Kenmore Air Harbor Seattle

Boeing on floatsIf water flying is your thing, the Kenmore Air Harbor seaplane base at the north end of Lake Washington north of Seattle is the place to be.

My friend Jack Vevers sent me this photo, taken on his way back to Australia, after a visit to FAA’s AirVenture at Oshkosh. It is of the only remaining airworthy Hamilton H-47 metalplane, originally built in 1928. It has recently been totally renovated and converted to a float plane. The present owner flies it regularly from Kenmore. It’s powered by a 9-cylinder radial Pratt & Whitney engine, which develops 525 hp. For all its size (55′ wingspan x 35′ length), the Hamilton carries just six people, plus two crew. What a lovely old plane – have a look at the photos in this link: Hamilton H-47. I particularly love the huge twin ‘steering wheel’ control yokes.

Founded in 1946 by three high school friends, the Kenmore base now covers around 5 acres/2.25 hectares, with two designated seaplane landing areas, the larger of which is 10,000 x 1,000 feet – that’s over 3,000 metres by 300 metres for us metrically minded people. In a typical year, there are over 50,000 seaplane aircraft take-offs and landings – that’s over 130 a day. There is a wide range of services available for water based planes, including mooring, maintenance, flight schools, charter and more.

If you’re ever lucky enough to travel near Seattle, Jack says it’s well worth a visit – if only to watch the steady stream of take-offs and landings.

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