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Thread: Any alternatives to charter companies?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Any alternatives to charter companies?

    Hi everyone. I hope this is the right place to post this.

    A friend and I are heading to Alaska in September for some much needed R&R. We found an excellent price on flights and don't have a whole lot of money to burn on the trip. We found a cabin we're VERY interested in, and it's available all 7 days of our trip.. but the problem is, it's only accessible by float plane. I've been emailing and calling around to all the charter businesses I could find ranging from Anchorage to Moose Pass to Seward.. and the prices they want to charge are absolutely outrageous, anywhere between $1200 and $2200 for a less than 1-hour trip there, and pickup a few days later. I know a big portion of this is tourist premium.

    So I got to thinking.. maybe a private pilot would be willing to take us out there, spend a day or two fishing with us, etc. We would of course pay for gas expenses, lodging and whatnot. Feasible? Who knows.. just something I've been rolling around in my head.

    Question is.. how would we find people to ask about this? Are there other bush pilot communities out there where I could ask around? (that's how I landed at this forum)

    Does anyone have any other suggestions? This is a trip of a lifetime for me, and I just want to make sure we have the best time we can, without having to sell organs to pay for it.

    Any info/tips are appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Unless they have a commercial license they can't do it...check the FAA regulations, If a friend takes you they cannot charge you for the flight, just incidentals, the price of flights will vary on the airframe, and tach time and where you have to get into, you might think its expensive but thats really the going rate. Av gas is expensive and so is the insurance they must pay while pocessing a commercial license, not to include annuals and other expenses in maintaining that particular airframe...

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    Yeah, I figured there was a lot more to it... but worth asking nevertheless.

    As far as payment goes, I did think about that part at least. I figured offering to donate to the gas fund would be different from paying for a ride.


    After some of the quotes I've gotten, I would have probably jumped on the $1200 quote, but unfortunately my friend won't be able to afford half that considering all the other costs of a trip up there. We sure got a smoking deal on airfare though.. $202 round trip + tax from Dallas to Anchorage.

    Thanks for the reply!

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Given your price range, have you looked into renting a cabin (or a yurt) out of either Seward, Homer or Whittier and using a water taxi for a drop off? MUCH less expensive, and with proper research, just as remote as a fly in...

    Just a thought.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    We did plan on a cabin ($45/night), one of the federal ones.. which was well within our budget. I didn't see any that we could take a water taxi to though. Do you have any resources for these? I've been looking all over the place for other options.

    One thing that IS important to me is privacy/isolation and a good view. I don't want to see another living soul for a week.

  6. #6
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    There are Yurt and Cabin rentals all over the Kachemak Bay area out of Homer.

    You might try emailing one of the forum members here, HomerDave. He runs a local water taxi there, and knows the area intimately.

    There are State Park cabins in Resurrection Bay and outlying areas out of Seward. I'd check the Seward Chamber of Commerce site for water taxi outfits there (Millers Landing is a well known outfit, but as per the rules of this site I can't tell you why I wouldn't recommend them).

    Likewise there are State Park cabins scattered all over Prince William Sound, your best bet for access to those is via Whittier.

    Here are some yurt rentals out of Homer

    http://www.alaskanyurtrentals.com/

    State Park Public Use Cabins (statewide)

    http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins/index.htm

    HomerDave can be contacted HERE

    I understand not wanting to see anyone while you're out in the sticks, but just as a friendly bit of advice, even as big as this State is, bumping into folks while your in a remote location is fairly common.

    Good Luck.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Can't thank you enough for the information! It's difficult to figure everything out on our own, as neither of us have been to the area.

    I will certainly look into it.

  8. #8
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Exactly where are you trying to go?
    Send me an e-mail I know a couple small local operators.
    dragonfly@alaska.net
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    I have a cabin with one of Alaska's finest views. You may use it for free, if you will take in your own grub so that the food you find in the cabin will be replaced. You will have to charter a flight from Talkeetna (about 100-miles north of Anchorage), but that can be arranced through Todd Rust at "Rust's Air Service" in Anchorage. That Air Taxi operator also has a flight charter service stationed in Talkeetna, near to Mt. McKinley (or Mt. Denali, if you're a newcomer),and only about twenty air minutes from the cabin. Floatplane access only. It's in serious grizzly gear, caribou, and moose country, with black bears and wolverine everywhere around.

    A private pilot may "share the costs of his flight" with you. That would include gas, oil, maintenance, tiedown, insurance, and the purchase price or replacement cost of his airplane. I've tested that in court, and it meets the FARs. On the other hand, owning a small airplane carries STAGGERING costs. The prices you were quoted are quite fair and not a bit unusual!
    \
    Good luck,

    Mort Mason

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