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Thread: Circle Air

  1. #1
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    Default Circle Air

    Has anyone hunted moose with Circle Air? Looking at next year for a drop off hunt and wanted to know what anyone who has flown with them thought.

  2. #2
    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    Default i have

    I flew in with them last year the pilots name is frenchie. I won't fly with him again. I recommend kirk sweetsir out of yukon air. You can take a shuttle flight from fairbanks to Ft. yukon, then go out with him. Great guy, he picked me up when I got in a jam last year. He knows his stuff, and the area real well, call me if you have questions 907-488-8665

    Robbie

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default Circle Air

    My son and I flew with "Frenchie" in his helio courier for a sheep hunt in the Brooks Range last year 2008, and I had a great experience with him, i tell you he is one hell of a pilot, he picked us up in his 206, we tagged out with a sheep and a bear and I called him and he picked us up early with no complaints, I will fly again with him if I go into the Brooks range again, he also knows the area very well......

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default

    I have had a bad experience with "Frenchie" and will not fly with him - PM if specifics needed. I would recommend that you query other Alaskan air taxi operators for their input and realize the possible implications if they hesitate or pause before responding.

  5. #5

    Default No Problems

    I've used Frenchy at Circle Air twice for fly-ins up the Colleen drainage. He's definitely a character, but also a heck of a pilot. PM me if you want more info.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    "Frenchy" might seem like a "Cranky" old guy, but thats maybe the way some perceive him. You just gotta know how to take him, he treated me and my son real good and invited us in his cabin for hot chocolate, he also pointed out some points of interest along the way during the flight which was a lengthy one. He is pretty particular about the way stuff is loaded in his aircraft, so I opt to let him load because I normally help with anything my air transporter might need help with, and don't just like to stand around. He is very thorough on safety too. He even took care of our trash upon our return trip home, he also picked us up a day early upon our request without any hesitation. He is probably the most experienced, when it comes to flying the Brooks range, or the Yukon charley area. He does like to converse during the flight and has some great stories. he lives right on the airstrip and has a great place out there, and no problems at all leaving your vehicle at his place.

  7. #7

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    I flew with him once for a work related project and it was O.K. However, I have heard enough negative reports that I would avoid his operation.

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't hire a pilot to be my friend. I don't care if he speaks a word. All I want is a timely (more or less) drop off and pick up and someone who is safe. If he does that, he gets my approval. With that said, I have heard nothing but good things about Kirk Sweetsir (Yukon Air). I have talked with him a few times about an upcoming trip to the Kongakut and the guy impresses me. Very knowledgable and he seems to have his shet together. That is where my money will be spent.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default Circle Air

    We had an extremely bad experience with Circle Air. We have utilized many other air services (to include Andrews Air on Kodiak and Pacific Wing Charters in Southeast Alaska) and appreciated their hard work and professionalism to the upmost. Outstanding service, and great people. We would NEVER use Circle Air again, however....

  10. #10
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    I have to ask, WHAT makes a bad trip? do the pilots pick where you go? push you out from 500 foot? no show up on time? run out of gas half way there?

    i guess i am not understanding. as some one that spent hundreds of hours bopping between villages, been in horrific weather. and am only here because of some pilot, that i may or may not of liked.

    if you pick an area, and make it in safely? and out safely on time ta boot with our weather up here. i call that a good flight? are some expecting that transport to take ownership of your success or failure?

    are some of these pilots providing all the gear that failed or what????
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  11. #11
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Default

    This is not specific to Circle Air, but here are some things that have either happened to me or I have first hand knowledge of them happening to a friend:

    1. Gave air service instructions to drop off at X state cabin, a location they frequently drop people off at. One of his pilots gets in the plane and upon taxi states he doesn't know where that landing strip is and can't find it on the plane's GPS. He get's verbal instructions during the flight there on how to locate the strip. Not confidence boosting by any means. Hunt was successful and the experience added color to future story telling.

    2. Pilot does not show up for pick up and flight service does not answer the phone for three days. Flagged down another air service and got a flight back. Had excess food, so no immediate emergency. Hunt was still successful.

    3. No sat phone, but schedule a mid-hunt meeting at the strip with the pilot in case of a possible move. Waited at the strip from sunrise to sunset and no plane. No caribou either, hunt failed. Pilot said he forgot, but after being reminded he remembered he was supposed to do it.

    4. Two aircharter services out of a small town. One had a good rep, the other horrible. Booked with the good one, only to find out upon arrival that the good one had overbooked that day. They pushed the excess business to the service with the bad rep under a long-standing verbal agreement that was not mentioned on the web site anywhere. The bad rep business promptly raised the rates for the fly out. Argued with the original service only to get the "take it or leave it" answer. Hunt was sucessful, but cost about $300 more.

    Ok, so three out of four times the hunt was still successful. But, I won't fly with any of those services.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    You guys crack me up,

    If he get's you off the ground, and get's you back on the ground, Good pilot.

    An old timer told me about an old diary a long time ago about this guy that was supposed to be picked up, and everyday he walked down to the strip over a a mile away for 5 days, sat all day and put in another days thoughts in the book.
    The last entry, the day before the plane picked him up he wrote,

    " One of these days I'm going to be rich, and then I aint waiting for no son-of a b---h

    I've got 100s of thousands of air miles under my belt, and have been left in more places than one, but it's to be expected up here.

    If you are just talking about service's themselfs, weather plays a big part if that plane gets off the ground, the one that was supposed to be moved, I don't know what happened there.

    I've ridden with the best, The crazy one's, and the one's that new their limits, They all got me home.

