Lake Tips

Collected at River Ranch by Malcolm Dickinson, CFI, Lake Flight Instructor

These are but a few of the hundreds of tips and tricks that were told at the 1996 and 1997 Lake Amphibian Flyer's Club fly-in workshops held at River Ranch, Florida.

Neither I, nor any of the other flight instructors quoted, will be held liable for anything (good or bad) that happens to anyone who follows any of these tips.  Reading about it is no substitute for flight instruction from an experienced instructor. Please do NOT go out and do something just because you read about it here.

Notes from Lake Fly-In and Safety Seminar at River Ranch, February 1997

—collected by Malcolm Dickinson, CFI

Water operations

·         Any time you’re on the step (step taxi, water takeoff, water landing), it’s crucial to keep the center of gravity in front of the center of flotation. Don’t touch down in a nose-low attitude! [BM]


·         Run the engine a minimum of once every two weeks.  Running for over an hour is necessary in order to get full benefit.  Engines used regularly suffer from less internal rust and corrosion because the oil temperatures generating during frequent use vaporize any water that is inside the engine. [PF]

·         Rainwater can collect in the exhaust stacks if the plane is kept outdoors and not used regularly.  The humidity can work its way up and rust the exhaust valves.  If you’ll be storing the plane outdoors for a long time (two months or more), it’s worth covering all intakes and exhausts, including the breather. [PF]

·         Changes in the way your engine runs are often gradual. You have to be flying your plane on a regular basis in order to notice the changes. [LM]

·         Lycoming recommends running your engine a minimum of 12 hours per month. [LM]

Fuel System

·         If you see reddish or brown fluid coming out of the fuel pump sump drain, or if your electric fuel pump sounds like it’s laboring (if it sounds like the battery was low), then the fuel pump is getting ready to fail. You might as well replace it when you get this warning sign instead of waiting for complete failure.

·         The Buccaneer owner’s manual recommends use of the electric fuel pump when flying above 10,000 feet. [MD]

·         Auxiliary fuel tanks: The blue lights indicate that the fuel transfer switch is on, not that the pumps are actually working, and not that fuel is actually flowing. Larry Martin recommends an alteration that makes the lights indicate fuel pressure in the transfer lines instead. That way you will know not only when the pumps are working, but also when all fuel has been transferred. [LM]

·         It takes 20 to 30 minutes to transfer fuel from the float tanks. [LM]

·         It’s not good to run the fuel transfer pumps more than a few minutes without fuel flowing through them. [LM]

Landing Gear

·         Nose gear struts are prone to bending, especially the Lake type.

·         Wheel bearings: some rust is acceptable, but they will seize if there’s too much. It’s vital to keep the wheel hubs packed with grease. The grease may seep out and dirty up the outside of the gear a bit, but if the hub is not completely packed, water will get it and rust the bearings. [LM]

·         Most repair shops do not understand the specifics of the fickle finger, the risk of bending the nose gear if it’s misadjusted, or the risk of breaking the nose gear-up switch by hitting it too hard. Have your local shop call Jack Tarbox at Lake for advice. [LM]

·         FBOs can damage the nose gear by towing the airplane. If they must do it, put 50-75 lbs. of weights on the nose.

·         The new style of nose gear-up switch, available from Lake, is much better than the old, because they can accept extra pressure (up to even ½”) without breaking. [LM]

·         After moving the gear switch, always let the hydraulic pressure charge back up before moving the flaps.  If you operate the flaps and gear in rapid succession, the hydraulic pressure can get low, allowing fluid to flow by an O-ring that is twisted in its groove.  Keeping hydraulic pressure high helps to avoid this. [LM]


·         To test your manual hydraulic pump, bleed pressure down to 0 and try pumping it up from there with the hand pump.  If you only use the manual pump when there’s already pressure in the lines, you’re not testing it fully. [LM]

·         If you hear gurgling when the pressure gets low, it’s probably nitrogen in the hydraulic lines. This indicates that the seal in the accumulator is allowing nitrogen to leak by. [LM]

·         If the hydraulic pressure drops to 0, and there’s too much fluid in the system, excess fluid will flow out the overflow on the right side of the nose.


