K2 Aviation History


How we got here

In 1963, Henry Rust, a retired Lt. Col. in the Air Force, began a small floatplane operation, Rust's Flying Service, on the south shore of Lake Hood.  In the early days, it was a one person operation with Henry flying and guiding hunters and taking fishermen to remote wilderness areas. 

As time passed, the business grew to include a fleet of 9 float planes and a staff of 30 people.  The business changed over the years.  Bear viewing and flightseeing tours became popular, remote wilderness lodges offered visitors a unique fishing experience and flightseeing tours to Denali, Prince William Sound and Knik Glacier became favorites.

Rust's Flying Service became an industry leader setting the standard for safety, experience and service.  In 1996, the Rust family purchased K2 Aviation from Jim Okonek.  K2 Aviation, a wheel and ski operation, focused on landing on the glaciers and Denali National Park.

K2 Aviation's beginnings

K2 Aviation has more than 35 years experience in flying climbers and sightseers in the Talkeetna area, coupled with Rust’s Flying Service’s over 50 years experience as an air taxi. Kitty and Kimbal Forrest founded the business in 1979, operating it for a few years. Jim and Julie Okonek owned and operated K2 from 1981 until 1996 when Todd, Suzanne and Colin Rust bought the business. The Rusts expanded the flightseeing side of the business by innovating with turbo Otters for glacier landings, offering a quieter operation and reducing the carbon footprint in the pristine area of Denali National Park.

Today, Suzanne Rust manages the Talkeetna based business with its fleet of DeHavilland Otters and Beavers, a Piper Cherokee, and a Navajo Chieftain.

K2 Aviation leading the way

K2 received the highest score on the recent National Park Service concessionaire proposal for landings within Denali National Park. K2 Aviation also received the coveted Gold Award from the Anchorage Daily News in the Air Taxi category.

Denali Day Hikes

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Interested in exploring Alaska?

Venture out on a Denali Day Hike.

K2 Specials

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AK residents celebrate your birthday with K2!

Happy birthday Alaskans! In your birthday month, we will offer you a percentage discount that matches your age...