Splash-In 2004

The following letter was received by the editor from ISPA member Chad Fey. Also the photos seen below were sent in by Chad. Thank you Chad for updating us on a great Splash-In!

From New Zealand to the USA, Seawinders gather for the 2004 Fly-In at Duluth's Sky Harbor Seaplane Base.

As you know, the 2004 Fly-In/Splash-In was held here in beautiful Duluth, MN. We had three days of gorgeous weather and twenty attendees. The first day of the Fly- In was technically Sunday 8/1/04, but people began arriving on Saturday.

ISPA members enjoying the fine Duluth weather and living the Seawind dream.

We began the fly-in by gathering Sunday morning 9:00am at the Duluth Sky Harbor Seaplane Base. Introductions began and very shortly thereafter, we started talking Seawind. We spent the entire morning getting acquainted, talking and flying the Seawind. The youngest Seawinder in attendance was Alex Maloney who is 8 years old but his father Mark had Alex teaching us all how to properly inspect the nose gear of the Seawind (See the photo).

At noon, we took a lunch break at Grandma's (a local eatery) and then back to Sky Harbor for more Seawind. This being my first event, I couldn't get enough of what I was experiencing. By mid-afternoon, a historic first event occurred when Keith Walljasper completed his first water take-offs and landings with Jack Ardoyno in Keith's N80CC. His bird has now officially been wet, and a lot of clapping and applause occurred on the ground as we observed Keith's momentous achievement. After returning to land, Keith appeared to be grinning from ear to ear and received numerous rounds of congratulations. It was the first highlight of this year's fly-in.

At 7:30 pm on Sunday, we gathered at Little Angie's Cantina and were socializing, talking Seawind, and thoroughly enjoying one another's company when George Osborne received a cell phone call from the EAA during the awards ceremony informing him that he had won the prestigious Silver Lindy Award for his Seawind, N184WL.

Alex Maloney thoroughly preflighting George & Joan Osborne's N184WL

It was an awesome experience to see someone from our Seawind group standing nearly speechless on the phone while the rest of the Seawinders were watching George and applauding the accomplishment. After George hung up, he came over to Mike Bowes and the two congratulated and embraced knowing that their efforts were being rewarded with this fine award. This is yet another testimony to the quality of the Seawind aircraft and its builders. That capped off the first day. Wow!

Monday brought a morning of discussion with both Mike Bowes and Jack Ardoyno individually taking center stage and talking to the rest of the group. We were fortunate to have met in one of the local pilot's personal hangar. He was more than happy to let us gather to be out of the sun. We had a light lunch at the airport and the afternoon was spent talking and flying.

At 5:00 pm we left Sky Harbor and made our way to George and Joann Osborne' s cabin. Wouldn't you know it, there sat N184WL anchored on the lake with the sun slowly setting on our day (get the picture?)? Good friends, pilots, and spouses enjoyed a fabulous meal of salmon, chicken, a variety of salads, and liquid selections. Many had the opportunity to go for a pontoon ride as the sun set on Lake Elora. The night ended far too quickly.

George and Joan Osborne' s N184WL anchored on beautiful Lake Elora.

The following morning (Tuesday), most everybody had to leave Duluth to go home. I brought Larry and Karen Sapp, Mike Bowes, and Keith Walljasper to their planes while Ed Lynch made a trip to Duluth International to get Sandy Saccio safely aboard a commercial flight home. (You see, Tom Saccio left with Keith Walljasper to go to Hayward, Wisconsin to do some water work with Jack Ardoyno.) Apparently Tom didn't want the fly-in to end). Mark and Alex Maloney stayed in Duluth to tour Cirrus Designs and see how the Cirrus airplane is manufactured.

Everyone slowly but surely left Duluth. The experience left me excited to get my Seawind started, but sad that all of my new friends had to head for home. For me, it was my first fly-in, an invaluable experience, and it solidified my decision to have purchased a Seawind. This year's Fly-In is over but many friendships and memories will remain.

Thanks to the follow list of attendees for making my first Fly-In so incredibly memorable and accepting me into the Seawind community with open arms!

Larry & Karen Sapp, Wally & Joanne Weller, Tom & Sandy Saccio, Ed & Marylou Lynch, John & Noleen Borman, George & Joanne Osborne, Keith Walljasper, Mike Bowes, Dorion Olson, Earl Boeve & Bob Anthis, Tom Thunnel, Mark and Alex Maloney.

Enclosed are photographs so you can see some of what we experienced. Unfortunately for those who did not attend, you missed a great event, but hopefully you will be able to attend the ISPA event in 2005. The date and location has yet to be determined.