Parker Woodruff wrote:Thoughts? Most of my time is in Mooneys and Cessnas, so this stuff is fairly new.
Lake amphibians are in my opinion one of the very best values in amphibians, so in a soft market like we have currently they are an even better value. Lakes are great seaplanes, but they do require you to learn them well if you are to really enjoy them. The learning curve will be significantly higher than a float plane, but once you have that under your belt you will discover an extremely capable, versatile, and efficient aircraft. And on the water they are so much fun I can't even accurately describe it
(Of course Paul Furnee has probably already shown you much of that.)
I have many times considered buying a Cessna amphib just because I have so many friends with them, and because I think they are cool. But every time I start thinking seriously about one, I remind myself how much fun my old 180 Lake is, and how little fuel it burns, and drop the idea of getting rid of it. If money were no object I'd have a Cessna for back country fishing trips to distant places, and a lake for my fun stuff. Of course money is an object to me, so I have a Kitfox amphib, and a Lake LA4. And my Cessna buddies tell me I have the best of both worlds already... The Lake and the Kitfox together burn less fuel than a 185 amphib, and combined are less expensive to purchase, so I tend to agree. But admittedly I still find myself occasionally lusting over a big Cessna amphib
Ok, back to Lakes....If you haven't already found it, check out http://www.lakeflyers.com
There is a whole bunch of good stuff on lakes on that website. You will also find an article there I wrote for SPA's 2000 Water Flying Annual about my LA4-180 that gives many details and reasons why I feel the older Lakes are the best value in amphibious seaplanes.
If I were buying a Lake today I would try to find one that was light, and I would trust the judgment of a lake expert for my prepurchase inspection. There are some beautiful but heavy Lakes out there that fly lousy, and some ugly but light ones that fly beautifully. I took an ugly but good flying light lake and made it beautiful, which ultimately provided me with a great performing but inexpensive seaplane. And I haven't yet found a better replacement for it. But I'm always looking...