About Alasks Floats & Skis:
Meet the Float Plane Trainers
Denali National Park (over 6 million acres and larger than the State of Massachusetts) is in the background. From left to right are the three largest peaks in the Alaska Range, Foraker, Hunter, and Denali at 20,320 feet.
ATP MEL & MES CFI CFII MEI AGI DPE
Alaskan Bush Pilot - Founder and operator of Alaska Floats and Skis
Don lived out in the Alaskan bush in the early seventies and began flying for lodge support. He then branched into guiding for hunters and fishermen. Over the last 30 years, Don has gained extensive flight experience all over Alaska, from the Aleutian Chain to the Beaufort Sea. With hundreds of hours flying in the Gates of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, Shumagin Islands, and Cold Bay, Don operated an on-demand air service for 7 years. In Bristol Bay, he flew fishermen to remote sites and provided lodge support.
Don has experience flying throughout the South American countries of Argentina ,Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. He also recently flew STOL missions in Afghanistan for the coalition forces during "Operation Enduring Freedom". Don also has experience flying in the wilds of Australia. He has also flown over 130,000 gallons of fuel to remote gold mines (200 gallons at a time) without a single incident. In Talkeetna he has provided expedition air support for climbers on Mt. McKinley and has over 5,000 glacier landings. Don has over 7,000 hours on floats alone with a total time over 17,000 hours.
Don is excited to pass his experience on to all pilots, both old and new, and never tires of flying with students and friends. He prides himself in working with the most experienced pilots and finding new tricks for them and in working with new pilots who may want to try new things.
Don's motivation to operate Alaska Floats and Skis is "to share these experiences and pass on safety tips to our float and ski plane applicants." Don's motto is "you will never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you are doing."
CFI, CFI-G, Instrument Rated, Commercial SES, SEL, MEL, & Glider
Valorie graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2005 with a BA in Philosophy and a private pilots license. She then headed to Hawaii where she obtained her commercial, instrument, seaplane, glider and flight instructor ratings. She has been instructing, towing gliders and flying skydivers while in Hawaii. She first went to Alaska last summer and has since been dreaming of a way to return. She is very excited about coming back this summer and many more to follow.
Flight Instructor, CFI ASEL & Sea MEL Commercial Instrument
We are happy to have Esther on board as one of our seaplane instructors. She is an excellent pilot and has 100% pass rate on her recommended applicants! She has been flying exterior loads on floats to our remote cabin. She is just as calm with Moose horns tied to the struts as she is with new applicants training them for their single engine seaplane rating.
Esther graduated from the University of Louisville in 2003 with a B.A. in History. After receiving her private pilot's license during college, she went on to pursue a career in aviation at Vincennes University in Indiana. With her commercial certificate in hand, Esther moved to Talkeetna, Alaska, where she earned her seaplane rating. Esther has since returned to Talkeetna every summer to share her love of float flying with others. Esther is also teaching our glacier landing courses now during the ski season.
What Our Students Say
~ Pia Bergqvist, Senior Editor - Plane & Pilot Magazine