Our Current Team

We pride ourselves on the experience of our Certified Flight Instructor team. With over 100 years of experience in aviation, more than 50,000 hours of flight time and thousands of hours on floats, our instructors provide some of the best teaching in the world. Float flying in Alaska is phenomenal and even more so when accompanied by a team like ours. 

Not only does our team provide ASES instruction, but they also fly Part 135 scenic charters, tours and bush flying. As you learn from them, you’ll be learning the same techniques that they’ve used throughout their aviation careers to safely operate in Alaska and other parts of the world. Each of our instructors are chosen for their skills, experience, dedication, and teaching abilities.

Alaska Float Ratings Flight Instructor Team 2022
Jordan, Isabella, Trey and Mike.
Our top notch ASES CFI team.

Individual Bios

Each comes with their own strengths, to create a rounded team that will help you develop skills that will last a lifetime, and memorable experiences that will last just as long.

Mike Healey - Chief Pilot of Alaska Float Ratings

Mike Healey

Chief Pilot
With more than 40 years of flying experience and over 20,000 hours of flight time, his level of expertise is perfect for his role as Chief Pilot for Alaska Float Ratings and Scenic Mountain Air.

2022 will be Mike’s 5th summer in Moose Pass, Alaska, teaching floatplane flying in the PA-18 Super Cub and C-172 on floats and giving scenic tours in the C-206. Mike has been flying for more than 40 years and has flown approximately 20,000 hours in over 40 different types of military, airline and general aviation aircraft. He has a true passion for floatplane flying and instructing, enjoys teaching students of all backgrounds and experience levels and passing on his unique skills to them.

Mike started flying gliders at the age of 18 while attending college. He graduated from San Jose State University in 1976 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He flew the F-4 Phantom and F/A-18 Hornet during his 20 year military career, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Mike also served in many  leadership and training roles, including as an advanced Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Air Combat Tactics Instructor, Low Altitude Tactics Instructor, Instrument Examiner, Natops Examiner and Flight Leader during this time. He served on 2 aircraft carrier deployments in the Western Pacific on the USS Midway and a 9 month combat tour in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, flying 60 combat missions over Iraq and Kuwait in the F/A-18.

After his Marine Corps retirement, he began a 23 year career as an airline pilot with FedEx Express. He was privileged to fly as a Captain on the B-727, MD-10, MD-11 and the B-777 to destinations all over the world. During this time, his love of general aviation aircraft was reborn and as he got back into flying and instructing in floatplanes in Moose Pass and instructing tailwheel and aerobatic students in the PA-12, A-1 Husky, Super Decathlon, Pitts 2B and 2C airplanes. 

When Mike is not in Moose Pass, Alaska, flying floats he flies the Citation X business jet, part time, out of Hayward, California.

Mike is very passionate about flying and instructing and looks forward to introducing you to one of the best experiences you will ever have in the most beautiful setting in the world. 

“Look forward to meeting and flying with you.” – Mike Healey, Chief Pilot

Jordan Bankhead - Certified Flight Instructor and Airframe and Powerplant mechanic

Jordan Bankhead

Jordan is a multi-role kind of guy. His 10+ years of experience as a pilot and Airframe & Powerplant mechanic bring a well rounded input to the overall safety and structure of Alaska Float Ratings. He is one of our ASES Certified Flight Instructors and our head Airframe & Powerplant mechanic.

Jordan developed a love for the backcountry as a young boy. His father would take him on trips hunting, fishing, skiing and hiking. That love grew as he found ways to share his backcountry experiences through teaching as a whitewater river guide and rock climbing director in the “River of No Return” wilderness of Salmon, Idaho. 

Through this Jordan developed a keen sense of situational awareness and safety, educating and protecting his customers from the hazards that surrounded them. He finds the joy in taking on a challenge and discerning the safest approach to a unique scenario.

Jordan is avid in constantly pursuing higher levels of education and growth with the mindset that you can never progress your experience in life while staying in your comfort zone. 

He left his life as a guide to pursue a bachelors degree in Aviation Technology from Utah State University. Jordan has worked in multiple sectors of aviation as an A&P Technician ranging from Pilatus PC-12’s, Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopters and King Air’s for air medical services down to large scale fleet maintenance for 141 flight schools and tour agencies. During his work as a mechanic he simultaneously pursued all of his pilot certificates and ratings to become an effective double threat and gain as much grounding in the aviation field as possible. 

After achieving expertise as a proven flight instructor and backcountry pilot in the
canyons of southeastern Utah, Jordan had a strong desire to return to his roots and tie his career of aviation back into his passion for the outdoors. This led him to Alaska to share his love of float flying in the mountains with others. Jordan continues to instill his passion for life into others with a desire to advance people to become the best versions of themselves.

Jordan is a proud husband and father of three young boys. He is driven to be an active part of their lives as he works to provide for them. His favorite way to spend his evenings is telling them stories of his adventures through the eyes of two young brother grizzly bear cubs.

Trey - Certified Flight Instructor ASES Float Planes

Trey Montgomery

ASES CFI & Charter Pilot
Trey is a float rated ASES CFI and Charter Pilot for Alaska Float Ratings and has been flying with us for a few years.

Trey says, “From Wyoming. ‘Nuf said.”

Zach with our DPE (Brad)

Zach Holt

ASES CFI & Charter Pilot
Zach got his pilot’s license before his drivers license and has accrued more than 10,000 hours of flight time in his 20+ years of aviation experience. He flight instructs for us in the summer and flies commercially for the airlines the rest of the year.

