Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring a friend for free?
Yes, as long as they stay in the same room with you. One room has two beds and should be reserved in advance by you to ensure availability. If I have an empty room while you are here, they are welcome to stay there for no additional charge.
Can I get more time in the airplanes?
Yes. Additional time is $220.00 per hour for a bush plane or float plane.
Can I instruct in seaplanes after I receive my seaplane rating?
Yes. If you are a current CFI, you can also instruct in a seaplane once you obtain your seaplane rating.
Can I stay extra nights at the lodge?
Yes, if I have room available. Advance notice is best if you know you want to stay longer. Once your flight training is complete, the cost is $120.00 per additional night.
Do I need a car?
Whether or not you need a car depends on if you plan to travel outside the Talkeetna area. For quick trips into town to eat or go to the store, I have a scooter or bicycle you can use. Shuttle service is available to and from Anchorage for about $85 per person and the Alaska Railroad schedule may also work for you. Visit our Links page for information on these transportation services.
If you wish to see more of Alaska by car before or after your training, it is advisable that you rent a car at or near the airport in Anchorage.
Do I need a U.S. certificate to fly with you?
You do not need a U.S. certificate if you are taking the bush course or not getting a rating.
IF YOU ARE GETTING A SEA PLANE RATING - YES!
Here is a link to get a U.S PPL based on foreign license http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/foreign_license_verification/
Do I need Arctic survival clothing?
We have all survival gear here. I have all heavy-duty snow suits and boots.
Do I need to bring my own headset?
No, I have many here. You may like your own better (and want to bring it), but it is not necessary.
Do I need to make a deposit before I travel?
Yes, it is suggested to make a deposit to guarantee your reservation. Credit card and check payments are accepted in advance. Your deposit is 100% refundable in case of unforeseen issues (we do ask that you communicate with us as early as possible though). Early booking is best to ensure you can schedule the dates you need.
Do you have hidden fees?
Yes. The price of the sea plane training or rating will not include the check ride. If Avgas rises above $5 per gallon, we reserve the right to add a fuel surcharge per number of hours flown.
Do you provide food?
No. There are full cooking facilities in the lodge and several restaurants in town. There is a grocery store nearby.
Do you rent your planes solo?
No. We do not let the planes go without an instructor/guide onboard.
How do I get to your place from the airport in Anchorage by car?
1. Depart the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport via International Airport Road heading East (the only way out of the airport)
2. Turn left heading North onto Minnesota Avenue at an entry ramp
3. Travel North on Minnesota to 6th Avenue and turn right heading East on 6th Avenue
4. 6th Avenue will become Glenn Highway and continue North on the Glenn Highway for 34 miles to the Palmer/Wasilla split. Take the split toward Wasilla onto AK-3.
5. Head North for approximately 63 miles on the George Parks Highway. You will pass through Wasilla, Houston and Willow along the way.
6. Just beyond a Cubby’s IGA Marketplace store is the Talkeetna Spur. Cubby’s is the last decent size grocery store heading to Talkeetna if you need to stop. Turn right at the Talkeetna Spur.
7. Head North on the Talkeetna Spur and turn right at Mile Marker 12 onto Comsat Road. Travel ¾ mile and turn left on Christiansen Road.
8. Travel ¾ mile and turn right onto Botner Drive. Stay to the right at the 90 degree turn and continue to the end of Botner. The lodge is to the right and the office is straight ahead to the left of the house.
How is the best way to pay?
We accept credit cards, checks or US dollars. We favor checks because the credit card company charges almost 3.5% of the total.
How much experience should I have to take your courses?
Even if you just received your private certificate you will benefit greatly from our courses. The seaplane rating is a blast and the bush and ski courses are really exciting.
I don't have a tail wheel endorsement.
After the bush course you will have it. It's all part of the course.
Is the check ride extra?
Yes. Check ride rates are extra because different DPE's charge from $500.00 to $700.00 with re-test at $200.00 The tail wheel/bi-annual (24 month) flight reviews are included in the price.
What clothes should I bring?
In the winter, you will need a heavy coat, good hat and good gloves. Please look at weather for Talkeetna, Alaska before you travel. I have most of the arctic wear you will need for glacier or off-airport landings.
What else do you have there in addition to flying?
I also have remote cabins in the area you can stay in. You can hike to a remote lake above the timber line. Fly fishing is very popular and I also have a 21 foot San Juan sail boat and other watercraft for your use on Christiansen Lake. We also have bonfires at night and there are bicycles for your use. Check with the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce for lists of other activities. Their link is on our Links Page.
What if I need more time to train for the check ride?
We want you to be confident and competent for your check ride, so yes we will fly with you more, however a charge of 200.00 per hour will be added to your total for anything over the 6 hours that are included with the course.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept checks, MasterCard or Visa. We take personal or business checks. We also accept cash in US dollars as well!
What should I bring for flight training?
You must have a US-issued pilot certificate, current medical and current photo ID (driver license or passport). A passport or birth certificate is required for identification if you lack a valid signoff. All foreign applicants must have a passport and a US certificate based on a foreign license.
What type of planes do you fly?
We fly a modified Piper PA-22/20 160 HP on EDO 2000 floats that is equipped with extended wings and an 82” prop.
Gross weight is 2000 pounds and useful load on floats in over 600 pounds. It has side by side seating and is a four place.
When does billable flight time begin?
Flight time here starts when the master switch is turned on..
In some countries they only count "wheels up" time or airspeed above 20 knots, but that is not the case here.
Will I fly only with Don?
No. Don tries to fly with everyone at one time or another with all students. All of our instructors are excellent to fly with and we feel that we offer the best training available.
What Our Students Say
~ Pia Bergqvist, Senior Editor - Plane & Pilot Magazine