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Thread: Hi need a bit of advice.

  1. #1
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    Default Hi need a bit of advice.

    I'm sure this may have been covered at sometime, I would like to come to Alaska in the future to work as a bush pilot. The visa issue will not be a problem for me but I would like to know the general feeling towards foreign pilots and the chance of employment.

    I heard that there is generally AK time wanted which I will not have, but I will be at about 2000tt all bush flying some in Botswana ( Africa) and the rest in NZ with about 500 hrs on floats. I can work as an unlicensed engineer and have some fishing guiding experience as well. I have worked in the Southern Alps on NZ which range between about 7000ft to the highest Mt Cook about 13000ft.

    What is the chances, of getting onto what looks like the most interesting environment for a bush pilot. Any advice is welcome thanks, oh I don't mean while the credit crunch is on but under normal hiring circumstances if it ever happens again.

    My move will be permanent to AK if things work out as myself and my wife have been trying to get over for sometime and have just about got it all sorted out. I realise I would be behind allot of US pilots and of course respect that but I'm willing to do work extremely hard to end up with a flying job over there.

    Hope some one can give me some guidance, very happy to give any advice to anyone looking to go to Africa for work.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Alaska Time

    Wildpilot,
    I don't think you'll find much discrimination for not being a US Citizen. The biggest problem you'll have is no Alaska time. I think you will have a good chance if you go out west, say with Grant Aviation or similar company. Fly a 206 in Bristol Bay area for a year or so, if you survive you'll have plenty of Alaska time to meet the minimum requirements for other companies a little more desirable working conditions. The biggest problem is being here when the hiring is going on. Most employers want to see you in person during the hiring process.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that, yeah I guessed you would have to be there to get hired, its the same right through Africa. I have almost 1000hrs on a 206 so would be more than happy to go anywhere that gets me in the door and fly anything. Thanks once again

  4. #4

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    I will tell you that if you have some flight time and are legal to work in the US that If you are in the office when they need a pilot you will get hired all. Alaska time or none timing is everything. This isn't conjecture it is fact, I have seen it at my company and others. So how do I get a job in Africa? I was flying in Zambia for about 6 weeks and loved it, would love to get back. Is it the same just show up and start looking or do they actually need pilots?
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

  5. #5
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    Yeah its pretty much the same, however just like the US things are tight right now loads of pilots and not many jobs. I used to fly out of Maun Botswana and into Zambia probably once or twice a week. Bots is the best bet but there are loads of pilots kicking around town looking for a break at the moment.

  6. #6
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    I've read that bush pilots in Africa are used to runways, hard-packed earth strips, and dusty roads as landing places. The same for Australia and New Zealand. I've even heard that Australians will pass up spots that are shorter than about 2,000-feet. I admit that this is only what I've heard and read, but if it's true, please remember that most of Alaska is pretty wet and soft. That goes for the mountain ridges as well as the tundra country. Along with plenty of sand beaches, of course.

    My two cents' worth . . . . . and BEST OF LUCK! Alaska will certainly welcome you.

    Mort

  7. #7
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    I've flown with pilots from Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Japan, Australia, Ireland...and I'm probably missing a few. You might get some good natured ribbing, but if you're personable you'll fit in to the great melting pot just fine.

    Bush pilot is widely defined. If you want to fly from airport to airport in the bush, or land on whatever is out there. There are usually jobs available to someone with your experience in Bethel flying 207's from village to village. If you want to work in the float or off airport environment, do the 207 thing until you're a known good commodity. You'll build connections that can get you where you want to go.

    Remember, most Alaska flying is not about high altitude flying, but learning to deal with lousy runways and lousier weather. Best wishes to you!

  8. #8
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    Grizzley 1,

    Yeah we certainly didn't have to land on gravel bars you are not wrong but we did have to take stupid loads out of hot and high strips often with huge tail winds, a 206 on a 43 degree centigrade day loaded up takes the best part of one thousand meters to reach 10ft agl. The weather is awful throughout the storm season but we also have fire season which brings down vis to next to nothing. Also in storm season we would operate in and around huge thunder cells which have taken down many aircraft in the past, I got hit by lightening in a 206, it left an entry hole above the pilots position and blew all the static wicks off. Also in Africa you have to deal with, dangerous game,some dangerous locals and in some places civil war. As for Australia there is no bush flying really, just A to B charter mainly in C210's. NZ used to have tons of bush pilots flying in very similar conditions to AK minus the winter temperatures but not any more as there is no need since the bottom fell out of the venison market.

    As for float flying in the Southern Hemisphere, it is generally in to very large swell conditions with reefs and strong tides to deal with. Anyway I look forward to when I eventually arrive in AK to make a start. Cheers

  9. #9
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    You're going to do just fine in Alaska. My best wishes go to you, and Alaska hopes you will soon be there to enjoy the world's greatest place!

    Grizzly 1
    Mort Mason

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