·         Larry Martin and Paul Furnee of Aircraft Innovations have the following parts available: [LM]

·         Cowl alignment pins $99 + 1 hour

·         On-the-yoke electric trim (both elevator and rudder) $1,295 + 3 hours

·         Gas struts that mount at the top of the cowl doors $295 + 3 hours

·         Annunciator lights to indicate Hydraulic pump on and fuel pump on.


Key to attributions: PF - Paul Furnee; LM - Larry Martin; MD - Malcolm Dickinson; BG - Bearded guy; ET - Elton Townsend; JS - John Staber; ND - Norval Dawson

Notes from Lake Fly-In and Safety Seminar, February 1996, Sebring, FL.

—collected by Malcolm Dickinson, CFI


·         The forward fuel quickdrain comes from the fuel system just below the boost pump. The rear one comes from the bottom of the fuel tank. However, they may have been switched by mistake somewhere in your plane’s history. [BM]

·         When draining fuel from the fuel pump sump, an orange color in the fuel means the fuel pump is about to fail. [BM]

·         If not pumped or drained out, water in the bilge can submerge the elevator and/or rudder pushrods.  During flight above the freezing level, the rudder controls can freeze solid in ice! Always drain or pump out before flying above the freezing level. [BM] If the elevator control does freeze on you, you may be able to get the plane down by using the trim.

·         The hooded vent underneath the left wing is the vent to the main fuel tank. [BM]

·         If mud daubers (wasps) are present, they will plug all the various vent holes unless you have them plugged. You can do this with golf tees, but if they’re wooden they can swell up and break off in the vent hole. Better to use plastic screw anchors. Various sizes are available at the hardware store to fit various vent holes.

·         Shake the wingtip back and forth during preflight to check for loose wing attach nuts.

Water operations

·         Think BOAT. When a Lake is on the water, it’s a boat, and needs to be handled as such. [BM]

·         When practicing water landings, you can leave the fuel pump off to prolong its life.  Turn it on at the first sign of trouble. [ND]

·         Abort takeoff if a motorboat races you. He might cut in front of you and his wake could cause you to crash. [SR]

·         If a motorboater is waiting to race you, just shut down and wait him out. Eventually he will give up and go away. [SR]

·         Motorboaters who want to race never expect the Lake to suddenly accelerate from 60 to 80 as it comes off the water. [SR]

·         Beware of jetskiers and other boaters who see you land and assume you are now completely stopped. It does not occur to them that your prop is still turning and you are therefore moving forward with no way of stopping. They will come right in front of you, expecting you to stop and talk. Be prepared to wave them away or shut the engine down if necessary.

·         When practicing or teaching water work, don’t wear headsets, particularly ANR ones. Headsets deprive you of hearing the noise of the water on the hull. Without them you can hear where on the hull water contact is being made. This sensation helps determine the proper attitude for water landing, taxi, and takeoff, and helps prevent bent or jammed nosegear doors.

·         If you are floating towards a dam and can’t get the engine started, put the gear down. There is a cable strung across the river just upstream of every dam and your gear will catch the cable and keep you from going over.

·         When mooring in shallow water, put the gear down. If the plane sinks, it won’t sink as far or be damaged as badly on a rocky bottom. This is also a good precaution in a tidal area where the tide may go out.

Water takeoff

·         On takeoff, if you get thrown into the air by a wave or boat wake, the only way to prevent a nose-in is to close the throttle immediately.

·         Before beginning a takeoff run on water, set the trim full back. This will help to counteract the dive tendency if you bounce or get thrown into the air.

·         For normal takeoff with normal loading and a central CG, trim for takeoff so the trim tab is located exactly even with the elevator when you pull the yoke all the way back.

·         Any time you begin to porpoise, add a little back pressure to stop the porpoise. Do it immediately, because the porpoise gets more difficult to recover from with each cycle. [SR]

·         12” waves, measured trough to crest, are the roughest water you want to try taking off in.

·         Whitecaps are a bad sign. Avoid whenever possible.

·         Don’t take off or land in waves that are more than 20% of the hull length apart. (In the LA-4 this is 5 feet.)

