FLY8MA Flight Training


What Flight Training is Available?

We offer standard flight training programs for those pilots wishing to train with us here in Alaska and further develop their piloting skills in a structured and challenging environment.  We also offer custom flight training packages that can be arranged with our office staff via phone.  Below you will find some of our standard flight training packages.  Due to high demand, we are unable to offer hourly flight instruction or "quick local flights".  Our instructors prefer to spend a minimum of several hours with our students to ensure the training is not rushed.

  •  Includes 6 hours of Flight Time
  • Includes 4 hours of Ground Time
  • Includes Online Tailwheel Course
  • Wheel Landings, 3-pt. Landings
  • X-wind training, emergency procedures, etc.
  • Take the controls
  • Flight Planning
  • Land off-airport
  • Super Cub or C172
  • Fly up to 6 hours
  • See Glaciers, Bears, and more
  •  Advanced backcountry flying
  • Land on Beaches, Gravel Bars, Tundra
  •  Includes stay at the Lodge
  • Venture farther into Alaska
  • See Bears, Glaciers, and more
  •  Fishing Seasonally

Where We FLY

The answer is EVERYWHERE!  While we have a few favorite special spots to take students to, Alaska is huge!  We do have specific routes we try to adhere to for each flight training package, weather and seasonal changes play a large role in the destinations we choose for our students, as well as the student's current skill level.

If there is a specific place or area of Alaska you would like to fly to let us know at the time of booking and we can go over your options with you at that time.

Click an image below to find out more information about that area.


Tailwheel Training

  • Includes 6 hours of flight time
  • Includes 4 hours of ground time
  • Includes Online Tailwheel Course
  • Includes 3 nights stay at the Lodge
  • Learn Wheel Landings, 3-pt. Landings
  • Learn X-wind control, highspeed taxiing
  • Learn Emergency proc, etc.
  • Day 1 Arrive, ground brief
  • Day 2-4 Brief, FLY, Debrief
  • Expect flying one to two times per day
  • Add 2 hours off airport training for $890

Bush Pilot for a Day

  • Includes up to 6 hours of flight time
  • Includes 3 hours ground time
  • Includes Online Tailwheel Course
  • Includes 2 nights stay at the Lodge
  • Land on Beaches, gravel bars, tundra
  • See Bears, Glaciers, and other wildlife
  • Learn Backcountry flying
  • Day 1 Arrive, ground brief
  • Day 2 Fly, debrief, campfire
  • Day 3 Travel home

Bush Pilot Course

  • Includes up to 16 hours of flight time
  • Includes 8 hours ground time
  • Includes Online Tailwheel Course
  • Includes 5 nights at the Lodge (or flyout remote cabins during training)
  • Land on Beaches, gravel bars, tundra
  • See Bears, Glaciers, and other wildlife
  • Learn Advacned Backcountry flying
  • Day 1 Arrive, ground brief
  • Day 2-5 Brief, Fly, debrief
  • Day 6 Travel home

Alaskan Experience

  • Includes up to 9 hours of flight time
  • Includes 8 hours ground time
  • Includes One day self guided hiking
  • Includes 5 nights at the Lodge
  • Land on Beaches, gravel bars, tundra
  • See Bears, Glaciers, and other wildlife
  • Includes One day guided river fishing
  • Day 1 Arrive, ground brief
  • Day 2-5 Fly, Hike, Fish
  • Day 6 Travel home

Effective 8/15/22 there is a 12% fuel surcharge added to all training packages.

Meet Your Flight Instructors


Jon Kotwicki CFI | CFII | MEI | AGI | ATP

flight instructor

Jon began flying at age 19 working towards his Private Pilot Certificate.  It only took one flight for Jon to discover his passion for aviation, and just two years after his first flight he became a Flight Instructor.  Jon has spent thousands of hours flying everything from bush planes to airline jets.  He now spends his time teaching flight students from Private Pilots to Airline Pilots, and making videos for FLY8MA.  Jon's #1 goal, to make the safest, smartest pilots out there, and make a lot of them!

