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Thread: Good Afternoon from Iraq

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    Default Good Afternoon from Iraq

    Good Afternoon everyone. I'm currently an officer in the U.S. Army, and deployed to Iraq. I have 18 months left in the Service, and after that, I plan on leaving the military so I can pursue my lifetime passion for flight. Ultimately, I plan on moving to Alaska, and and doing some real flying, in the bush. Any advice you all may have for a new comer, would be appreciated. Still working through my license, got deployed right as I was about to finish.

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    Just want to thanks much for your service! Are you planning on pursuing flight commercially or are you just planning on it being a personal hobby?

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    Thanks for your service and I hope you finish your tour successfully.

    I am by no means a master bush pilot, but if you want to fly in the bush I will give you a few things that helped me. I knew before I even flew one hour I was going to fly in the bush. So throughout all of my flight training I concentrated on what skills were important for bush flying. An example being I would always try to hit my spot on landing even if that meant a not so smooth landing. I always tried to get the plane off the ground as quickly as possible and learned the performance perimeters of the plane at different weights and environmental conditions. These are examples of skills that you have to master in order to stay out of trouble. Sometimes trouble finds you regardless, but that’s another story.

    Read all you can about bush flying, books, internet, etc. They will not take the place of experience but they will help you to see the mistakes others have made and give you some helpful hints that you can incorporate in your flying.

    Get advice from experienced bush pilots and take some off airport training. Even when you think you have a good handle on things you can always learn more.

    Last but not least, practice, practice, and practice.

    Hope this helps.

    Shane

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    Default Flying In Alaska

    Thank you for the note. No, I intend on flying professionally in Alaska. I am not interested in pursuing a career with the airlines at this time. Flying the bush is something that I've wanted to do for a couple of years now. I am really hoping to make a living flying in Alaska. Flying in AK would be the ultimate dream job, as it combines the outdoors with flying airplanes, my two passions.

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    Default Shane

    Shane,

    Thanks for the information, this is exactly what I'm hoping to get from this site. I intend on resuming my flight training as soon as I return to the States. My flight school in Colorado offers a mountain flying clinic, and I'm hoping to complete that, once I earn my ticket. Unfortunately, the Army deployed me before I could finish my license, so I've got some catching up to do.

    Anytime you've got a sage piece of advice, please pass it on. I'll be sure to incorporate your suggestions when I get home in 9 months. Thanks again.

    Jerry

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    Default Train in State

    Consider flight training within Alaska. By doing this you will be on the way to establishing a local network. This local network will serve you well. I would also begin to learn all you can about the varieous operators/types of operations within Alaska. There is a great deal of difference in flying commuter aircraft into Dutch Harbor and in operating a PA 18 or DHC 2 Beaver into remote areas. Both are very rewarding. Try to bring as many diverse qualfications as possibel to the workplace. This should include tailwheel experience and solid IFR skills too. After you get that first lucky break remember to treat everyone at the operation with respect. Try to build bridges. Never burn them. Good luck.

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    Default Training in State

    I appreciate the help. Yes, I was thinking the same thing. The challenge that I need to work through, is employment once I get there. I've still got a great deal of training ahead of me. So, once I figure out how to "put food on the table" and fly airplanes, I'll be closing shop in Colorado Springs, and heading Northwest. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Thanks again.

    JR.

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    Default Employment

    JR,
    Thanks for serving, and be careful over there.
    I'm an Army officer too. I'll be retiring here in Anchorage in about 18 months. One thing you may want to look into is the Alaska National Guard. Not sure what branch you are, but you mentioned Colorado Springs. If you're an ADA type there may be opportunities for you at Fort Greely. You might also be able to pursue Army Aviation (either fixed or rotary wing) with the Guard. I'm not a recruiter, nor am I Guard. But if I had known about the Alaska Guard 20 years ago, I probably wouldn't have PCS'd all over the planet on active duty. Just something to consider. I too would love to pursue a second career flying up here when I get out. I've also got to figure out how to put 2 kids through college. We'll see, a lot can happen in a year and a half. Anyway, best of luck achieving your dream. Get home safe!
    David

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    Default AKfloats

    Sir,


    Thank you for your response. Yes, I've thought about joining the Guard, and I may do this. Currently Sir, I am an Infantry CPT, serving as the Battalion S4. I'm interested to learn more about the Anchorage area, as this sounds like the ideal place to move, for a pilot in training. The only thing holding my wife and I in Colorado Springs is a job offer I've received. If I could secure employment in AK, I would move sooner rather than later. Especially since I still need to finish my training, and it seems that executing my training in Alaska would be beneficial. Sir thanks for the guidance. If you run across any civilian job opportunities suited for a CPT, by all means, let me know. Thanks again for taking time to respond Sir.

