A non floatplane visitor to the Splash In at Clear Lake one year was a Bell 407 that was used for EMS work. It flew in and landed in the parking lot next to the area where the planes were parked after coming out of the water. At some point, early in the day, I heard it firing up. Apparently it had been called out on a mission. Off it went, sadly not to return for the rest of the day.
I found myself looking through some old photos (as I have done a lot in the last ten months) and came to the Clear Lake Splash In that takes place in California. I only made one trip up to this event and, while I was told that it was a quieter year than previous events, it was still a pretty cool thing to experience. Three Grumman Widgeons showed up at the event. The classic Grumman amphibian look was cool to see in action.
They landed on the lake and then dropped the undercarriage to allow them to power up the steel plate ramp that had been laid to provide access to the parking field. The three of them were parked together over near the trees. One went out to do some flying during the course of the day and then they all headed home when things wrapped up.
Watching something of this size transition from the water to the land was most impressive. Similarly, the trip back down the ramp and in to the water was cool to witness. The Widgeon sits pretty low in the water when it is not at speed but, once it is up on the step, it is a very different beast. Since they were operating parallel to the shore, it was possible for them to be quite close while they were at speed which was great.
It wasn’t just planes that were flying over Clear Lake. While the splash in was the reason for me being there as discussed here, I also saw a lot of bird activity in between the planes. A few were flying along the shore and I got shots as they came by. However, at one point, a huge flock of pelicans appeared along the lake. I have no idea what prompted them all to fly at that time but I am really glad they did. Shooting images of large flocks of birds is sometimes tricky because framing the shot never really gives the impression that seeing them for real does. However, in this case, they were flying in echelon and got to a position where they were perfectly lined up for a photograph. I was surprised and happy in equal measure.
I took a trip a few hours north of here to check out the Clear Lake Splash In. It is a gathering of float planes and amphibians on (surprisingly enough) Clear Lake. I should note that I have no idea why this lake is so named because the green weed that lined the shore and got bound up on anything entering the water was anything but clear.
I was writing up a piece for GAR and the article can be seen at the following link. http://www.globalaviationresource.com/v2/2014/10/09/aviation-event-review-clearlake-splash-in-2014/. There are plenty more images from the day there. The ones here are just a sample of the day. My friend Eric took his plane there and was the one who let me know about the day in the first place. He says it was a lot smaller than in previous years. That is a shame but it was still a fun day out. The location is very pleasant, the atmosphere relaxed and, as the day drew on, the light just got better and better. I will be back!