Mary Alverson is pictured with her restored 1969 Piper Super Cub
For Mary Alverson of Wings Over Water, flying isn’t just a pasttime. She’s made it a way of life. And why not? Didn’t your mom and dad always tell you to pick a job you love? Well, Mary certainly must have heard that as a child! When I asked about her business and life she reported, “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than flying seaplanes.”
As owner of Wings Over Water Seaplane Certification Program, Mary offers current pilots training to earn their seaplane rating. A rating on a pilot’s license is like an additional endorsement on a driver’s license. For the training program Mary provides the airplane, a restored 1969 Piper Super Cub.
As expected, Mary had nothing but good words to say about seaplanes. “I love every aspect of flying seaplanes. I teach on other planes, but seaplanes are my passion. It doesn’t matter if I’m flying or teaching.” And she has good reason. Mary explained to me how different and exciting it is to fly in a seaplane. And then, she showed me by taking me up in her Cub.
Rather than taking off from a well manicured and planned out airport, a seaplane pilot must learn to take off from and land on water. There are so many things to consider when the pilot becomes his or her own air traffic controller. They must be aware of wind speed and direction without being able to use top of the line technologies. Instead, they assess the waves on the top of the water. They must know how much wind speed correlates to a certain amount of waves. They must also keep in mind the space they have available. Are there boats coming? Leaving? What about land obstructions? In a lake like Gull Lake, there are many islands and points reaching out into the water that could obstruct take off or landing so pilots must be exceptionally cautious.
Flying a seaplane has its perks though. It’s an entirely different feeling landing on water. At take off, you get a smooth feeling of hydroplaning before a gentle lift off of the water. Then when landing, the water cradles the plane as the nose tips upward for a few seconds.
Water explodes upward in beautiful patterns as we land Mary's seaplane on Gull Lake. Pictured is one of the floats attached to the bottom of the seaplane.
It really is a great feeling. And Mary made sure to show me a landing and take off several times. She asserts it is the best part of flying seaplanes. And since seaplanes take off and land on water of lakes, rivers, and even oceans, there are always exceptionally beautiful views.
This is a view of Madden's Golf Villas (top left), the Madden Inn (top right), and the first tee and last hole on our Pine Beach East course.
A view of one of the peninsulas in Gull Lake
Mary has been lucky enough to combine her love for seaplanes and teaching into a career. At Madden’s we’ve been able to combine Mary’s skills with our hospitality to create a fanastic package for pilots looking to get their seaplane rating. Pilots can stay at Madden’s for 4 days/3 nights on a package that includes meals, golf, and flight time required for training. To learn more about the package, check out our recent post, Seaplane Certification at Madden’s.
Thanks Mary for so graciously offering me a ride in your seaplane. It was a beautiful flight! Elizabeth
**Have you earned your seaplane rating at Madden’s? We’d love to hear your story. Please comment below or email me at email@example.com**