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Grumman Widgeon Multi-Engine Sea Rating with Ray Hylan and Gomer Games

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I took my multi-engine seaplane check-ride in Widgeon N40011, sn 1368, on June 24, 1964. My instructor was Ray Hylan, truly an "old-salt" from Rochester, NY (Commercial License #5086). My FAA examiner was Gomer Games, who had in the late 1940's certificated my father's first sprayer, an N3N.

Games wasn't real sure about flying with this junior seaplane pilot, so he said he'd sit in the back and let Hylan up front with me. Hylan protested, insisting that I could handle the airplane just fine. Besides, all the seats wer
e out for new upholstery. Games prevailed and Hylan got a peach crate and put it in the cabin for him and away we went - - sans seat belt. (That was the old days!)

On the way down to Canandaigua Lake Hylan reached up and pulled one of the throttles back. Games shouted, "He can fly it, let him have both of them." ** We proceeded to the lake and I was instructed to pull up onto the shore. Hylan and Games were going to get out and shoot the breeze while I went out and did take off and landings. Sounds like a good plan.

I dropped the gear, and pulled up on the shoreline and swung it around. As Hylan opened the cabin door to get out, a local resident came running over and said we were on private property and we couldn't do that. Hylan insisted that it was public property up to the high water line. They exchanged several volleys of expletives, and Hylan finally shut the door, grumbled, and got back in the cockpit.

He told me to go ahead and take off. His procedure was to start on a heading of 90-degrees to the right of your takeoff direction, with full up elevator and full left rudder as you brought the power up. He said that got it up on the step faster.

N40011 had a cover in the cabin with a Dzus fastener and a little plexiglass window, so you could confirm that the gear was in the desired position for landing. Well, someone had messed with the Dzus, and when I pushed the power up, water rushed into the wheel well, popping the cover open and drenching Mr. Games and his peach crate. It was Monday morning and he was in his suit and tie, all ready for his day. I chopped the power, settled back into Canandaigua Lake, and fastened the Dzus. Ray Hylan laughed like mad but I didn't think it was a bit funny. We went back to the airport and Mr. Games signed me off. He was a good sport.

I see from the FAA accident reports that N40011 was damaged at Chibougamau, QB, Canada, 6/30/70. Engine problems were encountered soon after takeoff at 1000# over gross. The pilot had 35,000 hours total with 4,000 in type. It would probably fly that heavy and most likely it wasn't the first time Capt. Hylan had done so, but engine problems apparently complicated things for him. N40011, cn 1368 was deregistered in 1971, so it was either totalled or exported.

This was my only multi-engine seaplane experience, and I don't have much single-engine seaplane time either, but I really enjoyed the few hours I got in a Piper PA-12 and Cessna 172.

** After all, I was a 650-hour pilot with 9 hours of Widgeon dual; a SES rating with 10 hours of PA-12 time; and 18 previous hours of multi-engine time :)

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