Assistant Chief Pilot Jay Todhunter set out to join Kenmore Air in 2013. He’d gotten his pilot’s license while earning his Bachelor of Science in Flight Technology at Central Washington University.
Wanting to fly, be home with his family every night, and work for a family-oriented company is a tall order. “This place is really unique. I get to see my wife and kids daily as a pilot. But it’s also a good company to work for. A lot of companies say they have a family atmosphere. Here it’s actually true,” said Jay.
But the path to his stripes wasn’t direct. Like many of Kenmore Air’s flight crew, Jay started on the dock, splashing planes and washing windows. The job let him get his foot in the door. It also gave him access to Kenmore Air’s flight instruction department, where he earned his seaplane rating.
Climbing the ranks, he became a Flight Instructor and a Line Pilot. And in March of 2019, Jay was named Assistant Chief Pilot. Nowadays, he may fuel an Otter or pump some Beaver floats — but most of his job is making each flight as safe, comfortable, and fun as possible. “There’s an incredible energy to flying aboard a seaplane. You’re going to unique destinations with killer views. Seeing people really enjoy travel is special,” said Jay.
As the Assistant Chief Pilot, flying didn’t become any cushier. And that’s just the way Jay likes it. “I get to actually fly the airplane. I’m not just pushing buttons,” Jay explained. Plus, every day is different. Whether it’s Friday Harbor or Fisherman’s Bay, the wind, currents, and dock conditions are always changing. “Landing and docking changes from day to day and hour to hour, which keeps things interesting,” said Jay.
At home, Jay loves to spend time with his wife, Mellissa, and their two boys Kasen (6) and Carter (3). The three gents have become avid RC car racers, though Carter’s still getting the hang of steering. “I’m kind of a homebody. Being with my family is the best,” said Jay.
Quick Facts About Jay
- Commercial Pilot’s License: 2005
- Years Working for Kenmore: 8
- First Job at Kenmore: Line Crew Supervisor
- Favorite Destination: Desolation Sound
- Favorite Airplane: de Havilland Otter
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