Seaplane Flight August 31, 2004

by Mike Koss



Deb and I took our first seaplane flight on my birthday this year.  It was an amazing experience.  Our pilot, Mark Schoening, is another Overlake School parent.  He donated the flight to the school auction last year.  Our first attempt we were rained out (so we ate the provide picnic dinner at home, looking out at the rain).  So on this trip, we packed our own picnic.


Finding out that I'm also a pilot, Mark graciously let me fly and gave me some instruction in the Beaver.  I flew the take off from our dock on Lake Washington.  Everything is slow and methodical in the Beaver (1952 vintage airplane); and the systems are largely manually operation (flags, rudders, etc).


After departure, we climbed to 1000' before crossing the shoreline of Lake Washington and header east.  Our destination - the Cascades and Lake Isabel.


We really lucked out on the weather; skies clear and wind calm.  We took some time to do some mountain flying around the Index area to see several waterfalls and mountains.


Racing a boat on Lake Washington.
Satellite photo of Lake Isabel
Our view of Lake Isabel from the west.  There is a small "notch" in the mountains through which we can get a little peek at the lake.  To approach and land on Lake Isabel, we fly 2000' above the surface along the southern ridge and then turn to descend down the eastern slope (if there is a problem landing, we have an escape route out through the notch).

It's a hair-raising ride, hugging 30' above the tree tops and S-turning all the way down to the water's surface.

Safely on the beach, Mark offers us a piggy back ride from the plane to the sand.
The sandy beach on the east side of the lake made for a lovely spot for our picnic.  We didn't see any hikers at the lake the whole time we were there; it's truly a remote location.  The only people we saw were flying a super-cub on floats to come in for a practice approach and takeoff.
Looking west - we'll depart out the notch when we leave.

It was a perfect way to spend my birthday - I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face all week!