Enjoy the View

Kirklanders are familiar with the sight of seaplanes around Carillon Point. We wanted to know more about who pilots them.

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Courtesy of James Young

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

James Young, of Seaplane Scenics is a busy man. On the day Kirkland Lifestyle connected with him by phone, he explained that in addition to the roles of owner and chief pilot of the company, he also served as mechanic, was in the process of building a house, and was leaving for vacation the next day. Young aspired to flying from an early age. Born in West Virginia, he was “living out in the bush” as a child when he would see airplanes flying low down the valley where his family’s farm was located, and he was inspired to become a pilot.

Young learned to fly at King County Boeing Field, acquiring his pilot’s license 38 years ago. Since then he’s flown many interesting personalities from Stephen Hawking to Anthony Bourdain, and once had an enjoyable conversation with George Clooney over coffee at an airport. 

With Seaplane Scenics he flies a lot of people from the Woodmark Hotel in Carillon Point. Twenty minute city tours are the most popular. He notes that people have a hard time visualizing Seattle when they’re just spending time in individual neighborhoods, so a flying tour helps them grasp how large the lake is and how the city is laid out. 

Other favorite flyover tour destinations are the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and breathtaking Mt. Rainier. As the company offers private charter flights, Young has seen his share of marriage proposals - he adds that in 38 years he’s never seen someone turn down a proposal. 

In addition to the beautiful scenery a seaplane tour provides, Young says “People are thrilled to take off and land on the water. They’re surprised at how smooth the landings are.” You can learn more about Seaplane Scenics and schedule a tour at

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