Saturday, April 22, 2006


"Why" I "Blog"........

I am asked quite often why I "blog", and it started out as a novelty, as I knew absolutely "zip" about computers, and I just wanted to learn something regarding computers through "trial and error". Then I realized it would be a record of some old memories. Then the photos and video became involved, and it became sort of an "unchronological" diary with "added entertainment value". The #1 reason I continue to do it now is because of one spin-off benefit I hadn't envisioned when I started, and that is "the people". I receive numerous e-mails, and comments are left on my Blog. I love hearing from other "aviation aficionados" such as myself, and love to hear stories others have to tell regarding incidents or places they have experienced. I have also heard from old "neighbourhood pals" I hadn't heard from in 30 years, also a bonus because of my Blog. Anyways, let me give you an example of how my Blog has introduced me to some extremely interesting people........

Bob Ostrom is a realtor in Texas, but used to "fly the bush" in Canada. Peggy and Barry Gudmundson are friends from Riverton who were down in Texas this winter, and sent me some pictures of their travels, including when they toured the Lexington. I published a Post entitled "Waltz Across Texas, With You"................ Well, Bob read my Post and left a comment on my Blog. Here is his comment.


What a surprise. Here I am, an old bush pilot from northern Ontario with lots of Beaver and Beech 18 time, but very little Otter time, reading your blog as I do every morning, and what is it about, Corpus Christi. I have lived in Corpus for 12 years and love the great weather and friendly people. The Lexington is a familiar shape on our bayfront. Other aviation activities keep our skies full of planes. Naval Air Station Corpus Christi does all the basic and twin engine flight training for the Navy, Marine Corps and other services. Corpus Christi Army Depot is the largest helicopter overhaul facility in the world, rebuilding helos for all the US armed forces. The only thing we don't have is a seaplane operator. This would be an ideal location to open a sightseeing float plane operation. Even with the salt water, I am sure it could be run profitably. Keep up the good work. As I mentioned earlier, I check your site and Beaver Tails every day.

Bob Ostrom

Then it was my turn, and I fired an e-mail off to Bob.

From: Steven Taylor
To: Bob Ostrom
Subject: Bush Flying
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 07:54:16 -0800 (PST)

Thanks for the e-mail, Bob. Nice to hear from a fellow "Bush Rat". It sure sounds like there is a lot of aviation happening in your neck of the woods. Yes, I bet a couple of Beavers with a proactive operator would do well. If you ever decide to "start up", give me a call.......... Hey, do you have any old photos and stories to tell? If you do, and want to share them through cyber-space, I would be happy to post them. I am sure you have certain memories that are highlights from your time in the bush. Some Beech 18 photos and stories would be nice. I would also like to hear about who you flew for and what geographic areas. I am sure when you remember your flying days, you drift back in time.............

Nice to hear from you,


(Man, I would sure like to tour the Lexington!)

Bob replied......

From: "Bob Ostrom"
Subject: RE: Bush Flying
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 15:53:04 -0600

Sorry it has taken so long to get an answer off to you, but I have been busier than a one armed pilot who just ran a tank dry. (One of those moments of sheer terror that interrupts the hours of boredom.)

The only old pictures that I had are already posted on Beaver Tails. It's funny, but when you are flying for a living, you really don't stop and take photos of what you are doing. It seems like a normal thing to do, not worthy of the time it takes to record it on film. I flew for Superior Airways who was headquartered in Fort William, now called Thunder Bay, Ontario. Spent the first season flying 180s from their base in Pays Plat hauling fishermen and moose hunters.

The second through 5th year I managed their base in Nakina Ontario and worked my way up to Beavers and then Beech 18s. We covered the area north of there and went to places like Fort Hope, Ogoki Post, Fort Albany, Fort Severn, Big Trout Lake, etc. Hauled the usual stuff, groceries, propane, fuel oil, mining exploration equipment and of course hunters and fishermen. In September 1969, I was a back seat passenger in a 180 that the pilot stalled and cartwheeled into Kagananami Lake about 70 miles NW of Nakina. All 3 of us on board got out alive and made our way to shore where we
spent over two full days nursing our injuries and being very cold, wet and hungry, before we were found. All in all, not a very pleasant experience.

