Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Different Kind of Flying!!

Flying through the Everglades on an airboat.  What a blast!!

 Flying is normally something that you associate with air.  Well, flying through the everglades with an airboat pilot is  something that everyone who enjoys a propeller driven experience needs to add to their "to do" list.  The prop. on this boat was connected to a 350 Chevy engine, that was able to get up to a rate of speed through the narrow mangrove passages, and create a little pucker factor for the passengers!!

En route Passengers:

  Pelican 1, foreground was flaring for a landing on the small deck of the airboat as we headed away from the terminal. Pelican 2, was demonstrating his best glide ratio as he waited for Pelican 1 to clear the runway and taxi to the side of the airboat.

Wheel Landing......'er, well, something like that.

  These birds landed on the deck of the airboat.  The captain had a bucket of fish that attracted them.  These are BIG birds and if you get six or eight of them on the deck of a small airboat, you have a lot of birds there.  If they fight for position and have to fly, it is not unusual to have them WAP ( an old Batman TV phrase ) you with a wing.  There is another animal trait that is unavoidable.  When these birds take flight, they have a semi-liquid exhaust that ends up on the deck of the boat!!  When the boat captain cranks up the 350 Chevy engine and speeds reaches a critical mass, this semi-liquid exhaust (a.k.a. pelican poop) becomes light and airborne and will make white spots on your dark colored sweatshirt.  This is similar to farm freckles gained while walking by a drop in a dairy barn behind a cow in a stanchion! 

Airboat Victor Airway
 These small paths are carved through the swamp grass and mangroves.  There is enough HP from the Chevy engine to create that "pucker factor" as you maneuver these areas at high speeds.  This photo was at low tide which for an airboat pilot must be like operating under minimal VFR conditions in a high performance aircraft.

Future TSA agent with human passenger.  They need exposure to "real people"

Hotel from 1997 Movie Gone Fishin'  near airboat base

This runway is closed.  There was no white X on either end but it was obvious the FBO did not want any traffic here.

The Passengers

If you have never had an opportunity to take a ride on an airboat, you should add it to your bucketlist.  Be cautioned not to get on one of those that load 10-20 people on a fat airboat and take you for an open water ride.  Get back into the swamp and take a real airboat ride.  Ride with someone like the folks at  You will enjoy the flight.

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