View Poll Results: Do you think of coming to Alaska for a Seaplane rating?

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  • Yes I plan on it.

    7 58.33%
  • Would love to, but the cost are too high.

    3 25.00%
  • Nope, down south is easier.

    1 8.33%
  • maybe one day.

    2 16.67%
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Thread: Seaplane Ratings in Alaska

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Seaplane Ratings in Alaska

    As most of you know, I instruct seaplane (float plane) here in Homer. Most of my business used to be out of State folks... but business is really slowing down over the past couple years..
    A question for you out of State folks. When you folks in the lower 48 decided to add on a seaplane rating, do you even think of Alaska as a place to get one, or do you first think about someplace down south like Jack Brown's?

    I am wondering if it is because fewer folks are coming here on vacation, our higher fuel prices, or maybe just better advertising from places down south..
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  2. #2

    Default

    If I were to guess, I would think it would be a pretty small percentage of new float pilots that would travel to Ak vs locally in L48, but that is just a guess. At first I didn't think there were many float instructors around. But now that I have been paying attention to them more I have seen quite a few ads around in the Dakotas, Mn, Ia, IL where I have been flying lately.
    I was lined up to do my ses locally in Mn, but work called me out of the area and had to cancel. At that point I figured I would just get it where ever and if I actually had an opportunity to do floats in Ak I would basically do it over in AK.
    I was talking about this the other day with friends and I hope to do my ses this coming fall and will probably just wait till I get up to Ak to do it.
    It sounds like alot of things are slowing down in many different parts of the US. I hope things pick up for you as well as in general. I think the next couple of years could be pretty interesting. I have heard of a few things on a rebound trend, but I think alot of things have not bottomed out yet.
    Good Luck. Maybe I'll visit you this fall.

  3. #3
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default float rating

    I just got my completion certificate and getting ready for my test. I've been looking into your exact question. I guarantee that most are looking at Jack Browns or something close. They are 1200.00 to get your rating and the cost to get there would be substainualy less as well as a better guarantee on the weather and I probably will end up going there. The attraction of flying in alaska would be much greater for me though. What are you charging and what is the time span? What can you offer that Jacks doesn't?

  4. #4
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    Default Grizzly 1

    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    I just got my completion certificate and getting ready for my test. I've been looking into your exact question. I guarantee that most are looking at Jack Browns or something close. They are 1200.00 to get your rating and the cost to get there would be substainualy less as well as a better guarantee on the weather and I probably will end up going there. The attraction of flying in alaska would be much greater for me though. What are you charging and what is the time span? What can you offer that Jacks doesn't?
    I'm living in Florida at this time, and I'm familiar with Jack Brown's training. Still, most of my almost 20,000-hours were logged in Alaska. If you're thinking of picking up your SES rating in Florida - - - or in any other of the contiguous states - - - I hope you'll reconsider. In Florida, you can climb to 100-feet and contact almost anyone in the whole flat state. In Alaska, you can well be out of touch with everyone in the world in only fifteen minutes after takeoff. Most of Alaska is mountainous, and flatland flying is a whole lot different.

    What does Alaska offer that Jack's doesn't? It offers the new floatplane pilot an opportunity to get a little dual in a very demanding part of the world. That may be worth a million dollars to you one day. Florida cannot do that!

  5. #5
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default

    What are you charging and what is the time span?
    $1,500 flat rate for 8 to10 hours
    $1,400 flat rate for military (act, res,ret.) or Civil Air Patrol.
    The DPE I usually use charges $350 this year for a check ride. 1 hour oral and 1 hour flight.
    My guest pilot cabin runs $85 a night during the summer, in a town where a summer hotel room cost twice as much.
    Oh,,, and I have insurance....

    What can you offer that Jacks doesn't?
    Hmmm...
    1. You fly my plane from the front seat.
    2. I use an independent examiner (not an owner or employee) so I make sure you can pass any SES exam.
    3. Jack Brown gives you 5 hours, I give 8 to 10.
    4. We have mountains.
    5. We have Glaciers
    6. We have three active volcanoes within sight.
    7. We have moose, Mountain Goats, Mountain Sheep, Whales, and Fish runs.
    8. We operate in a town with fishing charters, horseback tours, 4 wheeler tours

    I tried to download a mountain lake landing video but it did not work...send me you e-mail at dragonfly@alaska.net and I will email it to you..
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  6. #6
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    Default Did Alaska SES Rating a few years ago

    Hands down, if you have a choice come to Alaska...Yes it's cheaper down in the lower 48 but it is just not the same...I have many, many thousand hours in everything from single engine and multi engine airplanes to tactical aircraft to search and rescue operations and now international heavy metal flying...Alaska float plane flying is the most fun I have had in over 33 years of flying...

    Let me say that again...Coming to Alaska to get a Float Plane rating is the most fun rating I have ever gotten...I just wish you could rent a float plane up here when you are checked out...Guess I will just have to buy my own...

  7. #7
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default ses

    Float Pilot- my comment wasn't meant to be sarcastic and I realize and knew the difference between alaska and the lower 48. My point was that for business purposes that you may need to point those things out more to attact more business. Is there such a thing as getting a list of newly licensed pilot? Maybe putting some vacation packages together of some type to include family members. Please email that video to tboehm@ec.rr.com . I also happen to be going to Homer in June with my daughter and would like to talk to you about possibly getting together.

  8. #8
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default

    My point was that for business purposes that you may need to point those things out more to attract more business. Is there such a thing as getting a list of newly licensed pilot? Maybe putting some vacation packages together of some type to include family members.
    Your right about that

    ... I am limited to one small plane right now and one cabin that is cozy for two folks and crowded with four... "I had two pilots from Hollywood and their lady friends in there for a week during a period of bad weather..." I'll bet they were ready to leave after that...

    I though about going back to two planes,,, but with the economy as it is right now,,, I am concerned about gambling away what savings I do have left...Insuring two planes was killing me...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  9. #9

    Default

    Here's my two cents on FLOAT PILOT and Jack Brown's. I was in the air taxi business in AK for over 30 years and have long since retired. I hired and fired many pilots. I interviewed dozens from Jack Brown's. I never hired any because most if not all wanted a rating and nothing else. Float flying in AK isn't just a rating. I suspect FLOAT PILOT gives much more than a rating. Your probably one of the premier float instructors in the country and the benefit to your students is immeasurable.(I called a few old friends) Times are tough right now but I wouldn't try and compare an Alaska based operation with anything in the Lower 48. This is Wal-Mart to Cartier's. Keep doing what your doing, the way your doing it and the customers will pay far more to learn from an Alaskan in Alaska. Brown's is OK if you want to tell your friends you have a float rating. Good luck and hang in there.

    Thom

  10. #10
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Seldovia, alaska
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    Default Times are getting hard

    I've had this conversation a few times as of late. New starts in flying have come to a screeching halt. A good friend of mine is a AME and he told me all the Doc's he knows aren't getting any first timers for med's. In the fishing charters I do in Seldovia the business just isn't there. One big lodge in Seldovia shut down early this past year due to lack of business. I don't think your service is the problem, its the over-all economy thats the problem. Our fearless leader might try a little less stimulation and a little more looking for the core of the problem. Good luck this coming year, Tom
    Is your place the one mid lake on the east shore? I was looking to stop by last summer just to say hi.

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