Posted by Claiborne | Posted on 06-23-2011
Well, these pictures speak for themselves, and we sincerely thank Captain Benton for passing them along to the Cruisers’ Net! And, let’s also note that Fort Pierce City Marina is a much valued SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!!
Here’s proof that the Fort PIerce City Marina has a ” Full Service ” fuel dock
aboard ” Courtship”
Many of you have asked for more info on the “vehicle” pictured in the photos below. We queried Fort Pierce City Marina, and Catpan Bill Benton was kind enough to respond:
Anne ( at the Fort Pierce City Marina) asked me to send you a synopsis of what occurred with the seaplane that landed out in front of the marina.
As you probably recall, this is an older seaplane built in 1947 that left on June 15 from Nassau intending to land at the St. Lucie County Airport. He almost made it but due to a fuel leak, was forced to land on the water in front of the city marina.
The plane engine was designed to run on regular gasoline as opposed to Avgas and was refueled by Craig Kilgore at the city marina fuel pumps. The plane was equipped with a variable pitch propeller which was stuck in reverse causing him all kinds of problems trying to taxi out of the marina. I towed him out into the area in front of the marina and, frankly, was scared to death when 30 yards or so out in the Indian River and still under tow he started the engine up and began to increase the RPMs. I didn’t realize it at the time but in order to shift the propeller from reverse into forward he needed the engine at increased RPMs and oil pressure. I had visions of my 14 foot Edgewater dinghy “ Jester” being run over by an airplane and was more than a little bit nervous. The propeller shifted into forward and I quickly disconnected the tow line and began backing away as fast as I could. The tip of the Port wing actually passed over the bow of my dinghy. He tried several times to take off but was unable to for some reason. He finally shut the engine down and I towed him back into Moore’s creek, backed the plane into the launching ramp and a good Samaritan with a pickup truck tied a line to his Tailhook and pull him backwards up into the parking lot. The plane sat there until Sunday, June 19 while the owner/pilot dealt with all of the Government agencies involved. Customs and Border Protection, FAA, Coast Guard, County Sheriff, City Police, Parking Enforcement ( parked a plane in an area reserved for vehicles with trailers) and hundreds of admirers.
The pilot and I were involved in a number of conversations over the days and he asked me to tow him out of Moore’s creek and into the area in front of the marina early Sunday morning. In the interim, he used borrowed 5 gallon gas cans to add additional gasoline to the plane’s tank and at about 7:30 Sunday morning I towed him out to the area in front of the marina. He taxied for a few minutes out in front of the marina during which time he apparently checked his gauges and instruments, finally taking off southbound where he got airborne quickly. He made a slow circle around the Marina area and on his second pass wiggled the wings to say goodbye. He called me about 10 minutes later and told me that he had landed safely at the St. Lucie County Airport, was topping off his fuel tank and was ready to head home. He called me again early in the afternoon to thank me for my help and advise me that he was safely at home in Bell, Florida, about 30 miles west of Gainesville. So ends the story.
aboard ” Courtship”
Being an old airplane driver, I believe this is a Republic Aviation “SeaBee” Republic Aviation of P-47, F-84, F-105 fighter fame went into the civil aviation business after WW II. Good to see some are still around
Hey, that looks just like the one I carry around on my seaplane catapult on the fantail just aft of turret four.
Gee!, Does the airplane have right-of-way over a sailboat when its taking off???
Wow. I never cease to be amazed at the “wonders on the water”……… Is that a officer of the law or USCGstanding there looking at the “aero-aqua craft”???