Osa’s Ark, a
Sikorsky S-38 reproduction, will launch on a trans-Atlantic trip
and tour of Europe in August 2010.
Sergey Sikorsky shared with Tom Schrade
what he knew of three attempts to cross the North Atlantic in the
amphibious S-38 airplane his father Igor designed. None of the three
Schrade, owner of the S-38 reproduction
Osa’s Ark parked in the Vintage area, fully expects to succeed when he
launches out in that same crossing next month.
Schrade and a team of other experienced
aviators are taking the S-38 into Europe in cooperation with Wings of
Help, an organization for children in need based in Frankfurt, Germany.
“We want to raise public awareness [for
Wings of Help] and hopefully raise some money,” Schrade said. “Any
money raised through pledges will go 100 percent to their foundation.”
Schrade is providing the airplane and his
copilot, soaring champion Bruno Gantenbrink, is funding the fuel. German
astronaut Ulf Merbold will pilot a support plane.
Once in Europe the stops are planned in
several countries, including water landings on some very famous bodies
“We’ve arranged with the people in
Scotland to let us land on Loch Ness,” Schrade said.
Other planned water landings include
several rivers in Germany, Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich in Switzerland,
and a stop at a seaplane gathering on Lake Como, Italy.
Lake Como is home to the world’s oldest
continuously operating seaplane base, established in 1913.
From here, the zebra-striped S-38 will
travel to Minnesota for a pre-trip inspection. Schrade and his team plan
to depart from there on August 21.
The flight will continue across Canada,
make stops in Greenland and Iceland, and will see their first views of
Europe over Ireland. Real time tracking is available at www.unlimitedadventure.com.
Schrade plans to continue touring with
the airplane once this year’s trek is complete. The next leg should
take it through the Middle East and Asia. A trip through Africa will
round out a complete circumnavigation of the globe and stops on at least
six continents. To date it has visited at least 40 of the 50 states.
The airplane, which first flew in 2001,
will likely retire to a museum after the year and a half Schrade expects
the world tour to take.
Schrade modeled his S-38 on the one owned
and flown by explorers Osa and Martin Johnson, who flew their plane
extensively over the African continent in 1934 and 1935.
More details about Wings of Help, along
with opportunities to donate, are available at www.luftfahrtohnegrenzen.com.