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From the water to the sky

Air service offers unique flights

Seattle Seaplanes offers visitors a variety of travel options. Courtesy photo

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The four-cylinder, direct drive, horizontally opposed, air-cooled, piston driven Lycoming O-360 engine in the Cessna 172, coughed into action.

As the engine evened off and took on a steady hum, an attendant pushed the aircraft away from the dock, and the aircraft began to taxi out into the open waters of Lake Union.

Moments later, the pilot pushed the throttle forward, and the Cessna and its passengers lifted off the water and into the sky over Seattle.

For 20 minutes the little plane and its passengers flew a 31-mile "Scenic Route" over Seattle.

"It's our most popular flight," said Jim Chrysler, the owner of Seattle Seaplanes, said during a telephone interview.

"It's a great deal of fun for our guests, and it is the most economical."

If anyone would know about fun off the water and into the air, Chrysler with his 23,000 hours of seaplane flying time has the experience to make it happen.

In the mid 1960s, he was at his sister's house near Lake Union when he saw a seaplane take off.

"It was something different," recalled Chrysler, "and I became curious about learning how to take off from and land on the water."

After receiving his private pilot's license, he spent a number of years working for Kurtzer Flying Service.

In 1981, Chrysler opened his own floatplane business, Chrysler Air, which he later renamed Seattle Seaplanes.

Joining the Scenic Route flight on the checklist of chartered flights, Island/ Mountain Scenic Tours and Dinner Flights are also offered.

The Mountain Flights offer four destinations of unparalleled beauty: Mount Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, the Olympic Mountain Range and the San Juan Island.

The Dinner Flights guests to top notch restaurants in Port Ludlow, Poulsbo, Port Hadlock, Alderbrook, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, San Juan Island, Orcas Island and Victoria, B.C.

"You never know who will walk in the door," continued Chrysler.

"Just the other day I had a number of individuals from Beijing join us for a flight."

Gift certificates are available for all flying services, and they can be purchased for a single traveler or groups of travelers.

Seattle Seaplanes also offers employment opportunity to pilots and to those who want to learn to fly and earn a pilot's license.

"We have an excellent teaching program, and I often meet C-17 pilots who are looking for something different," said Chrysler.

"But whether you want to come fly with us or learn to fly, follow your dreams and never quit," concluded Chrysler.

Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. until sunset, Monday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to sunset on Sundays.

Seattle Seaplanes is located in the southeast corner of Lake Union at 1325 Fairview Ave. E., Seattle, WA  98102.

For more information, visit or call 206.329.9636 or 800.637.5553.

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