BETWEEN THEIR MOUNTAINS, lakes, volcanoes, glaciers, and old growth forests, the North Cascades are nothing short of magic. All of these sights are breathtaking when taken in from the ground, but admiring the mountains from the air is another experience entirely—just ask Pilot Wayne Mushrush.

Mushrush knows the region’s terrain better than most, and he’s managed to turn his love for the North Cascades into a one-of-a-kind career. As the owner and FAA-certified private pilot behind Snowking Aviation, he shows his customers a side of the Cascades that can’t be experienced from below.

“For most people, the area’s remote and rugged natural features can only be seen from the air. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share these wild places with our customers, and we are committed to doing it safely,” he says.

Mushrush began flying bush planes in the early ‘90s, shortly after the “prospect of wilderness adventure” spurred him to move to Alaska. He began by joining friends on flyout trips, and he eventually saved enough money to purchase a Taylorcraft taildragger from iconic glacier pilot Doug Geeting.

Photograph Courtesy of SnowKing Aviation

In 2015 Mushrush opened Snowking Aviation, a scenic photo flight tour company that operates out of two vintage hangars in Concrete. He himself now splits time between Talkeetna, Alaska and Bellingham.

“When the hangar doors are open, we roll the airplanes out onto the grass and enjoy a beautiful natural setting, a panorama of forest and mountains that one customer described as ‘a piece of paradise,’’’ Mushrush says. “And that’s why we’re here: to be located as close as possible to the spectacular scenery and mountains.”

Snowking’s planes are high-wing, single-engine taildraggers, and they’re notable for both their short takeoff and landing performance and excellent visibility for photographers. The single passenger Super Cub is capable of slow flight, and photographers can take photos out of an open window.

The second plane, a blue and white Cessna, is a more comfortable winter option and seats up to three passengers. It’s also slightly faster, allowing photographers to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.

While the airplanes themselves inspire adventure, so do the diverse reasons why people fly. Many Snowking customers want to commemorate special occasions, including marriage proposals, birthdays, anniversaries, and occasionally, the terminally ill on a “farewell flight.”

“We flew a couple in their 90s who met long ago at a fire lookout and wanted to see it again. We flew climbers scoping out a first ascent who later sumitted their objective. We flew a widow to spread her husband’s ashes over the peaks they climbed together. And we were honored to fly the first superintendent of North Cascades National Park,” Mushrush says.

In flight, “even the most mission-focused photographer will pause occasionally to take it all in.” Aerial photography is a balance of documenting and experiencing the moment, and to keep it simple, customers are encouraged to bring camera equipment they’re already comfortable with (and even iPhones will suffice).

Aerial photography tips, flight schedules, safety Q&As, and more are all available on Snowking Aviation’s website. Flight schedules are adjusted around the season and conditions, but one thing remains constant: The views from above are more than memorable.

“Our customers fly for different reasons, but they’re all inspired by the experience,” Mushrush says. “‘I hope I dream about this tonight’ is one of my favorite customer quotes.” 7879 S. Superior Ave., Ste. 601D, Concrete, 360.389.2339,