Flying the Islands: a morning with Penobscot Island Air

Posted:  Monday, July 24, 2017 - 12:45pm

Based out of the Knox County Regional Airport (KRKD), Penobscot Island Air (PIA) provides necessary services to Islands including North Haven, Vinalhaven, and Matinicus. Among those vital services are mail delivery, delivery of provisions from the mainland, efficient air service for residents traveling back-and-forth, and even medical evacuations. Additionally, PIA offers flightseeing tours and air taxi service to farther-flung destinations including the Portland International Jetport. During the summer, PIA pilots fly an average of 60 to 80 flights each day, said pilot Augustus Lookner.

On a bustling Monday morning in July, passengers, pilots, and operations staff could be observed answering phones and radio calls, and scheduling flights for the day, and the ensuing week. With a possible storm in the forecast, the business of the day was conducted with a close eye on the radar, though PIA also has a boat that they use to perform duties such as mail delivery when whether is too inclement to fly.

After boarding two passengers who had arrived on Cape Air into one of PIA’s trademark Cessna six-place aircraft, Lookner took off from KRKD, periodically pointing out sites of interest during the short, but undeniably beautiful flight to the Fox Islands. Following a smooth landing on Vinalhaven’s dirt airstrip, the two passengers disembarked and Lookner assisted them in unloading their luggage and re-loading it into a waiting Island Taxi. A few words and smiles were exchanged between the pilot, the driver, and the passengers before parting ways. This correspondent was lucky enough to score a bonus touch-and-go on North Haven’s small dirt airstrip before flying back to KRKD, where Lookner refueled for his next flight of the day.


Jenna Lookner can be reached at