Day 5 – The Seaplane Base
The seaplane base is one of the most commonly missed spots at AirVenture, I think that is because it is a bit out of the way from the main show grounds and where people generally hangout. It is about 10 minutes by tram (from the vintage barn) to the stop where you grab a bus then it is another 15 or so minutes to your destination. The moment you step off the bus, it’s like you’re a thousand miles away in some island paradise. A whole world away from the golf shirt clad sales people, heavy jets and crowds. After the bus ride, it’s a short hike along a beautiful wooded path to the main area. If the main grounds are like an amusement park, the seaplane base is like summer camp. It’s all a lot less dressed up, and because of that, you can get the lovely relaxed vibe that everyone enjoys.
As relaxed as it is, there is still a lot to do! From watching arrivals from a shaded adirondack chair, grabbing lunch or checking out the very few vendor booths, you won’t be bored. They also offer a nice tour of the planes anchored in the lagoon on classic pontoon boats. I couldn’t believe that boat rides were free with a gentle request for a donation of $3.
When a plane is due to fly, a skiff will tow it to the dock where the pilot and passengers will load up and motor out into the cove for takeoff. People crowd the shore to watch flight operations. There is plenty of room for everyone to get an excellent view and photos. We saw a variety of planes from the tiny SeaRey and its larger cousin the Lake Buccaneer, a brand new Husky on floats and a vintage Cessna 195 on floats. Of course there were plenty of the more common Cessna 150, 172 and 182 on floats as well.
The whole environment is so friendly. Word is that if you ask nicely, there are plenty of pilots happy to take you around the pattern in their water bird.
Do yourself a favor and put the Seaplane base on the top of your list of things to do at Airventure. You will if you go on Monday or Tuesday, you will probably find yourself there again on Thursday or Friday too!
Let us know how you like it!