Secure on the gravel bar
With the aircraft secured at the gravel bar the crew headed home (Okay, some of us went to the pub). Now that the aircraft was accessable from the road, options for removing it from the river were discussed and evaluated for cost. Graham and Jeff looked into patching the float and flying the aircraft back, due to the extent of the damage to the float this option was discarded. The second option was to rent a crane and dissassemble the aircraft on the gravel bar and truck it back to the shop, due to the cost of dissassembly and reassembly this option was going to be expensive. Graham contacted two local helicopter operators and discussed the possibility of lifting the aircraft with a chopper. Terra Helicopters has a Kaman Husky capable of lifting up to 4000 lbs, the estimated weight of the aircraft was under 2500 lbs. Two concerns were raised, the distance from the gravel bar to the shop which was 10 miles and the fact that the airplane had wings that could generate lift and cause the load to be very unstable. Not wanting to have the chopper pilot cut the load loose should it start flying and become uncontrolable this concern was discussed at great length. Wednesday afternoon Graham and Jeff used an ATV and sled to transport tools and equipment through the woods to the aircraft. Partially inflated inner tubes were strapped across the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer, 4 by 4 pieces of lumber were strapped on top of the wings above the front spar. The oil and gas was drained out, the prop and seats were removed.