9/14/10 - About 10:00 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2004, my wife Elaine and I were doing another of our countless circuits around Lake Hood in Anchorage to see if there was anything new or something with a special sun angle, etc. And there it was - - this beautiful Howard DGA-15P. Wow - - now THAT makes my heart race! I just love those old birds.
FAA Spec A-717 says that the NH-1 was a “Blind Flying Trainer” which was identical to the DGA-15P except for a fuel capacity of 122 gals. (instead of the standard 88 gal.); two passengers instead of the standard four; and a third set of controls and instruments in the rear cockpit. Now that must have been some instrument trainer - - with a long time between potty stops!
Photo 2: Howards were built with cabin and baggage doors on the right side alone. A November 2001, FAA ‘337 covers the installation of a left door on N858H. It, and the right-hand door now swing upwards for floatplane operations. They also installed a left hand baggage door, modified the right door and made numerous other practical mods and improvements. It is my guess that the aircraft went on floats at this time. Aircraft total time was only 720.9 hours! The Howards’ fuel tanks are in the belly, and you can see three fuel caps on the right side there.
Photo 3: As with many aircraft, the Howard floatplane needs more vertical tail than the wheeled version. N858H appears to have the wider, AG100 prop blades.
Photo 4: The next morning when we got back to where the Howard was tied up, it was gone. But then when I was walking around some other airplanes I heard the unmistakable roar of the Howard from behind me. I ran for my telephoto lens but couldn’t get myself in gear before he was nearly out of sight.
Elaine and I were in Alaska again in May 2010 and I chatted with two guys who were working on some Beavers at Lake Hood. It turns out that one was John Burton, who was flying with the Venalecks when we saw N858H in 2004. Small world!