How did you get a job as a bush pilot?

You can read the full story on how I ended up flying the PC-6 in Papua on this page of my blog.


How do I get a job with your company?

The best source of up-to-date information on recruiting is this blog here: http://susiairinterview.blogspot.com (Not run by me and opens in a new window/tab).


I have PC-6 time, could I apply for a job?

If you have over 1000 hours total time, you areĀ eligible to be PIC of an aircraft in Indonesia and hence might be suitable for a job here. I’d recommend emailing our recruitment address here: recruiting@susiair.com


Do you know of any other operators in Papua looking for pilots?

There’s usually one or two operators out here looking for pilots. A Google search should find most of their websites where you’ll be able to find their recruitment addresses.


What sort of roster do you work?

It varies depending on many things including if I’ve requested longer holidays or other pilots want time off etc. Usually it’s 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off.


How much do you earn?

More than when I first starting flying which was $600 a month for a year as a copilot on the C208. However I stuck with it and now earn enough to enjoy my time off and put a bit away each month for a rainy day.


How many hours do you fly a year?

It really varies from year to year. Usually around 400-600 hours.


What is a typical day like?

For all our Porter bases we work 6 days on and 1 day off. Here’s a typical work day:

04:15 – wake-up, get dressed, breakfast etc.
05:10 – get to the airport and give the aircraft a check over
05:30 – first departure of usually five flights
13:00ish – finish flying for the day and head back to the mess to relax
20:30 – bed time and sleep for the next day


What do you do on your time off in Papua?

Depends where I am. Anything from mountain biking, sea kayaking, learning the guitar, chatting to other pilots, drinking, editing videos/photos, planning the next holiday, updating this blog etc.


How do you attach the camera in your videos?

I use a GoPro HD mk1 with the wifi bacpac to start and stop it remotely. It’s usually attached to the wing strut using the GoPro suction cup. I also secure the whole thing around the tie-down point with string in-case the suction fails. Never had a problem as I’m very careful amount making sure both the strut and suction cup are clean and dry.


Can I use any of the photos/videos from your blog?

Please contact me regarding this as it depends on what you want to reprint.


Do you have a Facebook/Twitter/YouTube page?

All my social media links are at the top and bottom on the right hand side of each page. Although I have a YouTube channel I don’t use it much these days and prefer Vimeo for videos.


This page is updated from time to time, so please check back for more answers for commonly asked questions!

53 Responses

  1. britcellist says:

    Just found your site on Flight Aware. I am a Brit grandmother who grew up with an older brother flying a Cessna 150 missionary medical plane in formerly Rhodesia, in the Zambesi Valley. He took us on trips to the Victoria Falls and I fell in love with small aircraft flights. My last one was from Nairobi to Lamu Island. Bliss! I quite understand your passion for this kind of flying. Good on you, I wish you a wonderful experience in Papua.

    • Matt Dearden says:

      Thanks for your comments and glad you’re enjoying the blog. Small aircraft really are a great way to travel I think, they get you closer to the landscape and people in a way large jets never can. The flights are just so much more interesting and I will continue to enjoy doing them :o)

  2. Chipo Mhizha says:

    Hi Matt,

    It really sounds crazy for me to be writing to you. I have a son who did his CPL in Australia and he was the best student for completing his course with 180hrs, which to my understanding are becoming a hindrance as the industry requires more hours of flying.
    As a mum I have been following on any lead that can assist him land a job in the aviation industry. I just came across your blog which is so fascinating.

    I am therefore begging you to assist my son in anyway you can to find a job in this industry so that his dream since he was a child can be fulfilled. It is now financially difficult for me to fund him so that he builds the hours that are required.

    One thing that I assure you is that my son is very courageous, humorous, hard working and very tolerant. We are not looking at the salary aspect of it neither the living conditions but somewhere were he can build up his hours.

    God bless you.

    Mary – email address is cmmhizha@gmail.com

    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hello Mary,

      Your son’s best option for getting a job out here in Indonesia would be to take a look at this blog: http://susiairinterview.blogspot.com It details the stages involved with getting a job at the company I work for. However, I believe he’ll need 250 hours before he can apply for a job in Indonesia. I know all to well how hard it is to get those hours and the expense involved. I managed to get a few free hours in the right hand seat of a Chieftain with an instructor who used to fly them on private charters. The obvious way to get hours (and get paid) is to become an instructor. That’s not a path I went down but I know many pilots how have and are now flying all sorts of aircraft all over the world.

      I wish him the very best of luck!

