Flying a SeeBee

A friend of mine in El Cajon, Steve Esser, is/was not only the owner of Golden State Flying Club but also owned a SeeBea water airplane. 

On one of my visits back home I was able to fly with him around the area. He actually let me try my hand at flying it....it was fun!!!

1990, Flight to Nordcap

Reise zum Nordcap / Trip to the North Cape                              June 14 to June 21, 1990

We started out under the worse possible conditions…. low clouds and pouring rain. „We“ were  5 members of the Babenhausen flying club, Janko Dspot, Mike Reining, Rainer Korff, Astrid Krone and me in 2 Piper Arrows.

The first leg was to take us to Westerland, Sylt, where we planned to refuel and continue on to Bergen, Norway.

Rainer and Astrid flew the D-EBES and Janko, Mike, and me alternatingly flying the D-ELGH.  For the first leg Janko was PIC and Mike his co while I made myself „comfortable“ in the back seat. One seat had been removed to allow for more baggage and to give us more weight allowance.

In spite of the rain we arrived in Westerland as planned, refueled, then continued on over Denmark toward Bergen. On this second leg Mike was PIC and I was Co. The weather was better but not as good as hoped for. Our route toward Bergen, after crossing the waterways between Denmark and Norway, was supposed to be over the inland mountains, but the farther north we flew, the lower the clouds became. Rainer and Astrid were already trying the coastal route. I soon navigated Mike westward „toward the bright spots“. We soon reached better conditions and were continured northward where we landed without any problems in Bergen.

But where were Rainer and Astrid? As it turned out, because of the deteriorating weather they had decided to land at a military airfield somewhere off the coast and couldn’t arrive in Bergen until the next day.

In the meantime the rest of us found a youth hostel for the night. The personel at Bergen were extremely helpful. In fact, during the whole trip the Norwegians helped us along, found hostels for us to stay in, drove us from our planes over to the tower, etc.

The next morning we checked the weather and planned our next leg. For this leg I would be PIC and Janko my Co. It was planned to fly to Namos for refueling before continuing on to Trompsø for the next over-night stay. According to my old documents, this leg was to be 330 km.

Soon Rainer and Astrid arrived, landing on Runway 36. They taxied to a parking position near the tower while we were parked farther south. After exchanging tales of the previous days events and discussing the details for the days flight, we went to our aircraft to prepare our departure.

 In the meantime the runway had been changed to 18. I began to taxi toward 18 and soon heard the tower calling „D-EBES , taxi to rwy 18…. „. Looking out ahead of me, I noticed a PA-28 heading toward me. Again the tower radioed the other plane to turn around. They kept coming. Rainer speaks no English at all and Astrid wasn’t used to it. Soon I realised that they didn’t understand that they were being talked to, so I grabbed the microphone from Janko and said in German „Turn around, you’re going the wrong way!“ Suddenly the PA-28 stopped and started making a 360 to reverse direction… finally! We decided later that we would alwas fly as a formation and that our aircraft would cover the radio work from now on…. and that worked fine…. there were no more problems after that. This leg took 3 hours and 5 minutes according to my log book and was 330 km.

Rainer and Astrid with the D-EBES in Namsos

4th leg from Namsos to Trompsø

Since it was my turn on the next leg to sit in the back,

I could finally take some pictures of the beautiful landscape.

After refueling we continued our trip up north. The landscape got bearer, wilder, more and more interesting…..and  between Namsos and Trompsø we also crossed the Artic Circle.

             with  the D-EBES in formation. and   flying over a fisherman’s house.

Occasionally we went lower, into the Fjords….

it was a fantastic experience.

If you look closely, you can see a white point on the side of the cliff; that’sthe window of the tourist center! On the top of the cliff you can see the entrance.

After two and a half days we reached the North Cap of Norway! The weather was hazy but quite flyable and we were able to circle the northern most point of Europe.

71° 10′ 21″

 Janko in front of the tourist center.

 

                  

                   Rainer and Astrid

We made it! Mike, our pilot-in-command, is happy to have landed at the airfield in Honnigsvåg.

