Life as an Alaskan Bush Pilot - One of the Last Beautiful Frontiers
Posted on January 11 2017
For a summer I got to live Life as an Alaskan Bush Pilot, it truly is one of the last beautiful frontiers left in the world. Now I understand that not everyone can just go be a bush pilot on a whim nor should they, but this is about the Alaskan lifestyle and why you should go experience it.
A quick background; my background is not only business but I have several thousand hours as a professional pilot. From being an international airline pilot to teaching new students the basics of how to fly and being a pilot in the New York Air National Guard (I’ll talk more about this later, it’s a pretty sweet gig). That said, there was one thing that I always wanted to do in aviation and that was to get my seaplane rating and go fly in the Alaskan bush.
So there I was in my sophomore year of college and I had an opportunity to go up to Alaska, fly float planes and get credits for it (I know sounds pretty crazy). Several friends and I decided to split the cost and go together, we would fly commercial to Anchorage then rent a car and drive down to Seward, AK where we would stay. Seward is a small fishing village located about an hour south of Anchorage and it is absolutely beautiful. Waking up every morning with views of the port, the surrounding fjords, and the Harding Icefields were nothing short of breathtaking.
The flying itself would be flown out of Moose Pass, AK just to the north of Seward at Alaska Float Ratings/Scenic Mountain Air, a small flight school with 5 or so airplanes run by a very interesting guy by the name of Vern Kingsford. I can truly say, out of all of my thousands of hours in airplanes, these were some of the most rewarding. Having the chance to see all of the natural beauty Alaska has to offer from a bird’s eye view was absolutely epic! Also, landing on random lakes, parking on a beach, and throwing up a hammock to take in the view from the ground (similar to ours at OpenWorld, just not as refined) was outstanding.
Now as I said earlier, you do not have to be a pilot to experience all of this. Just get to Alaska and start exploring, SE Alaska is very accessible with a cheap rental car and you can see so much within hours of Anchorage. There are guided trips all over the region for relatively low cost. A few recommendations would be; the Homer Spit, where many of the boats from The Deadliest Catch are parked, the Homer Ice Fields, many glaciers, Mt. McKinley, and kayaking through the Kenai Peninsula. Also, if you can splurge a bit on something, talk to the guys at Scenic Mountain Air and get that bird’s eye view of the region that I was talking about.
I know it can be restrictive in price, but it can be done on a budget if you set some excess cash aside and it is truly the trip of a lifetime. All too often we forget that we do not have to travel to foreign countries to see the world and in the case of the US we have so much natural beauty available to us. With that said, until next time, get out and explore the world the way it is meant to be!