Zach is an Air Transport Pilot and full-time B737 Captain. Though he loves flying commercially for the airlines, he finds more satisfaction flying Seaplanes than in commercial jets (most of the time). He got his Seaplane rating when he was 17 years old and has been visiting Alaska to fish and fly floats ever since.

Zach’s dad began teaching him how to fly in his teens. He built flight time as a CFI, CFII and MEII, flew as a skydiver drop pilot and scenic tour pilot. Zach has now been flying commercially for more than 15 years, mainly flying an Embraer 145 and a Boeing 737. His aviation experience ranges from multiple different areas of flight operations, including 3 years as the Manager of Flight Operations Quality Assurance for a regional airline and 3 years as a Chief Pilot Office Flight Manager at a major airline. 

Zach says that flying float planes in Alaska is by far the funnest flying that he has ever done. Alaska Float Ratings and Scenic Mountain Air are the funnest part of his summer. 

He might be biased, but he says that he is married to the most amazing female on the planet and that they created the three most beautiful humans.

Certified Flight Instruction - Float Plane Rating ASES

Our Commitment To Excellence

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” - Aristotle

We whole heartedly believe that safety must always be the top priority, but that doesn't eliminate opportunities to learn and have fun. Each decision we make as a team and as individual flight instructors is to safely and efficiently move our students through a course of training in float plane flying and mountain flying while having an enjoyable time doing it.

We commit to expanding your personal minimums envelope to match your growing experience, skill, and judgment. In doing so we will help you to learn skills, techniques, and tactics that will improve your airmanship and decision making abilities and to make you a better pilot for the remainder of your piloting years.

Continuous, forward progress.

Learn More About Certified Flight Instructors

Quality Certified Flight Instructors

There is no question that Certified flight instructors play a vital role in the general aviation community and in the overall safety of aviation as a whole. Each flight instructor has a very critical responsibility to promote safety and teach advancing pilots the skills necessary to foster pilot progression. They must communicate information and techniques that may not appear in textbooks, ensure their students fully understand their lessons in ways that an automated system cannot, and provide a role model to new pilots.

Finding a good flight instructor can mean the difference between a lifetime in aviation or giving up in the early stages of instruction. It could also be the difference between a lifelong aviation career, or a short-lived bout ending in an incident or accident. 

As in every aspect of education, different teachers work better with various personality types. However, each certified flight instructor (CFI) bears the responsibility of guiding their student to become a confident aviator in their realm of flying. The best flight instructors are experienced, hard working, and professional.

At Alaska Float Ratings, we understand that skilled CFIs create an environment of learning, promote safety and provide the best opportunities for students to progress in their flight training. That why we individually choose the best CFIs for our team.

Ground School Guidance

Although, in general ground school has turned more to online training, without a typical brick and mortar classroom, CFIs play an instrumental role in proper learning by tailoring a style that fits best with individual students and portions of their flight training. Certified flight instructors help answer the questions of their students in the ground school portion of their training. 

Ground school is generally thought of as the “classroom” portion of learning to fly. While many student pilots are eager to climb directly into the cockpit, it’s important to never ignore or attempt to skate through ground school sessions. This part of training is essential to understanding the basics of aviation and becoming an efficient pilot. When it comes to float plane flying and back country mountain flying, in-person ground school with a CFI is paramount.

The best flight instructors realize this. Most flight schools use a syllabus which divides the business of flight training into sections or chapters, usually corresponding to an each individual in-air session. This practice enables the student the flexibility to work with a number of different instructors at the same school. If a student pilot is too young to fly alone or take to the cockpit, focusing on ground school is an excellent way to learn about aviation while waiting for the calendar to turn. 

Flight instructors overview the material with their students and ensure that its general principles are understood. The material in ground school is usually geared to helping the student understand the questions he or she will face on the FAA’s practical test for private or commercial pilots. Some flight schools separate ground school sessions and flight lessons, but others integrate them. This second approach sometimes student pilots to progress faster since they are applying book knowledge to practical issues in the air.

In-Flight Training

When people mention “pilot training” or “flying lessons,” this is usually what the public thinks of. While in the air with their students, flight instructors work with their students to ensure they are comfortable with acting as pilot in command. They will practice judging takeoffs and landings, recovering from a stall, and flying in a pattern around an airport. Flight instructors also teach their students how to perform a pre-flight inspection.

The flight instructor also practices various scenarios with the student pilot. They will go over procedures for speaking professionally with Air Traffic Control. Working with weather reports, communicating with other pilots, and learning to file flight plans is also important. A conscientious instructor boosts the confidence of the student without coddling. He or she is a perceptive judge of when the student is prepared to solo, take the FAA’s practical test, or fly cross-country.

Good flight instructors are honest with their students about their progress, maintaining an encouraging outlook while also addressing weaknesses. An instructor who has only positive feedback isn’t doing a student pilot any favors, and one who berates or embarrasses a client stands the danger of losing a prospective new contributor to aviation.

Professionalism by Example

A good flight instructor might be difficult to find and retain, since some, but not all, flight instructors take on positions with flight schools in order to “build time.” They usually aren’t instructors for longer than it takes to reach the amount of hours required as a pilot in command (PIC) to apply to airlines or for charter jobs. While these instructors are safe and well-qualified, an instructor who is seasoned and familiar with the cross currents of the aviation industry is a terrific find. Flight instructors who fail to dedicate themselves to you and your education and who take on more students than is prudent should be avoided.

The best flight instructors model professionalism to their clients. Not only do they underscore lesson plans through explanations and answering questions, but they also give student pilots a personal example to follow. Be wary of flight instructors who speak poorly of others, mention ways to “slip past” FAA rules, or treat airport employees poorly.  A flight instructor worth retaining is one who treats others respectfully and who prizes safety and thoroughness.