Spending last Saturday in Hammondsport, NY with Jeanette and friends watching the replica of the Glenn H. Curtis Model E flying boat fly once again was the highlight of my summer. We arrived early in Hammondsport so that I could take some pictures of the Model E flying boat. After checking out the other modern seaplanes at Depot Park, we asked one of the attendants where the Model E was located. He pointed down the road that ran along Depot Park and said that if you followed the road, you will come to a little dirt road on the left, and the plane will be hidden from view behind some trees and trailers.
And so we walked down the road to where the Model E flying boat was being worked on. There were only a few folks around and one sleeping dog standing watch beside the Model E. We did note several fire extinguishers strategically placed near the plane which reminded one that the scene was for real.
Soon after the seaplane parade, we were told that the pilot of the Model E was going to fly a Cessna 180 on the same route that he would take the Model E flying boat. That little excursion didn’t take long as the Cessna immediately started up and climbed into the air without any further ado.
By then, a rather large crowd had formed around the Model E flying boat and we were guessing as to who was going to pilot this machine. But it was rather easy to pick him out as he stood at least a head and a shoulder taller than anyone else in the crowd and I judge he was at least 6’4’’ in height. He had a very serious look to his face as he kissed his wife goodbye for luck and put on his flying gear.
All too soon the flight of the Model E was over and the plane came taxing back to the submerged dolly. The mechanic and a helper waded into the water and pulled the plane back onto the submerged dolly. They attached a rope to the dolly and with the help of a truck pulled the plane and pilot safely out of the water.
The mood of the pilot and the crowd immediately changed as he was greeted with a big round of applause and many shouts of “good job” from the crowd. The pilot had a smile on his face as he relaxed for a brief moment with his hand on the engine crank. I am sure that he was glad to have brought back the Glenn H. Curtiss Model E museum piece and himself in good working condition!