I’m part of multiple Facebook groups to keep tabs on news and discussion for my different commute options. Recently a Jason Alferness posted to the Southworth Ferry Commuter Group that he was offering up his co-pilot seat on a commute flight he was doing from Bremerton to Boeing Field. I was intrigued so I asked him for an interview.
What made you want to “aero-commute”?
How long have you been a pilot? How many hours/experience?
However, my plane is of limited performance. I cruise maybe 100mph ish, so while I’m going faster than a car and can go in a straight line, so I don’t usually fly far, since a jet will do 4-5x that. A small single engine plane is no substitute for a jet and if I have to travel across the country. People sometimes even ask for a flight to Hawaii or something… which is just not possible or sensible.
Walk me through how an “aero-commute” day goes.
It’s HIGHLY weather dependent and cannot be used as an everyday substitute for other commute options every day, so if you think you don’t have to drive or take the ferry anymore, that just isn’t the case. Small planes have much greater limitations as far as what is safe to fly in than your average Alaska or United Airlines flight. You can do things to increase the amount of time you can fly, but there will always be days when it’s best to stay on the ground.
How does the time and cost compare to how you commute typically?
So costs are a tough question to answer — But if you’re interested, you can find a way to do it. Take the first step and start talking with people about ways to do it more economically if it’s breaking the bank. Pilots love to help other pilots.
What does the Puget Sound look like from up above during the commuting hours?
Gorgeous! Mountains, Water, Ferries, sometimes aircraft carriers or subs. It’s can’t be beat! But I sometimes am happy I’m not in the clog of I5 when I fly over it departing Boeing!
What types of flights do you see coming and going at Bremerton and Boeing fields? Any interesting stories?
Everything under the sun… Military flights (Apache and Chinook Helicopters, cargo and & fighters), Commercial flights, Corporate jets, helicopters… there’s a huge diversity. We’ve flown in over the clouds of Blue Angels testing their smoke trail systems on the ground (thought maybe one of the hangars on the ground had caught fire until we saw the blue planes. 😉 ) Something new to see every day.
Finally, what should people know about aero-commuting?
It’s also a great community. If you are interested, there’s always somebody willing to help you. Generous, beautiful people from all walks of life. You start by flying a plane and soon learn you’ve joined a family, whether you knew that when you started or not.