Island Wings Air Service

Island Wings' Pilots & Planes

For the first time in twenty eight years of operation, Michelle found a pilot she trusted enough to join the Island Wings team. She purchased a second DeHavilland Beaver floatplane specifically for Adam to fly for Island Wings.

Adam Weiland has been flying in Alaska for the past 13 years accumulating over 11,000 hours in the air, mostly in the local Ketchikan area. Adam’s aspiration to fly airplanes began in 1996 at the age of 13 with an invitation to ride along on a short flight over his hometown of Medford, Wisconsin. Thirty minutes was all it took for him to “catch the flying bug” and decide to pursue a pilot career. Throughout middle school he would frequent his tiny local airport, watching airplanes take off and land, asking any willing pilots about their flying machines.
Share Adam's love of flying through our vast Alaskan wilderness.
Flying in the great Alaskan wilderness. Adam graduated from Medford Area Senior high in 2002. He received a graduation gift from his parents for ten hours of dual flight instruction. Over the course of that summer Adam began his flight training at Marshfield Municipal Airport with Harold “Duffy” Gaier, a longtime family friend. Duffy’s countless years of aviation experience, wise advice, and approachable, friendly personality provided a solid foundation with which to build a successful career.
Twenty hours into his training, wanting a more structured and predictable flight training schedule, Adam enrolled in Fox Valley Technical College’s pilot training program in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He earned his private pilot’s license on August 7th, 2002. The following day, he was given an opportunity to go for a ride in a Rans S-6 “Coyote II”, a homebuilt two-seat amphibious floatplane. Until that point, he’d had his sights set on flying something “sleek and fast” for a corporation or an airline, but 15 minutes later he became enamored by the sense of adventure and absolute freedom provided by flying floatplanes. A chance to fly floatplanes germinated the passion that drove Adam.
Landing and exploring remote locations in the Alaskan Wilderness. The following two semesters at Fox Valley Tech focused on advanced training. By June 2004, Adam had become an instrument-rated commercial pilot with a total of 280 hours. He quickly discovered that, while technically able to fly professionally, his minimal flight time and experience meant finding that first job was a lot more difficult than he’d been led to believe. Sights set firmly on a floatplane career, Adam began building the needed flight time and experience by renting aircraft and flying as much as his budget would allow. In the meantime he earned his flying money by delivering pizza for a local restaurant. He’ll be quick to tell you that this was one of the most fun non-flying jobs he’s ever had.
By spring of 2005, Adam saved enough money to begin floatplane training with a hundred-hour career-oriented floatplane flying course offered by Georgian Bay Airways in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada. While training he gained practical, real-world floatplane flying experience and sage advice from instructors who had countless years of flying experience in the Canadian bush. Most of his training was conducted in a Cessna 180, including two hours in the legendary DeHavilland Beaver. This training was a tremendous help in preparing him for a future in Alaska and fueled his desire to work and fly here. Floatplane training was the start of preparations for a carrear in Alaska.
Adam is certified in both the DeHavilland Beaver and Otter.  Both popular planes in Alaska. In January 2006 Adam became a flight instructor which is the next logical step in building enough flight time and experience to be a marketable pilot. In November of that year, he was offered a job in Winter Haven, Florida teaching pilots to fly floatplanes in a Piper J-3 Cub. After 6 months, Adam found himself with over 1000 total hours, 600 of which were as a floatplane instructor.
Flying in Alaska, still being the ultimate career goal, Adam began to approach floatplane operators throughout the state concerning pilot positions. In May 2007, Adam finally received an opportunity to work as a seasonal dockhand/pilot in Ketchikan. He spent that summer “paying his dues”, doing things like assisting pilots in loading/unloading freight and passengers as well as refueling and cleaning aircraft. The best part, Adam got to fly two to three days a week allowing him to build more experience. Summer 2007 is when Adam and Michelle met. The Island Wings floatplane dock was under construction so Michelle was temporarily sharing a dock with the company for whom Adam was working. The most popular plane in Alaska, the DeHavilland Beaver.
Exploring remote lakes in Alaska only accessable by floatplanes. In April 2008, Adam finally became a full-time pilot and has been flying in Alaska ever since. To date, he has logged over 10,000 hours of flying experience in Alaska. Adam has flown flightseeing tours and delivered mail to remote communities, he’s serviced and resupplied logging camps on Kodiak Island and transported fishermen to camps along the snaking rivers in Bristol Bay.
People ultimately ask Adam what he does in his spare time. Other than flying airplanes for pleasure as well as work, he enjoys skiing, riding his motorcycle, and building/maintaining his own desktop computers. Adam spends a portion of the slow winter season in Denver, CO. He also continues his aviation habit as a flight instructor, sharing his passion for aviation with others in his Bellanca Citabria. When he’s flying alone, he takes advantage of his Citabria’s light aerobatic capabilities. Citabria, spelled backwards after all, is “airbatiC.” Upon learning all of this, one of the most frequent passenger comments is: “you must really love your job,” to which he always responds: “Beats working for a living!” In the off season Adam instructs new pilots.

Island Wings Air Service belongs to these organizations

Capstone Alaska Air Carriers Association Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
Federal Aviation Administration Transport Canada
Photos on this site are courtesy of Jim Kelnhofer, Mike Beedell, Craig Flatten, Amy Gulik, Dave & Leah Alcyon, Chip Porter, Carla Tchalemian and Lisa Thompson.  Many thanks to our guests who've provided us with photos over the years.  Unauthorized use of any content from this site is prohibited.  Content on this website is subject to change without notice.  Island Wings Air Service is fully licensed.  Flightseeing and Air Tours conducted in the Tongass National Forest and Misty Fjords National Monument are operated under permits issued by USDA Forest Service and the State of Alaska.  In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.  Island Wings Air Service is an equal opportunity provider.

Island Wings Air Service | P.O. Box 7432 Ketchikan, AK 99901 | Toll Free (888) 854-2444 | Email:

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