Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things to do with a seaplane

We bought our seaplane in 1997. We had owned the lake house for five or six years by then, and I had spent lots of time growing up on that lake at my father's cabin. Once we got the plane it was really liberating. There was so much to explore and do.

Lake Martin has 750 miles of shoreline and there are lakes above and below it that are not accessible by boat, and impractical in a car. I originally envisioned taking the seadoo or the fishing boat on a trailer to these other lakes, but this never happened because of the effort involved.

Boats are generally so slow and expensive to operate from a fuel standpoint that getting very far on the lake is just not practical. Even a seadoo which you would think would be fast and efficient can only go about 50 mph for any length of time all the while burning 10 or more gallons per hour. The plane burns 8 gallons per hour while cruising easily at 100 mph. The very nature of the plane is to go far fast. You do miss some of the local scenery on the way, but there is so much other scenery you get from the plane view that you never see from the boat.

I was noticing yesterday all of the azaleas that are blooming in the middle of the woods. Unless you are a pilot flying low you would miss it. A whole world opened up to me and my family when we added the plane. My daughter and I go exploring on many weekends. We almost always get comments about how cool the plane is and we have seem way more of the lake in the last few years than I explored in the 30 years prior to having the seaplane.

We also use the plane to go and visit friends and until recently our old family lake house. We take the plane to lunch and dinner on the lake. A stir is caused when the plane pulls up. It is always a positive reaction. I will let people sit in the plane if they show interest. I love to encourage aviation interest and we do it wherever we go. We are very careful not to intimidate or annoy anyone with our activities, and it does take being careful. So we use it as a way to explore and a way to get to dinner.

I often take it to the lakeside country club for golf. We even use it to go pick up pizzas. The local Domino's will not deliver to our lake house because of the distance, but they will deliver to the local marina where I can fly in with the plane. The pizza guy really gets a kick out of delivering to a plane. Part of what makes our plane so practical is that it lives at our dock full time. I think it actually helps the property values.

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