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Old 12-06-2008, 09:04 AM   #21  
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Default Alaska Time

Often the requirement for "Alaska Time" is a way of scaring off lower 48 guys who they don't want to hire anyway. When times are tuff up there they will hire guys without the AK time.

Alaska operators are leery of lower 48 pilots since most have a different background and attitude that does not accommodate the self reliant and often risk taking stance that is needed in Alaskan aviation.

Since the rest of aviation is in the dump right now I imaging that it will be sometime before they are in the mood to hire someone who is not an Alaskan pilot already.

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Old 12-06-2008, 09:44 AM   #22  
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I never even thought of instructing in Alaska. Thats a great idea. That way I could build Alaska time for what Skyhigh was talking about. Then get to know more people in the industry. Hey thanks guys for the help. Opened up new ideas for me. And the way it sounds the A&P is a toss up to help get a job. Well see. Maybe try and get a job flight instructing then work on my A&P while Im up there learning on planes that I would be flying. Thanks again. Any other bits of info would help and go along way. Oh yea, the float and tail wheel is a must. It just seems like it would be to much fun and provide great skills you couldnt get other wise.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:37 AM   #23  
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Default Instructing

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Originally Posted by nhm6408 View Post
I never even thought of instructing in Alaska. Thats a great idea. That way I could build Alaska time for what Skyhigh was talking about. Then get to know more people in the industry. Hey thanks guys for the help. Opened up new ideas for me. And the way it sounds the A&P is a toss up to help get a job. Well see. Maybe try and get a job flight instructing then work on my A&P while Im up there learning on planes that I would be flying. Thanks again. Any other bits of info would help and go along way. Oh yea, the float and tail wheel is a must. It just seems like it would be to much fun and provide great skills you couldnt get other wise.
I started my career as an instructor on Merrill Field in Anchorage. It isn't easy being an instructor in AK. The wages are not very high and there are few students. The cost of living in Anchorage is punishing. I had to work several jobs in order to get through. It took a long time before I was able to move on to flying in the bush.


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Old 12-06-2008, 11:53 AM   #24  
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Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
A beautiful video someone put on Youtube.YouTube - 1990 - Alaska Twin Otter Flying
Excellent video! It makes me miss my youth. I flew Twotters for Ryan and Cape Smythe including on skis. It wasn't a very good ski airplane.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:07 PM   #25  
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Yeah, I really like that video. Like how he included the people out at the places he flew to. Hey, nhm- here's a link to Everts' employment page. Looking for a mechanic's helper in Anchorage according to this. Also, in case you did not know, the University of Alaska offers an aviation maintenance program along with flight stuff. Maybe cheaper to live in a dorm while checking out AK?
Everts-http://www.evertsair.com/Employment.htm
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:46 PM   #26  
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I agree with all of the above, but there's more to consider about flying up here than just the flying. As an instructor you won't make much(nothing new there), not enough to support a family on. Your spouse will have to work also.
You should also consider the fact, which can be considerable, of length of time away from your family. Most bush schedules are 2 weeks on 2 off or 20 days on 10 off.
I'm not trying to dissuade you in any way but I believe the more you know about the lifestyle up here the more you can prepare your family for it.
As some of the previous posters have already said, do your homework on prospective employers, many are good, but the bottom line is they are still in business to make a profit.
If you can afford it, bring your family up for a look see, preferably in the winter and not just to Anchorage. Alaska is an easy sell in the summertime.
There will always be airplanes to fly up here, so if it doesn't happen right away don't give up. Whatever you decide, I wish you and your family well.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:28 AM   #27  
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Default Alaska flying jobs

Seasonal Alaska flight operations are geared primarily to tourism. This includes scenic flights, bear viewing, sports fishing and hunting (guided and unguided). Not all operators are involved with hunting, on the other hand, some are geared strictly to hunting.

Many of them focus on scenic tours and sports fishing. Scenic tours go on year 'round, but really crank during the summer months. Sports fishing happens from May through September and even into October for some areas of Alaska. There are also lodges which operate their own airplanes and, for the most part, cater to wealthy people seeking unique and remote fishing and hunting opportunities.

Many places in Alaska are busiest during the winter months (especially Bethel) because they transport supplies, mail and people to and from town and between native villages and remote settlements. Many villages and settlements are totally dependent on airplanes for the transportation of groceries, mail, construction materials and passenger flights to and from hubs such as Anchorage, Fairbanks or Bethel, Ketchikan, Sitka or Juneau, from villages in the interior and along the Yukon River and in southeast or western Alaska.

Oil exploration and supplying oil-industry-related camps on the North Slope provide other major wintertime uses for airplanes. Wintertime North Slope flight operations are usually flown by experienced pilots flying turbine-powered aircraft in the winter darkness...much of the time on instruments.

