The Wild Orca seaplane in all its glory. Fun fact: though the DHC-3 is nearly 2x as long as an adult male orca, a fully-grown orca will weigh nearly twice as much as this plane – Photo: Lee Zerrilla | AirlineReporter
At a sun-filled event, Kenmore Air unveiled the Wild Orca seaplane, a 1954 de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbo Otter that’s been dressed up in the familiar markings of Orcinus Orca.
Inside and out, this plane has been made over with all-things Orca, from the sleek, stunning paint job to the custom embroidery on the cabin bulkhead. The whale paint job isn’t just for fun, however, and as it traverses the skies of the Pacific Northwest, hundreds or thousands of feet above the water, its goal is to bring attention to our friends below the surface.
The tale of the tail begins with longtime Kenmore Air pilots Anna Gullickson and Michael Hays. In 2014, the pair founded Wild Orca, a Washington State-based non-profit aimed at raising public awareness and funds for these majestic mammals and the organizations that support them. Listening to either of them speak, it becomes apparent that their bird’s-eye perspective gives them a personal connection to the Northwest’s Orca population.
Turbine Beaver ready to fly on Lake Union just north of Downtown Seattle
Those of you who live in the Seattle area got quite the treat on Tuesday. Almost to 60 degrees and sunny (not your typical February 2nd kind of weather). It was a perfect day to take a scenic seaplane ride over Seattle in a Turbine Beaver with Kenmore Air.
Mary Kirby, who writes the awesome Runway Girl blog, was in town for the Boeing 787 interior tour and we both got the opportunity to tour the city from above and it was an awesome trip. We were both excited about being able to fly on a seaplane, “There is something about a seaplane that makes me giddy,” Kirby told me after the trip.
About half way through we noticed a familiar looking plane in the sky, one with unique wings. It was ZA002, the second Boeing 787 above Seattle. Luckily the pilot is an aviation fan as well (how could a pilot not be?) and he turned the plane so we could all get a better look. Unfortunately my camera wouldn’t focus on the Boeing 787, but I did get a few blurry shots. “Seeing the Dreamliner from a seaplane might be one of the very best vantage points in the world. In short, I was in heaven,” Kirby told me when asked how she felt about seeing the Dreamliner flying for the first time.
Seeing the Space Needle from the air is always amazing
It is amazing to see Seattle from the sky. The town is really beautiful and seeing her from the air gives a unique perspective. Sure I see Seattle flying in and out of the airport quite a bit, but it is a different experience being in a smaller plane.
If you have always wanted to check it out, but weren’t sure, this is the perfect time! Kenmore Air is having a Valentine’s sale where you can buy one ticket for the scenic tour at normal price and get another half priced.
Kenmore Air doesn’t just do scenic tours. They also have quite the network of flights around Washington, but I will cover that in a future blog!
SEE REST OF MY PHOTOS OF THE FLIGHT ON FLICKR
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