Bringing joy and freedom back to air travel

PDX-BJC-1048

Conceived and started by Jonathan Evans; an Army veteran, professional pilot, and successfully-exited entrepreneur. After selling his drone operations management company, Skyward, to Verizon in February 2017, Jonathan began aggregating the network and experience needed for his next company. The launch team that joins him in founding KinectAir is comprised of professional aviators, technologists, legal counsel, and seasoned entrepreneurs. The team has developed a shared vision that brings to bear the full breadth of skills and knowledge it takes, to build a trusted air service from the ground-up around a company that has software in its soul.

We’re currently brokering flights on Pilatus PC-12 aircraft through our trusted network of vetted certificated aircraft operators. We are acquiring our own FAA certificate that’ll allow us to fly our own aircraft; specifically our strategically selected Cirrus SR22 aircraft as well as the Pilatus machines.

Additionally, we’re changing where and when you fly. Instead of the traditional Hub & Spoke model of flying, we can take advantage of our lean team and right-sized aircraft to implement a nodal network. Nodes are more efficient; our guests’ time is honored and we burn less than half the fuel of traditional routes to hubs. Our guests also skip the lines by using local, private terminals that are closer to where they live. Guests set their departure time and can arrive 15 minutes before their flight leaves.

At KinectAir, we want to move people. Not just in space and time, but emotionally. We want the experience of air travel to be joyful and to inspire again. Our ‘why’ is that the journey is the destination, and we should all be empowered to craft our journeys in artful ways. We provide aircraft and software as noble tools in this craft.

Our Team

Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans

chief executive officer

Jonathan began a career in aviation in 1997 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and earned his private pilot’s license flying taildraggers off grass strips near Fort Knox, KY. He was fortunate to be selected to become a Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot soon after, and flew UH60 Blackhawks until being honorably discharged in 2006. As a civilian, he flew helicopters and airplanes all over the West, including three years in Alaska, and settled in as a medevac pilot for Life Flight Network in Eugene, Oregon in 2010. Flying night shifts, he attended the MBA program at the University of Oregon using the GI Bill starting in the fall of 2012 and incubated a successful drone operations management company called Skyward. After raising over $8M in venture capital, and driving the software company towards category-setting enterprise adoption, it was acquired by Verizon in February 2017. From there he transitioned into a VP position at Verizon, leading Global Aviation Policy until starting KinectAir in October 2019.

Ben Howard

Ben Howard

Chief technical Officer

Ben has deployed hardware and software products used around the world by building diverse teams designed to execute in concert on a single vision. Starting in 2003 with work on a DARPA Grand Challenge car, Ben has used his strategic vision to move products from idea to production by applying agile to develop, test and learn quickly. As a seasoned entrepreneur that has successfully raised capital at multiple companies, Ben has launched SaaS platforms for international mobile users and applied deep learning to capitalize on a wealth of big data. User-focused product means knowing ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ before jumping into the ‘What’ or ‘How’ part of the engineering process. Ben has experienced firsthand the power of aligning on and understanding the value of a product before breaking ground.

Nick Rogers

Managing Director, Europe

Nick is an aviation entrepreneur passionate about leading aerospace, future safety and innovation for the next generation of air travel and vehicles through smart use of AI, Machine Learning and connectivity. He is also a successfully exited aviation technology entrepreneur selling his London based company to Private Equity in May 2019. Nick has significant operational experience following a 15 year career as a commercial airline Captain flying Airbus A320 and Boeing 747 aircraft for British Airways.

Christophe Carriere

Chief operations officer

From a dual business/law background, Christophe qualified as a lawyer in 2009 and worked in M&A and PE for an English ‘Magic Circle’ law firm in Paris and London, managing international teams on cross-border transactions. He then moved to a Euronext-listed Tier 1 automotive supplier, as deputy GC supporting finance, strategy and M&A teams, and overviewing negotiations, processes and legal aspects when business units approached startups. This reintroduced him to innovation management, business modeling, blue ocean strategies, lean startup management before his move to KinectAir.

Celeste Edman

Chief Revenue Officer

Celeste has 20+ years of experience in sales, marketing, and business leadership. Successfully exited tech executive, as well as leadership roles in multiple non-profit Board of Directors with President, Vice President Roles. Her most transformative leadership roles have been in transportation and mid-market companies, taking regional companies from SMB’s with $10-15M revenue to $150M+.  In an effort for continued education, she proudly holds many certifications, including Lean Kanban by Toyota Motor Corp, Agile Methodology of Software  Management, Google Analytics and Hubspot Digital Academy.  

Conor Whitehead

Conor Whitehead

Director of flight operations

Conor is a veteran captain and top professional in the aviation industry. From army special operations combat helicopter pilot, firefighting captain, and airplane and helicopter instructor he is a proven leader in several communities within the industry. When you book a flight with KinectAir know that Conor has vetted the trusted charter operator you’re flying on. He often flies along in the co-pilot seat to assure quality, and help facilitate KinectAir concierge services.
Conor is also leading the KinectAir charter certification process with the FAA. We’re aiming to hold our charter/air-taxi certificate from the FAA, enabling us to operate our own aircraft from the Portland, OR area.

Peter Lucier

Peter Lucier

General council

Peter passed the California bar exam in 2006, launching a decade-long career in business litigation. More recently, he has provided business operations and corporate advice to real estate and tech startups. Peter graduated in the top 5% of his class at the University of San Diego School of Law, and was an executive editor of the school’s law review. Peter’s legal expertise helps KinectAir navigate the complex business arrangements and regulations in the aviation industry.

Eli Ackerman

Product analyst, Concierge

Eli is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon majoring in Economics. From a young age, he has pursued various entrepreneurial endeavors, most recently Tutortree, a tutor-student connection platform for College campuses. Tutortree raised over 13k in funding as well as the University of Oregon’s Startup of the Year award in 2019. Under the mentorship of Jonathan Evans, he has transitioned into a Product Analyst role as well as providing day to day concierge services to early customers.

Advisory Council

Susan Bladholm
Founder & President at Friends of Frog Ferry, Portland, OR. Former CMO, Erickson Air Crane.

Kristen Edwards
Combat veteran, Army Aviator, and UH-60 Blackhawk company commander. Former Amazon product manager. Senior software product manager at Nordstrom.

Travis Mason
Vice President at Airbus, X-Googler, Washington D.C.

Sara De La Rosa

Swiss U-Space Project Manager at AirMap

Ari Newman
Building the future of business banking at Wise. Investing in great early-stage companies at NewRock Partners, Boulder, CO

Harry Nuttall
System Air Director (corporate flight department division leader) Southern Company, Atlanta, GA

Lucas Van Oostrum
Drones, Robots & Art — Studio DRIFT, Amsterdam-Noordwest, Netherlands

Joel Pliskin
Expert Project Manager in ICT and Healthcare for International Development, Washington, D.C.

Adam Sweet
Co-founder and CEO of Two Brothers Moving Company, Portland, OR. Pilot and Cirrus owner.

Trip Request

Important Information

  • Aircraft live in Hillsboro, OR, Renton, WA and  Spokane, WA. 
  • We serve flights departing within 100 miles of the aircraft’s home. 
  • We broker flights on the Pilatus PC-12
  • Maximum 8 passengers with limited luggage.
  • Maximum 6 passengers with ski gear or other large items.
  • Requests made on a short timeline are subject to availability.
  • Please provide a phone number for short timeline flight requests.

– Conor Whitehead, Director of Aviation Operations