Steph Blanchard CFI | CFII | AGI

flight instructor in front of airplane

Steph learned to fly in Alaska out of necessity (living in a town with no roads makes flying an almost daily requirement).  After years of flying in the bush, Steph now instructs Private Pilot students in Alaska on her days off.  In the winter you'll find her flying freight to small Alaskan villages, and in the summer you see her landing planes on the beaches taking tourists to see the massive Alaskan Brown Bears.

The above courses can be flown at any training level

Level 0

Ready to earn your tailwheel endorsement?  If you do not already have a tailwheel endorsement and current tailwheel proficiency you will rank at level 0.

At this level, your instructor will take the time to ensure you understand the basics of tailwheel flying.  They will walk you through basic air work drills and pattern work to build your tailwheel skills.

Level 1

Students at level 1 would be anyone who currently holds a tailwheel endorsement and is proficient to land on dirt and pavement alike in a tailwheel airplane without instructor help.

Level 1 is a great place to be when beginning off-airport flying.  You will want to be comfortable in a tailwheel airplane (preferably with 10 hours or more in the preceding 90 days) prior to venturing away from the safety of the airport.

If you are at Level 1, you would be ready for one of our multiday Bush Pilot Training Courses.

Level 1 uses landing areas primarily less than 800'.

Level 2

Ready for next level flying?

Level 2 is for those who have already completed one or more full Bush Pilot Training Courses at the pilot lodge and who are familiar with off-airport operations in Alaska.

Once you achieve level 2 you can expect to progress to shorter gravel bars, exploring hydroplaning characteristics, operations on extremely soft surfaces, mountain top landings, as well as flying with heavy loads and external loads.

Expect to be able to takeoff and land in less than 200' reliably at this level.

Level 2 primarily uses landing areas 150'-600'.

It is completely normal for students to spend several rounds of training courses at Level 2 before being ready to move to Level 3.

Level 3

Time to take charge!  Level 3 is for pilots who have successfully completed Level 2 training at the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge and are ready to fly in their own aircraft into the backcountry.

Level 3 training courses put the student in their own aircraft with the CFI in a second aircraft.  During Level 3 Bush Pilot Training Courses the student is fully responsible for their own aircraft, while still under the close watchful eye of our CFIs.  By taking two aircraft into the backcountry for your training experience you will be able to haul much more gear and fuel with more useful load.

Level 3 trips often involve multiple overnights camping or staying in public use cabins as you venture further off the beaten path into the Alaska wilderness.

Level 3 trips require at least 30 hours of tailwheel time in the preceding 90 days.  The student will be required to consistently land and takeoff within 150' prior to departing solo into the backcountry.

Housing Options

DC-6 Airplane House

Climb aboard the 2 bed / 1 bath DC-6 Airplane.  First flying in 1956 and now landed here at the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge.  You'll find everything you need flying here in first class, one king and one queen bed, a pull out couch for extra guests, full kitchen and bathroom, as well as a BBQ grill on the walkout wing deck.   (add $399/night to upgrade to an airplane house)

Cozy Cabin 1 Bed/1 Bath

We have two "cozy cabins" here at the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge.  The Seldovia Cabin and the Katmai Cabin offer a queen size bed, full size shower, and mini fridge with microwave in these cute studio style cabins.  (Included in base price)

Denali / Wrangell Cabins

These two cabins offer a large layout as complete "tiny houses".  They both have in-floor heat to keep your toes warm in the winter, full kitchens, full-size shower complete with heated towel bar, and walk out balconies overlooking runway 7/25 here at the Pilot Lodge.    (add $79/night to upgrade to these cabins with full kitchens).

Lake Clark Cabin

This cabin is located in a more private area of the 115 acre property.  It is a 2bed/1bath complete with full kitchen and washer/dryer in the cabin.  There area also two lofts that allow the cabin to sleep up to 6 comfortably.  This cabin is great for longer term stays or if you plan to bring your family along with you during your flight training here.  (add $119/night to upgrade to this cabin).

Yes!  Housing is included in our flight training packages.  We encourage students to stay on-site with us as it makes it much easier to adjust schedules if needed for weather changes.  It's also a lot of fun!  We have weekly pizza social night by the fire pit to tell flying stories and enjoy good company!