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JohnBuckner 09-24-2012 07:25 PM

Running the River
1 Attachment(s)
Just completed the conversion of one of my successful wheeled cross country airplanes with few nice flights under its belt now on wheels.

Had a very successful maiden on the water last week with two flights, one with only light fuel load and the next with 75% of max fuel. I was quite worried if the floats I choose (Goldberg 36 inch built ups) would provide sufficient displacement with full fuel (72 ounces in four tanks plumbed in tandem). I was very much releved that the draft with full fuel was completely practical and float positioning worked out just right.

The original airplane was a Bridi Sunfly 111 pattern type and it was powered by an older OS .70FS on the land trips but I also switched out that engine in this configuration with a new OS .65AX two stroke and I am pleased that this engine actually seems to be just as, if not more fuel efficient than the original four stroke. And I do beleve this AX will be more reliable than the FS as it throttles very well and has demonstrated long runs (up to an hour), at just over an idle but still retains crisp throttleups with no stumbling.

The static takeoff with 75% fuel went very well and I will wait for a full fuel takeoff when flying from a boat. The reason is with a static takeoff the airplane can get difficult to see on a long run and that makes it difficult to finesse the takeoff but this is not a problem when flying from a boat.

Anyway I am delighted with this one[8D]


TEAMERICA 09-24-2012 07:37 PM

RE: Running the River
All Right! Lets have a Floatplane Distance Marathon. Up and Down the river or Around Lake Mead.
I'm down!

JohnBuckner 09-24-2012 08:09 PM

RE: Running the River
High how ya'll been I think the last time we talked was a few years ago at warbird race in Victorville?

Not really interested in any contest or marathon This is just a trip I have pondered ever since I moved to the area fifteen years ago Thats 59 miles as the river flows.

That distance may have to shortened by about ten miles by landing and boating through the wilderness wildlife sector in the boating channel then relaunching on the other side.

My plan is to use two boats one the pilot boat with a modeler/driver and for my fat butt as well as the trusty wheelchair. The second boat with two modeler/driver crew with support gear to handle the starting, launching and recovery dutys. Also serve as a vidio boat. Once in the boat I will be pretty much immobile, not be able to do anything except ride and fly[8D]


TEAMERICA 09-24-2012 09:14 PM

RE: Running the River
Actually I think it might have been the RC Pro race in Kingman. We just had a race here last weekend.
Anyway, keep us updated on this project and hopefully post the video.
It is a very appealing project. Good luck!

JohnBuckner 09-25-2012 07:30 PM

RE: Running the River
Had some discussion with the Arizona Fish and Game this afternoon and to my surprise There is no issue with them and they are responsible for this stretch of the river. As long as we observe the no wake limit in this sector and remain in the main boating channel which is said to take 15 minutes to traverse the sector there is no problem there.

There is a new law I beleve federal, don,t take me to task because I am not a boater that is due to take effect in Jan 2013 that prohibits two stroke engines on Lake Mead as well as Lake Powell but exempts Lake Havasu and the this stretch of the river. At least this is the way that their department interpreted it.

Things are looking up and have a target date in November.


JohnBuckner 10-20-2012 01:47 PM

RE: Running the River
1 Attachment(s)
Things are moving along and I got in my first flights from the boat yesterday and it went well. The purpose was among other things practice from the boat although I,ve many long flight from a pickup but never a boat. Most important was working out how we are going to do things and procedures for starting and setup which is very important in the boat.

Also this gave us useful information on gas mileage of the pilot boat as well. We found we will be cruze around 27 to 31 checked via GPS with the exception of the no wake zones. Another limiting factor on speed will be boat wakes as any more than that become very difficult to fly. Anyway the target date is Nov 3.

Still working on a second boat as a helper boat and for the photo man. The gentleman in the photo is the boat operator and a trusted friend as well as modeler. Thank heavens for these strong fellows as it was quite a sight getting my big butt outta the wheelchair and into the boat:D


JohnBuckner 11-04-2012 06:52 AM

RE: Running the River

Well its done and what a wonderful adventure its been. Ok first let me fully explain the purpose of this trip was to depart Laughlin Nevada on the Colorado river and arrive at the London Bridge Float fly on Saturday during the lunch time break. This is a distance on the water of just over fifty miles. The event CD's were cooperating and excited about the attempt. Also the Arizona Fish and Game were cooperative.

