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Bush Pilot Interview – Felix Gosher

Bush Pilot Interview Felix Gosher StatsQuick Introduction

If you have done any bush flying in Africa you would have heard the bush pilot, Felix Gosher. He is one of the most well connected pilots out there, all by his own doing. Starting out as a waiter, gardener, janitor and personal trainer. Felix is a true example of where a passion for aviation can take you.

He is the founder of the NPO, the children’s flight that takes orphaned children on their first flight and ignites their dreams to be pilots.

He has just started working for Susi Air in Indonesia but is well known for flying for Coastal Aviation in Tanzania, Wilderness Air in Botswana and Air-Tech Global in the Congo and CAR.

Felix Gosher QuoteWhat would be your number one piece of advice for aspiring bush pilots starting out in the industry?

Be resilient…. don’t think it will always be like it is…. after 25 No’s you will eventually get a yes…. take any opportunity you get and fly what ever you can get your hands on… do a good job… always as far as possible have the avenue to come back, always finish the period of time you sign for. Be in love with the flying… the salary is just a bonus

What was the route you took to becoming the Bush Pilot you are today?

I worked as a waiter, gardener, janitor, fitness instructor…. saved 40 thousand dollars in 2 years and nine months and completed 218 hours of flight training to be a Commercial Pilot…. the rest was just hustling and living out a bag in various operations through out Africa.

Kaga-Bondoro Bush AirstripWhat would you say is the hardest thing about being a Bush Pilot?

The time away from normality, as the world sees it. Family, Friends and the chance of meeting the Love of your life…. are normal things which I’d say most Bush Pilots miss a lot.

How did you manage to get the job you’re currently at?

I took a leap of faith and applied, to a position they’d advertised…. they responded positively and I’m very glad I took the jump.

What has been your number one memory about flying?

Probably the Children’s Flight…. as I saw the power of Aviation and the love in it… and how little else matters when it comes to the plight of Children who need a Dream

If you enjoyed this interview check out this one with a pilot that used to fly in Papua New Guinea

 

Pilot Job Cover Letter – Tips You Need

Pilot Job Cover Letter TipsIntroduction

As much as I am tempted to be super friendly when writing a pilot job cover letter, you need to keep it professional to show your potential employer that you are a professional! When I first started for jobs I was just saying, “Dear Sir, Please find my CV attached, Kind Regards,”. I know, very terrible!

The best way to think of a cover letter is to think of it as having a 20 second meeting with a potential employer and you need to state all your positive skills that you would bring to the company.

Tips

  • Keep it to one page!
  • Keep it relevant to the company you’re applying to, no one wants to know every single engine aircraft you have flown.
  • Spelling and grammar, there’s a difference between your and you’re. Get it right!
  • Be unique.
  • Address the receiver by name, we all love to hear our own name. This also shows that a little work was put into finding out who the Chief Pilot is.
  • Don’t go overboard on the complimenting.
  • Use a professional email address, chuckyeager@gmail.com. No employer wants to get an email from an email like hunglikeahorse@thebarn.com
  • Don’t be desperate. You may not eat the next month if you don’t get the job you’re applying to but stay professional. If you convey desperation it shows weakness and the employer will never know what other baggage you’re bringing with you.
  • If the job has minimum requirements, don’t apply if you don’t meet them!

If you want an example of a decent cover letter, here’s a link to one. Now that you know what to do with your pilot job cover letter. Take a look at how to write a CV that will give the employer everything they are looking for in Pilot resume. It is totally different from applying to a normal job and there is a template for resume too.

Bush Pilot Christmas Presents – Top 5

Bush Pilot Christmas Present1.) Microfibre Cloth

A stocking stuffer of note. I didn’t realise how handy having one of these cloths was until I started flying with the G1000. Very handy for getting rid of all the smudges left on the screens as well as for cleaning sunglasses.

Mag Lite Bush Pilot Christmas Present2.) Torch Pen Light

Pre-flighting with a small little torch that fits in the pocket like a pen. Lugging around a big hefty takes up space and weight in the flight bag.

