Back when The GPS Kid was trying to find his way across the Pacific in his Baron, it occured to me that instead of searching for uncharted islands to land on and buy av gas from the locals ( 😂 ), if you had an amphibious plane you could land on the water and buy your gas from passing ships! 😉
Well, I like more scenery on my tours than the Pacific would provide (those islands being few and far between) so I decided to do a transcontinental trip by amphibious plane.
Starting at dear old Bremerton National in the Cessna C208 Caravan Amphibious, I just headed east. Since I had almost no amphibious experience, I did a few short hops before taking off across country-- landing first on a river near 3WA3 in Washington, then another hop to a lake near 8U9 in Montana. Over the last couple of days I've done longer jaunts, stopping for fuel on a lake near Pierre, South Dakota, and last night at Duluth, Minnesota.
Duluth was actually my first time landing on land-- it was dark by the time I arrived, and I thought a water landing at night would be unsafe-- wouldn't want to fly into the side of one of those ore freighters. But I will do a touch-and-go on Lake Superior today before I head east today. I think I'll visit the Sioux Locks and follow the Great Lakes down to Cleveland (my birthplace) before heading for the Right Coast.
The fun thing about it is that there is no PAPI or ILS or anything to help you get you down safely-- you have to decide from the air if that's a good place to set it down, and then do it. My usual procedure is to fly a GPS course to the vicinity of an airport with water nearby, then when I get close I check the winds, find a patch of water that's oriented into the wind, fly a traffic pattern to get aligned and check for boats and bridges, then turn to final and come on down. Haven't bent the plane yet!
Guest Ed wrote:
Haven't bent the plane yet!
Well, I have to take back that last statement-- yesterday I was flying south from the Soo locks (which are not actually in the default scenery, by the way) and I made kind of a rough water landing in heavy snow on a bay near Alpena, Michigan. Since it was so stormy I thought I'd taxi up onto the shore for the night-- I dropped the gear right before touching the land, and rolled right up.
Next morning, I taxied back into the water and took off successfully; only problem is that somewhere in the process I seem to have damaged the landing gear-- only one of the four wheels will retract. All four gave me the "locked down" light, but I couldn't get them to retract for water landing. I tried the ctrl-G trick and everything. So, I did a quick turn around and did a runway landing at Alpena Regional (KAPN).
Only problem is, when I touched down the gear just collapsed-- had sparks shooting up in front of the windscreen and everything. (Cool!) The plane finally sort of went down on one corner and it registered as a "crash." Unfortunately, before I could get out to the spot plane view to see what had broken, the program booted me back to the start of the flight.
Sorry, kids, Santa's not coming this year-- daddy spent all the money on new landing gear and a float for the Cessna Amphibian!
Shame, you can't get to that escape key fast enough, I've tried.
Take her up again!
What a great tour Ed - I think I'll do a similar tour but in the UK - from John O'Groats (tip of Scotland) to Lands End.
It's a shame you smashed your landing gear up - But sure now you've learned that lesson it won't happen again!
Good luck with the rest of the tour - let us know when you touch down in Chesapeake Bay for the celebration party !
PS. The Baron World Tour is in Iceland, and will END today !!!! (Ending point is the same as the starting point; Newcastle EGNT).
The Amphib Across America has come to a successful conclusion-- no further bent airplanes, despite some rather hairy takeoffs.
After having the gear replaced in Michigan, I continued south to the old hometown, Cleveland, landing just off shore of Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL). From there, I flew east into Pennsylvania, landing on a small lake near the city of Fletcher. It occured to me that I should fly by Niagara Falls-- more on that in another topic. From Niagara, I flew southeast to the Finger Lakes region of New York, landing near the town of Interlaken. Then I went east and landed in New York Harbor, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, on Christmas Eve.
I considered heading down to Chesapeake Bay, as The-GPS-Kid suggested, but that is quite a ways south of my route.
It was fun, and I'm a much better VFR flyer (and amphibious lander) than when I started.