This 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!
Botswana was always where I wanted to work because of my passion for wildlife and the opportunity to fly the Caravan.
ACTION: Go right now and use Mr. Google to start researching. A good place to start looking is pilotcareercenter. Use the search feature to check which companies have small single pistons.
STEP 2: FIND A FLIGHT SCHOOL
You need a Commercial Pilots License to start flying as a Bush Pilot, no jokes! Crazy how this world works.
Picking a flight school is not to be taken lightly. I even made a list of 5 factors to consider about flight schools. If clicking and reading the post is too time consuming, here’s a quick summary:
- Get the license issued by the correct authority for the country or company you want to work for
- Get a degree, it is possible
- Pick the airport type that best suits your needs
- Good weather can help moves things a long quicker
- Some future employment opportunities are linked to flight schools
STEP 3: GET IN CONTACT WITH A COMPANY BUSH PILOT
Use any and every method possible to communicate with bush pilots and employees of the company or country you want to work for. (Exactly why you need to do step 1)
The reason I got a job in Botswana was because I used to play soccer (football or whatever it’s called) with one of the pilots there. He contacted me saying that they were looking for pilots.
ACTION: I challenge you to reach out to 5 different pilots or employees using social media or any other resource. Ask them about the minimum requirements and what the working conditions are like.
You should put yourself in their shoes and word your message to them in a friendly way. None of this, “Hey, I want to get into this whole bush flying thing and can you hook me up with a bush pilot job?”, rubbish.
STEP 4: 500 HOURS OF FLYING TIME
This may seem years away when you’re starting your flying but it flies by (ha ha). Don’t make excuses about how hard it is to get there and just do it! Here’s our post about writing your CV, if you need some help. Check up on our jobs section too!
If you have to be an instructor or tow banners or drop meat bombs or be a fire spotter, find a way to get to that 500 hours. (the minimum for African and Alaskan bush pilot charter companies)
STEP 5: GO!!
ACTION: Go meet the people, give them your resume. Most of these bush flying companies are in remote areas. If you make the effort to pitch up, it goes a long. It’s also an opportunity for you to get a feel of what you are getting yourself into.
What would say needs to be added to this list? Your comments could help somebody become a Bush Pilot