2017 Seabird Splash-In

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Seabird Splash-In set for April 1-2, 2017 at Tavares Seaplane Base in Tavares, FL, airport identifier: FA1.

The weekend will include contests on the water and transit to the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus for the 43rd Annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly- In & Expo on Monday, April 3. 100 LL Fuel will be available on the base and facilities will include mooring, docking and ramp access. Continue reading "2017 Seabird Splash-In"

Kicking Back at the AirVenture Seaplane Base

Prominently displayed Coot A amphibian built and owned by John Ohnstad of Fargo, ND.
Prominently displayed Coot A amphibian built and owned by John Ohnstad of Fargo, ND.

Perhaps nothing is as cathartic after a few days of dodging AirVenture golf carts, trying to carry on conversations in between T-6 passes, and slathering on sun screen as an afternoon at the Seaplane Base. People at the seaplane base mostly stroll or sit under the trees. There are no golf carts although a few scooters are parked. No music or banter over loud speakers. Arriving and departing aircraft run just above idle in the harbor. Everyone seems relaxed and very happy.

Continue reading "Kicking Back at the AirVenture Seaplane Base"

2015 SnF Seabird Splash-In Cancelled for Safety

Sun n Fun Logo

Sun n Fun LogoDue to record rainfall over the last 6 months, SUN 'n FUN has made a decision to cancel the Seabird Splash-In that has been held annually on Lake Agnes at Fantasy of Flight during the SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo. The Lake Agnes water level is more than 2 feet above normal, which unfortunately creates numerous hazards to seaplane operations in the form of hidden obstructions and, very shallow and long approaches to land access. Additionally, both the dock and ramp at Fantasy of Flight are essentially unusable.

This decision does not come lightly and was made after a recommendation from the SUN 'n FUN Seabirds Chairman and discussions with Seaplane Pilots Association leadership and others. Kermit Weeks and the Fantasy of Flight team were ready and willing to support this year’s event and we thank them for their preparation efforts to make it happen.

The SUN 'n FUN Seabirds Team is working on alternative activities for all seaplane enthusiasts. A Saturday night dinner at the SUN ’n FUN Seabird area will be held prior to the evening airshow and fireworks and will recognize all of our friends in the seaplane community. John R. Leenhouts, President & CEO of SUN 'n FUN added, "Though we sincerely regret having to make this decision, we always put safety first and foremost."

Wipaire, Inc. Introduces Wipline 1450 Floats

The all new Wipline 1450 float is designed for use on Light Sport Aircraft and other small aircraft. The landing gear incorporates rotating joints for long life and low maintenance, while extra buoyancy ensures stable water operations, the company says. The amphibious floats have an expected weight of 210 to 225 pounds including rigging. The Wipline 1450 will be available in both amphibious and seaplane versions.

All amphibious floats include a landing gear advisory system. The float paint option includes a base coat of white or silver grey submersion paint and custom base coats and stripes per quote.

The introductory price on the amphibious floats is $30,000, and the seaplane version is $23,000. Installation cost is TBD.

For more information, call 651/451-1205 or visit www.wipaire.com.


John “Snaps” Knapp’s Micro Mong Rocket Seaplane

Flying in my 1984 Avid Seaplane for 2600 hours, the first one on floats, I always loved the nostalgia of biplanes, especially biplanes on floats. Consequently, four years ago I talked with Gerald Olenik of GreenSky Adventures, Inc., about a Micro Mong and got his advice about building one on floats. His only problem was how to exit to the front of the floats without getting wet. I would have to be a contortionist crawling through cables and struts. So I set to work welding, doping and scratchbuilding floats and attachments and two engine mounts. The original engine was a 440 Kawasaki, which was underpowered, so I installed a Rotax 582 with the C gearbox (3:1 ratio) and an RK 400 clutch. Now it’s overpowered with 5000 rpm providing 90 mph. I have to watch the Vne of 110. Performance is spectacular to say the least.

The newest mods include a Warp Drive 72-inch, three-blade prop with polished aluminum spinner, and a smoke system. I’m having so much fun, it’s time to build a two-seat Tiger Moth on floats so others can enjoy open air seaplane flying.

Location: Bath, North Carolina

e-mail address: snaps@embarqmail.com

Small Wonders at the Seaplane Base

It's Thursday at AirVenture and the weather is great so, with feet worn out through hiking the booths and flight lines, I took the bus out to the seaplane base. Out of the way, yes, but well worth the ride.

Wandering around I spotted a very small aircraft that had drawn a few folks and just listened in for a while. If airplane people are drawn together by a common interest, seaplane folks are more so, and in no time I was sitting at John Knapp's motorhome, cool drink in hand while he explained his plansbuilt Mini-Mong. Now, with John standing on the float you can see that it's a small airplane. But when you calibrate to John's 5-foot-2 height you appreciate this little wonder a bit more.

John built it from plans in a mere 700 hours with its Rotax engine. "I suspended it from bungee cords to figure out the float position, and when it looked about right I called it good," he joked. A bit more went into it, but he's built several other seaplanes, so it wasn't quite the the shoot-from-the-hip it would seem.

Size, though unusual, is trumped by the addition of a centrifugal clutch on the prop. Normally, a seaplane starts moving when the engine is started. With John's airplane the engine runs, but nothing else moves. Hit the gas for taxi speed and the prop comes into play. He jokes that he's tempted to ask the unwary to "prop it" sometime just for the laugh.

If you visit the Seaplane base, be aware you may be approached by a little guy with a big smile.