Fly Around Alaska Flight School
May 15, 2023

Discover the Adventure: Getting Your Pilot’s License in Alaska

Are you ready to soar through the Alaskan skies and turn your dream of becoming a pilot into reality? Discover the specialized flight training programs offered by Fly Around Alaska, fulfill the flight time requirements in unique and challenging conditions, and embark on the thrilling adventure of bush flying. Get ready to spread your wings,…

Are you ready to take flight and embark on an extraordinary journey? Imagine soaring through the majestic Alaskan skies, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and crystal-clear lakes. 

If becoming a pilot has always been your dream, then Alaska is the perfect place to turn that dream into reality. In this blog post, we will explore the process of obtaining your pilot’s license in Alaska and the incredible opportunities that await you in the Last Frontier.

jd flying by the knick glacier

1. Fly Around Alaska: Specialized Flight Training Programs

When it comes to flight training in Alaska, Fly Around Alaska is a leading institution that offers specialized programs to help you become a skilled and confident pilot [1]. Our experienced instructors and reliable aircraft provide comprehensive training and support, ensuring you acquire the necessary skills to navigate Alaska’s unique flying conditions. Here’s what you can expect from our programs:

  • Off-Airport Training: Alaska’s vast wilderness and remote landing sites make off-airport training essential for aspiring pilots. Fly Around Alaska’s programs will teach you the skills to land and safely take off in challenging terrains.
  • Survival in the Bush: Alaska’s unpredictable weather and remote locations require pilots to be well-prepared for any situation. With Fly Around Alaska, you’ll receive training in survival techniques, ensuring you can confidently handle emergencies.
  • Comprehensive Instruction: From flight maneuvers to navigation, our instructors will guide you through every step of your training, helping you develop the skills necessary to become a safer and more proficient pilot.

2. Private Pilot Flight Training and Beyond

To obtain your pilot’s license in Alaska, you will typically begin with private pilot flight training [3]. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Private Pilot License: Your journey begins by completing flight training to obtain a private pilot license. This training typically takes a few months and involves learning to fly a single-engine airplane.
  • Instrument Rating: You’ll pursue an instrument rating after obtaining your private pilot license. This rating allows you to fly in clouds and inclement weather conditions, further expanding your capabilities as a pilot.
  • Commercial License: Obtaining a commercial pilot license is the next step if you wish to pursue an aviation career. This license allows you to fly for compensation or hire, opening up a world of professional opportunities.

3. Fulfilling Flight Time Requirements

Flight time requirements are an essential part of becoming a pilot. In Alaska, you’ll be able to accumulate flight hours in unique and challenging conditions. Here’s an overview of the flight time requirements you can expect:

  • Private Pilot License: To obtain a private pilot license, you must log at least 40 hours of flight time, including 20 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor and 10 hours of solo flight training [2]. This training must also include specific requirements such as cross-country and night flight training.
  • Flight Time Building: To enhance your skills and gain experience, you must log additional flight time beyond the minimum requirements. Exploring Alaska’s vast landscapes and diverse weather conditions will contribute to your growth as a pilot.
  • Specialized Training: Becoming a bush pilot requires additional training beyond the standard private pilot license. Fly Around Alaska’s off-airport training programs mentioned earlier will equip you with the skills needed to handle the challenges of bush flying.
  • Alaska’s Wilderness: Alaska is known for its vast wilderness, and bush pilots are vital in connecting remote communities, transporting supplies, and supporting various industries. As a bush pilot, you’ll have the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most breathtaking and untouched landscapes.
  • Adventure and Independence: Bush flying offers a unique sense of adventure and independence. It allows you to escape the constraints of traditional airports and experience the thrill of landing in remote locations where few have ventured before.
  • Advanced Ratings: Additional flight time requirements will apply if you decide to pursue advanced ratings, such as an instrument rating or a commercial license. These ratings allow you to expand your capabilities and pursue various aviation opportunities.
jd flying over the knik

4. The Adventure of Bush Flying

When it comes to piloting in Alaska, one of the most exhilarating and adventurous paths you can take is becoming a bush pilot. Take @Crazysteve854 as an example— give him anything, and he’d have a pilot’s license and a bush plane!

Bush flying involves navigating and landing in remote and rugged areas. It’s a thrilling experience. Here’s what you need to know about the captivating world of bush flying:

  • Remote Wilderness: Alaska is known for its vast and untamed wilderness, with rugged terrains, towering mountains, and expansive forests. As a bush pilot, you’ll have the opportunity to explore these remote areas, reaching places inaccessible by traditional transportation. You’ll witness breathtaking natural beauty and experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Alaska up close.
  • Challenging Conditions: Bush flying presents pilots with various challenges due to the harsh and unpredictable Alaskan weather conditions. Strong winds, low visibility, and rapidly changing weather patterns are some obstacles you may encounter. Navigating these conditions requires exceptional flying skills, quick decision-making, and adaptability.
  • Short and Unpaved Strips: Unlike conventional airports with long runways, bush pilots often operate from short and unpaved airstrips. These landing areas can be located in tight spaces surrounded by trees, mountains, or bodies of water. Landing and taking off in such confined spaces demands precision and confidence in your piloting abilities.
  • Flight Planning and Navigation: Bush pilots must excel in flight planning and navigation skills. They must carefully plot their routes, considering terrain, weather, and available emergency landing sites. Navigation aids may be limited or nonexistent, making using maps, compasses, and visual landmarks crucial for successful flight operations.
  • Versatile Aircraft: Bush pilots often rely on versatile and rugged aircraft designed for off-airport operations. These aircraft possess short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, allowing them to maneuver in confined spaces. They are equipped with sturdy landing gear, powerful engines, and advanced avionics to handle the unique challenges of bush flying.
  • Adventure and Independence: For those with an adventurous spirit, bush flying offers a level of freedom and independence that is hard to match. As a bush pilot, you can explore remote regions, witness wildlife in their natural habitats, and provide vital services to communities that rely on aviation for transportation, supplies, and medical emergencies. Every flight is an adventure filled with new discoveries and the satisfaction of overcoming the wild and untamed Alaskan frontier.

Bush flying is a calling for those who seek thrilling experiences, love the outdoors, and have a deep passion for aviation. It’s an opportunity to combine your piloting skills with a sense of exploration, providing valuable services and experiencing Alaska in a truly unique way.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an extraordinary journey where the wilderness becomes your runway and the sky is your limit, consider the adventure of becoming a bush pilot in Alaska. It’s an experience that will test your abilities, broaden your horizons, and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Embarking on the journey to obtain your pilot’s license in Alaska is an adventure like no other. From the specialized flight training programs offered by Fly Around Alaska to the unique opportunities for bush flying, Alaska provides a perfect backdrop for aspiring pilots. Whether you’re pursuing a private pilot license or aiming for advanced ratings and a commercial license, Alaska’s diverse landscapes and challenging weather conditions will shape you into a skilled and confident aviator.

So, if you’ve always dreamed of taking to the skies and exploring the wild beauty of Alaska from a pilot’s perspective, there’s no better time to start your journey. Begin your flight training, log those flight hours, and watch as your dream of becoming a licensed pilot comes true against the backdrop of Alaska’s stunning scenery.

Get ready to spread your wings, embrace the thrill of flight, and discover the freedom and wonder of being a pilot in the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska!

Contact us today to learn more!


Fly Around Alaska Flight School