ANYWHERE FROM 1-7 NIGHTS AT BACKCOUNTRY RANCHES
4-5 HOURS OF FLIGHT TIME PER DAY
10-15 BACKCOUNTRY AIRSTRIPS PER DAY
AVERAGE COST: $2,000 PER DAY
includes airplane, instructor, lodging and meals
Our Backcountry Training Tours are multi-day, tank-of-gas loops through the scenic mountains and canyons of the Idaho, Montana and Oregon backcountry. These loops are specifically choreographed to offer you a progression of training with an ever-increasing linkage of challenging un-paved airstrips. Some public, some private. Some on the map, some not. Most sloped with one-way approaches and no go-around abort points. Most shorter than 2000’ and always with an obstacle on at least one end. With a choice of over 75 backcountry airstrips it’s just a few miles and minutes between strips. Just enough time to reflect on the last airstrip, enjoy the scenery at low-level following the terrain then adding those new skills just learned to master the next airstrip.
Each night of your training tour will be spent at a different wilderness guest ranch, often only accessible by air or by foot. We’ll land each afternoon just in time for a late lunch. You’ll enjoy warm cabins, friendly hosts and arm-chair flying around the campfire under the stars each night. These backcountry lodges easily compete with the rates of big city hotels yet offer a remarkable experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
Our objective for your mountain training is multi-faceted. You’ll learn how to make the decisions required to fly into an unfamiliar mountain airstrip. You’ll learn skills unique to backcountry flying and how to best apply them. Additionally you’ll learn how to read the terrain to compare that to the operating envelope you’ve explored in the aircraft in order to determine how to safely fly a confined terrain blind traffic pattern in canyons, below mountain peaks; to a stabilized approach over obstacles; to a precision (spot) landing; to a short sloped narrow uneven airstrip; with limited go-around options. Emphasis will always be on safety, judgment and control. As a result, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to minimize risk while being introduced to a world not accessible to every pilot. This unique experience will give you a taste of the backcountry charter (bush) pilot lifestyle. Only flying out to civilization for gas, ice cream and maybe to check your cell phone.
Our Backcountry Training Tours are not only a fun and challenging way to become a better pilot but also offer you an experience many pilots only dream of. Spend a day or spend a week and gain the skills to allow for a safe return to the backcountry in your own airplane.
Due to insurance constraints, company liability, and training safety considerations, we do not offer “Backcountry” training until the pilot has shown post endorsement proficiency in a Tailwheel Kitfox. Then allowing for focus and absorption of the new Backcountry skills being taught, rather than still managing tailwheel airplane procedures and techniques.
WHAT WE FLY:
Standard wing Series 7 Super Sport and the STi / Monster Shock version
- Standard wing: Fuel-injected 912is Sport 110hp w/ AirMaster constant speed prop
- Standard wing: Turbo-charged 914 115hp w/ AirMaster constant speed prop
- STi version: High-lift wing and monster gear, turbo-charged, fuel-injected 915is 141HP w/ MT constant-speed prop
- Modern glass cockpit (EFIS) - analog steam gauges presentable
- Garmin & Advanced Flight Systems avionics
- PS Engineering Intercoms
- Bose active noise-cancelling headsets
- Alaska Bushwheel tires
KITFOX RENTAL (wet)
- plus 6% Idaho sales tax
- exact rate dependent upon which configuration of Kitfox is available
STi RENTAL (wet)
- plus 6% Idaho sales tax
- flight instruction is billed at a day rate when staying overnight in the backcountry
- flight instruction is billed at $95/hr on the final day which does not include an overnight stay in the backcountry
- rates vary for our variety of backcountry lodging options
- rates often include meals
- client will also be charged for flight instructor’s meal & lodging expenses
- see links below for ranch/lodging options
DEPOSIT & CONTRACT:
We require a $1500 deposit for every week of training you reserve on our schedule. Once we receive your deposit, we will send you a confirmation of your reservation.
Your deposit is non-refundable if you cancel within 60 days of your reservation. We will hold the deposit on account for 6 months in the hopes you will reschedule. Once you start your training, the deposit will be used towards your training balance.
A signed contract is required along with your deposit. Please include when mailing your deposit.
YOUR BACKCOUNTRY LODGING OPTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
WHAT IS THE PREREQUISITE FOR A BACKCOUNTRY TRAINING TOUR?
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A TAILWHEEL ENDORSEMENT:
Backcountry Training Tours are considered advanced training. Since you will be flying an unfamiliar airplane (the Kitfox) in an unfamiliar environment, proficiency in a Kitfox is required before venturing in to the backcountry. We require this not only for our safety but also to offer you the most efficient Backcountry Training experience. This proficiency “type” training typically takes 3-5 hours if already tailwheel endorsed (depending on the tailwheel airplane endorsed-in, the thoroughness of past instruction, and the hours in a tailwheel airplane).
