Opening Day – and congrats, Jason!


My pal Jason, all smiles after his ASES checkride


Hey, everybody!


Spring is sure getting busy around here.  We have another checkride to celebrate: my friend Jason got his add-on rating recently!  Jason flies a Cessna 210 on wheels, and while he calls California home at present, he’s also spent a lot of time over at beautiful Lake Chelan in central Washington State.

Around Seattle, we start believing that spring –and summer– are officially underway when it’s Opening Day of Boating Season.  Everyone who has a boat spruces it up, decorates it, and parades through the Montlake Cut.  The UW hosts a rowing regatta, the Windemere Cup, which attracts crew from all over the world. And, even those who don’t have a boat are in a good mood, because it’s the sign that sun and fun are on the way!


Boats lining up for front & center view of the crew races. Husky Stadium, in the midst of remodeling, is in the background

Boats lining up for front & center view of the crew races. Husky Stadium, in the midst of remodeling, is in the background

You know…. it’s also the season of graduations, Mothers and Fathers days, and so forth.  How about a seaplane ride?


Toby James

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Pilots from the High Plains to the Low Countries…..

Hey, everyone!




We’re starting to get busy down here on the lake.  Spring is like that.  The daffodils have come and gone already, and our other flowers are starting to bloom.  My “dad” installed a new swarm of honeybees in the hives on the dock (don’t worry, they ignore people,) and my “frenemies,” the geese, are nesting.  And boy are those geese territorial!


Anyway, we’ve had a couple of checkrides to celebrate here this week.  First, my friend Ed from Casper, Wyoming, passed his ASES checkride!  Ed is no stranger to the skies:  he spends most of his time flying pipeline patrol in the Intermountain West.  He liked flying where there was lots of water – and where he could land on the water!


Ed from Wyoming

Ed from Wyoming


Then, my friend Willem came here all the way from the Netherlands!  He holds an FAA Commercial license, and was coming to Seattle for a few days anyway, so he decided to get his seaplane rating.   I like meeting people from all over the world!


My friend Willem

My friend Willem


It’s about time to start thinking about Fathers Day presents, Graduation presents, and summer plans.  I’d love it if you would come hang out down here in the sun with me.  Or, even if it’s raining – I don’t mind.  C’mon down to the lake!



And, congrats to Ed and Willem!

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New Seaplane Pilot: Ray

Ray ASES 002

My pal Ray

Congrats to my friend Ray B., who passed his ASES add-on checkride!

Ray is an American who lives over on the other side of the Pacific. He was in town for some meetings, and decided it would be a good opportunity to get his seaplane rating also.  My friend Kit had a great time flying with him, and hearing stories about flying small airplanes on the island of Guam

Ray spends his time in Japan and Guam these days – it would be a very long flight for him to fly the seaplane home, wouldn’t it? 

I’m happy for Ray, and look forward to seeing him again!


Toby James

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Congrats, Ryan!

Ryan and Kit

Ryan and Kit

Hey, everyone,

My friend Ryan is our newest solo student pilot!  He flew his first solo flight here at Lake Union the other day, and I’m so proud of him!  Here he is with his instructor, my friend Kit.

Ryan comes from an aviation family: his father is a pilot in their native Taiwan.  It was a dream of Ryan’s father’s to fly seaplanes, and now his son is fulfilling that dream for him.

Congratulations, Ryan



Toby James




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Anthony Bourdain likes us!


Tony Bourdain waits for his scenic flight, while my friend Kit preflights  (photo courtesy of the Travel Channel)

Tony Bourdain waits for his scenic flight, while my friend Kit preflights (photo courtesy of the Travel Channel)



Hey, everybody,

We were on TV!  We were featured on the Travel Channel’s show, “The Layover,” starring Anthony Bourdain!  He came here to take a scenic flight, and they filmed it all and everything.

Anthony Bourdain is (if you’ll pardon my language,) one badass dude.  He’s a chef, a writer, a traveller, and a smart, funny guy. He’s traveled the world over, and shared his experiences on TV.

The Travel Channel’s “The Layover” show gave Tony a chance to show off what he would do in a particular city if he had 36 hours (a layover, in other words).  We were honored that he chose one of our scenic flights as an activity in Seattle.

They filmed last summer, in the height of the pretty, sunny days.  The show aired in early February, and it was really nice to see all that sun and those flowers!

 It was a thrill to meet Tony, and his crew were all so very nice. My friend Kit, who was the pilot for the flight, especially liked talking to Tony about his previous trip to Livingston, Montana – her home town!

 Be like Tony Bourdain – come see us at Seattle Seaplanes!


Toby James

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New Year, new ASES pilots!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I realize I’m sending you these greetings several days after 2013 got off to a start. Hey, it’s never too late to send friendly good wishes!

We’ve been busy around Lake Union. We recently had two fellows finish up their airplane single-engine sea ratings, and I’m really happy for them!

Here’s Franz, who is also a helicopter pilot here in the Seattle area. He can now call himself a seaplane pilot, too!


Franz and "mini-Toby"

Franz and “mini-Toby”



And my new friend Nat, who traveled here all the way from New York City, just to learn how to fly a seaplane.


My friend Nat and his CFI, James.  Tall Guys!!

My friend Nat and his CFI, James. Tall Guys!!

Pilots: here’s an idea for a New Year’s Resolution – a seaplane rating! Or, if you’re already ASES-rated, how about a refresher? You could come fly with us and earn your SeaWings, which is the FAA’s Wings program tailored for seaplanes. It takes the place of your Biennial Flight Review (BFR) and is super-cool besides. (and don’t be distracted by the “this notice expired in Dec 2010” on the FAA website – that notice expired, not the SeaWings program.  Government-speak, sigh…

I congratulate Franz and Nat, and I hope to see YOU in 2013!!

Toby James

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Gift ideas for the holidays

Maria and I have a great gift idea for you!!


Hey, Everyone,


I hope you’re having a good December.  I sure am!  I like this time of year, when everyone’s bustling around, getting together, having fun.   Even our airplanes seem to like the holiday season!


I’m taking this opportunity to suggest a great gift idea: a scenic flight  with us here at Seattle Seaplanes.  You’ll see from this picture that my friend Maria and I are proudly displaying this suggestion, right here at our home base.  If you’re stumped for a gift idea, this is perfect!  (Heck, even if you’re not stumped)


Give us a call to grab a gift certificate for the holidays, or book a flight for yourself.


Happy Holidays!



Toby James

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Holiday Season – and Congrats, Megan!


Hey, everybody, Would you believe it?  It’s the holiday season again!  I can’t believe it, either.  Seems like only yesterday we were basking in the sun…  My friend Megan from Alaska doesn’t mind, though – she’s our newest ASES-rated pilot!  She came down from the North to get her rating with us, and I had a lot of fun hearing about my cousins the sled dogs and such.  My pal James was happy to fly with her as her CFI, too.   If you’re wondering what on earth to give as a gift this year, how about a seaplane flight?   I guarantee your recipient(s) will love it!   Here’s another thought for the holidays:  make a donation to a local food bank or pet shelter.  Your fellow humans, and my fellow animals, will love you for it.  Cheers,Toby James

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