No, after you!

I was on my way home from town the other day, and as I came out of the marina in the motorboat ( the as yet unnamed big powerboat), I came across a situation for which I had no rules to guide me. This spring I took a coastal cruising course, in which I learned the rules of navigation, and beacons and bouys, and right of way on the water. But I didn’t learn about this. What to do when you are on a collision course with a float plane?

Common sense prevailed and I just sat still and idled, while the pilot prepared for take off. I absolutely love small planes, especially float planes, and I love how in the summer they zoom around the bay, taking off and landing near our place. In fact, they are busy coming and going as I write this. In any case, it was a wonderful chance to appreciate the power of these planes as they roar through the water to take off. They leave a big spray and wake behind them, and to feel the mist on my face was cool indeed. If I was any younger, or slightly less sensible, I’d be running out to get my license and my own plane.

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About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
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12 Responses to No, after you!

  1. Joan says:

    It’s never too late. I took a year off. In fact two at the age of 50 and went back to school..I am just reading a book called half broke horses..a memoir about a woman who learns to fly. You can do it!!!

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Joan, I’ve read that book too. I especially liked the author’s first work, The Glass Castle. You are right – I could certainly do it. I just think that certain things require great commitment – raising horses, flying planes, sailing. Probably having kids too. You have to put your time in, and do a lot of it, to do it right. I’m too busy doing other things to limit myself to any one thing. Although I keep trying to narrow my interests, and not take on any new ones.

      • shoreacres says:

        You’re absolutely right. When I was sailing, that’s what I did. By the time it all was over, I was a heck of a sailor, and had more than enough hours on the water for a captain’s license. But by that time, i was building a business, and now I don’t sail at all. Other things intervened. As I like to say, you might be able to have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.

      • Tandi says:

        I like that saying! Its hard not to be tempted to have it all at the same time, but I think the secret to life might just be not the art of having it all, but enjoying that which you have.

  2. Dave says:

    By law, when on the water floatplanes are to adhere to the standard rules of navigation and right of way, and are considered power vessels. That is, give way to sailboats and moored vessels and meet other powerboats according to the rules. When in the air and coming on to touch down, the planes are expected to yield to boats, and to taxiing seaplanes. But as someone said once, if it’s bigger than you and there is a chance of collision, stay out of its way no matter who is right.

    • Tandi says:

      Thanks Dave. That makes a great deal of sense, especially the last bit! I’ve noticed that the landing float planes seem to avoid any boat traffic without difficulty, and I’ve always wondered how they managed it. I guess having a birds eye view must help.

  3. Arlene Madsen says:

    Traffic jam in Yellowknife. Love it!

    • Tandi says:

      Apparently its a very lean time for float plane companies, as there is very little exploration going on in the north. Suddenly thought they are taking off and landing a great deal. Its nice to see them back.

  4. shoreacres says:

    When I was in Liberia and doing the maternal child health circuit, some of our villages were accessible only by foot path or plane. If they were too far away, it was the plane that took us there, and I loved it. We had a Cessna STOL, and it was an absolute hoot to do the landings and takeoffs. Most of the “airstrips” had been hacked out of the bush with machetes, and some did double duty as soccer fields. We had to buzz them a time or two to get the soccer players and goats off of them.

    Another interesting note. The pilot had been in country for something like 25 years, and he did all his own maintenance. NO ONE touched that plane other than him. In all those years, the only incident he had to cope with was a flat tire. He was so upset – you’d have thought he crashed that plane.

    • Tandi says:

      He certainly sounds like a pilot I would like to fly with! Small planes are fairly risky I think – we had one do an emergency landing on the road this week due to engine failure. Not uncommon around here. And last year a commercial flight had an engine failure just after take off, and nearly clipped the powerline in its return to the airport to land. I was working in the ER that day and I sure was thankful for the wonderful pilot who pulled of an amazing emergency landing. Everyone was fine.

  5. I love floatplanes too. Can’t think of anything more exciting than to lift off the water and take off. We sail in the San Juan’s and take a plane out of Seattle. As an octogenarian I don’t think they will give me a license! But I can dream.

    • Tandi says:

      I know just what you mean about the dreaming! If only we’d discovered this some time ago – I know I would have seriously considered becoming a pilot. I’m more than happy with the path my life has taken, but its interesting to think about the lives we didn’t live as well. 🙂

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