By Ted Luebbers, EAA 1202786
EAA Chapter 534 provided food, drinks, and barbecue for a Searey splash-in at Umatilla, Florida, on Sunday November 12, 2017.
The Searey amphibian airplane is one that the chapter’s membership is very familiar with as several members have built them. On top of that, Progressive Aerodyne, the manufacturer of the Searey, is located close by in Tavares.
The host and Chapter 534 member, Tom Bowden, has a homebuilt Searey that he keeps in a hangar-like garage behind his home, which is called Bowden’s Landing Island Lake Seaplane Base. The setting is ideal for a seaplane base; a large lawn in front of his home slopes gently down to Island Lake and his seaplane ramp so it is easy for an amphibian to taxi up the lawn and park next to the house. Tom said he has had as many as 21 Seareys parked on his lawn at one time.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate too well for the splash-in and our Searey count was down a bit. Some pilots opted to drive instead of flying. That didn’t dampen the festivities, though, as a congenial group of Searey enthusiasts gathered around tables for lunch and swapped Searey flying stories.
EAA chapter members moved mobile kitchen equipment from their hangar at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg to Tom’s home for the event. Some of the members are experts at serving outdoor meals like this and they have a lot of experience supporting fly-ins around central Florida. The cost of the meal is supported by donations from those attending.