We had radioed the ground and received permission to land.

The guy arrived at the field at the same time we landed…he had been at home, because his child was sick!

Where ever the Babenhausen flyers go, they leave one of their stickers!

So of course we added ours to the tower in Honnigsvåg. Mike did the honors. 

 After settling down, we got on a bus for the 2 hour drive to the „Top of Europe“.

  Yes, this was our „hotel“! It was actually quite comfortable
Our campground with wooden vacation houses.

Mike checking out our „accommodations“!

      

               Rainer – Mike – Astrid

                  seated: Janko

Yes, I really was on the trip, but someone had to take the picture!

The crew!

This photo was taken inside the North Cap!

There’s a big tourist center at the Cap and of course we left our decal there, too. We stuck it at the front entrance, over the door. I sat on Mike’s shoulders to stick it… there should be a picture of that… hopefully Astrid and Rainer still have it and can send it to me.

We had originally planned to return via Finland…. flying from Honnigsvåg to Kirkenes. The weather for our departure was fine, but Kirkenes was constantly in fog. We stayed in Honnigsvåg for 2 nights, taking time to visit the village.

Honnigsvåg a quiant little fishing villiage with not much to offer for tourists

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  

We decided to change our plans and fly back along the coast of Norway.

Mike was again PIC and again we flew around the Cap before continueing on our way south.

Again we stopped in Trompsø to refuel and then continued on to Leknes on the Lofoten.

This time it was my leg to be pilot-in-command. The flight took 1 hour 24 minutes for 165 km.

The Lofoten are a group of islands off the coast of Norway. Again we found a nice camping ground to stay in and enjoyed the midnight sun at a local restaurant. It was really fun to walk back to the campground at one o’clock in the morning in DAYLIGHT!

 Janko at the campground in Leknes.

                                                                                                                                                                               

The next day, June 19, we headed toward Kristiansund where we again with the help of the tower personel found a youth hostel to stay at. After our landing we had been picked up by a bus and taken to the other side of the airfield where the tower was located.

The next morning we took the bus back to the airfield. After arriving, Mike realised that he had left his bag with all his papers in the bus! Again the tower crew helped us out. They called the bus company only to find out it was in the workshop! The bus company found the bag and brought it to the field via a taxi!

I can’t give the Norwegians enough praise for their helpfulness and hospitality!!

The next leg, from Kristiansand to Flensburg, was again mine as PIC and took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  It was to be a very challenging flight. First of all we had to fly over a long stretch of open water to the north Danish coast.

On we flew to Kristiansand on the south tip of Norway. Notice the names are similar…. one with …sand, the other with ….sund.

                  Kristiansund, Norway                                                                                                                                                            The below pictures show the changing coastline of Norway.

The next leg, from Kristiansand to Flensburg, was again mine as PIC and took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  It was to be a very challenging flight. First of all we had to fly over a long  stretch of open water to the north Danish coast.

The pictures above show beautiful weather and very much changing countrysides. But then the weather over Denmark became increasingly bad with thunder storms and heavy rains. I tried to keep my distance from all the thunderstorms yet still trying to keep eye contact with the D-EBES. We soon lost sight of each other and it was each on his/her own. The visibility decreased… it got to be barely legal and was definitely no fun.

Back in Germany!

With the help of old friends of my husbands family we found a very inexpensive hotel in the old town of Flensburg, Germany.

On June 21 we embarked on the final stage of our journey, arriving safe and sound back in Babenhausen.

My first flight, 1983

After many discussions I decided to learn to fly. The flying club wasn’t far from where I lived, which made it easy. I learned on a powered-glider, a 2-seater called Falke, a fairly simple aircraft.

Then came the date for my flight test. The day before, a pilot managed to crash the plane, bending the propeller…luckily nothing else. The propeller got changed and we waited for the examiner to arrive. He came, we took the test flight which I passed.

At the time George Fengel was the clubs president.

My primary instructor was Rainer Korff.