PORT ANGELES — A TikTok flight instructor and influencer who goes by the pseudonym Kay Hall touched down at Fairchild International Airport last week to visit her grandmother in Port Angeles.
Having amassed more than 122,000 subscribers online with over 2.3 million views on her most popular video, Hall, 24, uses her knowledge as a flight instructor to teach people about flying.
When Hall quit her job as a flight instructor near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year because of a loss of business, she was forced to find another way to gain the 1,500 hours needed for her airline transport pilot’s license, she said.
That’s when her dad, who goes by the pseudonym Beau Hall, stepped in to help her buy a plane, which they named Lil Red.
Lil Red, a 1968 Piper Cherokee 180 emblazoned with her logo, “FlywithKay,” helps Hall rack up hours for her license, and even gets recognized at air shows after going viral on social media.
“My airplane is its own celebrity now, which is pretty cool,” said Hall, who lives in Houston, Texas.
It all started when Hall randomly decided to take some video of her pre-flight, takeoff, inflight and landing process, which went viral on TikTok.
“At that time, going viral for me was 100,000 views in one day,” Hall said.
After receiving many comments and questions about her first video, she realized there was an interest in her flight process, and an opportunity to share her passion. Taking everything she knows about flying, Hall now regularly creates videos to entertain and educate her online followers.
Many of the video ideas Hall and her dad come up with together. They think about things that they do on each flight, what people may find interesting, and sometimes follow recent trends.
Each video usually takes about three hours to edit, using her phone, or her computer when she’s not traveling.
Hall said the reality of her popularity became real for her when they stopped unannounced at an airport in the “middle of nothing” where she saw another family staring at them.
She thought that possibly they needed fuel.
Instead, she was met by fans of her channel who had been following her for months and who instantly recognized Lil Red.
Flying a small plane may seem scary to some but not to Hall.
“I have done the training, I have put in the work, and I do know what I’m talking about,” Hall said.
Her dad doesn’t worry about her flying solo anymore.
“You know, she’s a great pilot. She’s very competent… and she’s very safe the way she flies,” he said.
Some who comment on her channel aren’t fans. Hall sees negative comments as opportunities.
“I can actually point them to the right information that backs up what it is I’m telling them,” she said
This is the first time Hall has taken her plane to Washington state. She and her dad came to Port Angeles to visit his mother. Traveling from Palm Springs, Calif., to Port Angeles took about 16 hours; the total trip from Houston, Texas was 32 hours.
Eventually, Hall hopes to fly internationally.
“I want to be an international pilot because I want to travel the world. That’s why it’s cool with this whole influencer thing — I can start to do that anyway.”
For their next adventure, Hall and her dad are excited to attend Wings over Houston in October, followed by a trip to somewhere more tropical.
“This winter, we’re going to fly all over the Bahamas,” her dad said.
Hall plans to livestream the trips on her TikTok channel, which her fans use to find her at events.
Hall’s advice to those wanting to make popular videos is to “just be yourself, and throw everything to the wall and see what sticks.”
Digital News Editor Scott Gardinier can be reached at [email protected]