While copying a 30-year-old back-issue recently, I came across my editorial of Jan. 1, 1982 (CBNL 7:3:1). It was about visiting Don Avery in Hawaii, who gave reasons why his Coot didn't fulfill his original expectations. Let's revisit that issue here:
Don was not your typical Coot-builder. As Professor of Engineering at the University of Hawaii, he had the expertise to test the Coot wing rigorously, as described in detail in The Coot Story , pages 13-14. N22DA turned out to be a pretty good Coot, although Don was bothered by feedback noise on his radio, water leaks and only fair aileron effectiveness. These, of course, are features common to most Coots, and have been discussed at length in later newsletters.
His primary issue was that he had not clearly defined a Coot's role in his life in Hawaii. Originally, he had anticipated feeling safer with a boat hull under him as he flew from one island to another. He later admitted that Hawaii is not “Coot paradise”. After his test pilot landed in the open ocean, Don realized that the Coot was not the right aircraft for these waters. It's not that the Coot can't handle a good chop on rivers and lakes, but the ocean can offer rollers that will challenge amphibians much larger than a Coot.
So my advice to Coot-builders is to have realistic dreams, so you can enjoy your finished product. The Coot can take you fishing or to the cottage, but you should check out the size and quality of the water surface beforehand, as well as whether that particular lake is even open to seaplanes. I recall purchasing Harvey (N1395X) from a gent in Boise, Idaho, who was gung ho for Coots, but who, after he bought it, couldn't find a lake anywhere near his home. All that ‘blue' on the Idaho map turned out to be water reservoirs!