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Thread: Highest Elevation Seaplane Landing

  1. #1

    Highest Elevation Seaplane Landing

    As we were crossing the Sierras the other day, looking down at gorgeous high-mountain lakes, the question arose as to what the highest altitude seaplane operations were. After looking and not finding anything, I decided to start a discusion.

    Last spring we landed on Lake Mary, south of Flagstaff, AZ in a Grumman Widgeon. The elevation was 6830' MSL and the length of the landing area was about 2 miles.

    Anyone know of any higher operations?

  2. #2
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    high lakes

    Hey Tod,
    Good to see you at Clear lake.... do you know Peter Soby from Colorado. He has the same engines that you have on yours and and I know he goes to lakes in MT, WY..... too bad Colorado is closed.
    Bruce
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  3. #3
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    A British PBY pilot told me that he had done a splash-and-go in a lake in South America at something like 7500 feet.

  4. #4
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    I have had my Cessna 172 with 180 HP Lycoming engine on Loon Lake (6425 feet) west of Homewood on Lake Tahoe with about a 10 kt wind and about 75 degrees. Clearly the density altitude is more important than the lake elevation. It came off the water with no problems at gross weight.

    Walter

  5. #5

    Loon Lake

    Although I live nearby, I'm not that familiar with the details on the west side of Tahoe. I thought Loon Lake was in the "Desolation Wilderness" and thus off limits to float planes? It certainly looks a bit "desolate" from above. Can you report on the quality of the water, fishing, beaches, etc?

    Thanks,

  6. #6
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    looks like it's in Eldorado national Forest(USFS)
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  7. #7
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    I wrote to Peter Soby in Colorado to let him know of this discussion. Here's some of his response....
    Sadly, I'm unable to get through the safeguards on SPA Forum, though I am a long-time member.... Colorado folks nevertheless need to get the upper hand over our ditch companies. We have one lake NE of Denver which is legal for seaplanes, but which I understand is plagued by a deputy dog who instantly arrests pilots for speeding on the water, a rule which he invented himself. I'd love to land there with some high-ranking official of the state on board!

    And ref hi-alt operations, if I (and my altimeter) aren't mistaken, Lake Hattie west of Laramie is 7800': no high altitude problems whatever. Many years ago I was solemnly warned by those from whom I bought the Widgeon that the maximum water speed for that airplane was 80 mph, above which the excessive hull speed would probably cause an accident. I could have misunderstood them, but in any case that's rarified booshwa, since the TAS at that altitude and a temp of 80 would give a TAS of 95mph.

    Done that often, especially on occasional down-wind takeoffs over the years.
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  8. #8
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    There is a lake in Colorado (elev 9900) Turquoise Lake near Leadville. It should be considered an expert level lake due to one-way in and one-way out, surrounding terrain, and of course density altitude. The lake is operated by the U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar, Leadville, CO 80461; (719)486-0749. Prior permission is required and an inspection for ANS. The local wisdom for operating from the Leadville airport is do not attempt unless your have a high-performance aircraft (> 200 hp). This would be good advise for the lake as well.

    I have been working with the Colorado State Parks to get approval for other lakes that are more easily accessible. In the post by hindsbru, you mentioned another person in Colorado, Peter Soby. How can I get in touch with him? I would like to discuss the lake NE of Denver.

  9. #9
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    If you'll email me at BruceHinds(at)Earthlink.net, I'll send you his email. He lives close to you, he's in Boulder(not sure where he keeps his Widgeon) and I don't have a phone # for him.
    Bruce
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  10. #10
    OK at 9900 ft, and 1.5 miles long, Turqiose Lake is more than I want to tackle.
    How about Strawberry Reservoir in Utah, South Provo, at 7800 ft and 2.5 miles long?

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