I went up to Talkeetna, Alaska for the “Bush Pilot” course at Alaska Floats & Skis. It was a blast! I flew a total of 6 hours in 3 different PA-22/20 Pacers. 1 with “small” wheels, 1 with 31 inch tundra tires and 1 on floats.
I got plenty of low-level flying, 100′ agl along the Susitna river system. I learned how to locate and evaluate potential landing strips among the river gravel bars. And, I got to practice making some very short landings and take-offs from places I never previously would have dared attempt to land.
I also got to fly one on floats. I flew the float plane due to aircraft availability. I wanted to fly up into the mountains and no other aircraft was available. So, I got a chance to try my hand at a few takeoffs and landings on the water. I got to try water taxiing, step taxiing and step turns. My instructor let me fly the whole time, talking me through some of the finer points, but letting me do the flying. It seemed much easier than I imagined. Maybe I need to get my float rating!
Flying up the Ruth and Kahiltna glaciers was fantastic! I didn’t make it all the way up to the amphitheater on the Ruth due to weather. But, I did get as far as the mouth of the gorge. The view was simply amazing. To be piloting an aircraft into the Denali mountain range was one of the most memorable flying adventures ever. But, hopefully not a “once-in-a-lifetime” event for me.