The departure point was the Avi casino in Laughlin from their dock. It was difficult to get someone to run a second boat even with me paying all fuel and expenses so it ended up being just one rather small jet boat. And the only pictures ended up being at the departure point. Two trusted helpers aided us in getting started and doing the drive on down to Lake Havasu with the trailer and to help on the recovery. Thank heaven for them as getting my fat Butt down the ramps and into as well as out of the boat from the wheelchair was a rather difficult task accompanied by much nervous laughter.

The first takeoff was done by drifting under the Avi bridge and the was carrying about 10 ounces less than the full 71 ounce load of fuel. We drifted under the Avi bridge and started the airplane on the special airplane rack I built for the boat so my mate could handle the airplane from the small fore deck and I could lean over to run the starter and needle if neccessary. The needling was perfect and we of course ran the ship on the launching dock before leaving to acheve that perfect needle.

I am a slow writer typist so am going to take a breather now for a few hours to prevent timing out and will continue our little adventrue in a bit.


JohnBuckner 11-05-2012 07:18 AM

RE: Running the River
OK As Arnold said, I'am back :D For this first takeoff although the weather was perfect it was a bit chilly and this boat had no protection from the 31 mph it was capable of indicated by the Sat nav. So I did not know if I should wear a jacket under the life preserver or not so we went with shirt sleeves. There would be no opportunity to peel or add coats once we were airborn and underway.

Ok to the first takeoff (yup there turned out to be two for the day). This boat is rather slow to climb onto the step and during this period the bow presents a massive visual block that is very difficult to avoid if attempting to take off with the airplane. On the first attempt the bow momentarily blocked the airplane so I bailed out of the takeoff and we stopped to try agine. This time we went back down river about a 1/4 mile from the airplane and started the bow out so it was on step before we reach the airplane at which time I started the takeoff run and this worked very well with a beautiful takeoff with all the beautiful full fuel glistening in those tanks up top. What a pretty site.

Were on our way. The very first thing to note was it was a bad choice to not ware our jackets it got downright cold as we worked up to the the 31mph. We could only resolve to just tough it out. The next thing that became almost as uncomfortable was the choice I made in sunglasses. They were large but not quite full wrap around at that 31 eye watering became a real problem and I could only track the airplane with my head in certain directions and it became neccessary to keep the airplane only in one segment of my visual horizon or the watering would have become a big problem. This was a mistake and and I was kicking myself for not obtaining a good set of goggles to wear over my glasses.

Finally I asked to slow the boat and we ending up cruzing at 23mph. Now the airplane expecially with this load needs to fly at around 40 to 45 mph and so this trip made a lot of circling mandatory and reduced the airplanes range to an unknown degree. Well we settled down to the various problems and on we flew. Now the boat driver had plenty of his own problems with sandbars in areas we never expected them and this was at its worst north of Needles not further south below the canyon cliffs where it is well known and charted. He had to do a lot of dodging and at times we were in just inchs of water which made us very happy we were in a jet boat. Robby (my teammate) said at one point he glanced back and he could see sand spitting out the jet.

having worked our way through this sand bar area the next challange which was totally unexpected, it was a road bridge which we did not expect here since it was not on our chart[X(]. I have flow over bridges, powerlines and underpasses on land RC cross countrys before which entails stabilizing at a fairly high altitude on the same course as the vehicle and roughly directly above the follow vehicle. If the airplane is faster than the follow vehicle then its neccessary to time a stabile run in so both vehicles cross at about the same time and with the airplane roughly directly over head. Ok for this bridge it should be no problem and since I could not look at the bridge coming to time my circles for the run in Robby called distances in hundreds of feet as we approached and this allows everything to go great with a perfect over/under crossing.

Passing south of Needles now things had reached an equalibrium and Ya still cold but we both managed and the rivers direction had changed enough to improve the suns angle for me especially since I was limited in my visual hemishere by the eye watering.

