P.S. #2: SnF Splash-in

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Postscript 2: More practice & Sun 'n Fun Splash In

[Note: This blog was meant as a communication channel for those Lakers who couldn't make it to Lakeathon to keep up on events at the convention. The prior posts cover that event, but there were a few items of possible interest that occurred afterward, so I'm posting a series of (hopefully) short postscripts to round out the trip. These are written after returning to the Chicago area on 4/29...]

Practice, practice, practice/Air boats
(as opposed to "boats of the air" like Lakes)

Lakeathon 2007
Table of Contents

4/10: Welcome to Lakeathon 07
4/11: About your correspondent
4/11: Trip from Chicago
4/12: Getting water wings
4/12: Early arrivals
4/13: Lakeathon Day 1
4/13-14: Aerial blogging
4/14: A busy day
4/15: Whoosh...
4/15: "Take the day off..."
4/16: Last day of Lakeathon
4/16: Lakeathon wrap-up
P.S. #1: Sun 'n Fun
P.S. #2: SnF Splash-in
P.S. #3: My sweetie...
P.S. #4: The trip home

On Wednesday, I finally slept in a bit and eventually made my way over to Aircraft Innovation, where Paul's crew had finished adding the vortex generators to N8012D' s wings, as well as a 2nd bilge pump behind the step.

I went out for more practice at Lake Mattie (of course), and over to Cypress Lake (with the alligator canals). In particular, I wanted to visit another waterfront restaurant Paul told me about, the Cypress Lake Restaurant (at left, located at N28 05.083 W81 18.221).

It's on the eastern shore of Cypress Lake, and also offers RV camping, fishing, and air boat tours of the nearby lakes.

It was a bit windy and I had a learning experience trying to get the aircraft securely beached without danger of it being twisted in the wind and blowing into the way of arriving and departing air boats. Fortunately, air boats turn out to be both maneuverable and able to drive right up on flat land, so it worked out OK.

The Philly cheese steak sandwich wasn't bad, but the gumbo soup was great. And I think a number of Lakes could be beached nearby, so it might be a fun fly-out destination for next year's Lakeathon.

The biggest problem was that in reboarding I wound up bringing about 5 lbs of bottom muck aboard with my sandals. It actually made it slippery to use the rudder pedals on landing back at Winter Haven. There's a problem I've never had with a land plane...guess it's what a Lake is designed for, tho.

I'll consider it a badge of honor.

Sun 'n Fun Splash In

The last event of my stay in central Florida was the Sun 'n Fun "Splash In" at Lake Parker on Thursday, April 19.

In past years, Thursday had been the day for the homebuilts and experimentals, and Friday was for production seaplanes, but this year the days were switched.

I couldn't stay long, as I had to depart to meet Barb (finally!) down in Miami a little after noon, but I arrived about 9:30 and stayed 'til about 10:00.

The local school PTA provided coffee, fruit and amazing cinnamon rolls as a fundraiser and eye-opener...they really hit the spot. Again, there were a number of Lakes in attendance, along with a wide variety of other aircraft. One of the more notable was the blue and white 1993 Travel Air on straight floats, belonging to Weldon Ropp (above, left).

Above is a panorama of the waterfront early in the day at the Lake Parker Splash-In. I had to leave before she got there, but judging by Myron Mitchell and John O'Keefe's photos (sample, right), it looks like Julie Fetcko made it by in her Albatross, tho' the photos don't show her actually on the water...could have been a flyby.

Lastly, at left is a shot of John O'Keefe, Bob Stebbins & Myron Mitchell pretending to talk about flying-related stuff. (Can you tell Bob--in the pink volunteer's shirt--is a former TWA captain with lots of practice posing for cool-pilot pictures?)

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