Our conversation about the Grumman Goose quickly moved south---to Southern California, and the various airlines that have served Catalina Island over the years. There are several books on the subject. I have two in my library: The Knights of Avalon, Seaplanes of Catalina Island, by David L. Johnston, and Catalina by Air, by Jeannie L. Pedersen, the curator of the Catalina Island Museum. Both are interesting reads. I mentioned this to Russ (who is a walking aviation encyclopedia, by the way) and was surprised that he had never seen either of these books. I promised to loan them to him---and did so a few days later when the gang had gathered at Jellystone Air Park, to work on Brother Baker's Luscombe (that other story.)
Here is where the story takes a serendipitous turn. When Russ saw Catalina by Air, he said: "Hey, a Douglas Dolphin! Coke Darden had one years ago." I told Russ that Coke Darden was not a familiar name, but I had seen a Douglas Dolphin at a fly-in at Gastonia, North Carolina when I was in the 7th grade. The year was 1972, and I assume it was a Carolinas-Virginia Antique Airplane Foundation production. It was my first fly-in---drive-in, actually. I rode with my best friend, Joe Mullis, and his father, in the Mullis' family station wagon. I still have the pictures:
I assume this is the same airplane. I can't imagine there were two Douglas Dolphins in the Carolinas in the 1970's.
When Russ saw the pictures he sent the following note:
"Wow, you got to see the Dolphin fly! NC14205 is in the Naval Air Museum in PNS now. Check out this video of the last flight, complete with water touch and goes. Man that thing was LOUD, like all great airplanes!"