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CHALKS FLYING BOAT SPECIAL

ALAS THIS ARTICLE IS NOW A TRIBUTE TO A WONDERFUL AIRLINE WHICH IS NO MORE. A SAD ACCIDENT ON DECEMBER 19, 2005 RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF N2969 SEEN BELOW AND ALL ITS CREW AND PASSENGERS PUT THE AIRLINE OUT OF BUSINESS.

I leave this article as a sad tribute to the wonderful people I knew who ran the last flying boat airline in the world. Especially Capt. Michelle Marks and First Officer Paul J. DeSanctis.

It is now history as are these photos but in years to come they will remind everyone of what it was. Thanks and goodbye Chalks.

These photographs are taken from a visit August 20, 2004 to Chalks Ocean Airways,
the oldest airline in North America and the only surviving Flying Boat Airline.
They are sixty year old veterans in everyday service.The airline started in 1919.

They currently have three operating Grumman Mallards built in the early forties
and have two more in the hangar being restored. They are also working on
restoring an Albatross and have four further airframes which could be made
airworthy.

N142PA, Grumman Mallard GT 73 Flying Boat approaching Paradise Island Seaport.

N2969 taxiing after landing at Paradise Island (PID)

N142PA about to enter the ramp at Paradise Island Seaport.

N142PA climbing onto the ramp from the water.

N142PA finally on the ramp at Paradise Island Seaport.

Head on view of N 142PA.

First Officer Orin Lucas with N 142 PA.Eric Weber was the Captain.

>

First officer Michelle with N 2969 another Grumman Mallard Flying Boat at Paradise Island Seaport.

Another of Chalks Fleet N 142PA at Fort Lauderdale Airport

So much for cockpit doors!

Inside the cockpit of N 130 FB.

Station Staff at PID. Anya Taylor on left, Indira Wright, Station Manager, alongside her. Then Don Grant and Clint Williams, Asst. Station Manager on far right.

Donald Grant.

Left to right,Police Constable, Customs Officer, Customs Officer G. Pelletier, Senior Immigration Officer Leonard Smith, PC 2648 Carl Smith..

Cloretta Gomez looks after Customs.

Guardians of the Airport.

Entering the water as onlookers stand on the dry land.

Oops! Boat blocking runway!.

Just misssed that one and it was bigger than us!.

Heavens we are being passed by a boat!.

Just after leaving the water with the Atlantis Hotel in the background.

The Atlantis Hotel dominates the SkyLine.

The Monument at the Atlantis Hotel.

End of Paradise island.

Bridge Connecting Paradise to New Providence.

Beware of Cruise Liners!.

Passing over the Lighthouse at the entrance to Nassau Harbour.

Still Climbing.

Classic Flying Boat Vista.

The water is crystal clear

You can see right to the bottom of the ocean.

You can see right through to bottom.

It's beautiful..

Chalks is the last surviving genuine flying boat airline in the world and
operates from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
They have five flights a day to Paradise Island.

Fares are in the bargain basement department at $79 oneway which for such a
superb machine is nothing and on top of that they take you where you want to.
The flight lasts just over one hour, flies at anything from 1500 feet up and you
can see right through the crystal clear water of the Caribbean to the bottom.
It is absolutely fantastic.

The Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard is a twin-engine amphibious aircraft,
powered by two Pratt & Whitney-Canada PT-6 turbine engines, and is
capable of operating from water as well as land-based airports.

Its interior accommodates 17 passengers in air-conditioned comfort, and the
aircraft boasts a cruising speed of 200 MPH. The Chalk's fleet of G-73T's
is undergoing an extensive refurbishment program which includes complete
mechanical overhaul and cosmetic renovation, in addition to all new interior
appointments.The PT6 turboprops give them excellent performance and even
single engine positive rate of climb.

Chalk's Ocean Airways is the world's oldest scheduled airline. The company
was founded by Arthur B. Chalk, an automobile mechanic in Paducah, Kentucky
when he was introduced in 1911 to the noted aviation pioneer, seaplane pilot
and barnstormer Tony Janus, who subsequently gave Mr. Chalk flying lessons in
exchange for repairs on his aircraft. Mr. Chalk soon followed the path of the early
aviation pioneers, barnstorming around the south until he took up residence in
the fledgling city of Miami in 1917.

Following military service in the Air Corps during World War One, Mr. Chalk
returned to Miami and began operations in 1919 as Chalk's Flying Service.
Prohibition was still in effect and the smuggling of liquor between the Bahamas
and the U.S. was in full swing. Rumrunning was a source of bountiful business
for Chalk's and the company did not discriminate among passengers, carrying
not only smugglers, but also the lawmen chasing them.

Business boomed and Chalk's grew. The company built a terminal on a newly
created landfill named Watson Island in 1926. That same location, between
downtown Miami and the popular South Beach tourist district, is now adjacent
to the Port of Miami, which is the world's busiest cruise port, and Chalk's
seaplanes shared the deep water channel and turning basin with oceangoing
freighters and passenger liners from throughout the world.Unfortunately
U.S. Authorities have prevented this operation at the moment due to the security
situation and the only services operate from Fort Luadredale Airport.

With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Chalk's passengers became no less
colorful. By that time the airline was established as a fixture in the region
and carried many famous passengers including notable personalities of that
era such as Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, Howard Hughes, and Al Capone.
Probably Chalk's most famous regular passenger was Ernest Hemingway, who
like many others discovered that Bimini has some of the best big game
fishing in the world and often flew Chalk's scheduled service to that island.

