August 2020 seaplane adventure in Seattle
Sam Sarris
1 Posts
Hi everyone.  I'm new to the piloting world - I'm a few months in to obtaining my private pilots license and I'm totally hooked on flying.  I can't stop reading and watching videos on flying to accompany my training.  

As a student pilot and a new member of AOPA, I thought I'd start here with my question.  If this is not the right place for it, I'll take this down.  

My wife and I don't have children and one of the things we wanted to do for each one of our nieces and nephews is to share our love and adventure of travel when they graduated high school (one of the reasons I finally started pursuing my PPL).  We let them decide where in the US they want to go and we plan a great long weekend together.  This year is the first trip for our graduating senior in Michigan and he chose Seattle, WA.  As everyone knows, COVID-19 crushed a HS senior's final semester and traditions but it's not stopping our trip.  While there, I wanted to surprise him with a seaplane trip of the area.  I know C-19 is going to change flying for everyone for a while but I wanted to make this a private trip for the three of us.  I've Googled seaplane trips in the area and there are a handful but I wanted to reach out to this pilot community to see if anyone knew another pilot or a company who they'd recommend for this memorable trip.  After everything he's been through, jumping on a seaplane with a bunch of strangers isn't the experience we want to give him.  

Feel free to respond here or DM me.   
7 Replies
Hi Sam - I fly for Seattle Seaplanes on Lake Union. We have a Cessna 172 and 206 on straight floats, and I'd be happy to help organize something for you if you haven't already lined something up. Give us a call here anytime at 206-329-9638. - Yvette
Sounds like a lot of fun for the nephew.  The biggest seaplane operation is Kenmore Air, which has a training center at the North end of Lake Washington, which forms the Eastern border of the City.  It's about a 30 mile drive from downtown.  A couple of years ago I did my single engine sea rating with them, and they are very conscientious and safe.

There are 2 or 3 other seaplane operations in the area, which a web search will certainly bring up, but I can't speak to any of them.

Bon chance.

Alan G.
I'm sure that anything can be arranged, depending on how much money you want to spend.  Flying smaller planes, of course means a smaller crowd, but I don't think any of the planes hold that many people anyway.
I would send and e-mail or even call the different providers and talk with them about their plans for flying after the "shelter in place" ends.  They might already be making plans to have smaller groups of people on their planes, due to the social distancing requirements.  I would also inquire about any safety precautions required, ie., masks, gloves, etc.
The choices mentioned are two different experiences, in my estimation.  Kenmore Air is astounding because you fly in a DeHavilland Beaver.  Nothing like hearing the sound of that big radial engine!  I think the Beavers carry 5 people plus the pilot.  I have a seaplane rating, so while in Seattle in addition to the Kenmore Air tour, I also signed up for an hour's dual in a C-172 at Seattle Seaplanes.  Great people.  They also offer tours.  I think that for a longer tour you would want the 172 - it would be cheaper.  The 172 will carry three people plus the pilot.
I would suggest Kenmore.  They are based at the north end of Lake Washington, S60.  Flying to the San Juans is heaven.  
J Killian
42 Posts
As George suggested they are in Renton, also on Lake Union as well as in Kirkland on Lake Washington.  As far as trips to take - flying over the Seattle area is great, but going to the San Juan Islands would have to be a must.  I have lived, flown, and sailed in the Seattle area for over 40 years.  The San Juan Islands are truly a gem whether you reach them by plane or boat.  You need not restrict your flying to seaplane however as there are great airports in the Islands.  I would suggest Friday Harbor and or Roche Harbor.  Roche is Private but open and welcome to everyone and they ask only for landing fee of $15 (if I remember correctly).  Flying over the Hoods Canal area - west of Seattle and the Puget Sound is also beautiful - again many airports, Bremerton, Sanderson, Olympia, Tacoma just to name a few.  There are rental aircraft (land) at Boeing Field, and Renton if you are interested.  Hope you enjoy your visit.