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Seaplane flying in Florida

While in Florida, I took a refresher course on seaplane flying from Jack Brown's Seaplane Base, where I got my seaplane license. (January 30, 2004?) Here are some highlights.

Click on the thumbnail images to get larger ones (around 100-300K).

On the ground

First, a few shots of the base and the seaplanes: Piper Cubs on floats.

* [Jack Brown's Seaplane Base] Jack Brown's Seaplane Base. It's a neat place. (Jan 2004)

* [Piper cub on floats] One of the seaplane fleet, a piper cub with floats. I think the instructor is pulling the plane in to tie it up. I think when launching it, they turn it around first. (Jan 2004)

* [A floatplane in action] A floatplane in action! I think he's actually just taxiing in rather than on the takeoff run. It's still a cool shot. When I would do a high-speed taxi, I was very aware that there were no brakes and would tend to be far too conservative and cut the power too soon. Once you get off 'the step' and the floats dig into the water, you slow down pretty fast. (Jan 2004)

Inside the cub

A couple pictures of the inside of a Piper Cub.

* [The cub cockpit] The view of the instruments from the pilot's seat. Yeah, it's a crappy picture, but it was a crappy, disposable camera. The cub instruments are the ones required for basic day-VFR flight (in order from left to right: tachometer, oil pressure, airspeed indicator, magnetic compass, oil pressure, altimeter. (Note: the white thing that's on the bottom, second to the right is not an instrument). The seventh required instrument is the gas gauge, which is on the cowling (not visible in this picture): there's a coat hangar attached to a cork that floats in the gas tank. The amount of the wire hangar that sticks out indicates how much fuel is left (the plane holds around 2 hours of fuel). Below the instrument panel, you can see the control stick and the rudder pedals. The fuel tank is the ridged thing behind the panel and stick.
Actually, the view from the instructor's seat. The student sits in the back, behind the instructor. (Jan 2004)

* [The student's view of the cockpit] This is a more typical view of the instruments, although I should note that this instructor was smaller than other's I've had, so I could see around him better. Usually, if you crane your neck, you can see the tachometer and the airspeed indicator, with an occasional glimpse at the altimeter. Those are really the only ones you really need for the training. Before a takeoff run, I would try to make sure the area is clear (e.g., by making 'S' turns) but I would also ask the instructor to verify the area is clear. (Jan 2004)

The view from the plane

I didn't take too many pictures from the air, since I was busy flying. But there were a few times I asked the instructor to take the controls so I could take a couple pictures. Once while we were on the ground, er, water, taxiing back to the end of a narrow channel, and a few while we were over orange orchards.

* [In a narrow channel] We landed in a narrow channel, demonstrating that even though you're in a seaplane, there are still times when you can't land into the wind, and thus still need good cross-wind skills. This picture is looing out to the right, the shore is about 20-30 feet away (around 10 meters). We are in the center, so we've got about the same amount of room off to the left. While it's comfortable, it's far more narrow than a lake. (Jan 2004)

* [Orange orchards] This was a bit of a cloudy, overcast, gray, drizzly day. Still, one of the neat things about flying a cub in Florida is flying over the orange groves and smelling the orange blossoms (is that it?), while being around 500-1000 feet up, often with the fold-down door left open (it functions as a good stall warning indicator; when it starts to rise, you're just above a stall). You can also see another lake in the distance. There are a ton of lakes in the area, each one offering an different opportunity for take-offs and landings, with maybe a 3-5 minute trip enroute. (Jan 2004)

* [More orange orchards] Another shot of the orange orchards. It's really neat to fly over them. (Jan 2004)

This page last modified Jun 28, 2009.
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