Airplanes: Floatplane Season

My favorite time of the year is floatplane season. It’s when a handful of my neighbors land and take off several times a day on the river behind my Yukon cabin. They fly homebuilt aircraft as well as classics like the Piper Super Cub and Cessna 182. I’m often at the big picture window with my binoculars announcing to no one in particular, “That’s the outfitter again, coming in to load up another group of fisherman.” Or, “Must be 15 knots out there. Look at him– he’s on the step already!”

It seems like flying airplanes has always been a passion of mine. But when I think about it, I know that’s not true. My fascination with airplanes began as a child, but of course, I didn’t have the opportunity to fly them until much later. And even then, it took years for me to finish my private license.

The other day while a friend was visiting, a plane buzzed my cabin. Though she’d never been interested in airplanes, my friend joined me outside and we watched the Murphy Rebel amphib circle the river before landing. I know the plane well, having flown in it myself, and because the owner keeps it parked behind my cabin.

As the aircraft taxied toward us, my friend asked, “Is he a good pilot?”

“Absolutely.” Then she said something I’d never expected to hear her say. She’d never been in a small plane before, and had never wanted to fly in one, but she said, “I think I’d like to go up in that plane sometime.”

My pilot friend was thrilled to take her for a flight. The next day, I stood at the end of my dock and watched the plane as it lifted off the water and rose above the nearby bridge. It made a gentle left turn and disappeared over the distant trees even before the sound of its engine faded. Of these two friends of mine, one had made his dream of owning a plane come true, and the other was experiencing the thrill of flying in a small plane for the first time. I envied both of them.