    CPT R.

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    Default flying

    I feel a little different than a couple of the other posters. First, get your license down in CO, the more time you have perfecting your flying the better you will be. To me that would be like holding off having sex because you can't afford to have a baby. Second, if your going to want to fly a tail dragger get some experience because you will truely need to learn how to keep in rudder coordinated during landings. I know i started and a 6000 foot runway and the first time I attemped to land on a 1500 foot it was a little scary, now 400 feet is plenty. Strart with big gravel strips and work your way down. No matter how good you get or think your getting, occassional flights with the right CFI will help out. 3rd, Getting you license in CO probably will be much cheaper and if you can't get a job up here there is alot of great flying in the rockies. I got my license in CA, 5 years ago and enjoyed flying in the Sierra Neveda's. Moved to Alaska joined a club, flew about 100 hours and then bought my own plane and started off airport flying. Life is good so enjoy.

    Terry
    USAF Retired

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    No offense, but an aspiring student pilot wants to move to Alaska to be a bush pilot? That's not a new story. Want some advice? Before you come, rob a couple of banks and bring a truckload of money so you can survive several lean years. A rich wife wouldn't hurt, either. Better yet, come to Alaska, get a job that will allow you to afford to fly privately, and chase the sky on your own terms. Not those dictated by your revenue source. That's my honest advice.

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'll keep these things in mind. Probably will continue to fly in Colorado, as this is the most affordable option. Mr. PID, I appreciate the honesty. Sounds like pilots are starving in Alaska. Hoenstly, I have no intention of departing the Army, and moving straight to Alaska. I've got a job lined up in Colorado Springs, and I intend to finish all of my training there. Furthermore, I will not move to AK without a minimum of 6 mos to a year of a paycheck saved, probably more. Terry, thank you for the training notes, I'll be sure to spend some time working on the short landings. I'm sure I can find some smaller strips in the area, and work on this stuff.

    Thanks again to both comments.

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    Sounds like pilots in AK are starving. What's the real story? What's the typical paycheck, if there is a typical one? What are people doing for side jobs? Is there still plenty of flying to be done, or are there too many pilots, too many planes, and not enough people/cargo needing to go places...I'd love to hear from full time pilots, and part timers too. Thanks,

    JR.

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    Thank you for your service.

    I've been flying small planes for a living in Alaska for the last couple of decades and haven't missed too many meals yet.

    Pay depends a lot on where you're willing to live and how much you're willing to fly, so a typical paycheck is a hard thing to nail down. With a little experience you'll probably be making between 50,000 and $80,000. I know there's guys making more too. Fairly broad figures that probably aren't very helpful.

    Lot's of different means of financing flying and aquiring hours. I worked as a garbageman in Anchorage, bought my own plane, flew it and did some part time flight instructing until I had 1000 hours, then went to work out in the bush. I have to say I listened for a long time to well meaning friends who said "fly for fun, not for a living", but that just didn't work for me in the long run. I had to get out there and get my feet wet. No regrets.

    Jobs are out there, float flying, ski flying, etc. The pilot pool is aging and fewer people are getting into it. Come on up!....Louis

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    Louis,



    Thanks for the encouragement. I've talked to a lot of people (even instructors at my flight school) who looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I wanted to fly in the bush. One of the instructors even said "do you know what the survival rate for bush pilots is"?

    Ultimately for me, it has very little to do with the money. I just need to make enough to provide for my wife and I. That's all I've wanted to do since I was ten. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make it flying airplanes. If I have to pick up garbage so I can fly, then I'll do that. At this point, I'm just trying to meet people who are there flying now, so I can figure out the best way to accomplish this. Thank you again for your response.

    Sincerely,

    J.

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    Most operators won't consider you for hire until you have a minimum of 500 Alaska hours. Don't forget to budget the time and expense for that.