·         In rough water, get speed up on the water with the flaps up, then lower them at 50mph.  [SR]
Drawbacks: – Don’t grab the gear handle! If you did it would cause you to crash.
– The plane will pitch down drastically when the flaps come down. This could cause you to nose in if you aren’t expecting it. Be ready to compensate with additional back pressure as they come down.

·         Having trouble getting on the step? Trim all the way back. Then retrim a little forward once you’re on the step.

·         Having trouble getting on the step in relatively light wind? Go downwind to get on the step, then make a step turn and take off upwind. Watch out for your own wake!

·         If you drive into the water from a ramp, it’s easy to forget to raise the gear before starting your takeoff run. Don’t forget! [SR]

·         If you try a water take off with the gear still down, the nose will sink in and you’ll get water all over the nose and canopy. [SR] Done on purpose, this is a good way to rinse off in fresh water after flying in salt water. [ND]

·         If you’re moving forward in the water after an attempted gear-down takeoff, and you select gear up, the mains will retract but the nose gear will not retract until you stop all forward speed. Water pressure from forward movement prevents the nose gear from going forward and up.

·         If the water rudder is slipping into the down position, either tighten the bolt that the water rudder handle swivels on, or add Velcro to the handle and the cabin floor (hooks on the floor, loops on the handle).

·         If you take off or step taxi with the water rudder still down, you will probably bend it. Use a simple pre-step checklist (CARS, FCARS, etc.) to be sure you don’t forget.

·         If the water rudder is bent and you force it to retract, the handle may break off, or the water rudder make get stuck up inside the air rudder and fail to extend again when you need it.

·         Crosswind water takeoff: Be traveling into the wind as closely as possible during the time you’re coming up onto the step. (This is when the nose is highest out of the water and will be pushed downwind otherwise.) One you’re on the step, then turn away from the wind onto the heading you’ll use for the rest of your takeoff run. Now that you’re on the step, you have enough airflow over the ailerons to keep the downwind sponson out of the water. If you try to get onto the step with a crosswind, the downwind sponson will be submerged and may be damaged.

·         It’s easier to make a crosswind takeoff with the wind from the right than from the left. This is due to torque.

·         If you need to take off and the waves are too big, make a crosswind takeoff in the lee of the shore or in the lee of an island, where it’s not so wavy. However, in high winds, you’re likely to encounter severe turbulence as you pass through 10 feet AGL, so climb with plenty of speed (Vy+10) to avoid stalling.

·         If you’re going to take off and you’re not sure how big the waves, motorboat wakes, etc. are: taxi down the proposed takeoff area on the step at a minimum step speed. If you run into boat wakes they will cause a bump, but won’t throw you into the air. If you reach the other end of the takeoff area and judge the conditions to be OK, turn around and take off.

Water landing

·         Just before your first water landing of the day, check (by the feel on the handle) that your water rudder will in fact extend.

·         The time to be sure the water rudder will extend is not after you have water-taxied in among a group of expensive mahogany motorboats.

·         Bounce Recovery: [SR]
2 foot bounce: land
4 to 8 foot bounce: add half throttle and tail it in.
10 foot bounce: dip the nose a little, add half throttle, and fly it out.
Remember: half throttle, never full throttle. Full throttle will cause it to nose in because of the high thrust line.

·         In rough water, every fifth to seventh wave is a “rogue wave” that is larger than the rest. Try to touch down just after the bigger wave and you’ll likely only have to pound through some smaller ones. [LS]

Land landing

·         The demonstrated crosswind component is 13 knots.

·         Use flaps for land landing until the crosswind component exceeds 15 knots. When the crosswind component is higher, just land very fast on a very long runway.

·         In a strong crosswind, you can also land with flaps and then immediately retract the flaps (not the gear!) as soon as you touch down. This is very risky, because you might grab the gear handle by mistake.

Salt Water

·         If you often fly in salt water, you can have your mechanic add perforated hoses inside the wings. These can be either flat green garden sprayer hose with lots of holes in it (not soaker hose) or polybutylene pipe with thousands of tiny holes drilled into it. [PA]  It takes forever to drill the holes into the polybutylene pipe. [PF] In either case, the hose connection will come out in the wheel well. Cap the hose connection when not in use to keep sand or dirt from getting in and plugging up the holes.

