Sunday, June 18, 2006


Pontiac "Blows A Mocassin"!

June 13 I posted about checking out a new "float pilot" called "Pontiac" in Northway Aviation's 1953 Cessna 180, C-FHDL. The post was entitled Took a "Pontiac" for a "Ride"............... Well, Friday, the day before yesterday, Pontiac was "thrown to the wolves", and had to make the rounds on Lake Winnipeg with 2 Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation employees. Lake Winnipeg at her best is a "beautiful, restless giant", and at her worst, "ferocious fury unleashed"! The weather and winds were decent, and Pontiac had to go to George's Island, Berens River, and McBeth Point. George's Island is in the middle of the "North Basin" of the lake, 12 miles from shore. Pontiac landed and took off at the island OK, but marveled at the "roll" of the lakewater from a previous "blow". Next was Berens River, where it became a "landing obstacle course" so as to avoid all the fishing boats. Airborne again an hour later, he headed for McBeth Point, and landed on the north side of "the spit" so as to be "in the lee". Now, time to factor in the SIGMET that was issued while Pontiac was "traversing around the lake". While at McBeth, the thunderstorms developed, and the wind switched 180*! His passengers came running, soaking wet, boarded the plane, and they were airborne just as the lake surface turned "nasty". Avoiding the worst of the thunderstorm, they made it back to Pine Dock! The passengers had nothing but praise for Pontiac's "piloting skills", they rebooked another flight, and they were off. I figure Pontiac received 50 hours of experience from this 3 hour trip, and his confidence was building. He had faced Lake Winnipeg and survived!

Saturday, 5 AM. As I prepped the Otter, C-FUKN, I noticed Pontiac pumping his floats, taking longer than usual. When he pulled off a float cover and peered inside, I knew something was up. As I walked towards him and his airplane, I stopped on the dock, and looked toward Lake Winnipeg. I could have sworn I heard a "deep, throaty chuckle"! I continued on to Pontiac and HDL, peered inside the compartment, stuck my arm in, and felt the water gushing in through the 1 1/2" gash! Damn Lake Winnipeg! Pontiac had "blown a mocassin"! He would now be "shorebound" until the float was fixed!

Well, today we had time to remove HDL from the water, and tomorrow the float will be patched. Here are some images from today.

"Hey, Pontiac, what happened to your plane"? Posted by Picasa

"Hoist her out, Boys"! Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

Up she comes! Posted by Picasa

Ian's view from the "John Deere"! Posted by Picasa

Setting her on "dry land"! Posted by Picasa

Yup, she's a "gusher"! Posted by Picasa

Secured for the night! Posted by Picasa

A "collage" of "specimens". Posted by Picasa

Pontiac "survived Unforgiving Lake Winnipeg", but now must "face the wrath" of the Mechanics! Posted by Picasa

Pontiac's faithful souphound "Timber" stands guard for the night! Posted by Picasa

Late this evening, I went down to the docks, and pondered Pontiac's incident. All kidding aside, and in his defence, none of his actions were a negligent direct cause of the hole in the float. When dealing with the "turbidity and murkiness" of "rock and obstacle-filled" Unforgiving Lake Winnipeg, it could and has happened to more experienced pilots. On the bright side the aircraft and passengers made it back and safe and sound. It is his first hole, but if he pursues a career flying floats, it won't be his last. As I left the docks, I thought I heard soft, "maniacal chuckling" once again. I turned, but all I could see was "The Big Lake". As I headed for my room, I swore I heard the chuckling "continue"..................


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