G-21 Goose splashing-in at Lake Mary Ronan captured by D6 / 180-400VR

“The Montana Splash-in was a vision of Dennis and Tami Buehn at a “splash in” at Priest Lake Idaho in 2019. The Buehns did a lot of groundwork for us and were wonderful hosts,” said Addison Pemberton. Tami said, “Dennis asked Addison to fly his Cessna 185 over to Polson to check out the awesome opportunity of organizing a Splash-in. Addison was as excited as Dennis with the perfect location on the Flathead River with a seaplane ramp.” Pemberton and Buehn were the spirit of the reunion, being very active in the flying boat community and in many respects responsible for so many having their single engine sea (ses) or multi engine sea (mes) ratings. The plan was simple, fly to Polson on Friday, splash into the river and then on Saturday, splash into Lake Mary Ronan for a day of food, flight, and fun.

“The {Flathead} river adjacent to the Polson airport is ideal for seaplanes with safe approaches and adequate water distance even with performance concerning Density altitudes. The wide concrete 50 ft seaplane ramp is really nice with great parking for up to 10 Grumman amphibs in the grass,” Pemberton said of the Friday meet up locale. Buehn went on to say, “It’s the best of all for seaplanes, ramping, anchoring, docking, splashing good time!”

The folks at Polson Airport (8s1) were huge supporters of the splash-in, bringing in fuel for turbo goose and courtesy cars for all! That was important for the huge, magnificent dinner hosted for everyone at The Shoe a mile from the airport.

The launch from Polson went smoothly at 10:15. The flight time over the hill was short but gorgeous even with the vail of smoke in the air. Buehn flew in early to Lake Mary Ronan in the Cub double-checking that the Zodiac water taxi was all set for our arrival. Larry Teufel in Turbo Goose N640 was assigned to launch from Polson/Flathead River and land, scouting Lake Mary Ronan approach and water for the rest of the waterdogs to follow. Launching next was Turbo Goose N642 piloted by owner Doug DeVries. In the process of circling the lake checking out conditions, DeVries caught up with Teufel so naturally, a little formation flying was in order. This gave the large crowd that had gathered on the shore of Lake Mary Ronan a really nice show!

Coming in next was Rinker. “The Grumman Goose is the most versatile and coolest airplane designed in my opinion. I have owned mine since 2016 and since have flown it to Alaska 3 times and California once to land on Lake Tahoe. My airplane is a 1943 version that spent time in the Coast guard before being decommissioned and sold to the civilian market in the mid 50’s. It then went to work commercially for a few different airlines including Chalks in the Bahamas and Kodiak in Alaska. It was involved in a crash on a lake on Kodiak Island in 1975 and went to Vancouver to be rebuilt with several McKinnon mods and sold to a private individual in 1981. After 3 private owners I became the lucky caretaker and together we have traveled North America. So glad that Addison invited us to the Splash-in because with Covid we haven’t gone anywhere in 2 years. We were needing a break!”

“The piston Goose with 2ea 450 hp super charged Pratt and Whitney engines provides safe performance for the water ops. We only used 1/3 of the 8900-foot-long Lake Mary Ronan even with a nearly a 6000 ft density altitude and 6 pax on board,” Pemberton said. He went on to say, “We anchored to the lake bottom, which was 20 ft deep with 500 ft separation between the 4 Gooses and 1 Mallard. This distance prevented a bumper car show if the wind picked up. The lodge provided a Zodiac boat to shuttle the 27 of us in the group to the lodge, which was easy and exciting. The Lake Mary Ronan Resort is beautiful, and a wonderful background live music venue lunch was offered with covered deck seating overlooking a sea of Grumman “iron works” seaplanes floating in the bay.”

The Buehns in their cub simply, “docked at the ‘FLOAT PLANE PARKING ONLY’ DOCK. We love the simplicity of the PA18 amphib, as well as having the option of landing at a runway and being able to put her away safe in a hangar. Finding a secluded lake just to have a swim and a picnic is the best.”

“While the Goose was originally designed for sportsmen to explore remote lakes,” Fenwick owner/pilot of the Mallard stated, “backcountry airstrips, and the rugged north, the Mallard was designed as an executive transport and sold to private individuals and corporations. The Mallard flies with finger-light controls and is immensely refined and well balanced on the runway, water and in the air. Our Mallard has original spec R1340s producing 600hp a side, and the original 9 passenger with 2 crew cabin configuration. While the Goose found a role in military service and eventually as a lifeline to remote Alaska villages – most Mallards were eventually repurposed into airline transport aircraft. Our Mallard is one of few that has never been used in commercial service, and as a result has never been in salt water. We love the smooth and quiet ride the Mallard gives us to amazing and remote destinations – or to wherever our friends are.”

Family Reunion Members
Mallard N811G
Turbo Goose N640
Turbo Goose N642
Goose N95467
Goose N600ZE
Piper Cub N18PA

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