·         You can flush the inside of the hull after salt water use by installing a similar sprayer hose underneath the floorboards. [PA]  However, you can also successfully rinse that area by putting a hose down by the rudder pedals and filling the hull with fresh water until the foot pan starts to go underwater. When the foot pan is under, turn off the water and open the hull drain plugs. This level of water will bathe the hull inside as well as the rudder push rods, and should spill over into the rear compartment. [PF]

·         When landing in tidal areas, give careful consideration to the tide tables or you may find you have landed in an area that is full of obstructions which surface only at low tide. [PF]

·         Cleanup after salt water: land in fresh water, lower the gear, then add full power for a moment. The nose will go underwater and fresh water will wash over the windshield. After landing, hose everything down. Use soap & water under pressure to get the salt off. Spray all nuts & bolts with ACF-50. [ND]


·         If a sponson gets knocked off one wing, you must take immediate action to prevent the aircraft from rolling over and capsizing. To prevent this:
– Climb out on the other wing
– Fill the other sponson with water
– Tie a lifejacket to the wingtip with no sponson

·         When mooring overnight, if a sponson fills up with water due to a leak, the plane will turn over and sink. Adding Styrofoam in the wings will prevent this. The Styrofoam will provide sufficient floatation that the wing could never go under even without a sponson. However, the foam goes not in the wingtip but in the wing itself, so installation involves removal of wing skins ($$$). The drawback of Styrofoam in the wing is that it creates areas that you can’t get at with fresh water after salt operations.

·         If you must take off with only one sponson, be sure that the wing with the missing sponson is positioned upwind, and deflect the yoke away from the wind to keep the remaining sponson in firm contact with the water. [SR]

·         Never attempt a takeoff if both sponsons are missing. [LS]

·         New replacement sponsons from Lake cost about $5,000 each. If you have to replace one, consider replacing both with fiberglass ones that hold 15 gallons of fuel per side. These are available from Bob Copeland (602-963-4194) for $5500. They weigh 7 lbs. more per side than the original sponsons. The filler caps are on the front instead of the side for easier access.


·         Replacing the original crankshaft on a 180 or 200 with one that has been dynamically balanced will remove the RPM restriction. This is a valuable consideration during overhaul. [PF]

·         Textron Lycoming will send you a more easily readable numerical power chart for your engine on request. You pick the pressure altitude, % power (55, 65, or 75%), and RPM you want to cruise at, and the chart will tell you the proper manifold pressure to use numerically, not graphically.  It also allows you to compensate for nonstandard temperature. Call them at 717-323-6181 for your copy. You will need to know the exact model number of your engine. [PA]

·         To stave off arrival at TBO and increase fuel economy, you can run under the restricted RPM zone, e.g., 2000 RPM, with a higher manifold pressure. You’ll still get 75% power, but with many fewer revolutions of the engine, less tach time increase, and lower fuel consumption. This also allows the prop to work more efficiently. [PF]

·         In the EP, you can follow the above suggestion, albeit to a lesser extent, by selecting your highest permissible continuous MP and then using a correspondingly lower RPM. [PF]

·         Good engine gauges are invaluable in increasing the life of your engine.  Your current engine gauges are extremely inaccurate.  I can sell you more accurate ones. [PF & HS]

·         Look out behind you before you start the engine. On the ramp or beach, you will sandblast whatever is right behind you. Near shore, you could blow grass clippings all over Granny’s newly-painted boathouse.[SR]

·         If you are using a lightweight starter, start on left mag only unless you have double-impulse mags. (Double-impulse mags is a good mod) [HS]

·         Engine failure on takeoff or climb out: Lower the nose immediately. [SR]

·         Engine failure on takeoff or climb out: push forward and trim forward immediately. You had better have enough weight in the nose or you will not be able to prevent a stall.

·         If you experience any uncommanded pitch-up during a climb, assume it’s a loss of power, and lower the nose immediately.

·         Engine failure procedures:
– Don’t put the flaps down
– Don’t lower the gear until the last minute before a land landing (it reduces your glide angle a lot)
– Best glide is 75mph with the flaps up.

