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« Oshkosh 2010 Pic Stream #7 - The End Is Nearing (21 pix) | Main | Oshkosh 2010 Pic Stream #5 - Sunny Thursday (And Wearing Down) (12 pix) »
Monday
Aug022010

Oshkosh 2010 Pic Stream #6 - Seaplane Base Serenity (15 pix)

 In my 34 years of Oshkosh experience, I've only been to the Seaplane Base four times, and that's all been relatively recently. But just those four trips there are like giant steps moving me to the brink of getting a seaplane rating (never mind the financial obstacle currently in the way). The Seaplane Base at Oshkosh, and the people that operate out of it, are so intriguing to me that I feel an active draw to experience it... this feels kinda new to me as most of the cool stuff I've experienced has strangely just 'happened', but seaplanes are off in the distance, calling my out to me. The call is getting louder, and my ability to resist is about to breakdown : )

 After driving over the the base and parking, I walked down the beautiful tree-lined path that leads you to the gorgeous spot where water, land, and airplanes all come together. Along the way, you pass by some of the camping area as seen in this picture. Wow, what a place to camp! It just fits right in with how the whole Seaplane Base experience is very special.

 

  I had planned to get over to the base at some point during the week, but sometimes it's so hard to pry me away from the Wittman Field that it gets difficult to work it in. But this year, I had a catalyst. It was Thursday, and I'd been pushing my 'media cart' all over the airport for several days by this time, so it was getting more common for me to stop for short breaks to get some rest. During one of them, a guy named Tom saw the AirPigz graphics on the cart and since he's a fan of the site, he stopped to say hi. We had a great time talking, and when I asked if he flew in, he said he was with a group that flew into the Seaplane Base in and airplane I probably hadn't heard of... a Noorduyn Norseman. As it turns out, I did know what a Norseman is, and I thought wow, what an adventure his 12 hour flight down from Canada must have been! Anyway, he said they were leaving in the mornng at 8 am. I figured I should make a plan to be over to watch that depature.

 

  The Norseman crew was right on time with their 8 am departure, and I didn't get there early like I should have, which meant I didn't get to talk to anyone as they were actually just starting the engine as I spotted the airplane. I did get to watch it taxi back and forth thru the small bay area on the north side of the base as they warmed up the engine. It's interesting to see the operational differences that seaplanes experience compared to land based airplanes, like the simple fact that you don't warm up the engine by holding the brakes and sitting still.

 The picture here is shortly after the power has come up and the Norseman begins the take off run. With a long trip home and what I imagine was a cabin pretty full of people and stuff, the airplane was far off in the distance before I could see the wing dip a little as one float was lifted off the water, then followed right away by the other as the big ole seaplane became airborne.

 

 You can tell that this pic is from a really long way away, but I thought it looked cool with the small boat also visible. You can also see how the wings haven't leveled out yet from the float un-sticking procedure where one float is lifted out of the water before the other. This makes it much easier to get the water to let go of the airplane.

 I trust that Tom and the crew had a good trip back home to Canada.

 

 After the Norseman was on its way, I took time to wander around the different areas of the base. If an airplane isn't in the sky making some beautiful noise, the place is amazingly quiet and serene. There are also lots of trees to make the place feel lush and protected.

 

 This big red Quest Kodiak was cool to see tucked up to the shore. The Kodiak has recently been certified with amphibious floats, and seems to be right at home here at the base.

 

 Whether a big beast like the Kodiak, or just a simple J-3 cub, airplanes that operate off the water just seem like a really great idea. Can you imagine the joy in a day of lake hopping with a Cub?!

 

  Here's a Super Cub (or some variation thereof) on amphibious floats. I like the reflection in the water.

 

 There are so many trees around the base that it can sometimes be hard to get a picture of an airplane flying over. This Maule was making a pass over the base from a direction that let me get a good look at it.

 

  Here's part of the dock area that is close to where the waterway opens up and heads out toward the bay that leads into the big part of Lake Winnebago. I didn't count them, but it seems like there were about 30 to 40 airplanes scattered around the base when I was there.

 

 Here's a tug boat used to mover the airplanes around in the water. Maybe it's just me, but straight tail Cessna's like this 185 seem to look much better than the swept tail airplanes when they are sitting on floats. (ok, it's true, I'm really old-school... the straight tail airplanes look better on wheels too : )

 

  More of the beautiful scenery at the base. What a place to have a picnic!

 

 This little 2-stroke powered Micro Mong was a really interesting sight on floats. You don't see a biplane on floats everyday!

 

 Like the Norseman, the Mong spent some time scooting around in the bay to warm up the engine before taking off.

 

 Unlike the Norseman, the Mong took off inside the bay after a really short run on the water! It also climbed quickly and looked like some serious fun!

 If you haven't been over to experience the special people and airplanes of the Seaplane Base at Oshkosh, I suggest you start planning that little side trip right away... there's only a little over 350 days til Oshkosh 2011 starts!

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Wonderful photos Martt...I love the Biplane. Thanks for sharing all this and the great website too.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLipo Pilot

Lipo Pilot- Thanx for the compliment... and I'm glad you're enjoying the site : )

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

Great pics! Unfortunately, my dad and I didn't make it over to the seaplane base. By the time we thought about it, it was time for us to head home.

Also, sorry we missed the party on Saturday. We'd planned to drop by, but we got stuck out with some friends and just barely made it back for the night show. It's amazing, but that night there was literally one way into the airport.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Everett

2008 was the first year I ever ventured to the Seaplane Base (after going to Oshkosh in '91 and '94 as a kid) and I was dumbfounded by the change in atmosphere, how cool and breezy and nice under the trees it was, with picnic tables and stumps to sit on and watch planes in the bay. Very laid back and it only increases my desire to one day build a Searey.

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCliff

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