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Thread: Useful skills / time

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    Default Useful skills / time

    To all of you guys that fly (or have flown) for various Alaskan Operators..- What would you think the most sought after / useful skills would be to an employer? I am currently training in the L48, but am interested in future Alaskan flying job. Not interested in flying 747s for an airline. Interested in smaller outfits running people/cargo to smaller areas, flight-seeing, dropping hunters/fisherman, etc.
    Since I will be a low-time pilot when I start my job search, what skills would a prospective employer value most? Cross-Country time, Mountain Flying time, IFR time, Tailwheel time, Multi?
    If I try to get a job with low time (500-ish hours or less) I'd like to make sure they are the "best" 500 hours I can put on a resume...not just that I have been PIC for 500 hours circling the pattern..
    Thanks for reading and for your insight.

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    My guess, and that's all it is, is that the most valuable time would be Alaska time. Meaning, rack up those 500 hours flying in Alaska.

    I learned to fly in Virginia. The weather down there, and South Carolina would be similar, is much different than the weather up here. Also, I used to say that if I flew at 6,500 feet I didn't have to worry about running into anything (except another aircraft).

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    A float (seaplane) rating wouldn't hurt . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    A float (seaplane) rating wouldn't hurt . . .
    Yes- that is definitely on my list. Does it matter if that is done before or after IFR? I cannot remember if IFR is good for everything and Commercial is the one you have to take separate checkrides for..I could be confused about both of those though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRick View Post
    My guess, and that's all it is, is that the most valuable time would be Alaska time. Meaning, rack up those 500 hours flying in Alaska...
    I would love to be able to do that, but I can't move until I know there is at least a remote chance of a job. I also figure it will be cheaper and somewhat quicker to train down here since the weather is a bit more favorable most of the time. My initial plan is to get most of my ratings here- up to Commercial before moving. I'll probably only have around 300 hours at that time. The rest I can do up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    Yes- that is definitely on my list. Does it matter if that is done before or after IFR? I cannot remember if IFR is good for everything and Commercial is the one you have to take separate checkrides for..I could be confused about both of those though.
    A separate FAA check ride is required for both the Commercial and the IFR ratings.

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    As Griz said, the IFR rating and the Commercial rating are TWO SEPARATE ratings and both require a different written test and a different check-ride. Most folks do the IFR first as it builds hours and then the Commercial, which has a minimum hour requirement. When you have an IFR as a private you do not need to do another IFR test for the commercial. I added that because there are a couple folks out there claiming that there is a commercial IFR and Private IFR..

    A SES ( Single Engine Sea ) rating is usually an add-on to a private or commercial certificate. Lots of my clients have private SES ratings and they later need to take another check-ride for their commercial SES rating after they earned their LAND commercial. In that case it is a simple and very short check ride just to make sure the pilot can land a seaplane within the commercial specs.

