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Old 01-19-2019, 07:43 PM   #1  
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Default Smoky bay air

Anyone ever work for them? Goods and the bads.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:30 PM   #2  
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Default Homer...Doh! (Homer, AK is their home base)

I have not worked for them. I have worked in the FAA flight service station above their hangar a scattered total of 50+/- days. 90% of their business is from home base at Homer to Seldovia, Port Graham, and Nanwalek. You load/unload the C206 or C207 yourself on both ends. Because those 3 villages are not on the road system, all those people take all their groceries, fresh-caught fish, and everything else on the airplane, too. Note: all those destinations are well under 50NM. Numerous tourists go visit during summer, too. Housing costs are outrageous in Homer, AK, so consider sharing rent or living on a boat in the harbor on Homer Spit, about 4 1/2 miles away, with wide a wide bike/walking path. You may be hired for summer only, from May through September, the expensive housing months. They operate 8am until 6pm, sometimes a little later, but never after civil twighlight, since they're a daytime-VFR only operation. Find a video online of landing at Nanwalek and look at their runway closure NOTAM--south 850ft open/soft, 20-degree curve in the runway and north 1000ft closed. It rains 50% of the time after June, and strong winds are common. The other 10% of their business is flying LONG distance over water as a flight of 5 to land on the beach and give brown bear-viewing tours during low tide (about a 5-hour window of time) just north or Tuxedni Bay, still within about 50NM. So, it's a short flight, bear viewing for 5 hours, then depart the beach before high tide. Consider the amount of flight time earned and the risk.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:44 PM   #3  
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Default I am alaskan

Thanks for the response, I live in Alaska so I understand how the flying works. I was mostly wondering about the management and maintenance. Homer isnít any worse than most of the road system when it comes to housing costís. Just depends on how you look at things. There are plenty of rentals available in the sub $1200 range a person could utilize. Flying over water isnít a big deal unless management gets mad at a pilot climbing to a decent the FARS require.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:48 AM   #4  
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I worked there for a year from '15-'16, so some of my info might be a bit dated as management has turned over since I was there but the owners are the same.

The owners are two brothers, really great guys who want to run a quality and safe business for their customers and employees. The maintenance was excellent while I was there, honestly far better than I was expecting when I moved to AK for a seasonal air taxi job.

They have a fairly extensive risk assessment tool that the pilots use to help with their go/no-go decisions in making a flight and they are especially conservative in Nanwalek because of the runway, terrain, and winds you can get there. That being said, you will spend a lot of time at 500', and a lot of time getting the crap kicked out of you by turbulence when it's blowing out of the east. The longest leg when you're flying the bay is around 20 minutes, so you're going to log a ton of landings. The runways get pretty slick in the winter, but they won't let you loose until they think you're ready.

In terms of crossing the Inlet, nobody would give you grief if you couldn't hit your crossing altitudes, but it wasn't uncommon to fly all the way up to The Forelands to cross when the weather was lower. I wanna say you only needed a couple thousand to cross there, versus something around 10k or 10.5 to go straight to Silver Salmon and Chinitna.

The work is fast paced- way faster than anything I ever did out west or now in southeast. They recently changed up their schedules a bit to make it a bit easier to stay on time when you have all stops, which I would imagine helps a lot to prevent falling behind when you're throwing freight, changing seats, etc., three to four times an hour.

Pay was pretty low, but I believe that has come up since I left. The only benefits of any kind that I had while there was a cabin only agreement with Ravn. No insurance while I was there, though they were always talking about how they wanted to offer it.

Overall, Homer is a very cool little town, and the flying at Smokey Bay was without a doubt the most fun flying job I have ever had. Flying and getting to know the regular passengers was super fun, and I miss the beach work in the summers. If you would rather sleep in your own bed every night rather than do shift work or live in Anchorage, it's a great place to be.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:03 PM   #5  
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Thank you I appreciate your info.
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