Seaplane Adventure – Part #2 – Arriving Lake Wales

seaplane adventure – segment 2

Direct clock time from take off to touch down – 5 hours.
Hobbs time based on 1.1 * tach time – 5.6 hours
Actual Hobbs time delta: 5.3
I think the times are reasonable; given the taxiing around and warm up times.

Arriving at Lake Wales airport around noon, I was itching to get the airplane put away and get started on my training. I thought I could do a quick turn at the airport and head over to the seaplane base for a few flights. Fill it with fuel; cover it; load the rental car; and be off.

With some direction on the radio, I found the self-serve fuel pump, and this is where my schedule began to slip a bit. I pulled in as close as I dare. That still wasn’t enough, since the hose was too short and the heavy duty hose spring fought me for every inch. Now I’m fighting and stretching to get a drop in the tanks. After 14.1 gallons – the darn thing timed out. Right Aux is at least full.

Take a breath and stop trying so hard. Its enough that I’m here, and I’m here to be challenged and enjoy the experience.

Man-handle the airplane into position to ensure that the hose will now reach. Reconnect the ground and get ready. The pump states it will limit me to 45 gal, so I knew this was going to take two more cycles. I was able to fill the right nacelle tank, and then the right main. Moving over to the left main tank, I hit 41 gallons before I could fill that tank, and went back to the pump for another transaction.

This time, the transaction was not approved. This could be my card having a security hold put on it, so I called the credit card company to be sure. The warned of long hold times, so I breathed in and decided to persist a bit longer. Called Bev to let her know I’d arrived, and then called the credit card company and waited. The card was good – no holds.

Next I called the two service numbers prominently displayed on the pump. Take them down – they are worthless. No one answered. Cap all the tanks and walk over to the FBO to get some help. Be nice. Long story short – I had several people come help and they encouraged me to get some exercise while moving my airplane back and forth – all to no avail.

I now have a 25 gallon fuel imbalance on the right that is a concern. Hoping they’ll get the fuel pump fixed before my flight home (Wednesday).

Moral of the story: no matter if my entire day went swimmingly – the seaplanes were out flying, and I wouldn’t have caught up with them anyway.

I got checked in at the Hampton Inn nearby, and found the fishing camp where Brian is operating out of. Rustic location with an interesting mix of people. Nice place to be. Very much like Pot Nets up north; only with seaplanes.

I met with Brian, the owner, just before dark. No flying, but we did get a chance to talk and get lined up for Sunday.

About fdorrin

Experienced single and multi-engine instrument flight instructor in the PA30, Cirrus, Piper, Cessna, Diamond and others. Own an Elite simulator and use that effectively for single and multi-engine work. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; DHC-8 / Dash-8 typed. Retired Manager of Control Systems and Network Operations for PEPCO Holdings, Inc.
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