Bush Pilot Training

Alaskan Traditions

Our tailwheel flight training dives deep into the art of bush flying. Guided by Alaskan traditions and techniques, we focus on the essential knowledge and skills required to safely land on natural features such as gravel bars, beaches, glaciers, and tundra.

Emphasis is on a fly-by-feel, eyes-out-the-window approach that teaches pilots how to rely on their observations, instincts, and experience. We use instructional tools such as slow-motion video, spot landing practice, natural feature assessment, and short sessions for focused learning.

What you’ll learn

We offer specialized bush training in student-provided aircraft focusing on off-airport and Alaska bush flying operations. You’ll develop skills to operate safely in demanding off-airport environments. The goal is to increase knowledge and improve consistency through individualized instruction, direct experience, and post-flight analysis.

Customized courses are available to accommodate student interest and experience.

Sharpen your skills

We are mission-driven to help true wilderness aviators explore new territory while mitigating risk.

Course sessions focus on incremental training that will help advance your off-airport proficiency and build confidence. Our courses include ground instruction and debriefing, course materials, and a training plan.

On-Airport Training

Bush Pilot Ground School

BGO1

This course provides an introduction and overview of important topics related to bush flying in Alaska with emphasis tailored to each student’s interest and experience level. It is meant for both pilots and passengers. Gain valuable insights and expand knowledge for conducting safe bush flight operations in Alaska. Prepare to fly your airplane to Alaska.

Introduction to Bush Flying

BFO1

REQUIRED: Student-provided aircraft

Introduce and practice critical skills including airspeed control, spot landings, and hazard awareness. Record takeoff and landing data. Before flying in the mountains or maneuvering low-level on the river, establish a baseline of proficiency and aircraft performance on a grass runway in a rural airport environment.

Bush Flying Basic Methods

BFO2

REQUIRED: Student-provided aircraft.

Prepare for off-airport operations. Practice safe, low-level maneuvering flight. Learn to assess natural features and off-airport landing sites. Apply non-standard pattern plans and approach strategies. Practice aerial airstrip measuring. Perform consistent spot landings. Minimize landing roll and takeoff distances. Practice wheel landings, tail-up braking, dynamic use of power, and bounce recovery.

Off-Airport Training

Gravel Bar Ops – Dual

GBO1

PREREQUISITE: BF02 or proficiency check
REQUIRED: Student-provided aircraft

Learn low-level river flying and gravel bar assessment skills through dual flight training. Continue developing skills and knowledge through ground instruction and flying in an off-airport environment in the student’s airplane.

Gravel Bar Ops – Flight of Two

GBO2

PREREQUISITE: GB01 or proficiency check
REQUIRED: Student-provided aircraft

Solo gravel bar landings, video recording of landings and takeoffs. Explore new areas. Continue developing skills and learn new techniques through practice in the off-airport environment. Flight of two.

Logistics

Our primary training locations are northwest Washington and southcentral Alaska.

Training is conducted at Mears Field (3W5), a rural airport in Concrete, Washington. Only 95 miles northeast of Seattle, the airport is surrounded by emerald forests, rugged peaks, and glaciers. The nearby North Cascades are ideal for mountain flying missions, and the Skagit River offers 50 miles of the best gravel bar training found anywhere in the Lower 48. This environment offers a real-world training experience for aviators with off-airport interest and Alaska bush flying aspirations.

Services Available at 3W5

Airport services include a heated pilot lounge with bathrooms, showers, a kitchen, Wifi, and free camping. Self-serve 100LL is available on the field. Restaurants and a grocery store are within walking distance of the airport.

Scheduling

Training courses are offered April 20 – June 30 and September 20 – October 31.

Cancellation & Refunds

All deposits are non-refundable. Cancellations due to weather (excluding ground instruction) may be rescheduled.

What if the weather is not flyable?

If you’re unable to fly your plane to 3W5 due to weather, you can fly commercially, rent a car, and we’ll proceed with ground-based training at a reduced cost. Or, you have the option to reschedule.

What’s Not Included

FAA required training toward a certificate, tailwheel or other endorsements, or BFRs, or aircraft rental. The instructor is an experienced bush pilot and educator, but not a CFI. Lodging, food, and transportation are also not included. 

PRICING

BG01 - Bush Pilot Ground School

$ 850

6 hours.

BF01 - Introduction to Bush Flying

$ 950

8 hours. Includes media and a training plan.

BF02 - Bush Flying Basic Methods

$ 950

8 hours. Includes media and a training plan.

GB01 - Gravel Bar Ops – Dual

$ 1100

8 hours. Includes up to two hours of flying (dual).

GB02 - Gravel Bar Ops: Flight of Two

$ 1,700

8 hours. Includes up to two hours of flying (flight of two).

Ready for a higher education?

Our Spring 2024 schedule is full. Check back here for future updates.