    Another very, very, very,, good skill to increase your value to an employer is being a A&P besides a pilot. During our busy summer flying season, you cannot throw a rock without hitting an out-of-state commercial pilot. BUT there are only three or four good IAs around here. The rest are so-so.
    In the winter the IAs live in houses because they have year round employment. Many of the Comm pilots are back out of state living on the brother's couch.
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    A fresh float plane rating won't get you a job flying float planes in Alaska. Most Alaska float plane operators require a minimum of 200 to 500 hours on floats. 500 hours total (wheels, floats or both) is the minimum flight time required by law to be employed under FARs part 135. Of that 500 hours, 100 hours has to be cross country flight and of that 100 hours, 25 hours has to be night cross country. Most Alaska operators require 1000 hours or more. There are a handful that will hire a pilot with the minimum Part 135, 500 hour requirement. A good way to build Alaska time toward a regular flying job is to get your CFI-I (especially in Alaska) and give flight instruction at an Alaska flight school. An Anchorage-based flight school would probably the best bet in that the Anchorage aviation community is the biggest in the state and would provide you with many contacts and possible potential job options. I think that along with superior flying skills, good judgement is probably the most important quality an Alaska pilot can have. However, good judgement is pretty difficult to assess in a new pilot other than possibly during a part 135 check ride after being employed. In any event there are very few options for regular Alaska employment as a pilot with just 500 hours. Get CFI-I certification and instruct for a few hundred hours to optimize your chances for employment. If you have an A&P license your chances as a low-time pilot are definitely better. As for getting a float plane job with a fresh float rating, one option is to go to work for a company that flies wheels and floats. Prove yourself to be a valuable employee flying wheels and there is a good possibility that your employer will turn you loose to fly float planes on an insurance waiver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    ...Lots of my clients have private SES ratings and they later need to take another check-ride for their commercial SES rating after they earned their LAND commercial. ...
    Yeah, that is the part I was trying to ask about in my other post. I know IFR and Comm are separate check rides, but I was not sure about whether you needed separate check rides with each category/type. IE- If you have ASEL and IFR, you do not have to take another IFR checkride once you get the ASES add on....but, if you had Commercial ASEL, you'd need another check ride for Commercial ASES.
    It is my understanding (limited as it is) that the multi is the same..? Additional check ride for Multi Commercial, but not for IFR..Correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monguse View Post
    ..Of that 500 hours, 100 hours has to be cross country flight and of that 100 hours, 25 hours has to be night cross country. ...
    Yes, this is the kinda thing I am interested in..to make sure my flying time is useful. So, once I am PPL I don't end up just flying around aimlessly racking up hours..I want to make sure my time(and money) is well spent. My plan is basically just that...to start flying cross country time as much as possible and limit the short local hops. I wanna also do some mountain and back-country stuff, but I think that is a bit limited in my locale..as the highest peak on the east coast is under 7000'. Hardly a hill by Alaska standards. Lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    Yes, this is the kinda thing I am interested in..to make sure my flying time is useful. So, once I am PPL I don't end up just flying around aimlessly racking up hours..I want to make sure my time(and money) is well spent. My plan is basically just that...to start flying cross country time as much as possible and limit the short local hops. I wanna also do some mountain and back-country stuff, but I think that is a bit limited in my locale..as the highest peak on the east coast is under 7000'. Hardly a hill by Alaska standards. Lol.
    You'll never need high mountain skills unless you end up guiding hunters in the Brooks Range and by then you'll by the shnizzle anyhow. Nobody that's going to hire you into the right seat of a Caravan with low time is going to give a rip about anything except have you bent an airplane, are you a jerk or not, and can you fly. Your goal should be getting your commercial ticket and getting your body up here in front of people. When you're flying 1000 hrs a year or more you can start figuring out the SES or whatever you want to do on top of that. I'm assuming you don't have many thousands of dollars just lying around to spend on endorsements right?

    Mountain and "backcountry" flying in the states is useless here really. I'm sure you would develop some skills but it doesn't really translate to Alaska flying IMO. I've flown with guys up here that were "backcountry" guys that made me nervous as hell and others who had never left pavement prior to being here and they were just great.

    I don't believe there is an SES IFR ride, never seen an approach to water. Somebody will prove me wrong if I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akaviator View Post
    You'll never need high mountain skills unless you end up guiding hunters in the Brooks Range and by then you'll by the shnizzle anyhow. Nobody that's going to hire you into the right seat of a Caravan with low time is going to give a rip about anything except have you bent an airplane, are you a jerk or not, and can you fly. Your goal should be getting your commercial ticket and getting your body up here in front of people. When you're flying 1000 hrs a year or more you can start figuring out the SES or whatever you want to do on top of that. I'm assuming you don't have many thousands of dollars just lying around to spend on endorsements right?

    Mountain and "backcountry" flying in the states is useless here really. I'm sure you would develop some skills but it doesn't really translate to Alaska flying IMO. I've flown with guys up here that were "backcountry" guys that made me nervous as hell and others who had never left pavement prior to being here and they were just great.

    I don't believe there is an SES IFR ride, never seen an approach to water. Somebody will prove me wrong if I am.

    No- I do not have thousands laying around. That is why it is taking me awhile to get my training moving along. And, I certainly do not plan on accumulating a lot of ratings/endorsements before attempting the move. Just the basics- PPL,IFR,Commercial...possibly Multi, but I doubt that is a requirement for most smaller operators. In the course of putting together some air time I will most likely end up with HP and Complex endorsements..
    I really just need to get things moving along and find a way to get there before I am too old. I have been trying to put together a list of places to try once I get there. If you know of any that would be more likely to hire a newbie please pass along information. I'd assume starting in the larger cities would be the most productive. Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau..

    Thanks to all for the information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    No- I do not have thousands laying around. That is why it is taking me awhile to get my training moving along. And, I certainly do not plan on accumulating a lot of ratings/endorsements before attempting the move. Just the basics- PPL,IFR,Commercial...possibly Multi, but I doubt that is a requirement for most smaller operators. In the course of putting together some air time I will most likely end up with HP and Complex endorsements..
    I really just need to get things moving along and find a way to get there before I am too old. I have been trying to put together a list of places to try once I get there. If you know of any that would be more likely to hire a newbie please pass along information. I'd assume starting in the larger cities would be the most productive. Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau..

