Ted Krahenbuhl is a Wipaire customer who flies an American Champion Scout 8GCBC with either Wipline 2100A amphibious floats, Wipline AirGlide C3000A skis or 31″ Alaskan Bushwheel tires.
“When I decided to experience the freedom of bush flying, I was welcomed into a small group of elite engineers, mechanics and pilots.
What planted the idea of flying bush planes in my mind was seeing pictures of working aircraft in Alaska. Noticing that tail draggers like Piper Cubs, Cessna C180s, and de Havillands used floats, skis, fat tires etc., it seemed very easy: just get a used airplane, buy some fat tires, skis, and floats. Done. Well, after some looking, I realized I had no clue on how specialized floats, skis and bushwheels are. I was going to be joining an elite group of pilots and mechanics. And I needed a lot of help.
After being introduced to bush flying by BackCountry Aviation in Idaho, they introduced me to the American Champion Scout (8GCBC). It had the performance I was looking for; 70 gallons of fuel, 2100# gross (2600# restricted), composite propeller, and headroom! Alaskan Bushwheel 31” tires were installed and I received my tailwheel endorsement in my own Scout in Idaho.
Floats and skis would be a challenge. There is only one manufacturer of amphibious floats for the American Champion Scout—Wipaire, Inc.. Flying to St. Paul from the west coast, with 27 hours on the airframe, and arriving at Wipaire, was like finding the “Emerald City.” Wipaire had everything needed for turning the Scout into a beloved Swiss Army Knife of the skies. I purchased the two STCs (for floats and skis), and had a panel upgrade. Wipaire is a full service shop, training and manufacturing operation.
Now the fun begins, learning. I took off across the USA with amphibious floats heading for California. What a wonderful way to travel; most lakes in California are very seaplane friendly. Nice to be able to stop, jump in the water and continue on! Boating and flying, then landing at an airport was remarkable.
As winter approached, the challenge of installing skis, and learning to fly them, really made me take notice. My goal: to install the Wipaire C3000A STC and learn to fly them alone from my hangar in Oregon. The insurance company had good news, no endorsement needed and no premium increase. They gave me the green light to fly skis by myself! With Wipaire’s support I installed the C3000As using my A&P license. I then flew across the Cascade Mountains and made my first solo landing with skis. It was a great feeling. However, it is highly recommended to get instruction first.
The bushplane I dreamed about was now a reality. Being lucky enough to find experienced and reliable companies to support me in the beginning made it possible. The freedom of operating in areas with no airport is outstanding! Landing in fresh snow, playing in a mountain lake during the hot summer and then, at the end of the day, pushing my little bird into a safe hangar, it’s a great feeling.”