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Old 08-23-2017, 01:07 PM   #81  
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Where did you go from AK?
I went to New Mexico and flew air ambulance for a number of years.

I have been going back to Alaska for summers, except due to other commitments I missed this summer.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:07 PM   #82  
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Culture shock is very real. The quicker you can accept the native life style the better.

As for flying, I went from flight instructing to bush flying. Another culture shock. I used to teach people to not fly under a 3000 agl ceiling (mountainous area) to flying in 500 and a mile. Weather checking was pretty much non existent when I started in Alaska. Now just get on the computer and check weather at the villages by looking at weather cameras.

You will be expected to fuel your plane, clean it (when someone barfs), call passengers, check weather, do W&B (easy on a 207) and load/unload baggage/freight. If I remember right I could get 23 triple mailers on a 207. Pepsi was the favored soft drink in most of the villages.


Uniforms are... sorry, that part makes me laugh. You will wear boots and Carhartts. In the winter you will fly wearing a parka and bunny boots. You will get used to flying with insulated gloves. After a week you and your clothes will smell like Muktuk. You will become accustomed to the smells of the natives, seal oil and dried fish. In fact the time will come when you will know where a person is from by the smell.

Company housing is usually sub standard. Unless you and possibly another procure your own housing. Everyone fries their food and no one cleans. Beds will be shared, that is when you leave for days off someone else takes over your bed. I wore flip flops in the shower. I had better living conditions in the army.

As for flying, you will learn to fly with 3 miles or less visibility. Also with minimum fuel so you can carry more revenue. Light ice happens at times. You will fly more special VFR in one year than most everyone does in a lifetime. And Bethel SVFR can be a real dog fight at times. But man, when the skies are clear the flying is awesome..!!!

Other than that, unless you are a total princess you will do fine.

Man I miss bush flying....

Where do I sign-up! Very intriguing post. Thank you for your insight!

Bill
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:28 PM   #83  
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Interesting. Mind PM'ing details?
I'd love to hear more about this too.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:17 PM   #84  
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Where do I sign-up! Very intriguing post. Thank you for your insight!

Bill
Watch for ads around February for seasonal pilots in Alaska. I've been going there for the last 6 yrs. Pay has come up substantially in that time too. You'll often start as a seasonal and move to year round if you want. I like warmer winters than in Alaska. And as another poster said, you'll learn to fly in 500 and 2 and love it.
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:13 PM   #85  
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Watch for ads around February for seasonal pilots in Alaska. I've been going there for the last 6 yrs. Pay has come up substantially in that time too. You'll often start as a seasonal and move to year round if you want. I like warmer winters than in Alaska. And as another poster said, you'll learn to fly in 500 and 2 and love it.
Thanks for the advice Sanguy. I'm probably at least 2 years out. Just starting IFR and building hours towards commercial. Hoping to land in Alaska from Wisconsin with a wet CPL and start a different career for myself once I have the IFR and CPL. Thinking about part 135 places like Grant, Hageland, Ryan, etc. Currently in Law Enforcement and looking for a change, just as many others are. The LE job has just become too corrosive for my liking and looking for a change. No desire to fly the heavy metal...at 42 I'm not sure I have the stamina for that type of career progression and I applaud you young guys who do all all the BS it takes to get there. Go for it! Me, I'm just looking to fly, experience new adventures, and get paid to do it. The only thing is the standard of living I've built for myself and I just cringe at the paycut of starting over. I've been fortunate enough to pay for all of my training and flight time with just my yearly overtime. If I could make $75 to $90,000 somewhere after a handful of years flying with them I'd be happy. It may just be a pipedream but I love flying and it will still be fun trying to get there, even if it doesn't happen.

A LOT of good insight on this forum and I think a lot of us not very familiar with aviation as a career really appreciate it!

Best Regards,
Bill
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:13 PM   #86  
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Thanks for the advice Sanguy. I'm probably at least 2 years out. Just starting IFR and building hours towards commercial. Hoping to land in Alaska from Wisconsin with a wet CPL and start a different career for myself once I have the IFR and CPL. Thinking about part 135 places like Grant, Hageland, Ryan, etc. Currently in Law Enforcement and looking for a change, just as many others are. The LE job has just become too corrosive for my liking and looking for a change. No desire to fly the heavy metal...at 42 I'm not sure I have the stamina for that type of career progression and I applaud you young guys who do all all the BS it takes to get there. Go for it! Me, I'm just looking to fly, experience new adventures, and get paid to do it. The only thing is the standard of living I've built for myself and I just cringe at the paycut of starting over. I've been fortunate enough to pay for all of my training and flight time with just my yearly overtime. If I could make $75 to $90,000 somewhere after a handful of years flying with them I'd be happy. It may just be a pipedream but I love flying and it will still be fun trying to get there, even if it doesn't happen.