    Thanks to all for the information.
    The biggest operator up here would be your best place to try and get on. Ravn has probably 30 Caravans or so and they have a Caravan first officer program where a person can build time and fly a lot. Go find their website and look at what they have going on. You'll have plenty of days off to pick up other ratings if you want or fly more and make more $$$. Get your PIC (private, instrument, commercial) and then get up here and do whatever you have to do to survive and get hired. Age won't hurt your chances at all, but procrastination. No Guts, No Glory!

    I'd say good luck but I don't believe in it. Preparedness meets opportunity.

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    I don't believe there is an SES IFR ride, never seen an approach to water. Somebody will prove me wrong if I am.
    There is no check-ride for Single Engine SEA "Instrument. " Because the Instrument rating is attached to the main license held,,, well it is sorta attached to the pilot since it can go dormant if not maintained..
    Oddly enough, there used to be seaplane IFR approaches. Not so much anymore, but there were /are seaplane landing areas with lights. There are still a few. The Golden Age of Flying Boats and Amphibs had all sorts of cool stuff. Sitka and Seattle were crawling with Amphibs and Flying boats at one time. You can still do a side-step IFR approach into the Kenai float pond which parallels the main runway. Same with Fairbanks, I think....

    Here in Homer lots of folks side step the 04 approach into Beluga Lake, although few folks will admit how they suddenly showed up on a foggy lake after going IFR single-engine over ocean water, while also being part 135. Too many questions that nobody wants to answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    There is no check-ride for Single Engine SEA "Instrument. " Because the Instrument rating is attached to the main license held,,, well it is sorta attached to the pilot since it can go dormant if not maintained..
    Oddly enough, there used to be seaplane IFR approaches. Not so much anymore, but there were /are seaplane landing areas with lights. There are still a few. The Golden Age of Flying Boats and Amphibs had all sorts of cool stuff. Sitka and Seattle were crawling with Amphibs and Flying boats at one time. You can still do a side-step IFR approach into the Kenai float pond which parallels the main runway. Same with Fairbanks, I think....

    Here in Homer lots of folks side step the 04 approach into Beluga Lake, although few folks will admit how they suddenly showed up on a foggy lake after going IFR single-engine over ocean water, while also being part 135. Too many questions that nobody wants to answer.
    I knew you'd have the answer. :-) Thanks for the cool info!

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    I think it is perfectly possible to obtain an instrument rating if your only certification is in a float plane. You can still make all the approaches, holding patterns etc in a properly equipped float plane, you just wouldn't be touching down at the completion of an approach.

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    If I remember right, there are 32 mountain ranges in Alaska. If you work for a company that flies all over the state, you will be flying through mountain passes for almost any place you fly to if you are flying cross country flights of 100 miles or more and in many cases, just a few miles from one area to another. So mountain flying knowledge and skill is important when flying in Alaska for more than just guiding hunters in the Brooks range. Just flying to various locations around Kodiak Island is basically mountain flying regardless of where you're going to.

    Flying back country Idaho with it's short mountain strips, narrow canyons and high density altitudes or traversing the west coast mountain ranges through a multitude of passes are both valuable in gaining mountain flying experience. The Rockies are another possibility for gaining mountain flying experience. The lower 48 can be valuable in gaining mountain flying experience suitable for a transition to Alaska flying. Mountains are mountains regardless of their geographical location.

    Most Alaska flight operations require some Alaska flight time in a newly hired pilot. There are several, however, that will accept "or equivalent." "Or equivalent" can be Pacific Northwest time or any of the above named mountain flying experiences. For the most part, insurance companies dictate the various pilot experience requirements for Alaska flight operations.

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    If you want to fly in Alaska, then move to Alaska. Several years back I gave the following advice to a lower time pilot that wanted to fly for a profession and was looking at a desk job for BP while getting more flight time.

    "Go find any job you can next to an airplane and work there until they let you fly it".

    That pilot took my advice and is now the Chief Pilot of Ravn Air. If you want to work for smaller operations hauling people around Alaska, people skills are as important as flying skills. You may be God's gift to flying, but if you are an ass, lazy, or hard to work with you are useless to a small operator that depends on return customers or anyone else for that matter. It is a very small community up here, your work ethic and people skills are what will get your foot in the door. The flying skills...well that will come with time. People are always looking for a CFI up here so bang that out and get up here. You can make money, get to know Alaska, get Alaska flight time, and most important show people who you are.
    DENNY

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    Any of the air taxis in Bethel would be a good place to start. They almost always need pilots.

    Many have offices in Anchorage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfamily View Post
    Any of the air taxis in Bethel would be a good place to start. They almost always need pilots.

    Many have offices in Anchorage.
    Great suggestion. I flew out of Bethel for five years. Lots of flying and it really isn't that bad of a place to live. Who hires Caravan SIC's now?
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