Leatherman Bush Pilot Christmas Present3.) Leatherman

Oh the beauty of the leatherman! I have heard a story of two pilots that had a problem with their C210 undercarriage. The solution was to climb into the back of the aircraft and cut a hole with the leatherman into the back panel and release the undercarriage that way.

USB Battery Bush Pilot Christmas Present4.) USB Batteries

I have only recently discovered this when I was on the search for rechargeable batteries. This is perfect as everyone has cell phone chargers that can charge these batteries instead of having to lug around the special charger for batteries.

Garmin InReach Xplorer

The company I fly for are using these for flight following and I have been super impressed with how well they work.

On the Wing of Eagles – Pilot Book Review

I was approached by Jim Atkinson to write a review of the book that was written about his father ( Fred Atkinson). Only having interviewed one author Matt McClaughlin and having never done a pilot book review before, I decided to give it a shot.

The book is written as if his father was having a beer and sharing some of his awesome stories from being a pilot. Pilots love hearing stories from other pilots and I have even written one of my experiences on this blog.

3 Generations of AtkinsonsFirst Impressions

The unedited version of the book so there were quite a few spelling errors, which hopefully has been corrected in the amazon version. Unfortunately it is only available for kindle (affiliate link).

My initial reaction when I started reading the book was that it jumped all over the place, which I wasn’t quite used to. You could definitely tell that it was not written by a seasoned author. From the book’s blurb, the expectation of the book is that it will flow from his days of barnstorming to getting the National Flight Instructor award. (I had to google what barnstorming was, I had no idea). It ended up being a grouping of interesting stories from Fred Atkinson’s long career as a pilot.

Review

The stories individually were super entertaining. A few of them would get him sued left, right and center these days.

This is the beauty of the book though. It’s not filtered and you get to know exactly what is going on in Jim’s father’s head. I had a good laugh at one of the stories involving an instructor holding onto a wing strut to encourage his student to fly accurately.

This book allows us to get a better understanding of what it was like to be a pilot and flight instructor in the 1930’s and on wards. The flow of the book was very strange and there were lots of writing errors, which bothered me.

Audience

This book would appeal to aviation enthusiasts as there are a few terms in the book that only make sense if you have some knowledge of the aviation industry. If you can overlook the frequent writing errors in the book, you’ll enjoy it.

Overall Score

On the Wings of Eagles Review Rating6/10

If you think there is a book that should be reviewed, please comment

Bush Pilot Interview – Danie Kruger

Danie Kruger Bush Pilot StatsQuick Introduction

I came across Danie when I was browsing through his Instagram (our instagram is filled with reposts from you awesome people) and his photos flying a C206 In Guyana, South America. I haven’t interviewed anyone who has flown there so I thought it would be interesting to find out how he ended up there.

He currently flies the Cessna Grand Caravan in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for Fly Safari Airlink. I’m sure you have had enough of me blabbering away, here’s our standard 5 questions we ask out featured Bush Pilots.

What would be your number one piece of advice for aspiring bush pilots starting out in the industry?

Fly your plane, no matter what situation you find yourself in good or bad, never stop flying your plane. As soon as you lose focus even for a few seconds during critical operations, you start getting behind the aircraft, that’s when mistakes happen.

Know your own limits and that of your aircraft, if it doesn’t feel good, go around, no need to be a hero.

Fly outside, there is no need to keep looking at your instruments during VFR, enjoy the view.

Danie Kruger Bush Pilot Blog QuoteWhat was the route you took to becoming the Bush Pilot you are today?

I grew up on a Game farm in South Africa. That is where my love for the bush grew into what it is today. I was very privileged to be introduced into aviation at an early age by my dad.

My first job was flying a C210 and Eclipse 500 for a company in my hometown. It was good, they gave me amazing opportunities but I belonged in the bush. Flying from city to city just didn’t do it for me any longer.

One night I was searching bush jobs on the internet when I came across an ad for a C206 position in Guyana, South America (Kanuku Tours – out of business now). I was a bit hesitant initially but ended up applying. The following day we had a Skype interview, and a week later I had my first flight over the Amazon. What ensued was the best two and a half years of my life. 

