I want to fly in the 'worst places'... how do I get there?

As a kid I started training for my PPL with a private instructor (just as a hobby), but I also had just started a business and really didn’t have the time… so I back-burnered it, albeit after soloing on my 8th hour.

Now I wanna fly Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porters to janky 400m airstrips in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, or something/somewhere/somehow similarly ‘exciting’. This right here [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fLTIagVznQ] is entitled the ‘Worst Place To be a Pilot’, but it looks like heaven to me!

I see that Susi Air is still looking for PC-6 pilots. They’re now asking for 1000 hours PIC though.

What would be the best way to scout out other such hair-raising opportunities, and what’s the best way for me to go about landing such a job?

I’m guessing that if I had my instructor certs that might help make up for a lack of hours… especially since even thousands of hours in calm weather on autopilot, at least in my mind, don’t equate to jack in light of such high-risk rudder’n’stick flying as is required in the jungles of PNG.

  • Should I go for instructor certs to prove my aptitude? (CFI, CFII, MEI…)
  • Or for attaining experience in as many different types of planes as possible? (tail draggers, STOLs, floatplanes, sailplanes, helicopters…)
  • Or maybe fly in as many ‘wild’ regions as possible? (Australia, South Africa, Alaska…)
  • Or just do whatever to get my hours up over 500? (soaring, flight instructing, pleasure cruising…)

I’m currently studying a masters degree online, part-time, so that eats up about 3 hours of my day (~21 hours/week)… but I’m otherwise free to throw myself at this endeavor. And I already have ample expat experience and no dependents, so I don’t mind packing a bag with the essentials and relocating for months or years to pretty much anywhere.

Any advice for how I can make this happen?


a 31yo American with no interest in flying jumbo jets

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First the way you find opportunities like that is the same way you found Sui Air, the internet. Google is a wonderful thing and works really well for projects like yours.

Next getting your CFIs will only demonstrate that you are capable of passing your CFI checkrides. Ratings are not a substitute for experience or time. If a company states they want 1,000hrs PIC it’s because a) they’re seeking a level of experience and b) there’s a good chance that’s an insurance requirement. Further simply building that time by doing “whatever” will not equate to PIC time, particularly if you want to fly a turbine single pilot aircraft and have no turbine time (glider and bush flying are very far removed).

Bottomline you need to get trained, build some time, earn your Commercial license and then start looking for flying jobs. The most common route is flight instruction and since instructing counts as PIC time that’s not a bad way to go. If I were you I’d probably again get trained and get my CFIs, maybe work as a CFI till about 500hrs and then look for some 135 operations flying Caravans and PC-6s who’ll put you in the right seat which will earn you some turbine skills. That I believe would help reach your goal.

That said if you truly don’t care where you live there are thousands of opportunities as this is a great big world with lots of flying.



Regardless of whether you want to do airline flying or crazy back woods flying, it all starts with getting the same pilot certificates. Once you are qualified and build some time up, you can branch out. But until then, you will need to go down the same path as everybody else.