Some Alaska flying-jobs are offered any time of the year. But most Alaska pilot job postings begin seasonally in late December, increase in January and peak in February/March. They begin to subside in April and slow down more in May. Most initial and recurrent training classes for Alaska flight operations regulated by FARs Part 135 (most of them) are finished by the end of May and some classes are held as early as mid-April. There are a few larger companies that hold initial training classes at other times of the year, but most operators have hired their seasonal pilots by the end of May. Nevertheless, some pilot jobs do become available any time of the year.

There are many different kinds of operators in Alaska. Some of them pay well, even have medical benefits, provide their pilots with scheduled days off, and have excellent maintenance. There are a few that even have retirement programs.

On the other hand there are a few operators who have their pilots doing menial grubby tasks between flights or during slow periods, have no scheduled days off, provide no medical insurance or any other benefits, get by minimally on maintenance, and generally act like they're doing you a favor to put you to work. And there is everything in between. So, as has been repeated a couple of times on this thread, try to find out as much as possible about any given Alaska flight operation before committing.

Flying for lodges can be fun or problematic and anything in between. Generally you don't accumulate nearly as much flight time flying for a lodge as you do flying regular air taxi. Most lodges who operate their own airplanes do so on floats and tend to hire high-time float pilots. Many of them pay well, up to $10,000 a month for the 3 and a half to 4 and a half month season. Lodge flying consists mainly of flying out in the morning with a few fishermen, hanging out all day guiding, cooking lunch, and flying back to the lodge for supper. Sometimes, lodge flying will include changing locations one or more times during the day, but this is the exception rather than the rule. An advantage to lodge flying is that they provide your food and lodging and sometimes at the end of the season, substantial tips from tip sharing. Some lodges have you eat with the guests, others relegate their employees to a back room eating situation and food that is more utility style than the gourmet meals being eaten by the paying guests.

Since the winter of 1975 I have flown wheels, skis and floats as a pilot for various Alaska flight operations from southeast Alaska to the Arctic Ocean. I flew mail, parts, supplies, construction materials, groceries, equipment and passengers on wheels and skis to remote Alaska locations, and on floats to commercial fishing vessels, to various destinations on lakes, rivers and saltwater locations. I flew as a pilot/guide for flyout fishing lodges, for licensed big-game hunting guides, for biologists who were radio-tracking polar bears, musk ox and other critters, for geologists installing earthquake monitoring instruments, for scientists to their research vessels, for coal and oil exploration personnel, salvage operations, medivacs, gold miners, explosives for mining companies etc. I flew 18 seasons as a fish spotter for commercial herring fishing all over Alaska from Sitka to Togiak and 12 seasons for commercial salmon fishing in Prince William Sound, and have flown all year 'round and seasonally for various Alaska Air Taxi operations over the years.

The experience you'll gain flying in Alaska is invaluable from a personal and professional standpoint. Alaska time is looked upon by many airlines with unreserved respect. Nevertheless, lots of pilots who start out in Alaska end up staying there for their whole flying career because it's fun, challenging, personally rewarding and adventurous.

Your time as a professional pilot in Alaska will give you more personal satisfaction than almost any other civilian flying job. Alaskan pilots provide unique and necessary services that generate heartfelt appreciation, respect and enduring friendships.

Skill, judgement and intuition all come into play daily in various combinations as you gain Alaska flying experience. The trade off between flying five and a half hours in a straight line at 40,000 feet or winding your way up a wilderness river or flying low through a range of high mountains, is all a matter of personal priority. Money is probably a big influence. Alaska bush pilots don't make as much money as the pilot who carries hundreds of people in turbo-jets or many tons of cargo in long straight lines over vast distances, but they exercise their many skills on a daily basis and have a lot more fun.

www.flyalaska.com

Last edited by Monguse; 12-11-2008 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:54 AM   #28  
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I was wondering if someone with more current experience could chime in with current Part 135 pay rates for western alaska? I worked for Hageland a few years ago and seemed to remember...

2500/month- Chicken
3500/month- Sled
4500/month- Caravan
5500/month- 406

These rates were based on 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off schedule.

Are these rates still good? Thanks, just curious as I'm getting laid off in the next month or so and am contemplating my options.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:08 AM   #29  
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Originally Posted by FlyAK View Post
2500/month- Chicken
3500/month- Sled
4500/month- Caravan
5500/month- 406

These rates were based on 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off schedule.
I know what a Sled is! What's a Chicken, 172?
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:52 AM   #30  
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Yeah, a play on "skyhawk" = chicken

no current pay rates out there though, huh?
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