After more than a decade of off field training, we now have an underwriter that will support our off field adventures. Though expensive, it does cover hull losses up to the full value of our very nice Cubs. As with most aircraft there is an insurance deductible ($10,000) putting us on the hook for damage or loss for the first $10G. To protect our leasors, we now collect the deductible and have it on hand before we do any flying. Therefore, initial deposits of $5000 are required for each aircraft leased with the remaining $5000 deposited on arrival in Alaska. At the end of your visit the balance is calculated and taken out of your $10G payment and if your bill doesn't reach $10G a refund is issued before you leave. You will be required to read and sign an extensive liability release in case an accident resulting in injury or death occurs. It also explains that you understand that your $10G deposit is for the deductible on the airplane and should you wreck the aircraft on your last day, you are still liable for both damage up to $10G and the hours you have flown. It states that you understand the nature and risk of the flying you are getting involved in and you take full responsibility. We expect everyone to operate their aircraft as they have been trained and will only remove a client from PIC duties if they exhibit recklessness or poor judgment. This is rarely a problem as most pilots find that off field operations provide all the challenge and risk they would ever want.
We operate near icy glaciers and raging rivers in remote mountainous areas miles from any roads or civilization. Though we make every effort to avoid hazards, we carry survival gear on every flight and prepare for unscheduled stays. Though we approach every situation with caution, and train for precise handling, bush flying by it's nature is not risk free. Unseen hazards can damage aircraft and injure occupants. We believe that preparation and training are our best tools to return on schedule, or at least reduce an incident to a unscheduled camping trip. For some pilots, our flying may be too "risky" as no landing or takeoff is ever the same as another. Every movement must be carefully planned and critically considered whether you have been there before or not. On the positive side of the ledger, the dynamic environment in which we operate makes bush flying ON WHEELS the greatest flying in the world. In addition to aviation risks, we share this land with creatures and topography that can be more dangerous than our flying. Consider your risk tolerance carefully before flying anywhere in Alaska, especially off field. We are accomplished risk managers, but, except for the heading of this paragraph, we intentionally do not use the "s-word" to describe bush flying.