Was in Wichita, KS for a Board meeting with the Lindbergh Foundation and got a chance to check up on the progress of my Grumman Duck. The fuselage and hull are basically finished as far as the structure goes.
I purchased this airplane in the late 1980’s from a gentleman named Sam Poole out of Lake Wales, Florida. I happened to stop in and see it in the mid-eighties when I was coming up to Central Florida looking for a place to expand, which eventually became Fantasy of Flight.
Sam had flown the airplane in South America and at one point held the longest water-taxi record in the world. He had damaged a float during take-off on a submerged log and didn’t want to take the chance flying it. So he ended up taxiing it . . . 400 miles down the Amazon!
If I remember the story correctly, he picked up a couple of nuns along the way and when the river began winding forever back and forth closer to his destination, he realized he didn’t have enough fuel to taxi the rest of the way. He did a somewhat shade-tree repair (which was still evident when I got the plane), got the nuns to roll their rosary beads a few times with a prayer, and flew the rest of the way!
The wings still need rebuilding but the project has been put on a back-burner project for now, as we have the flying Grumman Duck Candy Clipper on display at Fantasy of Flight. The Duck was one of my first Warbirds and I still remember going out flying out of Tamiami Airport in Miami with some great tower controllers. I’d show up five miles southwest of the airport, key the radio, and just say, “Quack, Quack” . . . and they’d clear me to land!