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Dillon

Coolest Airline to fly for as a commercial pilot.

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My vote would be:

 

Alaska Airlines 

 

Hands down for a heavy pilot this has to be one of the coolest companies to work for in terms of the type of flying you would do.  Flying from Seattle to the Fjords area where you do hopes all the way to Juneau (Ketchican, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, etc.) is the next best thing to bush flying airliner style.  From there you could have routes all the way up to the Arctic Circle in Prudhoe Bay in a trusty old 737 Classic.  Alternate routes for the airline could put you in Mexico from Seattle or Hawaii.  Flying back into Seattle is always a treat with all the mountains around.  A morning flight over the Pacific Northwest mountains heading to Newark is a sight to see as well.

 

I've been doing allot of Alaska Airlines flying lately and it seems the whole Pacific Northwest is a pilot's utopia for the varying types of flying one could do.  I was into Bush flying for awhile (still am) and found the area amazing.  Then I started doing the 737-300 hops Alaska Airlines does in the area.  Then I was impressed with Juneau's curved approach to runway 8.

 

What are some of you guy's recommendation of airlines with interesting routes?  I just thought Alaska Airlines stood out when I really dug down into what their flight ops are and where they actually go.  Interesting to hear what some other airlines offer around the world that one wouldn't normally think of.

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Last year, I was heavy into flying Alaska Airlines routes in the PMDG NGX, and only real world routes with the real equipment/flight times.   One of the routes I embarked on was from KSEA to PASI (Sitka), and boy, it did feel like bush flying at the end.   Lots of beautiful scenery at the end, and a very very challenging turn on the final approach. 

 

Check out my report on the flight I had posted here in the screenshots forum, I hope you like!

 

http://forum.avsim.net/topic/413809-alaska-airlines-737-800-ksea-to-pasi-warning-big-pictures/

 

I agree, Alaska offers a nice break from the same old same old routes between urban locales.   RNP RNAV approaches, pioneered by Alaska Airlines no less, make it possible to arrive at such challenging locations in both good and bad weather conditions. 

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Alaska is a great choice for jet flying.  Here are a few others for those interested in some smaller airlines.

 

1. Great Lakes Aviation-Probably some of the most challenging flying you can do.  Look up their routes out of KDEN and use the B1900(PMDG or Carenado).  What makes the flying challenging is that the B1900's operated by Lakes don't use an autopilot so you have to hand fly the whole time.  Particularly challenging in high elevation airports with bad wx in the winter.

 

2. Buffalo Airways-Flys vintage aircraft and is based out of the Northwest Territories in Canada.  Load up the DC-3 and check out some of their routes out of Yellowknife.  

 

3. Winair-Load up the Aerosoft Twin Otter and do short hops between numerous islands in the Caribbean.  Depart from St. Maarten and head for St. Barts or Saba (1,300 ft rwy) for a real challenge!  

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Air Tahiti. Flying ATRs in the french polynesia islands, so awesome.

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Alaska is a great choice for jet flying.  Here are a few others for those interested in some smaller airlines.

 

1. Great Lakes Aviation-Probably some of the most challenging flying you can do.  Look up their routes out of KDEN and use the B1900(PMDG or Carenado).  What makes the flying challenging is that the B1900's operated by Lakes don't use an autopilot so you have to hand fly the whole time.  Particularly challenging in high elevation airports with bad wx in the winter.

 

2. Buffalo Airways-Flys vintage aircraft and is based out of the Northwest Territories in Canada.  Load up the DC-3 and check out some of their routes out of Yellowknife.  

 

3. Winair-Load up the Aerosoft Twin Otter and do short hops between numerous islands in the Caribbean.  Depart from St. Maarten and head for St. Barts or Saba (1,300 ft rwy) for a real challenge!  

 

 

Great choices and thanks.  Speaking of 'Great Lakes' you suggesting that on final they don't use an autopilot, correct?  I can't see not using an autopilot on the whole flight with passengers aboard but if that's how they do it that is really interesting to say the least.

 

Buffalo Airways is another Pacific Northwest airline.  Like I said earlier for whatever reason this area is an aviators dream. So many different types of flying.  Winair is another outstanding choice.  St. Barts alone is worth the application for employment.

Hawaiian. But you know, I'm biased.

 

Hawaiian is a good choice.

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Speaking of 'Great Lakes' you suggesting that on final they don't use an autopilot,

 

They don't use an autopilot the whole flight.  Just do a google search for "great lakes aviation uses no autopilot" and you'll get tons of hits.

