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It took 11 years to get the new Colonial Skimmer Amphibian off the drawing boards into the sky.

IT TAKES more than a pair of wings to get a plane off the ground and the new Colonial Skimmer Amphibian is a perfect example of the complications that plague designers from the initial plans until the ship takes to the air.

Back in 1945 David Thurston, a young aeronautical engineer, put down on paper his idea for a small, two-place amphibian. The first step was to design a ship capable of operation from both land and water yet have the plans conform to CAA regulations. It also had to have pleasing lines, be safe and give good performance. Cost had to be kept to a minimum, maintenance easy and operation simple.

Once flight tests began a myriad of changes had to be made in hull design, engine placement and a host of other infinite details. After nearly 11 years of work, the Skimmer was ready for production. The 1,400-lb. amphibian has a wingspan of 34 ft., a length of 24 ft., and a top speed of 127 mph. It will cost $15,-750 with standard equipment. Ten planes are planned for 1956 in the company’s new plant at Deer Park Airport in Long Island, N.Y.

  1. quadibloc says: July 13, 20125:29 pm

    This piqued my curiosity enough to search for more information about this airplane. It turns out that a later series of planes, the Lake Amphibians, derived from it. This page:…

    describes some of the precautions that need to be taken when flying the airplane – it is a well-designed airplane in itself, but in some ways it behaves differently from the most common private airplanes like the Cessna or the Piper Cub, and there can be problems if a pilot isn’t conscious of the differences, according to that site.

  2. Toronto says: July 14, 20123:38 pm

    When I worked the UNICOM radio at Waterville NS, we had a local pilot with a “Duck” that was configured a lot like this. It scared the crap out of me every time he came in for a landing: he’d be so low over the tall grass it looked like he was landing belly up.

    He apparently used to fish for bass right out of the cockpit at a nearby lake some days.

  3. Hirudinea says: July 15, 20122:43 pm

    It’s descendent are still hard at work, here’s the companies website.


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