I have been flying floats for 4 seasons now and for the past 2 seasons, have been on flying the DHC2F DeHavilland Beaver in Northwestern Ontario. Our business focuses on flying passengers for different lodges as well as our own guests to our own outposts, government officials, and passenger or cargo charters to the various northern communities.
On a typical weekday, the mornings would be consumed with charters for our guests and other lodges and this could usually continue until the afternoon. When all of this flying is done, we usually follow up with campchecks in the next few days to ensure that our camps are all properly maintained and that our guests are happy and well-fed (with beer)! Weekends are very busy with a lot of flying from sun up to sun down. During the slower times, we do maintenance work on our camps; rest assured that work never really ends up in the bush!
Like any job, flying floats in a Beaver has its advantages and disadvantages. When the weather is good, you feel like you have the best job in the world. What better view than to see the sun rise or to watch the leaves change colour in the fall. Or the priviledge to fly one of the world's greatest floatplanes and hear that P&W Rotary Engine roar. Bush flying also appeals to those who enjoys the outdoors and nature in particular. Another aspect I enjoyed was the opportunity to meet different walks of life and to see explore how people live up North.
It's when the weather is ugly and windy that you have to pay special attention to yourself, your own aircraft, and the other aircraft in the area around you. Coming in to a strange place takes careful planning as well, especially in low visibility conditions with a couple of 14 Foot Lund Canoes as external loads. This is real hands-on flying and the experience gained here is invaluable. Just like an old bush pilot I met in my rookie year told me, "Float flying is all about common sense....you either have it or you don't. And if you didn't break anything, you are doing something right!" I still remember this statement as you are constantly in a remote area and mother nature is always testing your abilities to make sound and safe judgements and to operate in a safe professional manner. However, one of the most important things I have learned throughout the years is to set your own limits which only comes by having more experience.
Float flying in not for everyone but it should be respected by all. It won't be the easiest flying jobs you ever have but it will definitely be one of the most rewarding flying jobs to have on your career ladder.
Good luck and happy flying!
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