View Full Version : My first float ride - I didn't puke like the others

10-31-2008, 04:45 PM
Growing up a Minnesota Boy gives a person a lot of outdoor options, BUT, I was from the city(suburbs) so I was somewhat limited. No motorcycles, three wheelers(then) and driving trucks underage in city limits.

There were, however, always ways to escape...the farm, the friends, and finally the flying...

We used to take lots of hunting a fishing trips as a family. I'll never forget our first time into Canada fishing. My dad had some friends near Atikokan, ON with a fishing camp (Or was that Kenora this time?). They ferried their clients into the place in a pa-11 or 18. I can't remember, cause I was six. I'm guessing the 11. I just remember, Benny the pilot, Dad in the back, me on his left leg and my little brother on his right.

Oh, the freedom of taking off that lake. The plowing, the bumpiness you could see coming... the speed on step, the bumpiness turned to shakiness as we accelerated faster and faster. The smoothness of leaving the water. It was my first small plane ride...it was my first sea plane ride. I could feel the breeze. Can't everyone feel a breeze in a supercub?

It was a hot summer, but yet a little cool for being so far North. Maybe a little gusty - I remember bouncing around a bit. (Cold front passage?) It was fine by me, but soon not my father, or my little brother.

Something about bouncing around, not being in control, back seat riding. Haven't we all been there? Claustrophobic, a little hot, stuffy, can't see out very well - then someone starts it. My father blew chunks. My brother saw that, then he went. Well, not pretty, but I just concentrated out the left window at all the scenery and kept to myself. I made it. Not that I wasn't temped to join in all that activity behind me, but I was enjoying flying way too much. I breathed fast and shallow to calm myself.

The things you could see. Wow, looking down into all that clear water; seeing the bottom of the lake, though 10+ ft deep. I was mesmerized. Oh, the beauty. Wow, the trees! Are we really running out of trees? Not in Ontario! The water - lakes everywhere you look.

Time to rejoin the earth/water bound. In we came down to the water, after 30 minutes of mostly bliss. The coolness of the water felt in the last 10 feet down to the surface. The kiss of the floats to the water. The somewhat felt spray as we cut a few waves taxiing in. The sudden flurry of activity as we glided up to the dock. THIS was the way to travel.

What a vacation. My mother caught the most and biggest fish. (they kept rudely interrupting her novel as she sat laid back in the front of the trolling boat.) My brother was into the fish - I was into running the trolling motor - I could fish later from the dock or shoreline. I'll never forget the pretty novel idea (to a city raised six year old) going out back to the johns. No toilets in those cabins. Lastly and afterwords, I won't forget talking about Benny the float pilot to my parents up to my teenage years.

I can hardly remember the flight out, but I'll never forget that first flight in. I think our experiences as a child do form us for later years. Twelve years later I had my license and my float rating a couple after that. Been flying professionally ever since. Life is good.

10-31-2008, 07:19 PM
Great story! Thanks for sharing.

It really is a great part of the world. I try to visit at least a couple times a year.


Rick Papp
10-31-2008, 07:51 PM

Great story!!! I think we have a budding Jr. Cloud Dancer !!!! I think ATP's must have enough time on their hands to perfect their writing skills. Rick :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Brian Fox
11-01-2008, 09:35 AM
Great story Cal!

Good one Rick :wink: