Can anyone tell me what the hours requirements are for most bush flying jobs in AK. I have 2000TT (all outside Alaska but some full on bush flying) 500 hrs floats.
How do you gain the AK time if you did not come form Alaska from the start, are there any companies that require less and what is the normal way to gain it. I can work as an unlicensed a/c engineer if that helps, its just very hard to see a way in but I'm determined as its the only place I want to be.
I wonder if I will have to buy a plane and work another job for a couple of years whilst gaining AK time, who knows.
Any help or advice greatly appreciated.
I have done allot of research but as you know there is nothing like speaking to someone who understands the system and that's where you guys come in.
I have helped guys get information on Australia, NZ and Africa in the past, so I really hope one of the many experienced pilots over there in Alaska may take five Min's to give me a hand.
There are probably as many stories about how guys got their AK time as there are pilots on this forum. Some work another job for a while and buy their own plane to gain time. Some just happen to be johnny-on-the-spot when an airtaxi owner NEEDS a pilot. There is ample evidence that being in Alaska and having a current and updated resume is paramount. Making personal contacts is also a good idea. Flight instructing might be an avenue. I did that for a while. You could also try one of the First Officer programs at some of the local airlines. The right seat time is probably only good for building AK time as it won't help you for much else - and the pay sucks. Shotgun out some resumes and see what happens. There is lot of info even here on this forum where to send them.
Most air-taxi operators require 500 hours Ak time minimum, however, occaisionaly an operater needs a pilot right away and will accept 250 hours Ak time for hauling frieght only until you have the 500 hours(to meet insurance requirements for carrying passengers). If you have multi-engine time and are IFR current you have a good chance of getting work as right seat with no Ak time as IFR flying is the same where ever you go.
What governs Ak time is the requirements of the insurance underwriters and flying single engine airtaxi aircraft in Ak is a low altitude VFR operation. Wx here can change quickly along the coast as well as in the mountains and tundra, and gaining local terrain and weather pattern knowledge of the "bush" is invalueable.
Having a CFI and going that route until you have the Ak time accumulated is probably the quickest way right now.
It's that ol'catch 21, you need the job to get the time and you need the time to get the job.
If you intend to fly a floatplane you will need at least 500 hours of floatplane time plus 500 hours Ak time to get a job.
One of the lodge owners that I know recently advertised for a floatplane pilot to fly a DeHaviland Beaver. He recieved over 50 resumes and only 4-5 of them even came close to meeting the requiements. Most were out of work ATP's without seaplane time and some didn't even know what a DHC 2 Beaver was! Competition for pilot positions is really high this winter and I'm not seeing the number of ad's for pilots needed in Ak even compared to last winter.
Phone calls followed by a resume, followed by a follow-up call, is recommended if you can't walk-in in person.
Wish you good luck!
PS I'm a 44 year resident of Ak with many thousands of hours of Ak time and I've been out of flying work for 16 months. Go figure!
Thanks for that post, I'm sorry to hear you are out of work like so many pilots I know all over the world right now. I am not thinking of coming over for at least a year and a half and probably more like 2-3 years. I will look into all options of getting those AK hours when the time comes as its really the only place I would like to end up. If I have to instruct or go right hand seat that will not worry me if it means at least I get a chance to have the right hours for the single engine operators who I really want to fly for.
Thanks once again for taking the time to post. cheers