·         CFIs, when pulling the throttle back to simulate engine failure, remember: the minimum altitude loss with a good pilot who is expecting the engine loss and who makes no mistakes is as follows:
– Vy to best glide: 100 foot loss
– Vx to best glide: 200 foot loss but no possibility to flare
So don’t pull the power below 500 feet AGL! If the student locks up or pulls back, you might never recover.


·         It is not necessary to run at 2400rpm for cruise flight. Time left before TBO is determined from the tach, and the tach measures revolutions, so flying at a lower RPM will make the engine last for more hours of flight. In addition, lower RPM causes less noise both in the cabin and on the ground.

·         When flying through precipitation, choosing a lower RPM will also result in less precip damage to the propeller blades. [PF]

·         Never taxi over 1000RPM unless you are on the step.  Displacement taxi over 1000RPM causes severe water damage to the propeller. [SR]

·         EPs must have 74” propellers. If the prop is damaged and repair makes it shorter, it must be replaced. However, the shorter prop could be sold to a 180 or 200 owner.

·         200-style or EP-style propellers are a useful addition to a 180 because they are much more efficient than the old 180 propeller. They are also not subject to the new (1995) AD on the original 180 prop. Any 180 owner whose prop is due for overhaul would do well to look into a used 200 prop. Changing to the newer prop also requires changing the hub.

·         If you get a nick in the propeller you should have the nick “dressed” by a prop shop. If you are in the outback, you can dress it yourself using a normal file. Measure the depth of the nick (e.g., 1/16”) and level out ten times the depth (10/16”)on either side of the nick.

Landing Gear

·         Do not fly with a flat (depleted) nose gear oleo strut. The nose gear can get tangled up in the gear doors if the wheel is not given forward extension by the oleo. If this happens, the gear will be stuck in a halfway position—it won’t go up, and it won’t go down!

·         The protruding pin at the top of the nose gear actuator manufactured by Aerofab tends to break off [HS] [Or perhaps it is the one manufactured by Gerdes that breaks?-MD]

·         On the main gear, there is an aluminum “kidney” piece that fails and breaks at one of the three bolt holes. There will probably be an AD along the lines of Service Bulletin 62. Replace the aluminum part with a steel one. This is an easy change to make. You can use a magnet to determine which one is currently in your airplane. The oldest type is made of 15 layers of steel and does not need to be replaced.

·         One-piece, no-moving-parts fiberglass landing gear doors are available from Bob Copeland in Arizona for $550. They may help climb, but they do not provide any measurable increase in cruise speed. [EP owner]

·         Remember, the Lake does not have a squat switch to prevent you from raising the gear by mistake while sitting on the ground.  Therefore, after landing, wait until you are clear of the active runway before raising the flaps. Then say out loud, “THESE ARE THE FLAPS.”

·         To lessen the chance of confusion between gear and flaps, you can paint the gear handle black (the color of tires) and the flap handle white (or the color of flaps if they’re not white).

·         If the gear (or flap) handle won’t go down, the very large nut on the valve assembly may have loosened. This nut keeps all the parts of the valve together and working the handle too aggressively may loosen it. You can tighten it by hand and you’ll then be able to lower the gear handle.

·         To help reduce wear on the flap and gear handles and keep them from loosening, remember to pull out on the handle before moving it. Then move it firmly but smoothly all the way to the new position. Don’t slam it into the new position. Moving it only ¾ of the way to the new position will put it in the bleed position and the gear or flaps will only move halfway.

·         To avoid getting into a tough situation in the event of a loss of hydraulic fluid, you can add to your checklist “check hydraulic pressure” before raising or lowering the gear. If a leak has caused a fluid loss, moving the gear handle will result in partial movement of the gear and you could end up with the gear stuck, immovable, halfway up/halfway down. If you check the pressure before moving the handle, you have the opportunity to spot the low pressure, elect to leave the gear in its current position, and land on an appropriate surface.

·         Apply reflective red tape to the nose gear doors at the position and angle that the nose gear assumes in the down position. Then it will be clearer to you when looking in the sponson mirror whether the nose gear is down fully or not.

