Kenmore Air Pilot Joseph Leatherman

Joseph Leatherman on New Day Northwest
Every month or so, Joseph Leatherman spends part of his day off getting his make-up done. Foundation and powder aren’t the average look for this Kenmore Air pilot, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do when the spotlight calls. Joseph is often the spokesman on New Day Northwest, a fantastic local TV show hosted by Margaret Larson. During the show, he shares snippets about what’s happening at Kenmore Air and has even occasionally given a shout out to the blog. (WHOO-HOO!)

While spreading the word about Kenmore Air is definitely something at which Joseph excels, his main passion comes in a smaller package – his 8-year-old daughter Bailey. He devotes most of his free time to her. From volunteering at her school to taking horseback riding lessons with her, Joseph spends as much time with Bailey as he can. Sometimes this even means she comes to work. Just last year, she joined Joseph for 10 days on Orcas Island where he was the pilot for one of Eddie Bauer’s photo shoots.

Joseph and Bailey Leatherman Kenmore Air

The Ride That Changed His Life
Becoming a seaplane pilot wasn’t the original plan. Growing up in Eastern Washington, Joseph was on the coat and tie, law school route. To pay for college, he spent his summers fighting fires. The experience paid the bills. It also quickly showed him a cubicle lifestyle was not what he wanted. He dreamed of a career filled with adventure.

Heading to Alaska, he landed a job in the commercial fishing industry working on a crab boat. When a buddy of his invited him on a hunting trip, he had no way of knowing what would come of it. The excursion, deep into the Alaskan wilderness, “…was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had,” Joseph told me. A Cessna 180 on floats took them to their remote destination. “The pilot looked like he hadn’t shaved in several days. The flight was incredible. I was sold on the idea,” Joseph said.

Kenmore Air Pilot Joseph Leatherman

It was fall of 2001. Joseph new what he wanted to do. Moving to British Columbia the following year, he went to flight school and earned his pilot’s certificate. It would take two summers working the line pumping gas at Kenmore Air, but Joseph landed a job on the crew. He’s been flying fulltime ever since. “It’s a dream realized,” he said.


Photo Credit: Jacqui Kerness 


  • Donovan Rafferty
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I have had the opportunity to fly with Joseph on several occasions and cannot say enough good things about him. As a representative of Kenmore Air he is an incredible representative for an incredible company. Hard working, a gentleman with a smile, always concerned with safety and pleasing everyone. Kenmore Air is so fortunate. One of those kinds of people you feel so fortunate to have met.

    • Mikaela Cowles
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more Donovan. Every thing I’ve learned about him personally and through others has made me feel the exact same way. I’m jealous you’ve gotten to ride with him though. I have yet to have the pleasure. Hopefully I will soon. Where have you flown with him?

    • Donovan Rafferty
      Posted April 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I place small ozone monitoring instruments on board flights with Ecology’s Marine Monitoring personnel. Ozone is an air pollutant that can be unhealthful so we are able to take measurements over a large area. I have had the pleasure of “hunting” ozone with Joseph on several flights. It is evident that Joseph cares very deeply about the air and water quality of Washington. Kenmore Air and Joe Leathermann help keep Washington a good place to live!

      • Mikaela Cowles
        Posted April 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Donovan – Thank you so much for all that you’re doing to ensure Washington continues to be a wonderful place to live. And, thank you for sharing this additional insight into Joe. He’s a pretty impressive guy, who’s involved in a lot of very cool things.

  • Rob Anderson
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Flew with Joe yesterday The ultimate professionnal ! His attention to detail and personal care for his pax was a delight to see

    Thanks Joe. Hope I get to see you next week

  • Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Joe flew my family and I to Victoria B.C. back in February. I enjoyed sitting right seat and talking flying. I am planning on getting my commercial seaplane certificate this fall because of that conversation.

    • Posted April 7, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Nice Charles! Joe’s a wealth of information. I’m glad you were able to chat with him. Plus, you got to sit upfront. Definitely my favorite place to ride.

  • Ralf Riemann
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    I knew Joe since several years when he gave me my first seaplane instruction in the Cubcrafter. He is a great instructor with the right feeling to which point he can let the controls to the student. With the help of his calm attitude I learn very quickly to handle the seaplane. I was happy when I meet him last September by change at lake Union office and learn that he now is a
    ” Line Captain”.
    Thank you Joe and allways happy Landings

    • Posted July 22, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Ralf – All of our pilots are such amazing people. How fun you were able to get to know Joe so well and that you had the opportunity to see him again. It’s amazing how the world works, isn’t it. Are you still flying?

  • Ralf Riemann
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Mikalela, I agree that all Kenmore Pilots are great people. In the last years I had the opportunity to fly with different pilots on the Piper and one round trip with the piston Beaver. All pilots are special and customer orientated.
    I am still flying in germany – frequently Dornier 27 for a Skydiver club- and during my visits to other country I take the chance to rental an Aircraft.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      Ralf – What a fun and unique way to see other parts of the country while you’re abroad!

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