We both were begining to enjoy things and as we neared the I-40 highway bridge which was a mile or so ahead when rather suddenly it happened the boat ran dry of fuel so the decision was made to go ahead and land the airplane for the the changeover of tanks which required physically shifting hoses. This landing was a lot of fun and real pretty we switched the boat fuel tanks but decided to go ahead and put in to a place called pirates cove to also refuel the boat since a landing had already been made. This beautiful port was fortunately just hundreds of yard away so we motored on in with a lot curios looks with this airplane perched on its holder in front of the driver.

I unfortunately have about typed myself out agine and will have to take another break to continue the adventure later, Sorry.


JohnBuckner 11-06-2012 06:35 PM

RE: Running the River
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.


JohnBuckner 11-06-2012 06:46 PM

RE: Running the River
1 Attachment(s)

scale only 4 me 11-07-2012 05:04 AM

RE: Running the River
I congratulate you on your determination and 99% attempt,, No guts, No Glory ;)

goirish 11-07-2012 06:21 AM

RE: Running the River
I have really enjoyed reading your post aboujt taking on such a great project. thanks

Lamoilleriver 11-07-2012 06:28 AM

RE: Running the River
Will also join those who enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures of your adventure. Thanks

JohnBuckner 11-07-2012 07:06 PM

RE: Running the River
Scale only 4 me, goirish and Lamoilleriver Thanks so much for the support it is much appriciated.

OK whats next definately next year will be another attempt and Teamerica if you are still reading this why not come and join us next year and set up an airplane perhaps you have a boat or since its the off season there are small jet boats that could be rented for the day pretty reasonably.

Now next beyond that and one should never stop dreaming how about a little ocean crossing say from Long Beach Ca. to Avelon bay Santa Catalina island. Hmm this route is only bout '26 miles across the sea' and actually shorter than the Colorado river trip. But hey it is open ocean and lots of salt and sharks and stuff. Shoot out in the channel on a smoggy day your outta sight of land[X(]

Actually this flight would not be a first as it was done back in the late seventies. It was accomplished by a gentleman whos name has slipped away but I think it was Mr Robbins of Robbins hobby shop on Glenoaks in Glendale ca. Mr. Robbins was also the man behind the well known Porti Potty Pilots RC club of the period and they actually was able to build a field in a flood plain up the canyons a bit north of VanNuys ca. I am not sure if the club or he is still with us. I do know that his hobby shop seems to be thriving.

I did not know him at the time of his flight but met him attending a night fly at the Porti Potty field back around 1995. And I do remember reading about it in several magazines of the time. Anyway I became quite excited when he indicated he wanted to do it agine and he had the boat. So of course I said oh man can I go to and he loved the idea of a second ocean crossing and invited me to fly with him, knowing full well two airplanes in the same boat or truck is not the best of ideas. But at that time (1995) I think the trip was a bit much for him and the idea faded sadly.

For his crossing in 1978 he used a Nossen giant Stick on floats and a gasser of some sort likely maybe a G-62. His boat was a rather small open boat and there was a problem mid channel that I do not recall but it neccessitated an open ocean landing not in side the safe harbors of Long Beach or Avelon Which was successful and what ever the problem was it was fixed and another takeoff was made in pretty good swells. Anyway he made it on into Avelon bay to land next to the Great White Steamer.

Hmm Ocean Crossing, just how cool is that[8D]


TEAMERICA 11-07-2012 08:11 PM

RE: Running the River
Yes, I have been following with envy your flight logs.
You are talking about Robin Hambley of Robin's Hobbies and the "Port-A-Potti Pilots".
I think he is still around. Robin specializes in Camp-outs (hence the "port-a-potti" theme), Night flying and Float Flying. A great guy and friend to everybody. Use to ba a regular participant at the London Bridge Seaplane Classic. Seems like I saw him there only a couple years ago.
I use to have a boat - 19' Bayliner - and have made the trip to Catalina a couple times without an airplane. Leave out of Long Beach and head due South to Avalon. There is a Water Ski race that does this trip behind large Cigarrette boats. Out and back in an less than an hour. It can be a very rough ride in the wrong weather. Robin amazed me with his tales of his trip.
You might have just made an interesting challenge for next year for Havasu. I have an RC friend with a large fishing boat. I don't know the condition of the boat but it looks good and is big enough for both of us. Looks like about 20' King Fisher. The biggest problem might be his work schedule. I'll check.
Now, I'll have to design a plane for this.