·         If your gear is going down but you’re not getting the green gear-down light, you can verify that the main gear is locking down correctly with the following method. When the gear locks down, the rod that connects the uplock and downlock hooks gives a “jiggle.” You can see the uplock hooks easily from the cabin. So extend the gear and watch carefully for the “jiggle” just as the main gear gets to the bottom of its travel. If you observe the jiggle, then the downlock hook is engaging on that side and the gear is in fact locked down. By observing the jiggle on both sides and checking the nosegear in the mirror with the aid of the reflective tape stripe, you can be virtually certain of gear downlock, even without the green light.


·         Unless it is likely to be windy before your next flight, it is not necessary to raise the flaps after landing. [PF]

·         If there is the chance of high winds, or if you will be away from the airplane for 24 hours or more, it is very important to raise the flaps and trim full nose-down when parking. These will cut down the tendency to fly away. [ND]

·         Don’t retract flaps below 500 feet. Never fly below 500 ( or 1000) feet without the flaps down.

·         During any control problem, lower the flaps. Lowering the flaps lowers the stall speed from 52 to 40 (significant) and also pitches the nose down for better visibility.

·         The aircraft will not take off without the flaps down.

·         Water damage to flaps occurs only on landing, never on the takeoff run. Hitting the water hard at 60mph will damage the flaps. The slower you’re going when you land on water, the less damage you’re going to do to the flaps (as well as everything else).

·         Any time you change the flaps or gear position in flight, you’ll need to retrim.


·         The accumulator is the heart of the hydraulic system. It stores energy. It is a foot-long cylinder with a sliding “hockey puck” which keeps the fluid and nitrogen separated using o-rings. [LM]

·         180hp models have the hydraulic fluid reservoir in the anchor compartment on the nose. They have a spherical accumulator located just aft of the reservoir, forward of the manual hydraulic pump, in the center of the panel. [LM] This can interfere with certain radio installations. [PF]

·         At the first sign of hydraulic troubles, have your accumulator checked. If you keep your accumulator charged with nitrogen to 350psi and it gets regular use, it could last 20 years. [LM]

·         The Aerofab-manufactured accumulators had removable ends and a rod down the middle. They are notoriously leaky and very difficult to get adjusted just right. [LM]

·         The O-rings that separate fluid from nitrogen inside the accumulator can go bad or get twisted. When this happens on an Aerofab-manufactured accumulator, it can be taken apart and the O-rings replaced. When it happens on other models, the entire accumulator must be replaced.

·         When a non-Lake-experienced mechanic goes to charge the accumulator, he may not add enough nitrogen to even move the “hockey puck.” When it moves it may make a sound like a creaky door. It’s best to put too much pressure in (600psi) to be sure it’s moving, then back off pressure to return to 350psi. He may have to give it as much as 1000psi to move the puck if it is sticking. It should be charged so the accumulator is completely full of nitrogen. If extra fluid has been added to compensate for a dead accumulator, this will cause fluid to come out of the fluid overflow vent, which is located on the right side of the nose at about crotch height. Be sure no one standing there as it will ruin their pants. [LM]

·         If the electric hydraulic pump is making a growling noise, the electric unit of the pump has been flooded with hydraulic fluid and must be cleaned or replaced. This is very labor-intensive and expensive.

·         Exercise the manual (emergency) hydraulic pump at least once a month. This will lubricate its check valves with fluid and keep them from sticking in the case you actually need it.  It will also familiarize you with the effort required so that it will not come as a surprise when your electric hydraulic pump fails. It is also necessary to lubricate the handle itself occasionally so that it will extend easily. [LM]

·         The valve that usually sticks first is the check valve upstream from the manual hydraulic pump. At the first sign of trouble, replace this valve with the kind that has a spring. This is a very labor-intensive procedure and will be expensive. While doing this, have the old fuel-bowl-style filter replaced with the new in-line, blue, removable filter.

