Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tips On Alaska Floatplane Flying

A life of adventure - doing what you love and getting paid for it – does this sound interesting to you? Maybe if you're thinking about a career change you should think about heading to Alaska to be a float plane pilot or a bush pilot.

At the very least it's an excellent summer vacation idea if you can't manage the career change right now. These pilots live lives that most of us will only dream of. Think of it this way if you have to justify the change to your significant other: when it's really hot and humid where you live during the summer you are pretty much guaranteed relief from the heat in the form of lower temperatures if you're in Alaska! That should definitely get you to at least the "I'll think about it" stage with them (if you're lucky).

Fast forward to what your life would be like in the winter. Imagine the adrenaline rush of flying over a glacier and then landing on an icy lake with skis on your plane. No brakes here…all you've got is your wits and some luck!

Are you looking for some more "subtle" adventure? You could fly charter flights the rest of the year into the wilderness and drop people off for a day of fishing, hiking, nature-watching or the like and then head back at the end of the day to pick them up and take them back to civilization. Talk about the ideal job for a pilot!

There are thousands of lakes in Alaska that you can land on, or if you prefer you can put your tundra tires to work and find a flat spot to land in the wilderness. Bust out "The Claw" and leave your plane to go do some exploring of your own! The cool thing about this particular tiedown is that it's not only super-portable but the more your plane pulls on it the deeper it pulls into the ground, keeping it safe from those renegade tornadoes that keep threatening to swoop your little investment away!

There is some sort of fancy mathematical equation for how "The Claw" works, and if you want to work it out you can go right ahead. For the rest of us, trust me, this contraption is very cool. It's easy to take with you because it breaks down and even has its own storage bag.

However, there are always two sides to every story…living in Alaska means that you probably aren't going to see most of your family as often as you'd like (or if it's the in-laws that might not be such a bad thing, right?) and every day in your plane isn't necessarily going to be idyllic.

If you have a job flying you are going to have to be out in all sorts of weather; much of it as far from ideal conditions as you can imagine. You'll have to have a lot of training and experience as well as the guts to keep going when you know that you really shouldn't. Not to mention that when you turn a hobby into a job you run the risk of losing the excitement and reward that you get out of it.

If you still are interested at this point and I haven't dissuaded you then probably you are going to make a go of it "by hook or by crook." Good for you!

Things that you will need for your trip:

1. Plane

2. Maps

3. Tiedown

4. Willing victim to tag along

5. Warm clothes

6. Camera

7. Floats (weather-permitting)

8. Skis (weather-permitting)

9. A guide who knows where the best places are to check out

Overall, the idea of spending time in Alaska with your family, (or just alone with your plane if you're that type of person) can be a reality for most anybody. All it takes is some research, a little bit of planning, and before you know it you're off on an adventure that will be well worth writing home about!

About The Author:

Sandra McKeever works for, an online retailer offering a huge selection of low-priced aviation parts and material by the top manufacturers in the industry. SkyGeek is based out of the Styles family's Sky Acres airport in upstate New York. Visit SkyGeek today at and view their products.