Danie Kruger Kaieteur fallsWhat would you say is the hardest thing about being a Bush Pilot?

You will not always be based in the best cities and countries, but stick it through. The reward at the end is without a doubt worth it. The flying itself is easy.

How did you manage to get the job you’re currently at?

I was very lucky, I had just arrived in Namibia, was there for about a month flying the C210 out of Swakopmund. When I received an email from the chief pilot inviting me to Tanzania. Needless to say 2 days later I was on a plane back to SA to do my type rating on the C208 before coming to Dar Es Salaam, where I am currently based.

The first month and a half here was spent doing my route training and getting my license converted, before being released on the Van

What has been your number one memory about flying?

Shuttling missions out of Venezuela. I used to shuttle a C206 from a strip deep in the jungle on the banks of the Rio Cuyuni River, separating Guyana and Venezuela. The strip itself wasn’t too bad 1600ft surrounded by 100ft trees, one way in one way out to avoid flying over the Venezuelan army camp that looks straight down the center line from across the river.

Mostly cargo, 55gal drums of diesel and gasoline flown into 800-1000ft jungle strips to supply the mining operations in Guyana. That was where I learned how to really fly a plane. It was extremely intense but probably the most addictive thing I have ever done.

Currently I am flying a Caravan in Tanzania, it is amazing the scenery and places we get to see is just out of this world.

If you enjoyed this interview there are a couple more with an ex Wilderness Air Botswana & Namibia pilot, an ex Susi air pilot and another with the author of the book, “Flying the Knife edge” (affiliate link)

All photos were taken by Danie

5 Steps on How to Make Bush Flying Your Career

Step 1 - Research Companies & Areas you want to work inThis is a guide on how to become a Bush Pilot. I have gone through all these steps and failed to do some. These are the things I could have done to get to where I am today slightly quicker.

STEP 1 : RESEARCH COMPANIES YOU WANT TO WORK FOR

Pick the area or company that you want to work for. Setting yourself a goal gives you something to work towards. It will keep you motivated to become a bush pilot.

Trust me when I say there have been days briefing for 3 hours with my monotone voice. The student giving me the, “My eyes are open but on the inside, I’m asleep”, look. That’s when I bring out the bush flying YouTube videos and we both wake up!Read More

Bush Pilot Series You Should Have Watched

I know when I was considering being a bush pilot, I wanted to know what was involved. By watching these bush pilot series, I got a much better understanding of what it would be like and which area would be best for me.

Worst Place to Be a Pilot

Seasons : 1 (4 Episodes)

Follows young pilots around Indonesia, this helps you get an understanding of what pilots go through working for Susi Air and how remote the flying can actually be. Matt Dearden (we interviewed him) features quite prominently and this is where I first encountered him and his website. This bush pilot series is really dramatized to give it mass appeal but the core of what is going on is pretty accurate.

Bush Pilots

Seasons : 1 (10 Episodes)

Well of course this one had to be on the list. We even interviewed one of the pilots that was in this series, Malcolm. This series also follows young pilots getting jobs in Maun, Botswana. It is a bit out dated these days but still entertaining to watch. The main company it focuses on is Wilderness Air

Flying Wild Alaska

Seasons : 3 (31 Episodes)

Dam you film producers and making everything seem so dramatic. This series is another awesome one at the core, just remember the dramatic side that has been added. Following the family run company in Alaska into the mountains

Alaska’s Ultimate Bush Pilots

Seasons : 3 (17 Episodes)

The most recent of bush pilot series to be released. I like this one alot as it is not only new pilots coming through but experienced bush pilots showing what things are really like. Also based in Alaska (duh) this follows the company Island Air.

Ice Pilots

Seasons : 6 (65 Episodes)

This series follows Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife, Canada. These guys fly old World War type aircraft, like the Dc-3 and 4!

Thank you so much to our readers Josh Cisneros and on twitter Ronan Kelly for reminding to add the most successful of all the Bush Pilot series. I know, I know, how could I forget to add the most popular of all of them!