    What do you envision a "bush pilot" to be? I presume you're thinking single engine?

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    Default jobs

    There are lots of flying jobs in Alaska and even more resumes from pilots who are not quite ready for those jobs. The more skill and experience the wider and deeper the pool you can fish those jobs out of. If your thinking about the super cub fat tire hunting and fishing life then go for it. My suggestion is to include as many diverse skills as possible. This allows you to pick from a variety of jobs which is a great thing if the field your in slows down for some reason. Flying ski planes or light twins over Denali may not be the desired job for you just like pushing commuters into McGrath,Ruby or Nome may pale compared to a lodge based job however these other jobs expose you to the country and to the people in various places. Jobs come from such direct contact. Many decades ago I was setting at an APO wishing to fly in AK and being passed up for ITT transfers to Alaska. I now fly for a land management agency in AK however on the way I jumped back and forth between rotary and fixed wing and fire and commuter etc. Some of the jobs were better than others. The light twin commuter job helped to obtain a twin helicopter slot and that led to other and better jobs. Sometimes it is easier to find a job when you have one. If your working for a p 135 or 121 operation having a CFI rating can be a plus as you might find a slot in the training dept. Chief pilots like the pilot who can do a number of task. The suggestion to consider the AKNG is a good one. To get a feel of the state check out the Anchorage Daily News website. Stay safe and keep at it.

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    Smile

    I am still trying to figure out where the $80K per year pilots live that Louis was talking about. Since it is a well known fact that in order to make 1 million in aviation you need to start with 2 million.




    1.
    Finish your private. It does not matter where you do it. It does not matter if it is in a nose dragger C-150. Just get the ticket and then start putting on some hours.

    2.
    Start working on your tail wheel skills. Find a place like Jay Baldwin in Palmer Alaska, or one of the places in Colorado and Idaho.
    You may also want to start getting some float time here and there.

    3.
    Get your instrument rating. The lower 48 is less expensive and you will get the hours in a shorter period of time. An instrument rating makes you a much better pilot. Real instrument flight time logged make you more desirable for later hiring.

    4.
    The next step is your commercial rating. You will need at least 250 hours. If you already live here, you have the choice of going back out of State for flying every day, or trying to fit in your schedule up here with weather holds and CFI scheduling.

    5.
    Now that you have your legal Single Engine Land commercial. Get your Float add-on rating (Single Engine Sea). If you have been doing some float training here and there, this should be no problem. See me for that.
    You could have added on your float rating right after your private, but then you would have had to re-do part of it again to get your commercial float rating. I speak from experience. If you have the money and access to a float plane early in your flying, then an early private float rating is a good enjoyable way to build hours and Alaska time. Float Flying is like sex, boating and flying all mixed together, only cleaner.


    6.
    Start working on your Multi Add-On.


    Other Thoughts:

    A.
    If you are in the Alaska Army Guard and have a commercial SEL rating, you may be able to talk them into sending you to Helo school. This would be a sure fire way to get some active duty pay during the school and another BIG DOOR would open for you as far as future flying jobs.

    B.
    If you eat with a fork, wear clean clothes, speak multi syllable words and like indoor plumbing, you could always transfer over to the Alaska Air Guard. Then start to lobby for a slot at Helo school, C-130s or the new C-17 squadron. If you are tired of being deployed, take notice that the Alaska Air Guard folks do tend to go places. But usually only for 90 days to 6 months at a time..

    C.
    Being in the Guard or Reserves up here gives you access to the Aero Club on Elmendorf AFB. They used to be the best place to obtain some twin engine time without going totally broke.

    Heck fire even the Civil Air Patrol guys can use the Aero Club.

    Float Pilot

    Ex-Navy
    Ex-Army
    Retired Alaska Air Guard
    Retire State of Alaska


    xx
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Talking Roflmao!

    B.
    If you eat with a fork, wear clean clothes, speak multi syllable words and like indoor plumbing, you could always transfer over to the Alaska Air Guard.



    I think I just ruptured my spleen! Thanks for the laugh!
    Adison
    I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy!
    Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice, remember life is expensive and ammo is cheep!

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    Default flyalaska.com

    Take a look at www.flyalaska.com for additional information, some interesting stories, photos and a membership section ($27 for a year) for pilots looking for Alaska flying jobs.

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