Jim and Abby Kosmos are the owners and operators of Southeast Aviation and year-round residents of this wonderful island we love to call home! They've been involved in aviation locally since the mid-1980s and love sharing Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords with all of our visitors.
Safety always comes first at Southeast Aviation and we take pride in employing very experienced Alaska Seaplane pilots. Our aircraft are regularly maintained and inspected per strict FAA Regulations to ensure our guests are safe and have an amazing trip.
From its base on the historic Ketchikan waterfront, Southeast Aviation is excited to take you over some of the most awe-inspiring Alaskan scenery you'll find anywhere in this Great Land. Within a radius of fewer than 100 miles, you can experience just about everything Alaska has to offer.
Southeast Aviation provides flightseeing tours as well as air charter services to other Southeast Alaska communities. We provide outstanding service for our community and our visiting guests, from air charters and harbor tours to the iconic Misty Fjords National Monument and some of Alaska's premier bear-viewing sites.
Why choose Southeast Aviation?
Our excursions are your first-class ticket to experience the spectacular scenery of the Misty Fjords and the beauty of Southeast Alaska from the sky. The adventure is endless when you have wings!
- Your safety is our number one priority.
- Every seat is a window seat.
- Our experienced and knowledgeable pilots and guides are eager to share their passion for Southeast Alaska with you.
- Land in serene alpine lakes or the stunning inlets of the Misty Fjords for up-close photo opportunities.
- Easy access to two of Alaska's best bear-viewing sites.
- Tour options to accommodate every budget and special schedule.
- In-flight communication system allows you to talk with your pilot and fellow passengers.
- Ground transportation is available for pick-ups and drop-offs.
- Office is within walking distance of the Ketchikan Cruise Ship Dock and downtown.
What we'll do
The community of Hyder and the Fish Creek Bear Viewing Observatory are located at the head of the Portland Canal in one of Alaska's most scenic locations. Along the shallow, clear waters of Fish Creek and Marx Creek, both brown and black bears gather to catch their fill of salmon — sometimes packing away as many as 100,000 calories in a single day. This excursion is a popular choice for its flightseeing opportunities, the chance to see bears in their natural habitat, and observe other wildlife — from mink and beaver to bald eagles, Canadian geese, and other birds.
After taking off from Ketchikan's Tongass Narrows, your air-and-bear tour is underway. Fly northeast over the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument and the headwaters of the Portland Canal, a remarkable 70-mile-long saltwater fjord that is often dotted with humpback whales and fishing vessels. Land at the dock in Hyder, the historic gold rush setting on the border of Canada, where you'll enjoy a guided van tour through "Alaska's Friendliest Ghost Town" toward the bear observatory. Don't miss this unique tour opportunity and the many memorable sights and sounds it offers.
What to expect / what's provided
*Duration: 4 hours
*We suggest dressing in layers because the weather can change while you're out
*Remember to wear comfortable clothes and comfortable shoes to make getting on and off of the plane easier
*Due to limited space and weight restrictions on our floatplanes, Southeast Aviation does not allow large bags or backpacks on our aircraft. We will secure your bag/backpack at our office, though, and will keep it safe during your flight.
*Southeast Aviation LLC operates under permits from the USDA Forest Service and is an equal opportunity service provider. Our aircraft are regularly maintained and inspected per strict FAA Regulations.
- What kinds of planes do you fly?
We proudly operate a fleet of six-passenger DeHavilland Beaver floatplanes, often referred to as ‘the best bush plane ever built. Each aircraft flies six adults, each with a window seat. Every seat is equipped with a unique in-flight communication system that allows you to have conversations with your pilot as we fly over some of the world’s most fascinating landmarks.
Your safety is our number one concern, so there may be times when your pilot will be focusing on flying and decision-making. However, you’ll still be able to use the push-to-talk system to talk to your friends, family, and other passengers while your pilot is piloting!
- What do the ‘passenger minimums’ mean?
Due to the cost of operating floatplanes, we have passenger minimums on some of our more specialized tours. We cannot book those excursions unless the minimums are met.
If you would like to book one of these tours but do not have the minimum number of passengers, please contact us and we will work to join you with another group or provide another option. If you are a cruise ship passenger, we suggest posting on the cruise ship boards or contacting the shore excursion staff to find additional passengers.
- Can we bring children?
Absolutely. Children under two years of age fly for free but must be on the lap of a parent or guardian with a belt around both.
- Will we see wildlife?
While there are no guarantees in nature, Alaska is known for its wilderness, rugged terrain, and wild animals. Our pilots have well-trained eyes from years of experience and are used to being on the lookout for bears, mountain goats, deer, whales, seals, sea lions, and much more. They’ll let you know when they see something and give you the best opportunity for viewing. Keep your eyes open and focused on the landscape below for a chance to see some of the most famous Alaskan animals!
- What should I wear and bring on a tour?
Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the day of your tour. Ketchikan is in the middle of a temperate rainforest, with our summer weather ranging from calm and sunny to overcast and rainy. Temperatures range from 50 to 70 degrees (10-21 C) during the summer months. Remember to dress in layers as the weather can change quickly. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes to make getting on and off the plane easier.
- What can I bring?
Due to limited space and weight restrictions on our floatplanes, we do not permit large bags or backpacks. We will secure your items at the office to keep them safe during your flight. You may bring small personal items such as phones and cameras to capture the beauty you’ll witness on our flightseeing excursions.
- Where do I get picked up for my tour?
We have customer service representatives at Booth #19 at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau on the cruise ship dock and at Berth 4 in the red and yellow sales hut. Contact us if you have any questions about transportation to and from your tour.
- Will we are able to fly in the rain?
Yes. Ketchikan gets approximately 160 inches of rain each year, so our pilots are very experienced flying in wet weather.
- Will I get airsick?
It’s possible, particularly if you are already prone to motion sickness. Here are some simple tips for avoiding air sickness:
- Avoid having a heavy meal before your trip.
- Have a light snack a while before your flight so you don’t board the plane with an empty stomach but haven’t eaten immediately before flying.
- Drink water so you’re well-hydrated before your trip and avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine as both can trigger airsickness.
- Get some rest before your tour, it will keep help you maintain a relaxed state on your flight.
- Fortunately, you’ll always have a window seat on our planes, so keep your eyes on the horizon and not focus in your lap or on your phone, for example.
- If you already know you are prone to air or motion sickness, you may want to consider an OTC medication such as Dramamine or Meclizine. Consult your doctor for prescription medications.
- Should I tip the pilot?
It is not a requirement but always appreciated, as our pilots are committed to providing all our guests with a safe, enjoyable experience.
We have a 14-day cancellation policy on all flightseeing tours and a 21-day cancellation policy on all bear tours. If your tour is canceled by Southeast Aviation due to weather or ship delays where rescheduling isn’t possible, we will provide a full refund.
This cancellation policy does not apply to the Anan Bear Tour or Group Tours.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding our cancellation policy.