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I had just finished delivering a Caravan to Zanzibar and found myself with time on my hands before the next plane was due. With the last days of fall drifting by and winter looming on the horizon, it seemed prudent to head down to the southwest and squeeze some end-of-the-year climbing in before the termination dust settled onto the mountains. After a few phone calls I loaded up the old Toyota truck and headed down to Moab, Utah.
Moab is home to great desert rock climbing and a myriad of other outdoor activities. Like many outdoor mecca’s, I always believed it had a dearth of employment opportunities for pilots.
After 17 hours of driving my theory was put to the test. Driving by the Canyonlands Airport (KCNY) I noticed several billboards advertising local air services. I filed the information away and continued driving to get some climbing in.
That week, winter arrived. With snow melting on the rock, and the sandstone getting softer under the steady drip-drip, I was looking for other entertainment. A research trip to the airport seemed like just the thing.
After wandering around the airport for an hour or so, two things were apparent. There were jobs here: 2 charter outfits and 2 skydiving companies. They all looked like they were were closed for the season. This fit my original thought that there wouldn’t be any full time flying work in the area. A little disappointed, I was just getting ready to drive back to my camp site when I stumbled upon a cozy office in the main terminal.
The office belonged to Redtail Aviation, and they were still open for business. Unfortunately the man I needed to talk to, Nick Lamoureux, had gone home for the day. So, with a business card in hand I jumped back into the truck.
Back in town I gave him a call to see what the deal was. It turned out he was a former Outward Bound Instructor and was good friend with one of the climbing guides who had trained me. He told me he had made the switch from guiding to flying after a trip into the Alaska Range with Paul Roderick, and loved his job with Redtail flying out of Moab.
The next day I sat down with Nick and Mark Francis, Redtail’s owner, to chat with them about flying at Redtail.
The impression I came away with was of a small tight group that was very enthusiastic about the work they did. The pay wasn’t great, about $2,000 a month during peak season, but the work sounded diverse and interesting: flying rafters and hikers into remote strips, delivering supplies to gold mines, a UPS contract, and (inevitably in a place as beautiful as the Utah desert), flying scenic tours.
It was also clear that they rewarded hard work, and were willing to find ways to make it year round for someone who was interested in doing more than just building time. Mark and Nick both seemed like easy people to work with.
Flying for Redtail won’t provide you with a big pay check and a fast track to the airlines. What the job does provide is interesting flying with really nice people, and a chance to live in a world-class outdoor sporting destination. If this sounds good, then Redtail might be a good fit for you.
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Cessna 207 Walkthrough Video
You can learn more about Redtail Aviation at redtailaviation.com.
Read about Mark’s motorcycle adventure to the tip of South America!
From the Web
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