If there are any series I have missed out here, I would be happy to consider adding them. Please comment with your suggestions below

Pilot CV – What are you missing on yours?

INTRO

It took me awhile in the industry to figure out what I was doing wrong with my Pilot CV.

First off, I’ll say that I messed up tons of job opportunities because I would just email the chief pilot asking him what the minimum requirements were to join the company.

#TIP NUMBER ONE, chief pilots get tons of emails from people and they don’t have the time to reply to an email of some random person they have never heard of.

Here is a CV Template available here, so you don’t have to wait until the end if that is all you came here for.

The Pilot CV headingTHE PILOT CV/RESUME

I’ll start from the top

YOUR NAME!

No funny word art, just a clean bold large font. Eg. Chuck Yeager (If I got a CV from someone called Chuck Yeager, he would be hired immediately hahaha).

The aviation industry is smaller than you think and your name may have been overheard by the chief pilot etc. No need to include the word resume or CV, the chief pilot will know what it is when he sees it.

OBJECTIVE

Tell the company what position you are applying for, aviation companies can be massive. It helps to show your intentions clearly, right on the CV. This also helps to show that there was some prior research made into the company and that the CV is tailored for them, make the employer feel special!

PERSONAL INFORMATION

This is where people vary in what they want to include but the definites to include are and why they are included are :

NATIONALITY

Helps if you’ll need a work visa etc. some pilots are employed because it is easier for them to receive a work permit than another pilot. 

If you have dual citizenship, include that!

TELEPHONE NUMBER & EMAIL

You need to be contacted, I usually include preferred method of contact and hours available to be contacted via telephone (remember to put in the country code too!). If an employer cannot get hold of you, he will just move onto the next pilot on the list.

LICENSE NUMBER & ISSUING AUTHORITY

Some companies check up with the local authority and find out if there are any accident or incidents related to the licence number. They also check to see if the licence is actually legitimate.

AVAILABILITY

This is something I have previously not had on my CV but I definitely think it is an awesome idea that I got after reading sabushpilot’s post!

DATE OF BIRTH

An easy way to determine your age, some positions are more suited to younger or older pilots

FLIGHT TIME

This is the main one that anyone considering a pilot CV will look to find immediately, this is why I usually include it near the top of the CV. Make it easy to read. If applying for a caravan position, put the amount of experience you have in a caravan. If applying for an instructor position, include the amount of instructing experience you have.

Adapt, adapt,  adapt! each job is different and needs to be tailored to. Basic things that need to be included are :

Total, PIC, Multi Engine, Instructor, Instrument, Night

I prefer to round my flight time down to the nearest 5 when sending CV, some advice I received from my father was, “under promise, over deliver!”

CERTIFICATIONS & RATINGS

Multi Engine, Night, Instrument, Dangerous Goods, CRM & MCC, make sure to add every expiry date of your certificates.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

Only include your aviation related jobs, some people will title this “experience/ work experience” instead.

If you are proud that you worked hard to get your licence working at a bar for two years this will come out in the actual interview.

Make sure to put the most recent employer at the top of the list and then work down from there. There is no need to include the full job description, just the job title and a short description will do.

EDUCATION & TRAINING

Briefly include your high school, university (if you have a degree) & latest training (include the date of training, where it was held and the simulator/aircraft used)

REFERENCES

Only include this if you have enough space at the bottom and if the employer specifically asks for them.

PILOT CV TIPS

  • Keep it to one page
  • Be to the point, don’t include too much fluffy extra stuff
  • Only include a photograph if it is requested, people do judge on first appearances
  • Tailor the CV to the specific company you are applying to
  • Use one font throughout, make it easy to read
  • Send it as a pdf! This makes the file smaller and easier to download
  • Don’t forget to attach the CV to your cover letter, yes this has happened to me.

Keep an eye for next month when we cover the cover letter! Yes I said cover twice. So you have updated your CV and want to know how to get your first bush pilot job, have a look at this post

Bush Pilot Job & Blog Updates
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A resource for aspiring, current and old bush pilots to find jobs, guides and everything bush pilot related.