Bush Pilot Jobs in Alaska

Bush Pilot Jobs Alaska

Start your career as a pilot with this guide on bush pilot jobs in Alaska [Credit: CanvaPro]

Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Though landing in remote areas of the Pacific Northwest isn’t what most people think of when they think of a commercial pilot, bush pilots in Alaska can earn a very good living flying aircraft above the beautiful wilderness. 

There are many flight schools in Alaska and surrounding areas that train these specialty pilots, and VFR and IFR ratings and experience are essential tools. Most bush pilots fly taildraggers, and being experienced with floats is also a great way to get your name at the top of a potential-hirees list. 

If you meet the qualifications, Alaska is a great place to pursue a career as a bush pilot! Though there are many employers for bush pilots, most companies in Alaska are very small and only have a few pilots, thus it’s important to keep your search broad when looking to land one of these jobs.

Quicklook: Bush Pilot Company Jobs in Alaska

  • Rust’s Flying Service
  • Talkeetna Air Taxi
  • AirventuresAlaska
  • Alaska Bush: Float Plane Service
  • Seahawk Air
  • Kingfisher Aviation
  • Alaska West Air 
  • Aniak Air Guides

8 Bush Pilot Jobs in Alaska

If you like the thought of getting paid to fly and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, but don’t particularly like the thought of interacting with a lot of people, an Alaska bush pilot life may be the one for you! Here are 8 companies that offer bush pilot services in the US’s biggest state.

Rust’s Flying Service 

Rust is a trusted last name in the Anchorage aviation community, and it’s a primary go-to location where they use floats for landing. They offer sight-seeing tours centered around bears, but also have fly-in fishing options and a be-a-pilot-for-a-day option, too. And if the timing is right, they also do a chase-the-race flight during the Iditarod! The family-owned and -operated company boasts a slew of positive reviews from both customers and employees. 

Established: 1963 by retired Air Force Colonel and WWII vet Hank Rust


4525 Enstrom Cir. 

Anchorage, AK  99502

Contact Information: 

Website: https://www.flyrusts.com/

Employees: 15-20

Types of Jobs: 

  • Personnel Transfer
  • Specialized Trips
  • Float Pilots

Services Provided: 

  • Glacier Tours
  • Wildlife Tours
  • Bear Watching
    • Fly-in
    • Fly-out
  • Fly-in Fishing
  • Chase the Race
  • Iditarod Trips
  • Overnight Cabin Drop-Offs
  • Charter Flights

Revenue: $6 million per year

Google Rating: 4.5/5 stars with 1,159 reviews

Talkeetna Air Taxi 

The Glacier Landing Company specializes in just that: flying customers to many of Alaska’s breathtaking glaciers. Being able to perform soft takeoffs and landings is essential for these pilots, as a snowy runway is a lot more common than a paved one at these remote destinations, and their team of pilots has more combined glacier landing experience than any other company in the world. They also employ helicopter pilots!


  • Services: 1945
  • Incorporated: 1995

Location: 14212 E Second Street, PO Box 73, Talkeetna, AK 99676

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 733-2218
  • Email: info@talkeetnaair.com
  • For Pilot Job Inquiries: chiefpilot@talkeetnaair.com

Website: https://www.talkeetnaair.com/ 

Employees: 20

Types of Jobs: 

  • Personnel Transport
  • Helicopter Pilots

Services Provided: 

  • Flightseeing Primarily Glaciers
  • Climbing Destinations
  • Iditarod Tours
  • Helicopter Service

Revenue: $1.63 million

Google Rating: 5/5 stars with 2,800 reviews


This is more of an example of what else is available, but when it comes to “best,” these must be mentioned. There are many small 1-2 employee companies that occasionally need to add a pilot to their team, and an online job search for “Alaska Bush Pilot” is the best way to find these unique opportunities. 

This particular company caters to the outdoorsman, primarily, and runs bush flights to remote areas for fishing, hiking, camping, and even some more extreme activities in the winter, as many of these small businesses do. Based in Anchorage, it’s quite accessible and pilots can still enjoy a bustling town life between their flights if they so choose!

Established: Early 2000s

Location: 4101 Floatplane Dr, Anchorage, AK 99502

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 631-3377
  • Email: AirventuresAlaska@gmail.com

Website: https://airventuresalaska.com/ 

Employees: 2

Types of Jobs: 

  • Personnel Transport

Services Provided: These types of small companies that cater to the outdoorsy types tend to only provide personnel flight services to and from a given location, but some also rent out equipment for the adventures.

Google Rating: 5 stars with 4 reviews

Alaska Bush - Float Plane Service

With a company name like Alaska Bush, it would be hard to omit from this list! The company stands up to the name, too, and boasts many positive reviews from outdoorsmen to sightseers, as they offer quite a few different flight services.

These include highly rated tours of Denali National Park and charter flights to places only aircraft with floats can go. 

Established: 1998

Location: 28525 Talkeetna Spur Rd, Talkeetna, AK 99676

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 733-1693
  • Email: alaskafloatplane@me.com

Website: https://www.alaskafloatplane.com/ 


Types of Jobs: 

  • Float Plane Pilots
  • Tour Guides with CPLs

Services Provided: 

  • Charter Flights
  • Park Tours
  • Fly-in Fishing Trips
  • Fly-in Wildlife Hikes

Revenue: $375,000 

Google Rating: 4.5/5 stars with 63 reviews

Seahawk Air

With a focus on seeing the bears and beauty of the Kodiak Region, Seahawk air is a locally owned and operated seaplane charter service that also offers hunting and fishing packages, as well as charters to and from secluded lodging that can only be reached by seaplane. 