  13. #13
    Member Ernie Scar's Avatar
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    Default My Issue

    I've never flown w/ Circle Air, as far as I know he's definetly a top notch pilot. I'm sure he knows the area he flies as well as anyone, but my gripe w/ Frenchy is that he has no problem landing more parties than are necessary on the same strip. I watched him fly five groups of hunters into the same strip on the 8th and 9th of August and I saw him flying low up and down the same river valley throughout the next 12 days. I'm assuming he was dropping off and picking up other hunters on the same strip only I didn't watch him land. Between him and the other pilots landing on the strip the place looked like Lake Hood. The taxi I flew with would not bring another party in to the same strip knowing he had one group there already and neither would Kirk Sweetsir seeing how it is just not right to do to the first party, the second party, or the resources. I know it's not against the law to flood an area with hunters like he will but I know of no other pilot who will drop party after party on the same strip whether they like it or not. I do not think he cares about the F***in sheepsiz.

  14. #14
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default

    To me, arguing air services is like arguing that only a Ford should be driven and all the others aren't worth a ****. If a air taxi operator can stay in business for some time, then to me obviously he pleases some people. I would rather fly with some over others, but if I had to fly with one of the less prefered ones I would, just as I would rather shop at sportsman wharehouse for sporting goods, but if I needed something and they were closed, I wouldn't hesitate to go to fred meyers or walmart

  15. #15
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Scar View Post
    I've never flown w/ Circle Air, as far as I know he's definetly a top notch pilot. I'm sure he knows the area he flies as well as anyone, but my gripe w/ Frenchy is that he has no problem landing more parties than are necessary on the same strip. I watched him fly five groups of hunters into the same strip on the 8th and 9th of August and I saw him flying low up and down the same river valley throughout the next 12 days. I'm assuming he was dropping off and picking up other hunters on the same strip only I didn't watch him land. Between him and the other pilots landing on the strip the place looked like Lake Hood. The taxi I flew with would not bring another party in to the same strip knowing he had one group there already and neither would Kirk Sweetsir seeing how it is just not right to do to the first party, the second party, or the resources. I know it's not against the law to flood an area with hunters like he will but I know of no other pilot who will drop party after party on the same strip whether they like it or not. I do not think he cares about the F***in sheepsiz.
    so now.. the taxi cab at the airport, should only drop so many hunters at the air charters also?

    air taxi is air taxi,,,

    out fitters and transporters are all different. sitting at the DNR game board concession meeting the other eve.. they all have one complaint.. is that the transport services are crippling their buisness...

    but if your sitting looking at a map in Anchorage,

    another group in Fairbanks is reading a similar map


    and one in Florida, Michigan, Montana, Eagle river. Sitka..... are all reading the same map.

    all are asking for the same strip, to hunt similar locations... that taxi is gonna say NO?
    i think that should be a question you are asking your taxi.. "How many others are booked for this region?" will you notify me when the number of request reach "X" many? so that if i choose to change my plans i may
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  16. #16
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    And to add on to Vince's post, a little research would tell you how many use said strip.

    While I'm on here If one of you could pose a sim. contract that people sign before your hunt and before you meet the operator it would be of great intrest to me. I for one, who has never seen one would like to see exactly what it says as far as safety.

  17. #17
    Member Ernie Scar's Avatar
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    Default Past experience

    Past experience would tell me how many people are on the strip, been going to the same strip for a while and never seen this many people. You can always expect to see someone else, it's just that I have never seen this many people dropped off by the same transporter to the same strip in such a short time. I have been denied flight service to certain strips by good air taxis because they work with the outfitter in the area and will not drop me on them. I've also been denied access because they already plan on dropping a party or a party has already been dropped that planned to hunt that strip first, no big deal I was told up front. Like I said it's not against the law, I'm just saying that I believe he dumps clients on top of each other regardless if they know it or not and he does not care. So far he's the only operator that I've come across that does this. I'm not saying that two different air taxis won't each dump a client on the same strip.

  18. #18
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I'm just going to say this, if you want a good trip, take the time in the summer to make a fishing trip to the interior and talk to said operator.

    I've noticed that 90% of these posts are from down south.

    We do thing's a little differant up here.

  19. #19
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    When you book with 40 Mile Air they don't dump group after group on top of each other. I guess that's why you pay more for them.

    Ditto for Rolan at Seahawk. He may put more than one group on a lake, but he tells you about it up front.

    When I book a moose hunt with a transporter I expect not to be dropped in with other groups from the same transporter. If I just book and say take me to this "X" strip...I take what I get.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  20. #20

    Default Frenchy

    Flew us into the Brooks for a late sheep hunt. He was upfront that the weather could be a problem if it snowed - we had below zero weather on the last night and an ice fog bank moved into the valley where we camped. Before he dropped us off, he pointed out some landmarks on the surrounding mountains and then called us on the radio to find out how low the fog was, then he flew in under the fog and picked us up. We found out on the way home that it was supposed to snow two feet that day, and Frenchy flew in to another airstrip the day before (would have landed on our strip to pick us up, but was fogged and he knew we wouldn't be on the radio), and spent the night to be on our strip at first light to get us out.

    Before we left, we discussed several different options for hunt areas, the cost, and the pressure that each area had on it earlier that season, and which areas had guides and outfitters working. We hunted our butts off and put on about 80 miles before shooting a nice ram within two miles of the airstrip on the last night of our hunt.

    He was expensive, professional, safe, experienced and I thought he was straight up regarding our hunt options (keep in mind that he couldn't recommend an area, only provided info). In other words, everything we expected. His number one concern was making sure that we got out in one piece - he was also very specific about what we could shoot and remain inside the weight restrictions for that strip and how much weight we could bring in with us.

    We had a fantastic hunt.

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