Jackie  Hamilton
Owner, President & Director of Operations

Jackie loves to fly and over the years has flown innumerable flights to, from, in and around the San Juan Islands.  Aside from the legendary Roy Franklin, nobody has flown commercially in the islands longer than she.  You can almost always find Jackie at the airport, but when she's not flying you can find her on her horse Ferrari. 

Will Hamilton
Vice President

Will is a forester by trade but has become an indispensible part of the Island Air operation. He is our go-to guy inspiring a common phrase around the hangar ‘where there’s a will there’s a way.’

Will is a graduate of the Safety Management Training Academy and is dedicated to safety and excellence at Island Air.


Ash Gosselin
Chief Pilot

Ashley grew up on Lopez Island near a grass strip called Windsock Farms, where he loved watching Aeronautical Services' DeHavilland Otter fly in and out.

He received an AirHawk Scholarship and learned to fly right there at Windsock. He went on to earn a BS degree in Flight Technology from Central Washington University, and prior to joining Island Air, Ashley flew a Cessna 172 and 206 throughout the San Juan Islands area for Billmeyer Enterprises.

He now lives in Friday Harbor

Jim Gruneisen
Check Airman, Instructor Pilot


Jim first discovered the San Juan Islands in 1989 while on a flying adventure with his wife, Julie.  Two years later they bought property on the water and build a vacation home. 

After retiring from his engineering management job he joined Island Air in the summer of 2006.  During the summer months you can find Jim at Island Air sharing his joy of flying with passengers.  In the winter he flies his Beechcraft Baron south to his home in Palo Alto, CA.  

He has over six thousand hours of flying experience, and over two thousand hours of that time is experience working as a flight instructor.   He has flown single engine and multi engine aircraft across the US, Western Canada, Alaska, and Baja.  

You can visit Jim's website at http://www.flyjim.com.


Craig Bailey
Air Ambulance Pilot, Safety Officer

Craig originally hails from southwest Washington and received an aviation degree from Big Bend College. 

He is very well known throughout the San Juan Islands as almost all of his 8,000 hours of flying have been right here. 

Craig is affectionately known as Mr. Butter because of his smooth landings.

Off duty Craig spends all his time at the golf course where his dedication has made him a scratch golfer.  He can be found practicing or competing in local amateur tournaments whenever time permits.  Craig also sits on the Board of Directors for the San Juan Golf & Country Club.

Craig scored a SECOND hole-in-one on June 30th, 2016!
[on the same hole exactly one year later!]


Nate Strachila
Pilot, Assistant Safety Officer

Nate was born and raised right here in the Pacific Northwest. After completing high school at Mount Baker, Nate moved to Eastern Washington and studied aviation at Big Bend College.  While there, Nate’s primary instructor was our very own Mr. Butters, Craig Bailey!

After school Nate made his way back to Skagit County where he worked at Corporate Air Center for 6 years and became familiar with the islands. Nate loves flying smaller aircraft throughout the islands, and feels extremely fortunate to fly in such a beautiful place.

While not flying Nate and his wife enjoy spending time outdoors and relaxing at home with their spoiled wiener dog Clark.

Ed “Griz” Griswold
Charter Pilot

Griz has lived and flown in the San Juan Islands for 15 years.

He began his flying career in high school, in 1969, and has a total of 5,500 hours including 4,000 hours in the islands alone.

He has a multi-engine Airline Transport Pilot rating and has owned several aircraft, including a pressurized Navajo (twin). Griz has attended Flight Safety courses for both initial and recurrent training and has been associated with Island Air since 2003.

He and his lovely bride, Mary, have two grown children and four grandchildren, and both have enjoyed doing volunteer work in S.E. Asia for the past 25 years.

Mark Smith

Instructor Pilot

A licensed pilot for 50 years, Mark has over 15000 hours of flight experience from Stearmans to jets. A retired USAF Colonel, Mark logged over 7500 hours in B=52 and RC-135 aircraft over a 26+ year career starting with Vietnam through the end of the Cold War. He has been a civilian flight instructor (instrument and multi-engine) for over 30 years as well as a military flight examiner.

Formerly a resident of Blakely Island, Mark flew for Island Air as a charter pilot and check airman until he relocated to California where he established and operated his Part -135 charter service for the past 12 years. He has accumulated over 4000 hours in the PC12 as both Chief Pilot and Director of Operations. Those operations covered the Continental United States and International destinations.

Currently living in Southwest Washington, Mark keeps a close association with the operations of Island Air.

Outside of flying, Mark is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and an MBA. He serves on the Board for the Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, OR as well as the Airport Advisory Board for Astoria. While in the Air Force, Mark was the Commander of three Flying Squadrons as well has the Chairman of a NATO Military Committee composed all the NATO Nations.

Kent Howell
Charter Pilot

Kent moved to San Juan Island in 2004 after retiring from the Nevada Highway Patrol in Las Vegas as their Senior Pilot.  He had been an officer for 33 years and held a pilot position for the last 18.

He lives on his boat in Roche Harbor with his “Admiral” Barbara, also a retired Trooper from the NHP. 

Kent has logged over 10,300 hours in his 40 years if flying, nearly all in Cessna aircraft. 

After living most of his life in the desert he thoroughly enjoys the beautiful Pacific Northwest and spends much of his non-flying time cruising with his “home”, a 42' motor yacht or touring on his Goldwing motorcycle. 

Kent has been a member of the Island Air family since May of 2008.

Peter Bell 
Charter Pilot

Peter was born and grew up in Northern Ireland.  He attended Durham University and graduated with a BSc in Pure Physics.  Immediately after college he joined the Royal Air Force and completed flight training on various light jets, before the reality of cockpit sizing and his long legs diverted him from the fighter airplane route to helicopters.

He completed two Search and Rescue tours, in the North East of England and Northern Scotland, covering the North Sea, North Atlantic and Scottish Highlands as a Captain and training pilot in Sea King helicopters.  He then returned to the airplane world for a short time as an instructor in Shorts Tucano turboprops, before heading to Northern Ireland as a pilot and role instructor on the Wessex helicopter, flying in support of the British Army during The Troubles.

An opportunity came up for an exchange pilot slot with the United States Coast Guard and he flew Jayhawk SAR helicopters with them in Astoria OR for 2 years, before returning to Northern Ireland as the final unit commander on the Wessex in Northern Ireland, as peace returned to that area.

In 2000 he emigrated to the USA and settled in San Diego CA.  After a period flight instructing on various light aircraft, he began 5 years as a helicopter air ambulance pilot in San Diego, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and finally with ALNW out of Arlington and Bellingham after a family move to Anacortes.

For the last 12 years he has been a heavy transport helicopter pilot, training captain and check airman, flying IFR passenger operations for the oil and gas industry.  That has taken him to various African countries, Brazil, the Falklands and Thailand.  Throughout that time he has enjoyed flying locally in his own small Cessna and did some part time charter work for Island Air during 2014 and 2015.

Peter has one college age daughter, Hannah, and lives in Anacortes and the Skagit Valley with his partner Kathleen, who is an artist.

Barbara Pluff
Office Manger

Having lived in San Diego, Cincinnati and Pensacola, Barbara is now back in her home state of Washington.  A jack-of-all-[office]-trades, she is Island Air’s office manager and keeps everyone, and everything, organized. 

Barbara spends her free time being a mom taxi to her blended family of four daughters [3 hers/1 his] and enjoys reading and quilting.  

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