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They don't use an autopilot the whole flight.  Just do a google search for "great lakes aviation uses no autopilot" and you'll get tons of hits.

 

You can also do a google search for "great lakes pilot pay" and find a whole host of other hits!

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Kenn Borek Air.

 

http://www.borekair.com/index.php

 

As their site says, anywhere, anytime worldwide.

 

 

Buffalo Airways is another Pacific Northwest airline.  Like I said earlier for whatever reason this area is an aviators dream.

 

They're far more of an arctic airline. Maybe they get out to the Pacific coast once in a while, but their routes generally go from Yellowknife up north.

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Yeti Airlines' s JS41s (Kathmandu, Nepal)

/w DHC6s, Do28s, B1900s previously

 

DrukAir' s A319s and AT43s(Paro, Bhutan)

/w BAe461s previously

 

Both with really dangerous scheduled destinations/hubs and lots of himalayan charters

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Speaking of 'Great Lakes' you suggesting that on final they don't use an autopilot, correct?  I can't see not using an autopilot on the whole flight with passengers aboard but if that's how they do it that is really interesting to say the least.

 

It's because the airplane doesn't have an autopilot.   If you have a private 1900 you have the option of getting the airplane with the autopilot installed.  For airline service - airlines didn't want to pay the extra cost to have an autopilot installed, so the airplane doesn't have it.  Also no flight director on the first officer side (extra cost option), anti-skid (another extra cost option), no FMS (very expensive option) or GPS (extra cost).  That being said, the 1900 is a very easy fun airplane to fly, trims out very easily, and once it's trimmed out, you can let go the controls and it stays right where you want it, it doesn't climb or descend, and stays on the heading.     Because there's no direct to a fix with an FMS box in this aircraft, officially navigation is done by VOR to VOR on airways, but in practice, navigation is done by pulling out my hiking GPS, putting in direct to destination, getting the bearing to destination, and then asking ATC "request heading xxx (reading the bearing to destination off my hiking GPS), direct"   to which the answer is 99.5%  "Approved as requested, fly heading xxx, direct destination."  Then you tune in a DME source on the field to get a distance remaining and time to go display on your HSI so you can do your descent planning in your head.

 

Flight attendants moving about the cabin and passengers getting up and walking cause you to have to retrim in flight, but on a typical 1900 flight, passengers don't get up and walk and there is no flight attendant onboard because a flight attendant is not required.   The pilots (specifically the first officer or the captain if the aircraft is being operated without a first officer) are responsible for doing the normal flight attendant duties (passenger safety demo, briefing the emergency exit row passengers, ensuring all the passenger personal items are stowed and the aisles are clear the takeoff, taxi, landing)

 

For beverage service, we usually brief the passengers, "Our flight attendant today is Mr. Coleman" (pointing to the Mr. Coleman water jug behind the center pedestal in the cockpit) "feel free come on up, grab a paper cup and help yourself."

 

The cockpit doors are usually left open in flight, because the door is held closed by velcro that isn't very "sticky" anymore so, when turning in flight, the door slams open and closed, so we just leave the flight deck door open in order to not hear the door slam in flight.

 

I like looking back in the cabin when on final approach to the runway, usually everyone in the cabin has leaned into the aisle to try to look out the front window and for the passengers it's like looking at the runway through a straw - they see the runway wildly moving in and out their view out the front windows.  But for us up front - the view of the runway doesn't move very much.

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It's because the airplane doesn't have an autopilot.   If you have a private 1900 you have the option of getting the airplane with the autopilot installed.  For airline service - airlines didn't want to pay the extra cost to have an autopilot installed, so the airplane doesn't have it.  Also no flight director on the first officer side (extra cost option), anti-skid (another extra cost option), no FMS (very expensive option) or GPS (extra cost).  That being said, the 1900 is a very easy fun airplane to fly, trims out very easily, and once it's trimmed out, you can let go the controls and it stays right where you want it, it doesn't climb or descend, and stays on the heading.     Because there's no direct to a fix with an FMS box in this aircraft, officially navigation is done by VOR to VOR on airways, but in practice, navigation is done by pulling out my hiking GPS, putting in direct to destination, getting the bearing to destination, and then asking ATC "request heading xxx (reading the bearing to destination off my hiking GPS), direct"   to which the answer is 99.5%  "Approved as requested, fly heading xxx, direct destination."  Then you tune in a DME source on the field to get a distance remaining and time to go display on your HSI so you can do your descent planning in your head.

 

 

Wow, after all these years I thought I heard it all.  I'm floored.  Thx... 

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