‘Ginger The Plane’ YouTube Channel Allows Pilot to Share Airpark Experience

Cessna owner Tom Martin shares his experiences as a resident of Washington’s Lynden Municipal/Jansen Field (38W) through his ‘Ginger The Plane’ YouTube channel.

‘Ginger The Plane’ sits at Lynden Municipal/Jansen Field (38W) in Washington. [Courtesy of Tom Martin]

Tom Martin, a private pilot and Cessna owner, is a resident of Lynden Municipal/Jansen Field (38W) in Washington. Having flown there many times after first moving to the area, he knew that one day he would call the fly-in community home. 

“Most recently in 2014 (after living many places inside of and outside the U.S.), my wife and I were living just outside of London,” Martin said. “But we had both fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest and we decided that Bellingham, Washington, would be a great place to settle. It is just this beautiful city and we moved here in 2015. I came for my profession. I’ve been a registered respiratory therapist for more than 30 years, with both clinical and medical device industry experience.

“We became aware of the airport probably six months after we started living here. I was a part of a flying club at another airport and, while it wasn’t discouraged to fly to Lynden Airport, the airport is kind of unique with a short, narrow runway with houses on either side. So, my first introduction coming here was flying VFR with my instructor to get a sign-off for the flying club. I have to say that I’ve probably landed here more times than I can remember because I knew that I wanted to live here someday and wanted to be ready for that. I had fallen in love with the airport and the community of pilots here. I wanted to be a part of it.”

Martin made his vision a reality a little over a year ago, he explains in a video on his YouTube channel, “Ginger The Plane.” The video, which has tallied more than 100,000 views, highlights the aviator’s passion for flying, as well as what led him to becoming an airpark resident.  

“Aviation has been a passion in my life from my earliest memories to the present day,” he said. “I grew up near an active U.S. Air Force base during the height of the Vietnam War and saw all types of aircraft in the skies above every day. I had hoped to pursue a career in aviation as a pilot in the military, but nearsightedness found me first. I decided to pursue a private pilot’s [certificate] and have been a general aviation pilot since 1990. 

“My wife, Kerstin, and I purchased our Cessna 172M Skyhawk in 2020 and bought a hangar at Bellingham International Airport (KBLI) soon thereafter. After buying an airplane and a hangar, we thought we had ‘made it’ until we found our airport home in Lynden in August 2022. Living close to a runway and your airplane is truly ‘next-level’ special.”

The economics of hangar homes in the area made the idea of living at the airport more of a dream than a reality, Martin explained. Luck was in his favor, though, as a home within the couple’s price range unexpectedly became available. But they had to act fast. 

“We were not looking to buy a house; our little condo was a great place to live,” Martin said. “A good friend let me know a house was for sale at Lynden Airport. I mentioned my friend’s text to my wife the following morning, and she responded pretty positively that we should at least look at it. We viewed the house later that day, and we had an accepted offer within 24 hours of my friend’s text. Wow, now we have to sell the condo and move!”

The change was an agreeable one, and the couple quickly felt at home in their new neighborhood, surrounded by aircraft and other aviation enthusiasts. The airport was immediately welcoming to them and their desire to give back. 

“Lynden Municipal/Jansen Field is a rare and precious jewel in our community’s crown,” Martin said. “It’s the only hard surface runway in Whatcom County besides BLI. In a natural disaster, such as the recent Nooksack River flooding, or much-anticipated Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, Lynden Airport will provide a vital staging point for air evacuation, delivery of medical supplies, and serve all northern Whatcom County area communities. This airport also attracts pilots from across western Washington who buy fuel and visit local businesses (for meals and gift shopping). My interest in serving the city as an airport advisory board member stems from a sincere desire to give back to my community. In addition, the airport community is friendly, warm, and welcoming. It’s the closest thing to pilot heaven that I’ve ever found/ We’re very happy here!”

As evidenced through Martin’s YouTube channel, he’s been putting in work in the air. He routinely explores parts of the Pacific Northwest within striking distance of his new home.

“Northern Washington is amazing,” he said. “And Washington as a whole has incredible things for pilots to see. I’m particularly partial to the northwest corner of the state, where we have the San Juan Island chain that we can fly to. There are all kinds of airports on most of the islands, and there are good restaurants out there. You can get from Lynden to any of the islands in 15 or 20 minutes. Also, we have Mount Baker, our local volcano. It has a 10,000-foot peak and is still an active volcano, actually. If you fly around the summit, you can sometimes see the caldera and get a whiff of sulfur, so you know it’s still alive in there.

“Something to keep in mind when you come here is that Canada is also nearby, so you can cross the border and easily get to Vancouver [British Columbia]. Seattle is also not too far away. In two hours, you can be down to the middle of Oregon, and in three hours you can be to the border of California. It’s really not that difficult to find things to do around here.”

Martin also mentioned that his one of his favorite things to do with his 1973 Skyhawk.

“I’ll tell you what blows my mind the most about living here is something as simple as a sunset flight.” he said. “You take off an hour before sunset, get to the western edge of the San Juan Islands, and the only thing left between you and the Pacific Ocean is Vancouver Island. You then watch the sunset. It’s just incredible and it humbles you. And when you turn back to the east to head home, you see the sun setting on the summit of Mount Baker. It is indescribable.”

Grant Boyd is a private pilot with eight years of experience in aviation business, including marketing, writing, customer service, and sales. Boyd holds a Bachelor's and a Master's of Business Administration degree, both from Wichita State University, and a Doctor of Education degree from Oklahoma State University. He was chosen as a NBAA Business Aviation "Top 40 Under 40" award recipient in 2020.

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