Well here I am just sitting here waiting to know who is to be our next President so might as well continue this little story and adventure.
While we were in port the refueling the boat it occured to us that Robbies sun glasses were far more wrap around so we traded and hoped for the best. On the slow cruze out of the harbor the was much curiosity from other boats and a lot of encouragement when it was realized what it was all about.
Back into the river we kept the airplane aboard for the mile run down to the I-40 bridges and that turned out to be a wise choice as the bridges themselves were quite low and the depth of the bridges was substancial plus the river hooked a sharp left just under the bridges and if all this was not enough there are three pipelines bridges within a hundred feet of the interstate bridges. Needless to say an over/under crossing would be most unwise and we certainly did not need a visit from homeland security
After passing under the bridges though the river widens out nicely and deepens so a quarter mile south of the bridges I took off for the second time of the day. This time I had a full fuel load and just had the boat stationary for takeoff. Wow it was beautiful and that magnificient little OS .65AX made the airplanes shine on this takeoff.
From here on we would pass through about ten miles of the gorge. This is without a doubt the most beautiful section of the entire trip and you know what the borrowed sunglasses did the trick and I could pretty much fly the entire 360 degrees of horizon. Very narrow at places and on my left side at points it was vertical cliffs right out of the water up to a hundred feet. Flying in this canyon was not hard but care had to be exercised . With out a doubt both rob and I were feeling absolutely elated.
Even other passing boats were feeling it as mostly they would not be aware of the airplane but as boaters will do politely wave which Rob did but then immediately point arm straight up at the airplane. The response was the same every single time and you could feel the excitement and good will coming from the other boats as they realized what was occuring. The site of that beautiful airplane cruzing the canyon had the same positive affect even on the non flyers.
Reaching the point where the river open up into the big lake we were overtaken by a giant (giant to us anyway) excursion jet boat which appeared capable of about thirty passenger. Agine passenger were all waving and enjoying the sight. Boy was that thing noisy I thought Our little jet was loud, I swear it sounded just like a couple of Merlins rounding pylon 1 at Reno.
We were now on into the lake and it became quite rough from all the high dollor cruzer passing by at full tilt. But we didn,t care we could see our destination Windsor beach next to the London Bridge visually and could just make out the parking lot and line of spectator boats along the flyins bouy line. The GPS showed three miles to go, man talk about elation and thats when things went bad. The airplane was around a quarter mile ahead of us and it suddenly when into a shallow dive with good speed and level flight, I responded with full up but not much response so hit full rate elevator and it did respond just leveling and touched down. Could not tell what had happed except that I landed and it floating fine but as we approached it became apparent the entire nose had separated from the fuselage from the forward leading edge the nose section was gone, engine was gone, Two flight pack batteries was gone, and fuel tanks #1 and #2 were. gone airplane float properly on the floats. Fuel tanks #3 and #4 were still happily in their proper position atop the forward fuselage.
Well we have speculated thing to death as to what failed but of course there is never a resolution. We motored on into the float fly with the old Soilent Green aboard and a lot of disappointment but the old girl was displayed proudly on the annoucers table for the rest of the event.
Was this trip worth doing? Oh you betcha and you can bet I will be doing it agine next year if the coming FAA NPRM does not eliminate this type of flight forever. Perhaps we can call the next trip 'Rollin on the River'.
The section through the Canyon was the highlight of my modeling passion since the fifties.
We were never able to get a second boat so pictures and vidio of course was impossible with just the two of us and I give a lot of credit to Rob and his skill in avoiding the sandbars.
Here are the only picture we were able to get and was just the crew at the Avi Casino getting ready to leave and a shot or two of the ship here at home after words. It definately will be repaired as it is such a delightful airplane and just happen to have another new OS .65AX waiting. That engine was by far the best choice for this mission without a doubt.