A LOT of good insight on this forum and I think a lot of us not very familiar with aviation as a career really appreciate it!

Best Regards,
Bill
Have you checked LE jobs in Alaska? A flying cop is useful in the bush.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:05 PM   #87  
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..at 42 I'm not sure I have the stamina for that type of career progression
Just so you know, I'm more than a few years older than you. I'm a mid-life career changer who, like you, wanted to fly. So I did. I got my PPL at 17 yrs old, but had a career in construction. My only commercial pilot experience was as a CFI, but I had nearly 2000 hrs. So I started sending resumes and got picked up by a now-defunct 135 in AK. But that one summer in AK made me hireable for many other 135 jobs in AK and the L48. I've flown part 135 both places.

As for the money, although I only work summers in AK, on an annualized basis, I earn about $100k yr. So the money is there too, especially if you want to fly through the winter. I'm fine being a seasonal pilot in AK and doing CFI work in SoCal in the winter.

So if you want it, get the ratings and 500 hrs. There are VFR jobs available in AK at that experience level. Hope this helps. Good luck what ever you decide.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:52 PM   #88  
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Pay raise? - there are rumors management is working on revamping Grant's payscale. When you are comparing the pay between Hageland and Grant, make sure you account for the $94 daily perdiem you get at Grant. That reduces your tax burden considerably.

Housing? The dump house is still substandard in my opinion, but mostly because the pilots who live there like it that way and don't clean up after themselves. There are several other company houses that are quite nice. The other main pilot house was recently renovated and has stainless appliances and everything is pretty new inside. All the houses have free internet and TV. Also housing is free, I think Hageland charges a little bit of rent.

The flying in Bethel is a blast, a pilot with good decision making skills and reasonable personal minimums who doesn't push the weather too much will do just fine.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:06 PM   #89  
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Thanks for the advice Sanguy. I'm probably at least 2 years out. Just starting IFR and building hours towards commercial. Hoping to land in Alaska from Wisconsin with a wet CPL and start a different career for myself once I have the IFR and CPL. Thinking about part 135 places like Grant, Hageland, Ryan, etc. Currently in Law Enforcement and looking for a change, just as many others are. The LE job has just become too corrosive for my liking and looking for a change. No desire to fly the heavy metal...at 42 I'm not sure I have the stamina for that type of career progression and I applaud you young guys who do all all the BS it takes to get there. Go for it! Me, I'm just looking to fly, experience new adventures, and get paid to do it. The only thing is the standard of living I've built for myself and I just cringe at the paycut of starting over. I've been fortunate enough to pay for all of my training and flight time with just my yearly overtime. If I could make $75 to $90,000 somewhere after a handful of years flying with them I'd be happy. It may just be a pipedream but I love flying and it will still be fun trying to get there, even if it doesn't happen.

A LOT of good insight on this forum and I think a lot of us not very familiar with aviation as a career really appreciate it!

Best Regards,
Bill
You could make $75-$95k flying for Grant after a few years quite easily. Kinda crazy because 135 pilots up in Alaska can make more than pilots at most 121 regionals and some 121 majors. If you started in the Airvan or 207 you would make approx $4400 your first month and that is if you sat and didn't fly for the entire two weeks. Bonus is you get two weeks off every month. Flying out in Western AK is very different flying but for the right pilot it can be amazing. It is hard work. You have to load and unload your plane, fuel your plane, clean your plane and sometimes even manage the station. The actual flying can be pretty challenging too so know your limits.

The 207 and GA8 are VFR planes so you don't need the IFR 135 mins until you get put in the 208 or the Ho.

Depending on where you are the living conditions aren't spectacular but I like to think of it like a pilot frat house. DO NOT expect the Ritz Carlton, or even the Holiday Inn (or even Motel 6 for that matter). That being said, I have seen much worse places! Have not heard any stories of bed bugs yet.

Food out in the bush is expensive so a lot of pilots bring a cooler with full of food from home so that they don't need to go to the grocery store in Bethel and spend $15 for a gallon of milk.
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Old 09-05-2017, 03:54 AM   #90  
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Do Grant airplanes have GPS?

Do pilots use paper approach plates, or plates on iPads?

Does a person need to have a car in Bethel?

Is there wifi in Bethel?

What is a typical day like? Fly from sunup to sundown?

What is the initial training and IOE like at Grant?

Last edited by PT6 Flyer; 09-05-2017 at 04:36 AM.
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