  3. Rudy Travelco says:

    Hello Mat,
    Can i have contact number for small flight charter around timika and sorong ?
    pls drop me an email to : rudytravelco@gmail.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello Matt,

    I am currently a pilot in training from Canada and I was wondering what the prospects for Susiair would be for a brand new CPL pilot with Multi engine rating and Multi IFR with 250 hours TT.

    I look forward to hearing back from you: dickson_poon@live.com

    Thanks for your time and have fun flying.

  5. Ricardo Louis G. says:

    Hi Matt,

    I have discovered you Blog and it seems really interesting .. your videos are amaizing … the environmett where you fly is really nice .. it helps you to take really fantastic videos and histories:)

    The plane you pilot is also good .. and all the the experiences that you are sharing are fine.

    I’m Ricardo Louis from Barcelona (Spain) .. I’m Pilot of Ultralight Aircraft .. I have an ICP Bingo and on the other hand i have a small Blog where i explain my experiences with my plane, my blog is http://bingosimoninivictor2.blogspot.com

    A part of this i wanted to ask you if you see any problem to show your video/s in my other site http://www.PilotoLOCO.com … This site contain some videos of Pilots and planes that are amaizing and interesting as are your videos šŸ™‚

    Today i have put your video 46quot;World’s shortest commercial flight?46quot; so please let me know if for you it is ok or not.

    I will continue following your Blog and experiences

    Thanks to share your experiences with all us

    Keep in touch


    Ricardo Louis G.

  6. Anonymous says:


    What are the general requirements to become a PC-6 pilot for your company?

    • Matt Dearden says:

      You must have 1000 hours minimum to be PIC of an aircraft in Indonesia but aside from that, I don’t really know if we’re even taking on direct entry Porter pilots currently.

  7. j avitr says:

    very nice writing about ur experiences in unforgivable Paupa weather

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,

    Just watching the ch4 TV show – great stuff, just wondered how to local afford the trips ? I can see the need to provide a service but can’t figure out how the remote locals can afford the flights, is there a government subsidiary somewhere ?



    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hey Matt,

      You’re quite correct in that assumption. The Indonesian government subsidises almost all the passenger flying out here on what are known as penerbangan perintis (Indonesian for Pioneering flights). The locals only have to pay a nominal amount towards the ticket cost.


  9. Dave Duffy says:

    Hi matt

    Odd question

    I am ex military (4000hrs rotary) and current turboprop airline captain in Europe (4500hrs fixed wing) as well as a TRE.

    I am bored and looking for a change, do sustair take direct entry captains?



  10. Cheryl Optomen says:

    Hi Matt,
    I am a television producer working for major independent production company Optomen Television in London. We are currently producing a new documentary series for Channel 4 in the UK about people who have quit the rat race and moved to live in remote locations the world. It will be an inspirational series following the incredible stories of ordinary people who are living a unique way of life in some of the most beautiful and breath-taking places.

    Our research team in London is currently looking for suitable stories to feature in the series and we’re keen to contact people who may be interested in taking part.

    Here’s a bit more explanation on the show. This is a presenter-led series, so our presenter will go out to meet the people we film with and spend around 5 days living with them. Our ideal scenario is one where the individual/couple/family have built their own property and are living off-grid. A large element of the show is about living in the wilderness, so the larger the element of living off the land, the better.

    The more there is going on the better, e.g. if someone is building additions to their home, planting coffee /cocoa to run a farm, etc, etc the better. We are interested in aspects of living rurally that may include home-schooling, hunting/foraging, growing food, raising livestock, living off-grid, etc

    I thought I would contact you to see if you or anyone you know in Indonesia may fit the profile of the people we are looking for to take part in the show?

    Do feel free to send this information out, or post on your Facebook page.

    Any help you can provide is much appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks and Kind Regards,


  11. Greg says:

    Hi Matt,
    My name is Greg ,a French private pilot and virtual pilot during my free time .
    A well known man in the simulation world is currently creating a pc6-B2-H4 for flight simulation (you can see it here http://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/topic/80189-pc-6-b2-h4-turbo-porter-4x-preview/ ) .
    Would it be possible for you to email me a copy of the flight manual to compare real and virtual ?
    Thanks in advance ,continue your blog and fly safe .
    Greg ,

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,

    Apologies as I appreciate you are somewhat oversubscribed by requests for information, but your blog is the best source of information I have found so far.

    As such I’ll keep this brief, I’m travelling out to Indonesia next month on a fact finding mission, as I am short of hours at the moment and looking to prepare as best I can before applying for a job. I have some questions (don’t we all, haha) about the life and flying out there.

