Ian Twombly

Fun, fun, fun part 2

May 22, 2008 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

A few weeks ago I talked about flying and the pursuit of fun. That was after flying an Air Cam on wheels. Yesterday I think I trumped the Air Cam experience, ten-fold. It’s hard to imagine there’s anything more fun than flying at 500 feet with a completely unobstructed view, but there is. It’s flying at 200 feet over the water in an Air Cam on floats.

In preparation for the upcoming pilot report on the Air Cam, I knew I had to fly one on floats. It’s becoming an increasingly popular modification for builders, so no story on the airplane would be complete without it. So I drove to Sebring, Florida, to visit with Phil Lockwood, the original designer of the airplane and the owner of the company. It was a rare treat to be able to fly this unique airplane with the designer. Here are a few highlights:

  • Yes, you can take off single engine from the water. Incredible, but true.
  • The hardest part of the water take off is controlling the stick and throwing power forward at the same time. It sounds easy, but the airplane is off the water as soon as the throttle is wide open, so things are happening fast.
  • You can’t turn on a dime, but a silver dollar is doable.
  • Vmc is a formality. There’s no rolling on your back in this airplane.

Here’s a photo of the back of Lockwood’s head as we were turning base for the first water landing. This was the last picture I remembered to take because I was having too much fun.

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