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Thread: 500 Hour TT Commercial Pilot: What it takes to fly in Alaska

  1. #1

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    500 Hour TT Commercial Pilot: What it takes to fly in Alaska

    Hello,

    My name is Chris and I am a commercial pilot from Spokane, WA. I am the proud owner of a 1948 Cessna 170 ragwing that I restored a few years back. After college, I worked for Boeing in Seattle as a project manager before finally deciding to change my career to full time aviation. I have 535 hours TT a commercial single, commercial multi, CFI, and CFII with about 350 hours of tailwheel, 56 hours of instrument (in the airplane), with my complex, and high performance endorsements. As I have recently learned, the best way to get a job in Alaska is to BE THERE! Emails, Applications, and phone calls do not compare to walking through the front door with a resume in hand and a story ready to be told.

    With this being said, I am coming to Anchorage this month to walk into as many doors as I can and to tell my story to whoever has the time (or the patience) to listen! I would LOVE to hear some advice from this forum on places I should visit or people to talk to. I am open to just about any kind of flying (135 SIC, VFR PIC, Cargo, Mail, Tour Pilot etc.)

    Here are some of the places that I have my application, cover letter etc. into already...

    1. Grant Aviation
    2. Ravn Connect (Haugeland Aviation)
    3. Alaska Central Express
    4. Wrangell Mountain Air
    5. Copper Valley Air Service

    With the research I've conducted so far, these are some of the only businesses that I've found that hire Pilots with 500 hours or less! Would love to hear other ideas

    Chris Hartis
    N2675V | KSFF

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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisN2675V View Post
    Hello,

    My name is Chris and I am a commercial pilot from Spokane, WA. I am the proud owner of a 1948 Cessna 170 ragwing that I restored a few years back. After college, I worked for Boeing in Seattle as a project manager before finally deciding to change my career to full time aviation. I have 535 hours TT a commercial single, commercial multi, CFI, and CFII with about 350 hours of tailwheel, 56 hours of instrument (in the airplane), with my complex, and high performance endorsements. As I have recently learned, the best way to get a job in Alaska is to BE THERE! Emails, Applications, and phone calls do not compare to walking through the front door with a resume in hand and a story ready to be told.

    With this being said, I am coming to Anchorage this month to walk into as many doors as I can and to tell my story to whoever has the time (or the patience) to listen! I would LOVE to hear some advice from this forum on places I should visit or people to talk to. I am open to just about any kind of flying (135 SIC, VFR PIC, Cargo, Mail, Tour Pilot etc.)

    Here are some of the places that I have my application, cover letter etc. into already...

    1. Grant Aviation
    2. Ravn Connect (Haugeland Aviation)
    3. Alaska Central Express
    4. Wrangell Mountain Air
    5. Copper Valley Air Service

    With the research I've conducted so far, these are some of the only businesses that I've found that hire Pilots with 500 hours or less! Would love to hear other ideas

    Chris Hartis
    N2675V | KSFF

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Are you flying your plane up? Shoot me a PM.
    Last edited by alaskadrifter; 02-12-2020 at 05:09 AM.
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  3. #3
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Chris, good luck on fulfilling your dream. Sounds like you have " the right stuff " and prepared yourself well. Lots of folks with connections on here so it's going to be fun following your future unfold.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  4. #4
    nanook's Avatar
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    Hageland for Mike’s last name, who originally started the company. What did you do at Boeing? Do you have other skills? 500+hr pilots don’t have strong selling points, if you had an A&P or engineering background? Watch out for the meat grinder effect down on the YK Delta. If the guy you are replacing died or lost their license, you might want to look elsewhere. You have the minimum hrs to get hired (maybe). You will start out flying a Cherokee or a 206/207. When you are up to 1500 and an ATP, you can do the copilot routine. Keep flying your plane and building hours/ experience. Get some Alaska time flying up here in the Spring/Summer. Good luck.��
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    gbflyer's Avatar
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    500 Hour TT Commercial Pilot: What it takes to fly in Alaska

    Young fellow I know with about the same time went directly to right seat in -8 or whatever that high wing twin turbine is that RAVN flies. He has an engineering degree, not sure if that helped.