    I would be eternally grateful, if I could have a few minutes of your time via email just to help better my understanding and preparation of how to move forward and make this dream job happen.

    My email is:


    Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated and I would be forever in your debt.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this email and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kindest Regards,

    Michael Hall

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,
    I do have some questions for you about your career – when you get some spare time would you mind emailing me? timotayotime@gmail.com

  14. Anonymous says:

    hi Matt

    I hope you are aware that in Indonesia Vimeo is blocked, so as indonesian cant see all the great video that you uploaded

  15. Bruno says:

    Just passed to congrat you on the new blog design, its much better than the other.
    Keep up.

  16. Bassu says:

    Matt, just saw your “last frontier” remark on the show. Being a programmer and an adrenaline junkie, I can obviously relate.
    My question is, do you still like to write code or is it now boring?

  17. Tom says:

    Hi Matt,

    First of all, I wanted to say thank you for putting all this information online – your blog is brilliant and a real inspiration as I am hoping to follow in your footsteps at some point!

    I am a 24 year old UK citizen currently researching flight schools to to get my CPL, and have narrowed it down to aviator flight school in Florida (which provides 259 flight hours and combines flight instructor ratings), or one in South Africa. Neither of these provides the EASA CPL/IR but they are considerably better value – will this be a problem in applying for SUSI air/ for the type of work you do in another airline? My goal is not to fly in the big commercial jets (atleast not for many years) but to gain experience bush flying, preferably in Asia, Africa or South America.

    My other question would be, if you were to tailor your training to bush flying, or SUSI air as a first job goal, is there anything in particular I should aim for / focus on during the training process?

    If I am honest, I am taking my very first steps into the world of aviation and so I may be asking silly/obvious questions, but any information you could provide would be hugely appreciated.

    Best wishes,


    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hi Tom,

      Of the two options you’ve mentioned I would have thought the US FAA licence will probably give you more options worldwide (including N reg aircraft in Europe for when you’re fed up living in remote parts of the world). I know it’s fine for out here in Indonesia. I can’t really speak for the South African licence and where it’s accepted.

      As for getting into bush flying, there’s a lot of luck involved I have to admit and you shouldn’t expect to be jumping straight into something like a Porter or similar from flying school. Susi is a good option as they will (although not right at this moment) take on pilots with low hours and allow you to work your way through the C208 and eventually into the Porter. Perhaps look at other companies who might offer similar prospects when you’ve been with them long enough. You might want to have a look at float planes too as there’s some pretty cool bush flying to be had there too.

      Hope this helps!


      • Tom says:

        Hi Matt, thank you for the quick reply.

        I was thinking the FAA license does give potentially more options, my plan would be to get the FAA CPL/IR in the US, work on their instructor scheme for a year or so to gain the 700 hour mark, and then start applying for first flying jobs.

        I understand the porter is not something to hop into straight away, but I would be more than happy with a first job flying the c208 – from what research I have done I know that first job is no easy thing to get…

        So SUSI is currently not hiring? Will this likely change again in the future?

        Again, many thanks for your advice, Tom

        • Matt Dearden says:

          Yeah, the first flying job is always the hardest and my advise to you would be to not get too set on doing a particular type of flying. Instructing is certainly a great way to get started but after that, don’t restrict yourself to just Susi Air. Apply to any operator, anywhere in the world flying anything and see if any of them will take you. You might get offered a job on something you’d not even thought about and love it. Susi is always hiring but the requirements change from month to month depending on the company’s needs. Currently you need 750 hours total time but I’m sure that’ll drop down again in a few months.

  18. swapnil karki says:

    hey matt,

    First of all..awesome blog..great job. I see that you do reply to your comments as well that’s why i thought of seeking some advice from you. i am 21 years old and currently hold newzealand commerical pilot license.
    i currently have 250+ hours and just about to complete my multi engine instrument rating which will make me up to 300+ hours by the time i finish it. I am really really really interested in bush flying so i was wondering if you could suggest me where should i start looking for jobs in Indonesia or Papua new guinea. I am even happily ready to relocate myself if opportunity comes up but I have no clue where to start from so I was wondering if you could help me out. I am planning to apply susi air once my instrument rating is completed but I would really appreciate if you could also name me some other operators where there might be any opportunity for freshers like me. My email is swapnil.karki@hotmail.com

    looking forward for your response.

