A floatplane landed on the grass at the Campbell River Airport on Saturday.
The de Havilland Otter was coming to the airport for maintenance but was not equipped with wheels. The airport staff used the fire trucks to hose down a section of grass to use as a runway, and the aircraft was landed successfully. The plane was flown in from Granada, Nicaragua and will be fitted with wheel gear at Sealand Aviation before it continues on to Dease Lake.
Landing on the grass with floats is not that unusual, but it has never been done at the Campbell River Airport. It is commonly done when the aircraft are being switched from floats to wheels. The secret to a good landing is wet grass, and the airport staff were happy to make that happen.
Bill Alder and Greg Koopman from Sealand Aviation used a floatplane cart to move the Otter to the Sealand Aviation hangar. Pilot Dave Crerar of Vernon, and co-pilot Neil Mueller of Dease Lake were glad to be back in Canada after a journey that took 30 hours with 3 stops.
Sealand Aviation staff were in Nicaragua for over a month preparing the Otter for the flight. They needed to inspect the aircraft and install additional fuel bladders for the long flight legs of the journey: up to 10 hours between stops. The preparation of the aircraft took three days, but it took weeks more to get approval from the Nicaraguan authorities to buy fuel for the plane.
Aircraft from all over the world land at the Campbell River Airport. Most bring tourists who come for the fishing and fishing lodges in the area. Many aircraft come for maintenance. Currently, at the Sealand Aviation hangars, along with the Otter from Nicaragua, there are aircraft from Calgary, Anchorage, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Yakutat, Seattle, Victoria, and Port Hardy.
For more see: www.sealandaviation.com