Monday, October 14, 2013

Licensed seaplane pilot would like to offer rides from Hermann Riverfront

Did you see it?  Or hear it?  A light plane, with pontoons, spent a few hours in Hermann Sunday.  The owner is a young man from Fulton who takes people up for fun (and a fee) at the Lake of the Ozarks, and from Grafton, Illinois.  He'd like to offer rides from Hermann, too.

Hermann Alderman "Ronnie Pat" Van Booven has a sixth sense for anything interesting or unusual happening in Hermann, so of course Van Booven landed his Mercury SUV in Riverfront Park shortly after the sea-plane touched down on the Missouri River in front of Hermann.

Within minutes, Van Booven and 28-year-old Jamie Huey were friends.  Huey told the alderman he'd like to offer rides from the Hermann riverfront.  Van Booven told the pilot how to contact City Hall Monday morning.

Huey flies a 1960 model Cessna 180 in immaculate condition.  He said, "there aren't many seaplanes in the Midwest.  There are only a handful registered."

He said he would enjoy flying sight-seers from Hermann because it's so close to his home in Fulton.

Rides are $50 per person for a 20-minute ride, and up to three passengers can ride at a time, depending on weight.

Huey said, "It's really pretty here.  I love boating down the river and flying down the river.  These leaves are going to change, and it's going to get really pretty down here.  People would love to take a seaplane ride."

Huey is an experienced pilot.  He's been flying for 11 years.  He also owns a sky dive plane.

With the tourism season drawing to a close, Huey hopes to be allowed to bring the plane to Hermann once or twice in October, and then a lot starting next spring.

If the reaction of people in Riverfront Park is any indication, Huey's seaplane might be a welcome addition to the Hermann riverfront.  As Huey made a demonstration flight for CNL, dozens of people -- mostly locals -- approached the edge of the parking lot, squinted, and pointed.  Children waved and jumped.  Fishermen split their attention between their lines and the seaplane.  And several vehicles, including several motorcycles, were driven to the riverfront to see what was going on.

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