American Lake Seaplane Base in Tacoma, Wash., has been informed that its lease, which expired at the end of 2004, will not be renewed by the newly formed City of Lakewood, the current landlords. This would seem to be a major oversight by the city fathers, who apparently didn’t realize they owned an FAA certified airport, W37, and were probably eligible for improvement grants, or — just maybe — preferred to enhance boating and do away with aircraft.
As a teenager I managed to solo there in a J3 Cub the year it was opened, 1947. I continued to keep an active interest in flying and after an early retirement opted to take over the operation in 1982. After 18 more years of float flying Part 135 charters throughout the Northwest and British Columbia, my insurance carrier decided my age was too big a risk, thus ending a very rewarding career.
My successor, John Kittelson, would like very much to continue the operation and I would greatly hope some support could be found for this pilot. It seems a real shame that this historic operation should go by the wayside. There are few greater moments of complete freedom in the air than flying on floats.
Seaplane bases are in very short supply, but my interest in aviation is still high!
R.D. (Bob) McMahon