JohnBuckner 11-07-2012 08:24 PM

RE: Running the River
Definately interesting Dan.

scale only 4 me 11-08-2012 04:45 AM

RE: Running the River
Hum,, I have a 19' Tracker that could make that trip, but it's here in Ohio, Darn Logistics ;)

A fellow flyer and my Best Man did that waterski race a coupe times (he tells me) when he was in his 20s,, my back hurts just thinking about it

You guys are making me long for home,, I'll be back for the holidays this year at least

Bob Yeager 11-08-2012 07:39 AM

RE: Running the River
John, congradulations on a magnificient effort and an awsome adventure. We are looking foreward to next year!

JohnBuckner 11-08-2012 06:07 PM

RE: Running the River
Hey Thanks Bob and I do want Thank your club the Desert Hawks who have put on a such great float fly for many years now. The clubs cooperation in the attempt was of course vital and I thank I had about ten phone numbers taped to the instrument panel of the CD's and other members just in case so we could call the arrival when just a few miles out.


red head 11-08-2012 06:41 PM

RE: Running the River
Nice read John, and I will be looking forward to seeing a read about your next trip. I miss being out in your area but I guess that's the way it goes. You probably don't remember me but I met you back about 97 at a field just outside of LAUGHLIN, then again at the Lake Havasu float fly. I worked for " Falcon Trading " at the time . ENJOYED IT !!! Red

JohnBuckner 11-08-2012 08:14 PM

RE: Running the River
Hmm the field just outside of Laughlin, maybe the Local area FunFlyers in Bullhead City or few miles further down the Craps (forgot what that stands for):D

Was Falcon Trading the company that was importing the Ready Two float plane?


TEAMERICA 11-09-2012 01:09 AM

RE: Running the River


ORIGINAL: JohnBuckner
Hmm the field just outside of Laughlin, maybe the Local area FunFlyers in Bullhead City or few miles further down the Craps (forgot what that stands for):D
Colorado River Air Plane Soakers/Smashers? C.R.A.P.S.

JohnBuckner 11-09-2012 08:25 AM

RE: Running the River
Oh man embarrased to say I never can remember that name, so had to look it up:D Its Colorado River Aircraft Pilots Society (CRAPS) AMA 656. Nice field and a good bunch of folks in fact a young man from that club named Dominic recently contributed as the lead act to our flying displays we conducted recently at the local full scale airshow.


red head 11-09-2012 03:56 PM

RE: Running the River
Yes we imported the " Ready, the Ready 2, a Cessna, the Jupiter and a Beaver on floats. And it was the CRAPS field, I would never have remembered it. They were a great bunch of guys and a lot of fun to fly with.
As I remember it their field had a chain link fence around it and I parked a Jupiter in it when the engine quit on TO. Some one in the pits said " well thats it for him today " I went out, picked up the plane checked it over, reset the engine and took off. Made for a good demonstration, lol . ENJOY !!! RED

JohnBuckner 11-10-2012 07:01 AM

RE: Running the River
1 Attachment(s)
Well how cool is that Red and I do remember. Also remember being impressed by that all plastic trainer like float plane and how it performed after seeing you fly it at the Nautical Inn (London Bride float fly).

I even have a Ready Two Story: About three years ago a fellow member who had never been on the water called me up all excited about a crags listing down in Topock on the river that listed three seaplanes and a bunch of other stuff. Turned out it was an older couple who both flew but never at any fields but just from their houseboat. The were moving away and were selling out.

When I saw the three Ready's I immediately was dealing for the three, two with La 40's and one with a Saito Fifty. I ended up with two but let my bud have the one with the Saito as I really didn,t care.

Any way thought you might enjoy how we fly the Ready's Up here at Kingman when we don't feel like the thirty mile drive down the mountain to the river basin, REDNECK Float Flying:D




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