    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hi Swapnil,

      Congrats on getting the CPL done! I don’t know anything about PNG I’m afraid but here in Indonesia there’s certainly a need for more pilots, especially in Papua. However, I’m not aware of any operators out here apart from Susi Air that will take on pilots straight out of flight school any more. And even we currently need 750 hours for anyone applying to be a co-pilot on the C208. That requirement does change though, so keep checking back. In the mean time you might want to consider getting experience doing something like glider towing or parachute dropping. Anything where you’re doing lots of take-offs and landings is good experience. I wouldn’t worry too much about being “bush flying” focused at such an early stage, that will come later and as you’re only 21, you have plenty of time!

      Whatever you end up doing flying wise, enjoy it! And best of luck with the instrument rating.


  19. Gabriel says:

    Great and nice story. Here is my story. After years and years, I decided to start my PPL trainning at age 33. I did not and I do not have parents able to help me with money to pay the career, neither I wanted to ask them for such a help. I am also on IT, now at 36 I have 100hs supporting myself ( I had to stop flying around year and a half due to personal reasons). Do you know of “mature” newbies low hour pilots getting chances for jobs, or is the age a no-go condition when hiring new pilots? You are actually there and probably have a closer and more real picture of the situation.

    • Matt Dearden says:

      Age is pretty much irrelevant and we have a large spread of pilots joining us from 25 up to 50+ The majority though is people in their mid-twenties but I certainly wouldn’t put off applying.

  20. Jake Hurst says:


    I found a sectional chart of indonesia (http://indoavis.co.id/main/RETAIL_BROCURE-CATALOGUE/SAC_CATALOGUE_2012.pdf)
    I’d like to try and fly your routes in x-plane or FSX.
    Are your mountain airstrips marked on these maps? if so can you suggest some routes I can try?

    Also, did Susi-air get swamped with low hour applicants after the TV series screened?



    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hi Jake,

      Many of the airstrips we go to are indeed on those VFR charts however there’s plenty more that are not. Routing wise we pretty much fly direct between the major hubs (Nabire, Wamena, Sentani and Timika) into the mountain airstrips.

      Susi Air always gets plenty of applicants and I believe that TV series did indeed increase the amount we received.


  21. sangga says:

    hey mr.dean how much flight time you do in a month?

  22. sangga says:

    hey, you’re really are great pilot. I’m planning become pilot like you and join susi air. I’m indonesian. Is susi air a good place to start career as a pilot with my low time flight. I’m really aim for increasing my flight time. Thank you

  23. Prakash says:

    Hello Matt,
    Got into your blog via googling. I m a Sacaa cpl holder with tt 240 . I got my cpl back in 2011 and peroidically just been renewing my Cpl. Since 2013 i m pilot for commercial microlight flights flying over himalayas here in Nepal to financially support myself and i ve accumulaated approx. 800 hours also known to the fact these hours wont be counted . Does this experience of microlight flying and hours makes me considerable on trying for susi air however i have 240 total time from my cpl? I am well aware of their requirement of 750 hours so havent dared to write into their email.
    Any advise for me. Will be grateful.

  24. Viltsu says:

    Hi Matt,

    I found your blog by first seeing the TV-series. It’s very impressing work you guys do there.
    Is Susi air only hiring foreigners as pilots or is there any other jobs available?
    I’m logistics engineer and I would be very interested to work in Indonesia, maybe in administration or planning of aviation.

  25. Kianoush Khojasteh Baghdar says:

    Hello Mat,
    Can i have contact number for small flight charter around timika and sorong as well?
    pls drop me an email to :kbaghdar@gmail.com
    Thanks loads

  26. James says:

    Hi Matt!
    I’m just dreaming on your pictures all the time! I’ve checked all your website and want to follow your steps ASAP.
    I’m curently doing my CPL in Canada (whenever I’m French!) with a maximum option to be hire as bush Pilot (MER,IR,Float Plane, Tail wheel, bush pilot program….and maybe helicoptere!).
    You’ve made me dreaming ! Thx dude!
    I wish you the best for you next step
    And if I’ll could be there, will send you personnal pictures!


    and one day maybe you will be my captain? …

  27. Earl Beatty says:

    Hello Matt,
    My name is Earl. I am glad to hear you love what you are doing! I am a FAA Commercial/Instrument helicopter pilot. Currently, I am working on my flight instructor certification. I took an interest in Susi Air after seeing the TV series. The Rotary Wing community is robust here in the United States. The magic number to get a job is 1,500. Many of them want at least 500 hours of turbine time. I am from the Washington D.C. area so flying out here you are always under a security blanket that watches all air traffic. I recently received a General Questionnaire email from Susi Air. I am scheduled for my Class 1 Medical on Nov 15, after that, I will complete the questionnaire with my current medical . Do you know what the training and pay would be for Rotary Wing?

    Kind Regards,

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