Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

The source for references and discussion on all types & marques of these two amphibians: photos, plans, manual pages & documents.

Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:40 pm

To continue the C-2 Skimmers; I had pulled the slide of #141, N282B and set it on my desk, only to lose it under all sorts of Lake and Skimmer "stuff". As soon as it reappears, I will post it. It will be the last Skimmer photo. She was good looking, but unfortunately met her demise in California in 1975. #142, N283B met its demise in November of 1963 on a flight from Puerto Rico to Florida (Devil's Triangle?). #143 N284B met its demise in a windstorm in New Jersey in 1994, however various parts, including the complete nose gear assembly live on attached to #1, N6595K and hatches on #14, N254B. This completes the list of the Colonial Skimmers, everything after being Lake Amphibians. In late 1959 the rights to manufacture the amphibians was sold to Jack Strayer who was enamored of them and marketed them. His name, as first owner, is in the history of many Skimmers. He changed the name of the company to Lake Aircraft, but the actual builder was still Colonial Aircraft. He modified C-2 #121 with longer wings and a longer nose. Its designation is LA-4P. Two aircraft, #244 and #245 had their wings lengthened, but not the nose, and the serial numbers raised by 100. These are LA-4A designated. From #246 on they were known as Lake LA-4 Amphibians. Long wing, long nose, 180HP. In late 1969 during the late 400 serial numbers, power was changed to 200HP and called LA-4-200, the "Buccaneer", still built in the same factory in Sanford, Maine, but now called Aerofab, Inc.

You may remember seeing PEPSI skywritten overhead in the "old" days. That was probably Jack Strayer.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:27 pm

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Skimmer #244 N1001L (known around the port as 10 oil). Well, it really is a Lake LA-4A, but is called a Skimmer in many articles. It was sold to the US Navy as a test bed for the hydrofoil and the Thurston Erlandson Corporation did the modifying and testing. Thurston is the same guy who designed the Colonial Skimmer, if you recall. It supposedly could land and take off in 5 floot seas. I saw it takeoff and land on glassy water and the takeoff took forever. Upon landing he deliberately dropped it in from 10 feet onto the foil. It met its demise when some Navy guy took it for an unauthorized ride.
Last edited by skimmerone on Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:39 pm

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Skimmer #245 N9L, ex N1002L, is alive and well in California and has had very few owners over the 50 years she has been around. She is the only LA-4A left. The early 1960 Lakes did some travelling. 3 went to Thailand and one of them is on a pedestal at a transportation museum in Bankok, and one went to the Phillipines. One went to the Florida Everglades Patrol and when I first saw it at Sanford Maine in 1964 it already had over 6000 hours on it. Another went to Brazil in missionary service and wasn't replaced until after the Buccaneer came out over 10 years later.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:53 pm

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C-2, N282B, #141. I finally found the slide right in the slide box. Horrible photo taken inside a dark hangar at Goodspeed Airport in CT.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:36 pm

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LA-4 #258, C-FFPQ, ex N1015L built in 1960. This unusual arrangement was owned by Bell Aerosystems of Buffalo NY. It is now owned by Elton Townsend of Lake Central Air Services, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. Elton has been a Lake dealer since 1964 and has been responsible for importing many Lakes to Canada. His shop is capable of rebuilding Lakes from the data plate up. He has been restoring #258 to a normal category Lake and finally finished it about a year ago. It looks mightly sharp now with a Renegade paint scheme. 15L can be seen on youtube and has been on the Discovery Channel.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:21 pm

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LA-4S, #410, N286ME, ex C-FHYZ, ex N7637L. THE ONLY TRUE FLYING BOAT, built by Lake Aircraft. Al Alson, then president of Lake Aircraft ordered one without wheels to see if there was a market. Naturally it was aimed at the floatplane market and the price was considerably reduced from the amphibious version of the Lake. I got a call one day back in 1969 from the factory asking me if I would like to ferry her to the sales office in Texas at the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport. Lake Aircraft was based here since they had a water runway 2500' long to accomodate floatplanes from the oil industry. It was an enjoyable flight but I worried the whole way down what it was going to be like landing on only 2500'. Piece of cake. This aircraft has a useful load of around 1300 pounds due to no heavy landing gear and related plumbing. When I went to work for Lake in Houston I designed the tail dolly. One owner said that the beaching gear was a pain to put on since once that air filled tire was pushed underwater, it kept wanting to float up. When she was C-FHYZ she lived in BC and the owner was quite pleased with her. She then bounced around between Washington and Alaska and is now in Missouri. The new owner trucked her down from Anchorage and has repainted and made a few repairs and is looking for a place to base her on the water.
Last edited by skimmerone on Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:01 pm

I have not disappeared and intend to do some more posting of interesting items. I have corrected the missing photos of the Colonial Skimmers and a couple of typos. Enjoy.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:34 pm

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I just today received this which was found on e-Bay. It is from a September 1955 French published Aviation Magazine. It is very strange reading about my airplane in French. A great addition to my history CD.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:42 pm

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This s/n 249 N6001L, ex N1006L and later N1FG, now VH-KOK, and the 7th long wing, long nose Lake LA-4-180. I took this photo in June 1968 at the Great Barrington Airport in Massachusetts. The last time I had seen her she was N1006L and had been repainted. The painter put the number on backwards, so they changed the registration rather than repaint. She has had a long history. Built in 1960 and shown in an early brochure, also shown in a brochure in 1963 when the company started up again under the sales office of Al (Merlin) Alson in Elkhart Indiana. She is featured in a large boat advertisement that I have a copy of. Then she was sold to Dr. William Schildecker of Daytona Beach who flew her all over the place; NY, Canada, Bahamas. He kept her until 1974 when he purchased a Buccaneer, which he sold to purchase a Lake LA-4-200EP, which he sold to purchase a Lake LA-250 Renegade that is now owned by his son. Bill is now a spry 92 year old and still flies the Renegade with his son. My Skimmer #1 spent the winter in Florida under Bill's watchful eye and tucked under the wing of his Renegade.

There is very little outward difference between the Lake 180 and 200. The sure sign of a 180 is the filtered air intake for the carburetor on the front of the pylon and below the nose bowl. The 200 has a slightly lower bottom engine cowl and the air intake for the fuel injection servo is on the right side rear of this cowl. Both have no cowling at the rear of the engine behind the prop. The 200EP has an extended propellor shaft and a rear cowl through which the exhaust pipes project. About 185 LA-4 180s were built from 1960 to 1970 and 42 EPs built during 1982 and 1983. About 137 Renegades were built from 1983 to date. About 640 200HP Buccaneers were built from 1970 to 1982.
Last edited by skimmerone on Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Colonial Skimmer and Lake La-4

Postby skimmerone » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:48 pm

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This is s/n 280, N1118L, the 80th Lake built in 1964. There is nothing particularly special about this plane except, like many early Lakes, it is still around in California. It was owned in 1970 by George Bauer who stopped by for some instruction. He had taught himself to fly her (very well, I might add) and wanted to know how he was doing. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasts to this day. After wearing out 18L, George bought a 1971 Buccaneer and after wearing it out, a 1977, and after wearing it out, a 1982 EP that got stolen from Kissimmee Airport, and replaced with yet another EP, and finally a 250 Renegade, which has had the number changed to N218L, in honor of the first one. Oh yes, I forgot. When a friend had to sell his EP due to a "change of lifestyle" George bought it, so he now has two Lakes. Since he moved to Florida many years ago he has had a Lake parked on his beach. I would bet that the Renegade has more water takeoffs and landings than the "terra firma" type. However, I think I still hold the record for ownership with 16 of 'em.
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