Sunday, January 25, 2015

US Sport Aviation Expo

 Last weekend, I went to Sebring, FL for a performance at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. I would like to thank the Flying Musicians Association for inviting me to play, and I would also like to thank my Mom and Dad for the time and effort of getting us up there and getting room and board for all of us. Friday morning: My dad took Sam T. Dawg to The Inn of the Dog. When he came back, we started packing the guitar and equipment up.

At 3:00, my mom arrived home from work early to get herself ready for the trip and to get on the road early.           At around 4:00, we were on the road to the Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring. Once we got our room key, we went and had dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel

The next day, I got up and took a shower. Once we were all awake, we went downstairs for the free continental breakfast. I had Swiss Miss hot chocolate, a doughnut, and a bagel. We got in the van and drove to the Aviation Expo, where we got wristbands for the volunteers. At around 12:00 noon, I got up and played a few songs, and the tent filled up. After that, I went outside to see some airplanes take off and land. I also played a song for the people at the Seaplane Pilots Association booth. I am now a 5 year member. We met the Chairman of the Board of Sun 'n' Fun, Robert Knight and I was interviewed by the Florida Aviation Network. At around 5:00, we went back to the hotel and I played Peaceful Easy Feeling over by the fireplace, then we lounged in our room and watched TV before going to sleep.

At around 9:00 the next day, we packed everything up and hit the road back home. We had an amazing breakfast at the Landing Strip Cafe at the Okeechobee airport. The waitress was very nice, and so was the food. In my opinion, they should turn off a few off the TV's there. We came back home, and mom got the dog. All in all, I think it was a fantastic weekend.
By Fletcher Morton.



Friday, January 9, 2015

The Age of the Flying Boat

By Fletcher Morton
Flying Boats are fixed wing seaplanes with a watertight hull making it so that they can set down on the water. They are kept balanced on the water by the use of floats under the wings. Some Flying Boats were amphibious, meaning they can set down on the water and land on runways.

Flying Boats had very interesting attributes. They had floats near the ends of the wings instead of wheels. They carried freight and passengers. Most would carry between six and thirty passengers, but the really big later models, like the Pan Am Clipper could carry over seventy passengers. Although the outside looked oddly shaped, the cabins were very nicely appointed, some with rooms inside like miniature staterooms on a cruise ship. Most Flying Boats were made out of aluminum, plywood, and fabric and were powered by radial engines. Flying Boats were mainly used as passenger planes for going around Europe, Africa and Asia. Some of the most popular destinations of the flying boats were exotic ports of call like the Pacific Isles, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Lake Victoria, The Ivory Coast and Southern Africa.

Many Flying boats were made during the first half of the 1900s. At the time, technology had not gone to lighter planes and better fuel and engines, and runways were expensive to build. Because the behemoths were really huge, and less power, it took longer to take off. The solution, was water. Flying boats took off from the water instead of land which made them good international airliners without the need for expensive long runways. Flying boats also served as air/sea rescue planes. They and their valiant crews are responsible for saving countless lives.

By the end of World War II, their popularity waned because of new materials and technologies making airplanes lighter, more powerful and efficient. People thought, "Flying Boats? Why should we use them when we have shorter, less expensive runways?" Very few Flying Boats still exist today. They are now mostly used for recreational flights, remote areas, air/sea rescue missions and dropping water on fires.

There are a lot of famous flying boats, such as the Pan Am Clipper, The PBY Catalina, and Jimmy Buffett's Grumman HU-16 Albatross, the Hemisphere Dancer. (pictured on the right) For the future of Flying Boats, I really hope that they come back for more flying around Europe, Africa and Asia, because I would really like to see places like the Serengeti and Lake Victoria and touch that lost piece of aviation history.