    There is also AK Seaplanes in SE. They have lots of wheel planes and a real need for pilots. I’ve heard the pay is not equal to the operators you’re looking at but I don’t know that for a fact.

    This is a good time to be wanting a flying job. The air taxis are dying up here. They train guys and then they abandon ship for the regionals or air ambulance.
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  6. #6

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    Thank you Glenn. I've been my best to prepare! I'm constantly humbled with how helpful the pilot community is for one another. I look forward to helping the next guy once I have the ability to!

  7. #7

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    Nanook, I was a project manager at Boeing within the Global FleetCare team. My job was to assist start-up airlines with getting started. Typically they would lease 5-10 aircraft and I would manage bringing them online or the "Entry Into Service." This meant procuring parts, setting up MRO partnerships at all of their outstations and bases, as well as helping them develop all of their processes and procedures. It was an amazing experience, but 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week sitting at a desk just was not for me.

    Unfortunately, I do not have my A&P, but I can say that I completely restored my Cessna 170 from the ground up with some "guidance" from an IA and his approvals, of course. Rebuilt the Carb, Starter, Gascolator Overhaul, redid the panel and replaced all instruments and gauges, repainted the firewall and stripped all interior, overhauled the battery and modified the battery box, repainted and surfaced the springs on the tailwheel, these are just a few of the things I did on the 170.

    I understand that my hours are not the most competitive, but I'm going to do all that I can to get some experience up there this summer! Really appreciate the encouragement!

  8. #8

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    Gbflyer,

    I looked at AK Seaplanes! Unfortunately their minimum hour requirements are 1000+. I would love to fly floats one day, and i've been told that AK Seaplanes is a good place to start. I'm thankful that the market is in a good place for low time pilots like me!

  9. #9
    gbflyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisN2675V View Post
    Gbflyer,

    I looked at AK Seaplanes! Unfortunately their minimum hour requirements are 1000+. I would love to fly floats one day, and i've been told that AK Seaplanes is a good place to start. I'm thankful that the market is in a good place for low time pilots like me!
    Interesting. 1000 for wheels?? I could see it for floats. Some of those young fellers don’t have 1000 hours. No way.
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  10. #10

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    That's what I said! haha

  11. #11

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    Good luck in your pursuit! Off to an excellent start!

    A general question if I may ask...for the doors to open with 1,000 hours. Does it matter what you build your time in? Will they look at a guy with majority of that time in a cessna 150? Or is it the type of flying, such as ifr or cross country in a Piper Archer?
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  12. #12

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    In your position 50 years ago.. there was.a.pilot under every rock!.. go up there, find a good comp a ny doing the kinda flying you want, get acquainted, and hang around. You should be able to find some instructing. They will notice you before long!
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  13. #13

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    Chris,
    I was also in your position 37 yrs. ago. It was a tough market with pilots everywhere. I was working as a Dock Boy at Lake Hood and got to know the pilots that were working at that Air Taxi. The next year I was flying for them. Like Don d said "get acquainted and hang around." Come back again later in the spring and hang around as much as you can.
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  14. #14
    Paul Persinger Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisN2675V View Post
    Hello,

    My name is Chris and I am a commercial pilot from Spokane, WA. I am the proud owner of a 1948 Cessna 170 ragwing that I restored a few years back. After college, I worked for Boeing in Seattle as a project manager before finally deciding to change my career to full time aviation. I have 535 hours TT a commercial single, commercial multi, CFI, and CFII with about 350 hours of tailwheel, 56 hours of instrument (in the airplane), with my complex, and high performance endorsements. As I have recently learned, the best way to get a job in Alaska is to BE THERE! Emails, Applications, and phone calls do not compare to walking through the front door with a resume in hand and a story ready to be told.

    With this being said, I am coming to Anchorage this month to walk into as many doors as I can and to tell my story to whoever has the time (or the patience) to listen! I would LOVE to hear some advice from this forum on places I should visit or people to talk to. I am open to just about any kind of flying (135 SIC, VFR PIC, Cargo, Mail, Tour Pilot etc.)

    Here are some of the places that I have my application, cover letter etc. into already...

