Meet A&P Mechanic Jason Wills

Kenmore Air Mechanic Jason Wills
Kenmore Air Mechanic Jason Wills

Specializing in de Havilland Otter Annuals, Jason Wills has been part of the Kenmore Air family for 17 years. 

Kenmore’s changed a lot since Jason Wills first started fueling planes and washing windows on the dock 17 years ago — not just the landscape, but also the fleet. And yet, some things are just as true today as they were when he first joined the Kenmore Air family as a young college student. 

In addition to the 14,400-square-foot Otter Hangar that sits now on the northeast corner of the Kenmore Air Harbor campus, the fleet has undergone some major updates. “When I first started here, there were just five Otters and 10 Beavers. Now we have three piston Beavers, two turbine Beavers, a couple of leased airplanes, and 10 Otters. It’s a huge change in the fleet,” says Jason.

But some things are exactly the same. “Kenmore’s never wavered in its safety standards. Attention to detail, thoroughness, and preemptive maintenance have always been standard procedure here,” he says. 

It’s something he’s witnessed from the ground up, first working as a member of the line crew and eventually joining the maintenance department in 2011. Those early maintenance days were spent pulling panels and cleaning as needed. Jason started out cutting his teeth on the job, eventually taking a two-year airframe apprenticeship program at South Seattle Community College and then earning his A&P license in 2016.

“After I got my A&P is when I really started specializing in Otter annuals.”

Today, he focuses on Otter annuals, in addition to helping with 100-hour inspections and refurbishments as needed. “That’s one of the really cool things about working here. You can specialize in something, but we also all pitch in wherever’s needed.”

But annuals tend to keep the maintenance team pretty busy. An annual inspection can take a month or more, depending on what the inspection uncovers. During an annual inspection, every panel is pulled and the entire airplane is inspected.

“We’ve always taken a preemptive approach to maintenance. So even though there are items that would be replaced on an as-needed basis, we replace them yearly,” explains Jason.

Jason Wills working on a de Havilland Beaver

Among the things a Kenmore Annual has always included is taking apart the entire tail of the aircraft. The air rudder cables are replaced. The bearings are replaced. And the entire trim jack is inspected thoroughly.

“Safety really comes down to seeing potential problems and addressing them before they become an issue,” says Jason. And often, the potential problems are things Jason and his team have never seen before.

“During a recent annual, I discovered some corrosion in the rear spar that connects to the fuselage.” Although it wasn’t an immediate airworthiness concern, it was addressed immediately. “We’re always looking at everything, which is what allows us to find and repair those items before they become an issue.”

The repair wasn’t a small one. It required taking off the entire wing and side skin. A huge swath of bolts and rivets were drilled out to access the rear spar so it could be replaced. And then, the team restored the plane to a better-than-found condition. “It meant pulling the plane from the rotation for an extended period of time. But that’s what we do when we need to,” he explains.

And when Kenmore developed a new STC for the trim jack, giving the part a secondary safety, Jason was part of the crew that implemented those crucial safety upgrades. “We’d already pulled every Otter and thoroughly inspected them. So when the STC was developed and approved, we re-pulled the planes and implemented the upgrade.”

When not helping with Kenmore’s Otter annuals, Jason can be found spending time with his wife Mina, and their two children, Bethany (6) and Noah (2). That, and working on the Cessna 150 he owns with his brother Dave and fellow Kenmore Air mechanic Jason Marquez. “I guess you could say, maintenance is my passion,” said Jason. 


  • Age: 36
  • A&P License: 2016
  • Years Working for Kenmore: 17
  • First Job at Kenmore: Line Crew
  • Birthplace: Lake Forest Park, WA
  • Residence: Lynnwood
  • Education: Bachelor of Business Administration from Northwest University
  • Private Pilot’s License: 2010

Favorite Part of the Airplane to Work On?

The turbine engine is really fun to work on. One of the things we do during an annual inspection is called a ‘hot section inspection.’ It requires removing the ‘C’ flange (the series of bolts near the front of the engine) and then taking off the front half of the engine entirely. From there, you can take out the compressor turbine disk to look for cracks and deformities, inspect the guide vein for cracks and wear marks, and do a thorough review of the engine’s interior. It’s a big, cool job that’s just really fun. 

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