I left Superior Airways in May 1972 and spent the season flying a Beech 18 for Minto Airways, which was owned by Great Bear Lodge. We flew fishermen from our camps on Great Bear Lake south to Blackwater Lake to fish for graylings, and 450 miles north to fish for arctic char at Minto Inlet on Victoria Island. It was a pleasant change to have cargo that walked on and off under their own power instead of being manhandled by the pilot.

I moved to the US in October 1972 and tried flying for a company out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We operated Beech 18s and hauled mail from Sioux Falls to Huron, Pierre, and Rapid City, and then back to Sioux Falls every night. Almost all of the time you were in instrument conditions and running the deicers. I found myself thinking "I wonder if I'm doing this right?" too many times to really enjoy the job. It's hard to take the bush out of a bush pilot who is used to VFR and no controllers telling him what to do. After about 3 months of this, I decided to change career paths.

I have spent the last 12 years living in Corpus Christi where you don't have to shovel snow, or scrape windows during the winter months. I have been a realtor with one of the companies here for 2 years and really enjoy it. As I mentioned to you before, this place really needs a float plane operator. Ernie Robb from Ketchikan AK, read my remarks to you and gave me a call to discuss the situation with me. He is looking for a way to keep his float equipped beavers busy during the winter months. His partner is coming down here shortly and I volunteered to show him around and give him my thoughts on what might work here. Time will tell.

Keep up the good work with your web site. I really enjoy it and check it and Beaver Tails every morning. Like I said earlier in this discourse, it's hard to take the bush out of a bush pilot.

Feel free to email me anytime. Take care in your daily activities, cause there are no old bold ones.


Amazing, Ernie Robb from Southeast Aviation, whom I also met through my Blog, and stay in contact with, has contacted Bob. Here is my reply to Bob.

From: Steven Taylor
To: Bob Ostrom
Subject: RE: Bush Flying
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 20:21:45 -0800 (PST)

Bob, thanks for the reply. I hear you when you state
that one doesn't take a camera, as it is just everyday
life for a bush pilot. All of the places you mention I
am familiar with, and are part of the "aviation lore"
of Canada. Folks like yourself were (are) such a great
asset to Canada, I think people just don't realize to
this day. Superior Airways, Nakina, Ogoki Post,
mining, moose hunting, cart-wheeling a C-180, memories
for a lifetime. Glad you met up with Ernie, he seems
like an outstanding fellow. You are right, it is hard
to keep the "bush" from the "bush pilot", and it beats
getting paper cuts and looking out the window wishing,
but I guess it doesn't last forever. Can I use your
e-mail in a post? Might be somebody in cyberspace it
stirs another memory in, or knows you. Good luck with
Ernie, and any time you remember a story you want to
share, send it on. Nice to hear from you,


Bob's reply............

From: "Bob Ostrom"
Subject: RE: Bush Flying
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2006 07:46:29 -0600


Thanks for the reply. If you want to use the email I sent you in a post, you are welcome to do so. I met with Jim Kosmos, Ernie Robb's partner in Southeast Aviation, on Thursday of this week. He was visiting family near Houston and drove down here to Corpus Christi to chat with me about the potential for a flightseeing operation here. He seemed enthusiastic about the idea and is going to discuss it further with Ernie. Time will tell, but we might end up with an operator her in the Texas "bush" country. I will let you know if it comes about.


A "float operation" in Corpus Christi would be outstanding! So you see, it is now about the people, as pilots tend to be "colourful" (a compliment) people, and my Blog has helped "web" some of us together and enabled contact we wouldn't have had otherwise. That, to me, has been a real "bonus". Anyways, I will keep everyone updated if the "Texas Float Base" ever becomes a reality or not, but the idea was definitely worth exploration. Just like an old "Bush Rat" like Bob to look out across the water and see floatplanes. Like Bob stated earlier, it is hard to take the "bush" out of the "Bush Pilot", even after he has taken up residence in an "easier" locale. And that, as far as I am concerned, is a "good thing"...........

(More from Bob tomorrow..............)

WEBSITE - Bob Ostrom

WEBSITE - Southeast Aviation

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