    1. Grant Aviation
    2. Ravn Connect (Haugeland Aviation)
    3. Alaska Central Express
    4. Wrangell Mountain Air
    5. Copper Valley Air Service

    With the research I've conducted so far, these are some of the only businesses that I've found that hire Pilots with 500 hours or less! Would love to hear other ideas

    Chris Hartis
    N2675V | KSFF

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Chris and Betsie.jpg 
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ID:	46960
    Get more copies of your resume' in hand and get up to Anchorage this month. Go into every office for the places you've applied and hand them a fresh copy and a handshake. Put a face and a good attitude with that piece of paper. Let them know you're ready to go to work. Hageland is the 135 side of Ravn, I'd think you'd have a great chance of getting on there. Being here is everything!

    Generally ground school classes start in March so don't waste any time. And they will fill last minute too so don't give up!
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  15. #15
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Most has been said, but a couple of things I will add:

    In todays market, pilots and mechanics are hard to find. Even harder to find are ones that will be around for more than the time it takes to get the call from the big airlines.

    Don't ever give up. They might say 1,000, but many of the ASS guys come in as 500-700 hour wonders. Be polite, introduce yourself and give everyone a resume. Also ask them when a good time to check back would be.

    Bering Air, (https://www.beringair.com), Everetts Air, Smokey Bay, and another Homer place, and some flight schools are looking and have room for lower time guys I hear. Spernak on Merril seems to use lower time guys.

    Fly your plane up here, and keep checking with companies. Quite often situations change and they need someone NOW! The guy here can start today, so gets the job.

    That first job is the killer. Time is time to a point. 150, 170... at some point it is more how you present yourself and can fly... learn to fly the plane without gizmos. Being on time, and willing to help load and unload, and all the dirty jobs, is a big selling point.

    Another thought is to ask if they have an Indoc. class coming, and if you can sit in it. May not get you the job, but it is a toe in the door. Also, the more you can expose yourself to the regs and procedures the better you will adapt when the time comes.

    Best of Luck to you!! If you fly up stop on by!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  16. #16
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    not sure this applies, but probably good to talk with them....

    https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Ra...508779741.html

  17. #17

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    Don and Narrow Deck, could not agree more. Trying to move up there as soon as I can!

    Paul, this is my plan for next week! I plan to walk through each of those doors. Heard lots of good things about Ravn.

    AKTango, Thank you for mentioning these companies! I'll definitely check into these companies before I arrive next week. Also, GREAT idea on asking to sit in with the indoc class. My attitude with the jobs that advertise that they want 1000 hours minimum is just this... "the worst thing that they can say is no!"

    Seriously guys, really appreciate everyone who has taken time and effort to post on this thread!

    Chris

  18. #18

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    Don’t downplay your Boeing background. All these companies need logistics support folks as much as pilots and mechanics. Even if you get a desk job in AK, you are one step closer. That would let you build AK time while still working and you are there when one of those calls come in saying they need someone now.


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  19. #19
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Don’t downplay your Boeing background. All these companies need logistics support folks as much as pilots and mechanics. Even if you get a desk job in AK, you are one step closer. That would let you build AK time while still working and you are there when one of those calls come in saying they need someone now.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Actually, right now two or three companies are looking for crew scheduling type folks up here.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  20. #20

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    Honestly, there are enough companies up here that need pilots don’t settle for a non flying job. It would be better to use your CFI than take a non flying job.
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  21. #21

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    DGApilot, aktango, and Drifter,

    Appreciate the advice! I think more will become clear once I get to Anchorage next week! I'll definitely write a post once my trip is complete.

    Thank you again,

    Chris

  22. #22

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    Chris,We were all in your shoes at some point. However, you're in an industry that needs pilots in a bad way. A lot of guys wanting to go 1500 and jump on with regionals to get to fly the big planes. If you have a skill set for tailwheel and off airport work youre a really coveted person. Yes 500TT is low but smokey bay and homer and possibly island air at kodiak is 600TT I think i'm not positive. A float rating and another couple hundred hours and you could be really marketable...PM me with any more questions. I fly for NPS in Alaska full time beaver, 185, top cubs and some others in our fleet. Floats, wheels and skis all year long federal job 1500 TT is the mins for that.

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