Flying wasn’t always the plan. Initially, it was a means to an end. Ava Karr wanted a job where she could travel. A job that allowed her to take adventures.
“I looked at different jobs in the travel industry. Being a pilot seemed like the best opportunity. And I love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s the most amazing career,” said Ava.
Twenty-two years old, Ava is a Kenmore Air Flight Instructor and will start training to ‘fly the line’ (fly Kenmore’s regularly scheduled and charter flights in de Havilland Beavers and de Havilland Otters) this spring. Originally from Wisconsin, she moved to the Seattle area in 2022 to join the Kenmore Air family. “It’s absolutely beautiful here. I love the mountains. Now when I go home I’m so shocked at how little elevation gain there is,” said Ava.
As to adventuring, Ava is getting her fill. “There are just so many beautiful places to visit here,” she said. Among her favorites during training flights are the mountain lakes. “Flying someplace you can only reach by seaplane or on foot is fantastic. The scenery flying up there. The lakes themselves. It’s just beautiful,” Ava explained.
As a flight instructor, Ava works with students taking Introductory Flight Classes, earning their Seaplane Rating, and recurrency training. The introductory flight classes are particularly unique, as no pilot’s license is needed. “We do all the technical stuff. The stuff that takes experience. Students just do the fun parts. They experience take-off and landing. They get to take the controls up in the air. It’s pretty special,” Ava explained.
But it’s the Seaplane Rating that Kenmore is so well-known for. And not too long ago, Ava helped train arguably her favorite student to date — her dad. “After I got all my certifications, my dad got his private’s license. So a few months after I started here, he came and did his seaplane rating. It was super fun,” Ava remembered.
Does she ever miss flying wheels? Not really. “Seaplane flying is just such a freeing way to fly. It’s liberating to fly to remote destinations you can’t reach otherwise. It’s just the coolest job,” Ava beamed.
And as to training to fly the line — don’t be surprised if you see Ava still working with students. She loves the training and the Piper Super Cub.
“It’s super maneuverable and a really comfortable airplane to fly. It feels like you’re wearing a glove. Everything is right there. The throttle’s on the left side. The pedals are right there. The stick. It’s just simple and fun,” explained Ava.
When she’s not flying, Ava can often be found checking out those remote destinations on foot. Hiking is one of her favorite past times, along with her newfound green thumb. “I’ve started to garden in my backyard. Mostly edible stuff. I like to grow what I can eat,” she said.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT AVA
- Age: 22
- Private Pilot’s License: 2019
- Commercial Pilot’s License: 2020
- Years Working for Kenmore: 1
- First Job at Kenmore: Flight Instructor
- Birthplace: Northern Wisconsin
- Residence: Ballard, WA
- Education: Associate Degree in Aviation Science from Northwestern Michigan College + Bachelor in Communication from the University of Minnesota Crookston
Ava’s Favorite Training Flight Destination
Cutts Island. It’s a state park a little past Tacoma and it’s awesome. Last time I went, there were about 40 seals on the beach. They all ended up in the water, bobbing away. It’s just incredible to see all the wildlife up there.