 hour duty day and anywhere from 0-8 hours of flying per day. Most places have a base pay of so many guaranteed hours per day so you will at least make a few bucks even on a weather day. When not flying most are hanging out in the pilot lounge drinking coffee and surfing the web. Some outfits will ask pilots to help out around the base when there's no flying to be done and frankly I prefer it. Theres only so much time to be spent on the internet so it's usually quite nice to do something active.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaOE View Post
    .. frankly I prefer it. Theres only so much time to be spent on the internet so it's usually quite nice to do something active.
    I know what you mean there..much rather be busy to help the day go by..was just wondering if there was actual pay when not flying. I knew a mechanic that worked at a local dealership and he only got paid for actual work, and each task had a given "time" associated with it. So, if he was at work for 10 hours, but only had one task that was considered a "2 hour job", then he got paid his hourly rate for 2 hours that day. If he was fast and had a steady stream of jobs he could theoretically get paid for more hours than he worked..that never happened.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    I assume most flying jobs are paid per "flight hour". What would you say is the normal "hour to flight hour ratio" at most operations that you have worked with. What is the number you'd expect to fly per week, and how many hours on-duty would it take you to get that number? Basically what I am asking is- In order to get "x" number of flight hours you will be on-site "y" hours..Just curious what the average is in that type of business..I assume it is a lot like long-haul truckers where they get paid by the mile and any time not driving is basically "free" to the company. What do you do during that time you are not being paid? Sit in a lounge and drink coffee, or are you expected to work around the base of operations providing free labor?
    If you're flying part 135 you're going to be living in Bethel, Aniak, St. Marys, Nome, or Barrow...I don't think I missed a base. 15 days on 15 off.

    You're paid to fly airplanes and the duties of making sure it's put away at night properly and put into service each morning properly. I averaged 4-5 hours a day flying the 207, more in a Caravan. Certain times of year you fly more, others less. It's Alaska. There's weather.

    Here's the current pay scale, it was pretty easy to find with a simple search.

    https://www.flyravn.com/for-pilots/pay-benefits/

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    Good information, thank you, Sir.

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    Many good points herein. If you want to work in AK, though, I recommend training in AK as the time spent in the environment only helps down the road.
    Also, if you want to make a million $ in aviation, start with 2 million $, or so the old saying goes. There isn’t much money to speak of in it, just passion.

    If you want to be an aviator, then do it. Time is a’wasting. I don’t think you will ever look back after a few decades of conservative (read: safe) flying, regardless of whether it was solely for yourself or for a Part 135 op, and think, “gee, I wish I had not gotten my ticket.” Truly, the sky is an unforgiving mistress, but gives you some mighty incredible moments when respected.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    Couple of thoughts:

    - You can probably get your PPL more "efficiently" somewhere in the L48 where you don't have to worry about weather limitations, although the past 2 weeks around Los Anchorage have been pretty flying-friendly
    - Based on vignettes from friends (meaning I ain't done anything commercial), if one is looking to have a career in bush flying in AK (or even semi-bush), it's hard to overestimate the benefit of Alaska time.
    - Also based on vignettes from friends, a word of caution: my buddy, let's call him Tom, made a killing in the oilpatch (meaning he could and did pour lots of money into getting ratings), left at 45, decided he wanted to fly professionally in AK. Fast forward 12 years (that would be 2017) and he told me that: yes, the office view is better (i.e. from the cockpit of a Beaver, Caravan, King Air, etc), yes, the daily activities are more scenic, but....even though flying in AK beats driving even a very nice desk in Houston, once you're doing it as a job, even if it's a great job, it's always a bit of ....a job. Just something to think about.
    - Do keep fit. As hard as it is to stay in shape as one ages, it's exponentially harder to get back in shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by downeast View Post
    ... If you want to work in AK, though, I recommend training in AK as the time spent in the environment only helps down the road...
    Yes, I am sure that is the way to go, but moving right now is not possible..and the training is cheaper and more plentiful where I live due to weather. My thought is: get basic ratings here, then do some training there such as tailwheel and floats. That way I do have some AK flying to get me started.
    I am not looking to make a million or get rich in any way. Just would rather make a living doing something I wanna do. Basically, I am going to have to take a pretty significant pay cut to do it, but that's fine as long as I can live a fairly decent life. To me, happiness is more important than money...but, money is good too. gotta pay the bills and eat to some extent. Lol.