Established: 2,000

Location: 506 Trident Way, Kodiak, AK 99615

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 486-8282
  • Email: info@seahawkair.com

Website: https://www.seahawkair.com/ 

Employees: 5

Types of Jobs: 

  • Personnel Transport
  • Fishing Guides with CPL
  • Hunting Guides with CPL

Services Provided: 

  • Sightseeing
  • Bear Viewing
  • Hunting Trips
  • Fly-in Fishing
  • Lodging Charters

Revenue: $500,000

Google Rating: 5/5 stars with 140 reviews

Kingfisher Aviation

Kingfisher is another company that has a primary focus on bear viewing, but they also offer many floatplane services including a specialized waterfall tour that takes guests to see all that the Alaskan wilderness has to offer. 

Established: 1998

Location: 1829 Mill Bay Road, Kodiak, AK 99615

Contact Information: 

Website: https://www.kingfisheraviation.com/index.php

Employees: 3

Types of Jobs: 

  • Float Plane Pilots
  • Bear Experts

Services Provided: 

  • Charters
  • Float Plane Charters
  • Bear Viewing
  • Kodiak Sightseeing
  • Waterfall Tour

Revenue: $300,000

Google Rating: 5/5 stars with 170 reviews

Alaska West Air

Offering a slew of services and beautiful destinations, Alaska West is all about exploring and encourages their pilots to search for new places to impress their customers. In service for 40 years, Alaska West boasts praise from guests and employees alike and has a network of remote lodges they fly in and out of to provide true seclusion and escape from anything with a motor.

Established: 1981


45495 Citabria St, Nikiski, AK 99635

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 283-4292
  • Email: akwest@alaska.net

Website: https://www.alaskawestair.com/ 

Employees: 8

Types of Jobs:

  • Float Plane Pilots
  • Fishing Guides with CPLs

Services Provided: 

  • Charters
  • Float Plane Charters
  • Hunting Expeditions
  • Flightseeing
  • Fly-in Fishing
  • Bear Viewing

Revenue: $1.6 million

Google Rating: 4.5/5 stars with 86 reviews

Aniak Air Guides

Serving the Western part of Alaska, Aniak Air Guides provided guided services to secluded parts of the state. Pilots with Aniak should be prepared and willing to converse with their guests and have some experience with fishing, rafting, backpacking, or all of the above. Some similar Western Alaska companies will require the same but offer even more seclusion and rare sights than some of their Eastern counterparts. 

Established: 1995

Location: P.O. Box 93, Aniak, AK  99557

Contact Information: 

  • Phone Number: (907) 299-3503
  • Email: aniakairguides@yahoo.com

Website: https://www.aniakairguides.com/

Employees: 5

Types of Jobs: 

  • Float Pilots
  • Tour Guide Pilots

Services Provided: 

  • Charters
  • Float Plane Charters
  • Fly-in Fishing
  • Fly-in Rafting Trips
  • Flightseeing
  • Fly-in Guided Backpacking Trips
  • Fly-in Hunting

Revenue: $1 million

Google Rating: 5/5 Stars with 4 reviews

What Is a Bush Pilot?

A bush pilot is someone who has shown proficiency in being able to land and take off in areas without regular places to do so (like a runway). Many of these pilots, especially those in Alaska, are also trained to use floats (i.e., seaplanes), and many bush pilot destinations are unreachable otherwise.

What Does a Bush Pilot Do?

Bush pilots operate in remote areas that require special skills to fly in and out of. The term “bush pilot” doesn’t have a certain job attached, and these people fly transport flights, search and rescue missions, surveying and much more.

What Does It Take To Be a Bush Pilot?

Technically, a CPL is the only requirement to be a bush pilot, but anyone willing to hire a bush pilot with no experience without offering further education is probably not a company you’d want to work for. 

Logging hours in remote areas is the key metric. Especially in Alaska, a seaplane rating is almost a must for the majority of these jobs.

Time to Fly in Alaska?

Alaska Bush Pilots experience some of the most breathtaking views any U.S. pilot can take in, and also have plenty of unique opportunities, as far as commercial piloting goes. If you like the thought of flying for a living but you don’t want to deal with the urban lifestyle that accompanies so many commercial pilots, a career as a bush pilot may be just what you’re looking for! 

For more information on pilot careers, and everything else related to the skies, please consider subscribing to FLYING Magazine and our free newsletter. 



What Are They Called Bush Pilots?

The Canadian and Alaskan wilderness is often referred to as The Bush, and this is where these pilots get the name.

How Much Do You Make As a Bush Pilot?

Though it varies from job to job, a tour pilot in the Alaskan wilderness can earn 6 figures fairly easily, and owners of these companies (many of which are just pilots with a plane) can turn a million-dollar yearly revenue if the seasons and weather play ball.

How Much Is a Bush Pilot License?

There is not technically a bush pilot license, though the vast majority of companies will require you to have logged hours flying in the bush, or provide extensive training. Here’s an article from FLYING Magazine on how to become a bush pilot.

The World's Most Widely Read Aviation Magazine|🛩 🚁 ✈️ 🚀

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter