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Many yet-to-be-filled 2016 Alaska flying jobs have been posted on the membership section of my website with new job postings every day. Employers are getting more of a jump on hiring earlier than they have in previous years, probably due to more of a shortage of qualified pilots now than in the past.

Alaska bush pilots are essential

for transporting people, supplies and equipment throughout the state. Most of Alaska is accessible by air, but not by road. Bush planes operate from the northern most shorelines of the Alaskan arctic, to the southern most boundaries of the Alaska panhandle, west to the tip of the Aleutian Chain and east into Canada. Alaska is huge.

Even big multi-engine airplanes land on remote frozen lakes

in the dead of winter to deliver all of the construction materials needed to build a large wilderness home. Single-engine Alaska seaplanes or airplanes on wheels, or skis can land on ridge tops, glaciers, rivers, lakes, river bars or ocean beaches, miles from civilization for any kind of Alaska wilderness adventure...hunting, fishing, prospecting, rafting, hiking, snow boarding, photography, and much more. Helicopters provide access to otherwise inaccessible areas.

Launch an incredible wilderness adventure

Sea planes fly to remote lakes, rivers and salt water locations from southeast Alaska to the Arctic Ocean. Wheel planes can land you on remote beaches, ridge tops, even mountain tops, and gravel bars. Inexpensive scheduled flights fly to many communities in the state, delivering mail, supplies and transporting people. Scheduled flights by Alaska air carriers will deliver you inexpensively, to the right starting place for an incredible Alaska adventure. .

Alaska air travel is necessary for the most interesting and unique wilderness adventures Alaska has to offer.

Alaska bush pilots will fly you to some of the wildest, and most beautiful places on the planet where you can roam on remote pristine beaches, high-mountain glaciers (Mt. McKinley scenic air tours) or wilderness river shorelines. The possibilities are endless. The Alaska wilderness provides for a huge range of interests, budgets, and comfort levels.

Flight training in Alaska is fun and adventurous.

Any of several Alaska flight schools specialize in pilot training from student pilot through private, commercial, multi-engine, instrument and ATP certification. Tailwheel endorsements, float ratings, off-field flight, bush flying instruction and mountain flying courses are all available from a variety of flight schools in Alaska.

Regardless of what kind of an Alaskan adventure appeals to you or what kind of cargo you might want to have flown to a remote Alaskan location, Alaska aviation will provide the solution for almost any of your transportation needs. Alaska bush planes and helicopters can fly you into some of the most magnificent and awesome territory that America has to offer.

What's it like to fly floats in Alaska?

Flying Alaska is an exciting adventure. It'll put a keen edge on your skills and judgment. Alaska is a visual feast. Flying in Alaska gives you a feeling of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

You're going to land in the Kanektok River 35 miles upstream from its outlet at the Yupik Eskimo village of Quinhagak on the Bering Sea. The river is narrow, swift and shallow with rounded rocks along the bottom. There are short willows and spruce trees along both sides. There is a shallow vertical cutbank along the north side. The trees indicate a fairly strong and gusty cross wind from the southeast. The river flows west at this point. You know you'll be landing to the east, upstream into the current. This will allow you to beach the plane along the left side of the river where you'll do a quick scramble out of the airplane once it has stopped and the prop has quit turning. You'll grab the bow line, leap to shore and secure the line around a small spruce tree and then you'll load up the camp setup you'll be hauling over the Kilbuck mountains back to a lodge on the Nuyakuk River.

You make another circuit over your intended landing area looking for anything that might be a hazard to a successful approach, landing and beaching of the Beaver you're flying. As you look it over you realize that the river becomes much shallower to the west a bit down stream from the place where you plan to beach and tie up. You also observe that the river will be too narrow to turn around in when you taxi for takeoff. This means that you will have to taxi backward with power against the current using your water rudders as depth gauges. Once they start touching bottom, you will have to add power to stop and make that the point from which you'll start your takeoff run to the east up stream.

You're finally ready for your approach. At the surface you can see the gusty southeast wind causing irregular strong crosswind gusts over the trees so you elect to use a little less flap than you would for a normal landing. The approach is straight forward and is actually fun because you skillfully handle the gusts and the crosswind to a gentle touchdown on the river.

It takes more power than you anticipated to taxi against the swift current, but you come abeam the spot where you'll beach the plane, and slowly slide closer to the cutbank adjusting power to synchronize your speed with the river current. As you draw close, you see that it appears to shallow up smoothly along the edge just as it had looked on your overhead recon. You're pretty sure that you'll be able to stick it on that shallow ledge with sufficient friction to hold it there after you shut down the engine. This will make it easy to secure the plane with the bow line to the spruce tree.

It works just like you thought it would and you are able secure the airplane to the tree. You load up all the gear, tie it down with your cargo net and prepare to cast off into the river. You first do everything necessary to be able to start the airplane as quickly as possible once you scramble into the drivers seat. This might include one shot of primer, wobble pump the fuel pressure up to 5 lbs, crack the throttle, master and mags on. Now to untie the plane and push it into the current just far enough so that you can jump in, start up and easily motor to the middle of the river to begin your backward taxi down stream.

A few years later I was told of a really cool way to launch your slightly beached plane (left toe beached) into a river while sitting in the pilot seat when there is no one there to push you off. This a trick that has probably been passed down from pilot to pilot for decades You'd be facing upstream with the left front float beached. With the water rudders up, press full right, drop'em and press full hard left, pick'em up fast, full right, drop'em, full left and do it again and again. They act as paddles pulling the tails of the floats further into the current. After several repetitions, the current will catch the heels of the floats and launch the plane and away you go.

It all works quite well and with your water rudders down and your throttle adjusted for just enough power to allow about 1 kt backward against the 10 kt current, you proceed slowly backwards down the river, watching the bottom, doing your pre-takeoff checklist and feeling somewhat adrenalized with the impending takeoff which will involve getting up on the step and making a step turn to the left at the bend in the river up ahead with a possible quartering tail wind. As the river becomes increasingly shallow, you make minor throttle adjustments to slow yourself down to barely moving.

You hear the water rudders ticking the rocks along the river bottom and adjust your power to bring the plane to a dead stop. You set your flaps, adjust the trim, check the fuel tank selector valve handle, double check it again against the fuel quantity indicator gauges, raise the water rudders and you're ready to roll. You apply takeoff power and are soon up on the step and airborne before you ever get to the bend in the river. Must have been a stronger wind just then. Soon you're safely aloft over the Kagati/Pagati Lakes and climbing into the Kilbuck Range for your return flight.