Thank you Doug


New Member
Just wanted to give a quick shout out and thanks to Doug for this site, along with the many posters who encouraged my career change. About a year ago I finally made the committment to get back into flying after getting laid off from my tech job. At 30, I was a little freaked out about making the change. I attended FSI which was a great experience, then came north to Alaska for my CFI/II. I just started instructing here in AK, and my schedule is filling up quickly. I look forward to building 100+ hrs/month by next spring, and moving on to a regional up here as soon as possible.

During my first paid flight hours, I watched the sun come up over the mountains, and Mt. McKinley was glowing a majestic pink. Although I did rack up some debt to get my training, I knew I made the right move as I admired the view from my new 'office.'

Thanks a ton Doug! Don't know what I would have done without the support and encouragement.

Thank Kristie! She tolerates me spending hours and hours on the website!
"Mt. McKinley"?!? Only the tourists call it that, bro. Locals call it by its Innuit name, Denali.
What kind of planes are you flying in Alaska? What's it like flying there? It's gotta be cold. A month in Alaska and I'd probably never complain about the heat in phoenix again!
It is not too bad so far - warmer than usual. I grew up in wisconsin so I know I can handle the cold. Use your carb heat! I'll take alaskan chill over AZ heat any day of the week, of course I grew up in it.

Yeah, I know it's called Denali, but I've only been here 4 months. Until I'm a sourdough I don't think I'm considered a local. Not sure if anyone in the lower 48 would know what I was talking about if I called it Denali.

Thanks Kristie!
I did my SES rating up in Moose Pass this summer and loved it. Will the low daylight hours affect your instructing in winter? Also, does the pay enable you to rent an apartment? Are you flying out of Merrill Field? I loved Alaska and would love to fly there. Currently working on my tailwheel endorsement. Hope all is well.


Yeah, I know it's called Denali, but I've only been here 4 months. Until I'm a sourdough I don't think I'm considered a local. Not sure if anyone in the lower 48 would know what I was talking about if I called it Denali.

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Have no idea if this is true or not, but someone up here told me that Cheechako comes from the gold rush days, when thousands came from the lower 48 to pursue their dreams of striking it rich. Apparently, a large number were from the Chicago area. When natives tried to pronounce Chicago, it came out Cheechako.

Yep Louie I fly out of Merrill. I'm sure Nov./Dec. will be somewhat slow due to daylight/wx, but it's the hours in spring/summer/fall that I came up here for. Actually one guy here logged over 100 hrs in February because the wx cooperated. In my mind, flying in AK is ideal b/c it offers some of the most challenging flying conditions anywhere, and there is lots of it! I just got my cfi/ii, and I plan to be rolling into a regional next fall, assuming all goes well. I wait tables on the side for extra cash, and do just fine, even making my hefty student loan payment. If you don't mind working hard, the opportunites are here.
I used to fly for Lake Clark Air- They've got a couple 207s, a Bonanza, a couple Chieftains. I'm sure you've seen them. We go up every summer. I sure miss the flying up there. Lots of fun. In fact just last Aug. the owner of Lake Clark Air had me fly a load of cargo out in the 207- just like old times!
Chris - Awesome pics on the website! I love the Lake Clark area. A couple years back we backpacked from upper Tazimina to Kontrashabuna and back, then rafted down to the lower Taz. It was incredible. Hope to do some flying over there next summer. What are the hiring mins at Lake Clark Air?

I really don't know. I got a job as a full time A&P and did flying part time. I knew some people there so I got hired with just over the VFR mins of 500TT!!

WOW! Upper Taz to Kontrash! That's quite a hike! Did you go up and over "holy mt." or through the notch on the south side? I used to fly through that notch on my way to Pedro Bay.
That hike was a doozy. More alderbrush than I care to remember. I'd have to take a look at my topos, but as I recall we veered to the east as we came up from Taz, up over the mtn on the east side of that valley (don't recall the name of it). Saw the biggest black bear I've ever seen up there.
Ha!! Chris, I understod ya the first time....

And I believe that Denali is an Atathpascan name, not Inuit.

Anyways, I'm stuck travelling the country on a bus right now until May, but after that I'm planning on heading north. I've tossed a few emails back and forth with the head CFI at Take Flight in Anchorage, and it seems like a good place for me. I try to keep track of various happenings up there and just last week Northern Air Cargo was looking for some rampers. If I would have been there I would've jumped at it, but oh well...

Any thoughts are always welcome.....

CJ - Take Flight is where I did my CFI/II and where I now work. I can answer any questions you might have. There are always ramp jobs open up here. Take flight is a good place to work, good planes and lots o' students.
Well, I've had a bunch of people givign me advice already, but I guess every bit helps! The only thing that I'm not so sure about every now and then are the winters, but as everyone tells me you just have to dress for it! Oh well, I'm sure this Florida boy will learn soon enough.