I am a 51 year old private pilot with 1600 plus hours, (approx. 1100 hours on 182’s and 400 hours on P68’s) living by the water on the D’entrecasteux Channel, south of Hobart in Tasmania.
I have been curious about water flying for some time but have been further inspired to pursue this interest by the soon to arrive light sport ‘Mermaid’ amphibian. I finally decided it was time to see if, I as a pilot, could mix air and water.
Kevin Bowe came highly recommended as an instructor for a floating hull endorsement by Perry Taylor of Air Noosa and Mike Dalton of QBE Aviation Insurance. Although I am used to windy weather in Tasmania, the first couple days of training was hard going because of unusual strong, and gusty easterly wind.
The Lake Buccaneer is a wonderful participant in your training, considering it was designed nearly 50 years ago. This plane is a great ‘waterbird’, strong and forgiving in the air, a delight to handle on the water, but requiring an acquired precision not known by land pilots to alight gracefully and safely.
The ability to do numerous ‘splash and goes’ in a row without a normal circuit took a bit of getting used to, but after day 2 I got into the slot. This was demanding and challenging flying. The variety of water conditions for landing and taxing is amazing. The ‘glassy water’ instrument approach and landing is unique - you are on clocks ‘doggedly’ until the hull and water ‘tell you’ that you have arrived.
In the 10 feet above sea/water level, the importance of attitude becomes apparent and made me concentrate at a level I have not done in my flying before. Gradually I was beginning to learn precision with a gentle guiding hand.
Kevin Bowe is a gentleman, a very experienced aviator with high standards and is mindful of his reputation. He does not hand this endorsement out, he has to see you earn it. With his wife Sue, they take very good care of you.
Staying in Noosa, with the Great Sandy Straits as your classroom – flight training does not get any better than this!
A wonderful and rewarding 4 days, thanks Kevin and Sue.
Birchs Bay, Tasmania
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