The Price of Experience?

Published on December 17, 2013 by in Essays, Interviews

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Wreck

Times have changed in the skies above bush Alaska. As the culture changes, do experienced pilots need to conform? It’s a controversial question worth pondering.

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By definition, any flying job that was only held by 93 pilots is an oddball job. While there’s obviously nobody hiring pilots to fly the SR-71 “Blackbird” these days, we’ve found some great videos that will show you what you missed out on.

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Manoj Kari of Goma Air

What does it take to start an airline? Aidan found out in 2011 while helping train the pilots of Goma Air, a new small air taxi operator in Western Nepal. Before he returned to the U.S., he interviewed Goma Air’s Managing Director, Manoj Karki. This is our first exploration into the business side of oddball flying.

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Stan Churches

Stan Churches has arguably done it all in his flying career. He flew checks across the mountains of the southwest, hauled corporate executives around the world in jets, and helped save lives as an air ambulance pilot. These days he’s the Chief Pilot of Clearwater Air in Alaska, doing precision survey flying in a Commander 690 full of scientists. It’s interesting work, and you’ll hear all about it in this interview.

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Interview with a Military Contract Pilot

Published on September 15, 2013 by in Interviews

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Afghanistan Aerial

Have you ever wondered what it’s like flying for a military contractor in a war zone? In this transcription of an interview with an anonymous military contract pilot you’ll read about the hiring process, the living accommodations, the lifestyle, the work, and the risk. The opportunities are changing with the world’s political situation, and it’s definitely not a job for everyone. But if you know what you’re getting into, it’s interesting work that pays quite well.

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Plotting an Oddball Flying Career

It’s easy to find information on how to become an airline pilot. But what if your ultimate goal is a less traditional flying job? Aidan recently posed this question to his F/O and the second shift crew from Era Alaska in Nome. The result? Some good perspectives and advice, especially if you’re just starting your career in aviation.

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Interview: Vic Olsen

Published on July 27, 2013 by in Interviews

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Vic Olsen

Vic Olsen’s been flying in Western Alaska for almost 40 years. He’s a rare exception to the “Grouchy Bush Pilot Syndrome” that hits most pilots once they’ve been working in the bush for a long time. Put simply, he loves flying. Last summer Aidan finally sat down with Vic at Nome City Field to look back on his interesting career.

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Aidan finally interviews Corey Konik, the Bering Air helicopter pilot who played a role in the Mount Osborne rescue we covered back in May. While they talk briefly about the rescue, most of their conversation is about helicopters: learning to fly them, and making a living doing it. There’s lots of good advice for you if you’re considering a rotary wing career.

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In France, Aidan recently watched two of his climbing partners jump right off the mountain. It looked like so much fun he needed to know more! So that night, he sat down with Dylan to learn more about what’s happening at the intersection of climbing and aviation, as well as the job opportunities for paragliding instructors.

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In this first interview exclusively for Oddball Pilot members, Aidan talks to Brad Janssen, Flight Operations Manager for Digital Aerial Solutions. Brad has more than a decade of experience flying aerial surveys of all different types. It’s an interesting niche that combines flying with cutting edge technology. Intrigued? This interview will point you in the right direction.

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