Wings Over Kauai opened its doors in May 2004. The Coulombe Family, Bruce and Ellen, Carter and Mary came to Kauai in 1994 under a contract with Novartis Corporation. Bruce had a private pilot’s license and was passionate about flying, and he requested the corporation send his plane over instead of his car. That turned out to be a very smart move.
For the next ten years Bruce spent his days off touring the island with friends and family, who were all equally overwhelmed by Kauai’s stunning scenery, and then in 2004, his corporate commitments suddenly ended and faced with leaving the island, he and his wife Ellen decided to try their hand at business and opened the doors to Wings Over Kauai.
Wings started as a small desk in the commuter terminal, with a sign reading “flights available on request” and for the first year Bruce flew about 4 flights per week. But then something happened, they call it critical mass. Somehow Wings reached a point where so many friends were telling so many other friends, and there were so many positive comments on internet sites and in traveler’s forums that the business grew, every year throughout the recession, and each year was at least 50% bigger than the year before. They acquired a six-passenger plane in 2010 and now average four flights a day.
Caitlin, Mary, and Carter
Bruce Coulombe will be your captain on the scenic flights around the Garden Island. Bruce is an FAA Certified Flight Instructor and instrument-rated commercial pilot with twenty-six years of piloting experience and has logged over 7,000 hours. He has flown the route circumnavigating Kauai over a couple thousand times with a perfect safety record. Captain Bruce also holds a Ph.D. in Agronomy, so he will be able to answer any of your crops & soils questions as well.
Wings Over Kauai operates under FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate. Certificate Number WGUA680L.
Ellen grew up in Reston, Virginia, and graduated from Va Tech in 1986 with a MS in Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences and spent the better part of the next fifteen years raising the kids. After moving around the mainland with Bruce and kids in tow, the family finally settled on Kauai in 1994. Fascinated by the ecology of this remote Pacific Island Ellen was fortunate to work with Dr. Charles Blay, a resident geologist, sampling sand and mapping offshore reefs, as he developed his Kauai program. She then spent five years with the Kokee Resource Conservation Program, a dynamic non-profit dedicated to the preservation of Kauai’s rare and endangered forest lands. Afterwards she spent two years as the Administrative Assistant to Dr. David Burney, Director of the Conservation Department at the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
She now works exclusively for Wings, and volunteers with the Kauai Native Plant Society, Dr. Burney’s Makawao Cave Reserve, and the Monk Seal hui. She also recently published a book, NAKOA, THE MYSTERY ISLAND; Mutator Unleashed, for more information see Ellen’s Page on this site.
It wasn’t until they left the island and went to college on the mainland that Carter and Mary realized that growing up on Kauai was not exactly the norm! Carter graduated Montana State University’s Film School in 2010 and now lives in LA working in film production. Mary is a senior at Northern Arizona University studying Environmental Studies with a minor in Japanese language.
In many ways they grew up at Wings Over Kauai, their first job, their summer jobs, their home away from home on Kauai, and hopefully will return one day to fill the master’s shoes!