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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedS-38 to attempt classic crossing
By Randy Dufault

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 attempts succeeded.

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 of water.

“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.

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