Our Crew

Suzanne Rust
Owner/Station Operations Manager

Suzanne started her career in aviation by working at the National Transportation Safety Board’s Anchorage Regional Office while attending college. The three years she interned built a solid foundation for understanding aviation. When the Rust family purchased K2 in 1996, she focused on building a team that would put passenger and pilot safety first while sharing one of the most beautiful places on earth. She has three daughters and lives in Talkeetna where she can be found on the K2 Aviation deck visiting with guests or on the trail running or biking with her dog Charley.  She relates that one night she and one of her daughters were ice skating and her daughter paused and said, ” you know Talkeena’s a really special place.”

Todd Rust
Owner/Director of Operations

Todd Rust, owner and Director of Operations, came to Alaska with his family in 1959. In 1963 his father, Hank,started Rust’s Flying Service, an Anchorage floatplane operation, where Todd grew up working as a dock hand and later as a pilot. After college, he worked as an aeronautical engineer for several years for aircraft manufacturers Northrop and Lockheed Martin. He returned to the family business in 1983 and has been overseeing operations of 23 airplanes and 40 pilots. He and Suzanne have three kids.

Colin Rust
Owner/Director of Maintenance

Colin Rust has worked as a dock hand during his high school years. In 1980 he got his Airframe and Power plant Certificate from Northrop University. He has worked for Continental Airlines and later, MarkAir Express, stationed in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. Colin received his Inspection Authorization Certificate, and began working as Director of Maintenance in 1996. With a Divemaster Certification in scuba diving, he enjoys teaching scuba, and dives regularly year-round in Alaskas’ waters. Colin has three wonderful children.

Chris Wilson
Station Chief Pilot

Chris Wilson made Alaska his home in 2001. He joined the K2 Team in 2003, quickly gained the respect of his peers, and took a lead position as company instructor, training and evaluating pilot staff. Flying has always been a passion and way of life for Chris. He started flying gliders when he was 17 years old, and continued on to pilot fixed-winged aircraft. Chris enjoys the backcountry, and loves to fly single engine airplanes.

Stephanie Smothers
Assistant Operations Manager
Garett Lawrence
Assistant Operations Manager

Garett Lawrence came to Talkeetna, Alaska in 2000. He worked seasonally as a customer service and ramp agent while finishing his degree at Northern Arizona University in Biology and Secondary Education. After teaching high school science and math in multiple western states he returned to Talkeetna to work year-round for K2 Aviation in 2008. Since that time Garett worked as a Flight Following Agent and now Assistant Operations Manager. Garett met his wife in Talkeetna and now has 2 children that keep him busy camping, skiing, and enjoying the Alaska outdoors.

Jeremiah Nill
Lead Flight Follower
Sara Sickler
Flight Follower
Sara Sickler joined the K2 team in 2018. She was born and raised in Wyoming, and later traveled around the U.S.  She worked in the hospitality industry in both Phoenix and the Chicagoland area before jumping on the chance to come to Alaska for “one season”.  One season turned into 11 years working in the hospitality industry in Talkeetna before giving adventure tourism a try. She could not be happier to be a part of the K2 team! Sara spends most of her winter months in the local high school gym where her husband, Jimmy, coaches basketball as well as finds time to travel and experience new places. In the summer, she spends most of her time at the lake with her two dogs Stanley and Lou, working in the yard, and at the softball field.
Katie Gilligan
Katie was born and raised in Alaska and is part of four generations of Alaskans. She and her husband live in Talkeetna year-round and enjoy travelling the world as often as they can.
Stan Steck

Stan grew up in New Mexico, where he graduated college as an Engineer. Eventually, he decide to become a pilot. Stan spent 23 years flying for the National Park Service before working at K2 Aviation.

Patrick Dugan
Chip Sonn

Chip knows his way around Alaska. In addition to flying around Alaska’s west coast, he once worked as a hunting and river rafting guide. If you need a little guidance to find the best fishing hole around, or a superb pilot that can take you there, Chip is your man.

Daniel Rovey

Daniel grew up in northern Arizona.  Flying to holiday gatherings and family get togethers meant flying a Cessna 185 and landing on farm runways. Summer vacations? Flying from Arizona to Connecticut and back! Daniel received his powered pilot’s license and started teaching other cadets to fly gliders at the US Air Force Academy in 1994. He spent three summers flying glider rides in the Grand Tetons, lived in a hangar in Prescott, Az. to restore the family Citabria, and has been an instructor at Tucson Soaring Club since 1996.  Earning a master’s degree in applied mathematics, Daniel taught math at the U of A for a year, worked for 13 at Raytheon Missile Systems in ballistic missile defense and unmanned aircraft, and built a Van’s RV-8 kit aircraft.  Daniel joined the K2 team in 2015.  He loves the combination of glaciers, great airplanes, huge mountains, and awestruck passengers.

Randy Kilbourn

Randy is a 53-year resident of Alaska. He has been flying for 40 years, has more than 8,400 hours, and is qualified to fly both float and ski planes. He joined the K2 team in 1997 and quickly took on the role of managing K2 Aviation operations, making certain that K2 Aviation remained a leader in safe mountain operations. Randy is an student of Denali history and geology.

Chris Palm
Pilot/Line Check Airman

Chris grew up commercial fishing in Kenai, Alaska. He started flying with his grandfather when he was nine years old and will never forget going on his first winter caribou hunt, riding along in the backseat of a Citabria going through Lake Clark Pass. Chris enjoys looking for beautiful views with his Cessna 170 or hanging out in the mountains hiking, skiing, and paragliding. He thinks it’s pretty great to spend every summer at K2 sharing his love for Alaska with visitors.

Will Nebesky

My love for flying began at age five in Ithaca, NY.  I became a
private pilot in Anchorage, Alaska in 1979 and have “. . . flung my
eager craft through footless halls of air . . .” ever since.
Designated “Most Alaskan” in 2011.

Billy Janus
Mark Jordan