The trip to Seattle from Oak Harbor takes just 19 minutes if Chris Taylor is driving.
“Some people wait longer than that for coffee,” Taylor said with a laugh.
His speed is not at the detriment of safety, in fact he’s recently completed all of the rigorous requirements needed for Federal Aviation Administration certification to become a commercial airline.
Chris and his wife Helen Taylor recently launched Lynk Air, an on-demand flight service from A.J. Eisenberg Airport on Monroe Landing Road to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Charter flights to other destinations in the Pacific Northwest are also available.
Chris Taylor retired as a pilot from the Navy after serving for 20 years. He’d first been stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in 1992 and returned in 2009.
“Flying air service out of Whidbey has always been kind of a dream of mine,” he said.
He recorded over 500 aircraft carrier landings and obtained every qualification offered to pilots during his service. After retirement, he’d been itching to get back in the air. However, becoming a pilot for a traditional commercial airline would mean long stretches of time away from home.
“I have a daughter that’s still in school, and I didn’t want to be away from her,” he said.
Since moving to the island, he and his wife kept hearing that people missed being able to fly to SeaTac and skipping the ferry, parking and the long drive.
After two years, the couple was able to become a certified airline. Although Lynk Air is planning a grand opening celebration in late June, people can currently book flights through the website www.lynkair.com
Chris Taylor is the lone pilot in this up-and-coming airline, flying a six-passenger Piper Mojave aircraft. Introductory fares to SeaTac are $139 and quotes for charter flights elsewhere are available upon request through the website.
From the airport on Monroe Landing road, passengers will arrive at a remote gate at the Seattle airport and be shuttled to the main gates. A shuttle service will also take passengers back to the remote gate for the return trip to Whidbey.
He said there are plans to eventually expand to Canada. And if the demand is there, they’ll consider adding another plane and pilot.
He anticipates the service will benefit both tourists and business people who need to attend out-of-town meetings.
“Flight times to Portland and Spokane are approximately an hour,” he said in an email. “This allows a company to send people to attend a meeting in person and be back before lunch if desired.”
• More information can be found at www.lynkair.com or calling 888-LYNK-AIR