·         When using the manual hydraulic pump, it is not necessary to wear yourself out trying to achieve full hydraulic pressure (1100psi). 900psi is enough to extend or retract the gear. [HS]

·         The flap and gear handles have three positions and two bleed-by areas:
– fully up (fluid is flowing through to contract the actuators)
– fully down (fluid is flowing through to extend the actuators)
– center detent (no fluid is flowing at all—this position is used if you suspect a hydraulic leak in flight to prevent any further loss of fluid)
– when the handle is not in any of the above three positions, it is in a bleed-by position and allows fluid to flow by, depleting hydraulic pressure in the system without doing anything. The electric pump will run continuously. [HS]

·         To test the charge on your accumulator, bleed down the system pressure by moving the flap handle into one of the two bleed positions. The hydraulic pressure gauge will drop steadily to about 300psi, then drop suddenly to 0. The reading just before it drops to 0 is the current charge on the accumulator. If it’s below 350psi, the accumulator is low. [HS]

·         If the hydraulic system is losing pressure when the plane is sitting on the ramp (“bleed-down”), put the flap lever in the center (shutoff) position and see if the bleed-down ceases. If so, the flow-by leak is in the flap actuator o-ring. Likewise, if the bleed-down ceases when the gear handle is left in the center position, it’s one of the gear actuators that is flowing by.

·         If you determine (using the above procedure) there is flow-by but have trouble determining in which actuator, you can use a stethoscope to listen for flow-by.

·         If the flap or gear selector handle goes past the ”up” or “down” position, the little metal balls that prevent further movement have been dislodged and the handle requires immediate service. This is usually caused by rough manipulation of the lever. Remember that the lever must be gently pulled before changing its position. Forcing it without pulling can dislodge the metal balls.

·         Replace the O-ring-type check valve with the steel ball/brass seat type [where? My notes are incomplete]

·         An “O-ring backer” is a Teflon backup ring which can be put into the groove where the rubber O-ring goes. It sits in the groove, behind the O-ring, and provides support. The O-rings are notorious for variances in size and thickness, and a backer can solve some flow-by problems that don’t go away when you replace the O-ring.

·         When draining water from the hull, if you find hydraulic fluid pooled in the bottom of the hull along with the water, you have a leak somewhere in the system. Check the brake master cylinders first. If the leak is not there, it could be a pinhole in any one of the hydraulic lines in the hull. It might be difficult to find. Finding it might involve removing the floorboards and laying out paper towels in the hull, then observing to see where the red stain appears first.


·         Keep an old towel under the front seat. You will often need one to wipe off wet feet, oily hands, etc. [SR]

·         You can get a padded boot to slip over the left door handle so it doesn’t chafe on your left elbow when you’re flying. [SR] [Where can I get one? He didn’t say…]

·         A Lake appears in the movie Motherlode and also in the book Sabotage Flight by Paul Meyerhoff II. ($12.95 from Dimi Press, 1-800-644-3464).

·         Remembering to turn off the fuel pump at 500 feet (“not 5,000”) will extend its life. To help you remember you can have a yellow light installed on your panel labeled “FUEL PUMP ON.” [HS]

·         Leave your strobe light switch on at all times (except when in clouds or taxiing at a busy airport at night). This way it will blink at you as you walk away if you ever leave the master switch on. In addition, it will serve as a warning to others on the ramp that you are about to start your engine.

·         If you’re flying without an anchor in the nose locker, you’re probably out of balance. When flying solo with full fuel, as much as 40 lbs. of weight may be required in the nose locker to keep the CG within limits. Flying without weight in the nose means risking your life if the engine should fail during climb out. [SR, PA]

·         Serial numbers went up to 1116 (LA-4s) and 130 (Renegades). About 1000 were made in total. Approximately 880 are still flying, 600 of which are in the U.S. About half (450) are owned by LAFC members.

·         To increase the visibility of your Lake to other aircraft while in the air, you can paint the top and bottom of the horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and elevator trim with a darker color. The underside of the hull and sponsons can also be painted a darker color. If your Lake is mostly white, as many are, these dark surfaces will pop out for increased recognition.

·         Do a weight and balance for your takeoff weight and landing weight with less fuel. You may find that the fuel burn during the flight causes the CG to move forward outside the acceptable range.

·         Luke Smith has written a comprehensive Buccaneer training manual which is available for $100. [BM]