Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Lady Of Water & Sky
The Grumman G-111 Albatross flies again
Boulder City, Nev., (BVU) is a strange place to fulfill a dream, but Albatross owner Joe Duke and his team have agreed to meet me and P&P Editor, Jessica Ambats, here along the sparse shores of Lake Mead during their trip across the United States. Based in St. Augustine, Fla., they left for Oshkosh in July, and have made it all the way to Reno and Las Vegas on their Albatross odyssey. "It got us away from hurricane season in Florida," smiles Duke.
Duke is here with Paul LeVeque, an experienced Albatross pilot, mechanic and restorer. LeVeque comes from the warbird ranks and has been instrumental in getting the Albatross flying again. Also along for the ride is LeVeque's son, Luke, who has done most of the grunt-work on the project, including cleaning, inspecting and prepping for paint.
This particular Albatross is special beyond the fact that it's rare. It just won the prestigious Grand Champion Gold Lindy award in the Seaplane category at this year's EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. At the Reno air races, it won the Best Transport and People's Choice awards. This Albatross is also one of only 13 G-111 models in the world, and was painstakingly restored at the hands of these classic aircraft aficionados in an exhausting five-year project that called for every ounce of ingenuity and patience the team had. Like the mythical phoenix, this aircraft rose from the dust devils and neglect of a withering desert boneyard to fly again.
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