  18. #38

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    Honestly, it doesn't matter where you train and get your ratings. Just get it done and get them.

    What does matter is that you have a way to get some Alaska flight time with somebody that has experience dealing with flight operations up here. The way we manage flights in challenging weather is not uniform between areas or operators, but there are ways to do it safely and somebody has thought their way through those options. You need to get in a plane with those people and get them talking.
    14 Days to Alaska
    Also available on Kindle and Nook

  19. #39
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    Here is an essay I wrote a few years ago, but much of it is still applicable to becoming a bush pilot in Alaska...and by the way, there is no age limit for flying non-scheduled air service under FARs part 135. If you're 90, can still pass the second class medical and someone is willing to hire you, you're in.

    "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. And 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 that includes a landing that is at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nm from the original point of departure.


    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/or Pacific Northwest time. For the most part, insurance companies are responsible for these pilot-employment requirements.


    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 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. You would also learn a bunch more than you already know by giving instruction. 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.


    One of the first Alaska locations where pilots new to Alaska obtain their first flying job is the town of Bethel. 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 villages within the greater Yukon-Kuskokwim delta area. Flying out of Bethel is busier during the winter months than in the summer and is consequently a year-round job. Most of the air traffic in and out of Bethel is not tourism-related, but mainly provides transportation for villagers, travelling to other villagfes and to deliver mail and cargo. During the summer months many villagers are employed in other parts of Alaska i.e. commercial fishing, mining operations, and other Alaska industries. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethel,_Alaska for lots of information about Bethel.


    When the time comes to begin a serious job search, the most effective way is face-to-face meetings with Chief Pilots, owners or Directors of Operations (whoever does the hiring of pilots). This would require a trip to Alaska if you're living elsewhere and would require some careful planning to optimize your time. Anchorage or Fairbanks would be the best places to launch 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 resumes. 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 resume can be more generic but you might consider tailoring your "Objective" to each individual company.


    Alaska air taxi operators are mostly interested in your flying experience and possible pilot-employment background. So, unless you think it is truly relevent in its value to a prospective employer, your previous work history not related to flying is best minimized. An exception to that might be your exceptional skills in dealing with customers. A college degree is not as important for a bush flying job as your flying experience. 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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    Quote Originally Posted by Monguse View Post
    ... but not in a suit and tie.
    Thanks for the write up. Good information.
    I was thinking Anchorage and Fairbanks would be the place to start looking also, but not get too "settled" since I'd most likely end up flying out of some place like Bethel or Barrow, etc.
    A CFI job would be a good way to build time and I may end up getting my CFI either before I get there, or wait until I get there to do that part...I actually think I might like teaching.
    In reference to the "suit and tie" you mentioned above, I was actually wondering about that. Not in attire, but overall "look". I have been in my current job function for a long time and I have enough background that I can generally "look" however I want because people know my work..it crossed my mind that I may have to "clean up" a little for a "real" interview, but then again my perception is that Alaska is different than most other places..would a person with a fairly large beard be considered "unkempt" and passed over for a job because of that? Or would it just seem like an everyday thing there..? Who knows, by the time I get this all together the beard may be gone. I'd certainly shave it to get the job...I am not that attached to it that I would sacrifice a job I want just to keep from shaving.
    Anyway, the learning has started a little slow as my CFI has a "day job" and keeps getting called to go to his company headquarters abroad..so, I am getting less time than I would like in the air. Still planning to put together Private, Instrument, and Commercial within the next couple of years. I figure that is the minimum I need before I start seriously considering the move and looking for a flying job. Although, if anything presents itself that would allow me to move there and work in my current job I'd certainly jump at the chance. My company has an Anchorage office, but no one there does the same job I do..it is mostly focused on Oil industry there and they have little need for Architectural services..mostly engineers in that office.

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