Chalk also used the versatility of the seaplanes to assist the public. After the
devastating hurricane of 1926, Chalk's seaplanes assisted in search and rescue
in the Florida Keys. In World War II, Chalk donated his planes and service
to the Civil Air Patrol and flew hundreds of anti-submarine missions off the coast.
He also assisted in training Navy seaplane pilots.

Mr. Chalk was involved in the daily operations of the airline until 1975, sadly
passing in 1977 at the age of 88. The airline was purchased in the 1980's by
Resorts International, a hotel and casino property development company with
extensive holdings in the Bahamas. At the direction of James Crosby, the
President of Resorts International, the company began two significant initiatives
to upgrade the airline's fleet, including the modernization of the company's
Grumman G-73 Mallard aircraft by Frakes Aviation which included converting
the and 17-seat interior refurbishment. Additionally, the company undertook a
program which successfully certified the Grumman HU-16 Albatross, originally
built for military service, as the G-111 30-seat passenger transport aircraft.

The Albatrosses enabled Chalk's to usher in a new standard of scheduled
seaplane service, with major-airline amenities such as flight attendants, inflight
snack service and lavatories. With the addition of these 30 passenger flying
boats, Chalk's became the primary carrier to Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

After being sold by Resorts International in conjunction with the disposition of
that company's Bahamas hotel properties, Chalk's was owned by several
South Florida investors, and operated for a time in conjunction with the restarted
Pan Am under the Pan Am Air Bridge name. In early 1999, in conjunction with
the bankruptcy filing of one of the airline's investors, Chalk's reorganized and
recapitalized in mid-July 1999 when bought by Florida businessman, Jim
Confalone. As part of its re-branding as Chalk's Ocean Airways following the
bankruptcy, the Chalk's Turbine Mallard fleet is undergoing extensive
refurbishment, Chalk's passenger facilities ashore are being upgraded, and a
modernization program for the fleet of 30 seat Grumman G-111 Albatross is
preparing that type for return to service.

Chalks are now one of the leading tourist attractions in the area and if you ever
have to go to the Bahamas it is well worth your while to travel on Chalks
from Fort Lauderdale. It is so wonderful and all the staff are so friendly.
There are few better experiences in this life. Try it!

The current operational fleet is:
N 130FB
N 142PA
N2969

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Timetable

Valid from April 4 thru October 26, 2004

Flight

From

Departs

To

Arrives

Frequencies

401

Ft Lauderdale

7:10am

Bimini

7:35am

Except Tues/Wed

407

Ft Lauderdale

8:45am

Bimini

9:10am

Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat

409

Ft Lauderdale

10:20am

Bimini

10:45am

Fri/Sat Only

405

Ft Lauderdale

11:45am

Bimini

12:10pm

Mon/Thu/Sun

403

Ft Lauderdale

5:00pm

Bimini

5:25pm

Except Fri/Sat

411

Ft Lauderdale

6:00pm

Bimini

6:25pm

Fri/Sat Only

 

 

 

 

 

 

402

Bimini

7:55am

Ft Lauderdale

8:20am

Except Tues/Wed

408

Bimini

9:30am

Ft Lauderdale

9:55am

Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat

410

Bimini

11:10am

Ft Lauderdale

11:35am

Fri/Sat Only

406

Bimini

12:30pm

Ft Lauderdale

12:55pm

Mon/Thu/Sun

404

Bimini

5:45pm

Ft Lauderdale

6:10pm

Except Fri/Sat

412

Bimini

6:45pm

Ft Lauderdale

7:10pm

Fri/Sat Only

 

 

 

 

 

 

501

Ft Lauderdale

7:00am

Paradise Island

8:05am

Daily

517

Ft Lauderdale

8:45am

Paradise Island

9:50am

Sun/Mon/Thu Only

503

Ft Lauderdale

10:00am

Paradise Island

11:05am

Daily

519

Ft Lauderdale

10:30am

Paradise Island

11:35am

Tue/Wed Only

525

Ft Lauderdale

12:00pm

Paradise Island

1:05pm

Fri/Sat Only

505

Ft Lauderdale

1:00pm

Paradise Island

2:05pm

Daily

521

Ft Lauderdale

1:30pm

Paradise Island

2:35pm

Except Fri/Sat

527

Ft Lauderdale

3:00pm

Paradise Island

4:05pm

Fri/Sat Only

507

Ft Lauderdale

4:30pm

Paradise Island

5:35pm

Daily

 

 

 

 

 

 

502

Paradise Island

8:30am

Ft Lauderdale

9:35am

Daily

518

Paradise Island

10:15am

Ft Lauderdale

11:20am

Sun/Mon/Thu Only

504

Paradise Island

11:30am

Ft Lauderdale

12:35pm

Daily

520

Paradise Island

12:00pm

Ft Lauderdale

1:05pm

Tue/Wed Only

526

Paradise Island

1:30pm

Ft Lauderdale

2:35pm

Fri/Sat Only

506

Paradise Island

2:30pm

Ft Lauderdale

3:35pm

Daily

522

Paradise Island

3:00pm

Ft Lauderdale

4:05pm

Except Fri/Sat

528

Paradise Island

4:30pm

Ft Lauderdale

5:35pm

Fri/Sat Only

508

Paradise Island

6:00pm

Ft Lauderdale

7:05pm

Daily