Anna Gulickson is a pilot at Kenmore Air with over 14 years experience at the helm of a plane. At five years old, she was visiting her aunt and uncle on Thetis Island, British Columbia, when she saw her first de Havilland Beaver floatplane at the dock of the marina; she’s been infatuated with flying ever since. We caught up with Anna while she ran through routine maintenance on an aircraft, and discussed her lifelong work.
What is working with Kenmore Air like?
For me, working for Kenmore is a dream come true. I knew since I was little that I wanted to fly floatplanes in the Pacific Northwest, and I knew Kenmore was the place to do that. From my freshman year of college onward I was emailing Kenmore trying to figure out how I could fly for them. I fueled airplanes through college, earned all of my ratings, did a couple years of flight instruction and moved to Seattle to fly for Kenmore in April 2008. Some days it is hard to believe I’m paid to fly top-notch equipment all over some of the most beautiful country in the world- but then there are the weather days, too. I love Kenmore. There is no other place like it: family operated and owned since it was founded in 1945, top of the line maintenance, prime equipment, wonderful people and management that is focused on safety of their employees and customers.
What’s the trickiest situation you’ve found yourself in?
Successfully landing and taking off from some of the docks in certain locations, with certain wind and tide conditions, can be quite challenging.
You’ve undoubtedly had exceptional experiences flying – is there anywhere you’ve been or any experience you’ve had that stands out against the rest?
I would have to say the whales I have had the opportunity to observe from a bird’s eye view stand out the most. From grey whales, to humpbacks, to orcas- I see them all, almost every day in the summer. There is nothing like it.
What’s your favorite plane to fly?
My favorite plane to fly is either the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver or the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, depending on the day. If I owned an airplane, it would most likely be an Aviat Husky on amphibs.
What’s the most undervalued piece of gear that you bring along on flights?
The most undervalued item I bring with me each day would probably be an extra toothbrush and change of undies…just in case I get stuck overnight somewhere. But, more seriously, it would be the ‘Spot Tracker.’ If there was an emergency I could press one button and the Coast Guard would be notified immediately, of the situation and my coordinates.
Do you have any advice for people trying to follow their passions? Or what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My advice for others following their passion is to do it! Don’t get distracted or make excuses. Do it sooner than later, otherwise you may never have the opportunity again. Money seems to drive a lot of people in Aviation, but it definitely doesn’t make everyone happy or enjoy what they are doing.
The best advice I received was from my family, who told me if I worked hard and put my mind to something, I would be able to do it. They always encouraged me to do what makes me happy and what I am passionate about.
If you weren’t working with Kenmore Air, where would we find you?
On the ski hill, in the yoga studio, on a run with my dog or in the backyard with my husband and a glass of wine.
To learn more about Anna and the incredible work she does, visit the Kenmore Air blog.