The Beginning Of A New Era For Skimmer One
Written by John Staber – “To: John Staber from David Thurston with appreciation for your interest in restoring C-1, s/n 1, 10 Jan 2000”. This was signed to me inside a brand, spanking new C-1 Owner’s Manual shortly after I bought the prototype Skimmer in parts and brought her home on a trailer from Cleveland, Ohio where she had languished for many years in a warehouse. She had been damaged by a twister and the owner had passed away.
Since I am considered the Lake Amphibian Club Historian I decided that I should be the person to restore her to flying condition. I had been working on Skimmers and Lakes since my first one in 1964 and knew practically every nut and bolt in them, so it was a “natural”.
Eleven years later she flew again, beautifully, I might add, sporting a metal propeller and a 160 horsepower engine (she came with a sick 150). David B. Thurston, her designer, did the paperwork to make everything legal. Today she has accumulated about 140 hours including two trips to Florida to the Club’s Lake Fest convention. One trip was made by me and one by Greg Bradford as I had several medical problems which have since been corrected, I am happy to say.
Greg is so enamored by all Lakes and usually knows the N numbers and serial numbers and who owns each Skimmer and Lake. He pats her on her short nose whenever he has a chance. He also owns EP serial number 1103.
Your author just turned 80 years of age this year and has been thinking about what he should do about number one when he can’t fly anymore. There is a museum that has shown interest in having her, but I feel that sooner or later someone who has no knowledge of Skimmers and Lakes will end up damaging herself and she will again languish in a sorry state for years.
Renegade owner Willard Greenwald has been pushing (nagging) me to do something for the future, and mentioned that there was someone who fit the picture beautifully and that already knew how to fly her. He even drew up a sample agreement for the attorney to follow. That agreement allows me to fly her any time I want, from the airport she is based at now (NY1) in hangar number 1, in bay number 1, and kept company by 3 other Lake Amphibians.
The new owner will take care of the hangar rent, insurance, maintenance and tender, loving care. He will also take over the job of Club Historian and future addenda to the Lake History CD.
The previously mentioned spanking new C-1 Owner’s Manual now shows a new entry:
To: Greg Bradford from John Staber with appreciation for your interest in preserving C-1, s/n 1, 23 April 2018”
Just the the other day I went off to pre-flight herself before leaving for a meeting of the UFO club that unfortunately got “ rained out” and thought to myself just how difficult it was to climb up and check the engine over and bend over to “quick drain” the fuel.
I feel very happy and comfortable having turned over the reins to Greg, an excellent pilot, and a wonderful friend. She is definitely in good hands. In case you are wondering, UFO stands for :United Flying Octogenarians. Consider joining us at the Lake Amphibian Club: Lakeamphibclub.com
Text and pictures courtesy and copyright of John Staber, former Owner of Colonial Skimmer SN #1; John has flown and worked on Colonial Skimmers since 1964 and has accumulated more than 5000 hours in all different makes and models. In 2011 he published a book on the restoration of N6595K. Note from Jason J. Baker: Thank you John for your years of support and guidance as a founding member of Seaplaneforum.com and for becoming our most popular guest editor on Seaplanemagazine.com