Your familiarity and comfort in the Kitfox will allow you to focus on the new skills you’ll be taught such as: Close proximity, confined terrain, stabilized approaches – over tall obstacles (hundreds of feet) – to precision (spot) landings – at the end of quite short, narrow, sloped airstrips with limited go-around options (one way).
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A TAILWHEEL ENDORSEMENT:
If you are interested in a Backcountry Training Tour and are not tailwheel-endorsed, consider our Tailwheel Endorsement Training followed by a Backcountry Training Tour.
WHAT IS THE TOTAL COST FOR A BACKCOUNTRY TRAINING TOUR?
The following is a SAMPLE calculation to help you budget for your Backcountry Training Tour. PLEASE NOTE: These calculations will vary as they’re based on averages.
Costs for each night spent in the backcountry:
4.5 hours of airplane rental including sales tax @ $206.70/hour = $930.15/day
Flight instruction when staying overnight in the backcountry = $555/day
Lodging averages $300/night per person (charged for both the client and instructor) = $600/night
TOTAL: $2,085.15 per night in the backcountry
Costs for your final day/return to our base:
4.5 hours of airplane rental including sales tax @ $206.70/hour = $930.15
4.5 hours of flight instruction @ $95/hour = $427.50
One night in the backcountry = two days of training
Two nights in the backcountry = three days of training
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A KITFOX AND AN INSTRUCTOR TO COME TO ME?
Yes, we gladly offer backcountry training at your home airport (you supply the mountains). The following is a breakdown of costs:
OUR KITFOX TO YOU:
Ferry costs to bring our Kitfox to you: $185/hr
Kitfox rental for training (your home): $195/hr (plus 6% sales tax)
Instructor: $555/day for ferry AND flight training
Plus reimbursement for: lodging, meals and travel expenses for the instructor. (The same expenses you would have for yourself, if visiting us).
YOUR KITFOX (you’ve just purchased (new or used)) TO YOUR HOME:
Ferried @ Day Rate (if overnight)
Plus reimbursement for: fuel, hangar, FBO ramp fees, and maintenance (as needed), travel expenses.
Plus reimbursement for: lodging, meals, and travel expenses for the instructor. (Again, the same expenses you would have for yourself, if visiting us).
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
We are located at a private air ranch in Greenleaf, Idaho. 35 miles West of Boise.
WHEN CAN I COME?
Our Backcountry Training Tours are typically available during the months of May thru October. Please complete our contact form and include your proposed training window. We’ll check the schedule and either confirm or offer availability options. We book out anywhere from 3-9 months in advance. The sooner you get in touch, the more likely we’ll be able to accommodate your preferred dates.
WHERE DO I STAY? WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
Once you choose your preferred lodge, we’ll arrange your lodging while staying in the backcountry. However, you may need to book a hotel for your first and last nights in Idaho.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME TO BOOK MY BACKCOUNTRY TOUR?
BEFORE WE CAN BOOK YOUR BACKCOUNTRY TRAINING TOUR, WE NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH TIME YOU’D LIKE TO SPEND WITH US AND WHAT BACKCOUNTRY LODGES YOU’D LIKE TO STAY AT:
Please review the Lodge Options (located above this FAQ). Click on their respective website to get a feel of their character and surroundings. Please understand it is best logistically for us to make the reservations to coordinate with the training and often we get a discount we pass on to you.
Then decide how many nights out on Tour. Please realize for scheduling the total # of “Days” out in the Backcountry is always one more than the nights chosen based on a day to return to civilization.
Then decide if you want just one night at each lodge and move to another lodge OR do you prefer multiple nights at 1 or 2 lodges – using the lodge like a base camp and venturing out each day in a different cardinal direction. This is less efficient but possibly a slower pace (eliminating the unpacking/packing each day).
Then consider, the tailwheel proficiency or endorsement training required before we can safely venture into the Backcountry on Tour.
Now you can offer us your preferred date window that will fit your training goals.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO DISCUSS MY FUTURE TRAINING?
Due to the high demand for our services and lack of cell signal in the backcountry, we’re typically unable to communicate via phone. Please proceed to our contact form to submit your details.
HOW TO PREP FOR YOUR TRAINING:
We ask that you show up prepared and motivated in order to get the most from your training experience. Below are some suggested resources to help you prepare for your backcountry training tour:
MOUNTAIN FLYING EDUCATION
AOPA Mountain Flying
AOPA Air Safety Institute Mountain/Backcountry Flight Review
AOPA Safety Advisor: Mountain Flying
FAA: Tips on Mountain Flying
NTSB: Mountain Flying Tips and Resources
Mountain Flying Bible by Sparky Imeson
LEARN ABOUT THE AIRCRAFT YOU’LL BE FLYING
ROTAX ENGINES in our flight school fleet
For a Custom single-Kitfox Backcountry Training Tour outside the pre-scheduled dates.
Custom tour date availability is based on Kitfox, instructor, and Lodge availability – often requiring advanced planning months ahead.