Duck on Target

We had a successful 1st Annual Last Big Splash last September with about 35 seaplanes in attendance.  Many showed up the evening before for a BBQ on the shores of Lake Agnes.  Later we watched a WWII film  called “Coastal Command” about Sunderlands on a big screen hung on the side of our Sunderland down by the lake.  It was a “big” hit!

The next day we had a number of seaplanes enter the competition and I faired pretty well with the Grumman Duck.  The Duck is almost impossible to see out of because of the big engine and lower wings and I totally lucked out in the spot-landing competition.  Having no idea where the two spot landing buoys were I just lined up, cut the power, and floated as long as I could.  If you land before the buoy line you are disqualified, which I was not.  As you can see by the above picture I was darned close!  I touched down just after the two buoys marking the target line, one of which is behind the tail spray!  A Husky on floats (with great visibility by the way) beat me.

Luck was not with me during the bomb drop contest and, mainly because of the visibility, I failed miserably.  The “bombs” (melons) did luckily land in the lake!  But in the short take-off competition I surprised myself and my competitor by getting off the water first and beating out a 450hp Dehavilland Beaver on floats!  In retrospect, had I created a category for seaplanes over 1000 hp, I could have won everything in my class!


We got the chance to host the World Paintball Championships last fall and it was a great success!  They had been holding their event and the Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World but decided Fantasy of Flight was a better venue!  We are about to sign a 3-year contract with them to continue.  What a coup!

Our good friend, icon, and supporter, G. Willie, got in on the action to try his hand at the sport but didn’t fair so well with the more seasoned veterans.  All in all, it was fun to watch and we look forward to seeing them back in the future.


grumman-duck-in-flightWe hosted our second Splash-In event as part of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In on Thursday, April 23rd.  It was a great success!  Last year we had 85 seaplanes and this year we had 101!  The weather was perfect and I got a chance to fly the Grumman Duck for everyone.  We are beginning to plan and promote our own Seaplane Fly-In during the last weekend of September of this year so keep your eyes peeled for more information.  With our great shoreline and seaplane ramp, we have the potential to create one of the premier Seaplane Fly-In’s in the world!

ford-tri-motor-with-hong-my-and-dan-cherryOf course, during the Fly-In I get to meet many new and old friends.  One of the more interesting new ones were Lt. Hong My and Dan Cherry.  The first time they met was in the skies over Hanoi, Vietnam where Dan Cherry flying an F-4 Phantom shot down Hong My in his Mig 21.  They got reacquainted 37 years later and have since become friends, visiting each other homes and doing special events.  They happened to be over at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and I was asked to fly them over and give them a tour of Fantasy of Flight.  I picked them up in my Ford Tri-Motor and gave them both the opportunity to try their hand at flying it.  It was very interesting to say the least because you hardly use the rudder in a jet except to steer on the ground and the Ford is very much a rudder airplane.  I think it was a bit of a shock to both of them to watch the slip ball swing from side to side as they tried to wrestle the Ford around the sky.  After landing, I gave them a grand tour of our facility!

b-25-with-kermit-and-steve-brownAnother person that came by for a visit was an old acquaintance but new Head of the CAF (now Commemorative Air Force).  I gave him a tour of Fantasy of Flight and explained my Vision as to where we were headed.  He seemed deeply influenced by some of the things I was proposing as well as some of the things we were currently doing.  I let him sit in the cockpit of the Polikarpov Po-2 while he listened to the Audio Experience about the Night Witches.  When we climbed out of the cockpit he said, “I HAVE  to play this to my Board of Directors . . . this is exactly what they need to hear!”  The next day he brought by several of his staff to show them the facility and listen to some of the Audio Experiences.  Not a bad testimonial!



Just wanted to post a couple of great shots of how much fun G. Willie had at our recent Roar & Soar Event in early November.  He got to enjoy several of the venues and take in some of the great sights. 



It seems by next week we will have elected a new president of the United States!  During the primaries, Fantasy of Flight had visits from the Ron Paul Blimp, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain!  McCain’s daughter was with her father on the campaign trail and she wrote on her blog that Fantasy of Flight was the coolest place they stopped!

Yesterday, Sarah Palin, made a stop and spoke to several thousand people.  The place was crawling with Secret Service as well as officers from the local Sheriff’s Department.  Only several days before we were approached about doing an event here and all the Fantasy of Flight employees came together to pull off getting the facility ready for the event.  The GOP rented our Maintenance Hangar and Thursday the Hangar was dumped of airplanes and cleaned.  By Friday evening there were bleachers, giant American Flags, a central platform with a podium set up, all with sound and lights!  People started arriving before the gates opened at 9:00am and Sarah arrived and spoke around noon.

Not ever wanting to let an opportunity go by, we placed flyers under everyone’s windshield wipers promoting our Roar ‘n Soar the following weekend on November 8th and 9th.  This will be our second annual event, which will host Vintage Aircraft, Racing Boats, Cars, R/C Model Aircraft, Skydivers, Aerobatics, etc.  We hope everyone will come out and join us next weekend!

Sarah just happened to leave with an autographed Gee Bee book, “All of Life is a School” for her two youngest children!  I tend to be apolitical and only hope that we all reach beyond ourselves and follow our dreams!  Best of Luck to everyone!


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