First Ever Colorado Mountain Seaplane Splash- In Was Held On July 15
Colorado Seaplane Splash-In Report by Ray Hawkins — Saturday, July 15th, 2017 opened to a beautiful Western Colorado blue sky in Rangely, Colorado. By the time the day was over most of the attendees were describing the 96 degree day as the “coolest” they had ever seen. Several hundred attendees converged on Kenney Reservoir for the First Ever Mountain Splash-In in Colorado. As many Coloradans will tell you, the western half of the State is usually left out of these events because the ease of travel and the larger population centers of the Colorado Front Range make it much easier to draw the crowds to make events “profitable”.
Our “profit” came in the form of Mary. Mary, in her 70’s, and very petite, approached me and asked if she might be able to get a ride since riding in a seaplane was on her “bucket list”. She got the first ride of the event in a 180hp Super Cub flown by SPA member, Wayne Rudd. Wayne said, “The whole day was highlighted by giving Mary that ride.”
As it turned out, Mary’s last name is Kenney and it was her relatives that had built Kenney Reservoir. A BBQ picnic provided courtesy of the Seaplane Pilots Association topped off a perfect day!
It is a good thing that Kenney Reservoir is owned and operated by the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District (RBWCD), a private organization that is not under the jurisdiction of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Due to CPW policy, Colorado is the only State in the country that has a total prohibition against seaplanes in all public waters. We owe a great debt to the people of Rangely, Rio Blanco County, and the RBWCD. Without their support this would never had been possible.
When AOPA’s Northwest Mountain Regional Manager, Warren Hendricks heard about our successful event, he wrote, “Imagine that! Boats and airplanes successfully coexisting!” …just like they do in the other 49 States.
Ray Hawkins is the Colorado Seaplane Initiative, Director and acts as the Seaplane Pilots Association, Field Director for Colorado, besides being the Seaplane Liaison to Colorado Pilots Association – Ray holds a Commercial Pilot with Instrument, multi-engine, single-engine land and glider rating. He is a CFI and CFII. Ray holds a Master’s degree in Computer and Information Systems Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics, another Bachelor’s degree in Computer Studies, and an Associate’s degree in ATC Technology.