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Looking for some ideas on float trips that can be ferried by airboats.

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  • Looking for some ideas on float trips that can be ferried by airboats.

    Long story short, I was stationed in Anchorage while I was in the Army, met my wife who works (still to this day) for the Alaska club and as soon as my obligations is up, plan on moving back to fly for Alaskan airlines. With all that said, I do come up there to maintain residency and check on the home we bought and was looking to tie it in with a hunting trip next year

    I've been spitballing some ideas with one of my former coworkers who lives in Fairbanks and it seems like the two things we have settled on is either him working on his seaplane rating or getting rated in a SEL (single-engine-land) plane like a piper and ferrying our large group (7 people total) out of Fairbanks to do a drop-camp style hunt with us basically splitting the cost of the rental rate of the aircraft.

    Or as a back up, we were looking at some of the airboat charters that take you up a river and you float down it for 10 days and meet up with them again somewhere.

    For the Fairbanks plan we were looking at drawing a 2 hour flight time radius around the airport and looking for a place to go from there.

    For the airboat idea we were looking at the Maclaren River off the Denali hwy bridge down the Susitna down to log creek.

    I guess my overall questions is, do these plans seem pretty standard, or without asking you guys your trade secrets or for your honey-hole spots, should we do some more planning as far as our locations for hunting go. This will be primarily for Moose, Caribou if up north by Fairbanks, and for Brown/Black Bear for myself.

  • #2
    I'm no good at moose hunting, but I'll offer my 2 cents. Find something others aren't doing.

    That area of the Denali highway gets a lot of traffic. That said, there is a lot of country accessible via that river. I spoke with one airboater who had hunted upriver from that bridge for decades. A lot of that area is controlled use. North of Denali highway gets traffic via horses, bikes and airboats, south gets atv traffic.

    There are a limited number of strips you can land on, heck even lakes can be a hot commodity. We flew into 16b this year and many of those lakes have cabins on them.

    If I had the choice, I'd be flying (on floats).
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith


    • #3
      I agree with Scott, the Denali Highway area is really busy. But, as he said, you can get away from things somewhat by going quite a ways on the river. The Denali Highway itself is a zoo. '
      As for the other person getting their seaplane rating, or getting their SEL rating....well, as a pilot, I would be hesitant about that. Many of the airplane accidents in Alaska are people who don't fly the backwoods regularly. Just look at the accidents we had this year with people where were long-time pilots. Ask this same question over in the Alaska Bush Flying forum and see what they say. Autumn can really throw some questionable weather at you, and if you add in the fact that people have schedules to keep, hauling a bunch of people out hunting when you are a new pilot may not be the best thing to do. My husband and I flew ourselves out hunting for years in a Supercub, and we had a lot of very memorable flights. We were lucky; we were both pilots, and there were only the 2 of us so no one else was wanting to push the weather, and we made sure we had plenty of time figured in for weather delays. And yes, I was the more conservative one!


      • #4
        Missed this earlier. I have no feedback for the airboat options. As for flying, I will echo what Genna said. Nothing wrong with doing your own flying. But if nobody is a pilot yet, this is not the right plan. Takes a while to get the skills, but more importantly the operational judgement, to safely manage backcountry flying when people are trying to set schedules and are your friends (and you don't want to disappoint the scenario you post, you are the friend that thinks he should be able to get him somewhere...). Better to charter until one of you is really at that level.
        14 Days to Alaska
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