Float Flying

Greetings, wow so much for getting another post up on the blog before the end of February well maybe it will still be February in parts of the world if I get this done in time ;-). February was a fairly busy month of flying for me as I transition into the world of float flying. Some of the major differences I’m learning about between operating on wheels versus floats; On the ground with wheels, besides the weather, the surrounding environment is pretty constant. On the water however, it is a very dynamic place. For example the river currents here are greatly effected by the ocean tide and rains up river. It’s not unheard of to have the water levels change while waiting on the water or current direction to change. Wind also can play a stress adding role to a pilot as you plan; how and where to dock and then how to depart the docking area safely. The current can bring debris from up river that can create hazards for the aircraft and personal. Boat traffic that we share the same space for taxi, takeoff and landing. Their concept of safety is quite different than ours. Some of the things that are constant with landing on water versus runways or grass strips; the braking action, slipperiness and firmness of landing water is the same every time rain or shine. Most times but not always runway length is not an issue using rivers.

For us the busy time requiring our full attention is from the time we circle overhead to evaluate the landing area until we have taken off again with climb checks complete, than we can relax a little bit during cruise. Previously it was after I had shut-down at the top of an airstrip, I could relax and decompress a bit. Now that happens in cruise flight if the weather in nice. Lack of attentiveness while on the water even with the engine off can end up with bent metal or someone hurt. We have a couple locations where there is no place to safely dock, but because of the size of the river we can float down the river and have speed boats come along side and transfer passengers on and off the aircraft. Even though these rivers are big there are a lot of thinks to keep a very good lookout for particularly if the current is strong. If the winds are light and the current is neutral it’s not to bad. Mix in some current and or winds and then things can become very exciting quickly. Hopefully Bade will have a dock again soon  as their previous dock which is in the following picture was run over by a large ship and is no more. This being one of the places we are drifting in the river with speed boats to do the passenger exchange now.

Bade from overhead.
Bade’s former dock
Bade’s former dock
Agats
Here in Agats is the other place that if we can’t find a place to tie to we will drift.  We prefer tying to a mooring point here if we can find it.  Speed boats are used here as well for passenger transfer.
Agats
Speed boat approaching in Agats
Local Tink Tink boat.
Many places were we can, we just pull along shore.

2 thoughts on “Float Flying

  1. Hi Greg! I've so enjoyed catching up with your blog. What an amazing and fascinating journey you guys are on. May God bless you and your family for your faithfulness to Him. I look forward to reading more!

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  2. Hi, Greg and Julie: It is still February 29th here in B.C., so you achieved your goal. Reach around, pat yourself on the shoulder and say, “Pat mine.” That's what my Grandma used to do when she felt she'd done something well. Go ahead, it'll make you feel good!

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