A Frank Odell Web Page


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This page introduces the viewer to the Thurston Teal amphibious airplane and to water flying.  Words have been added to provide knowledge and to share personal experience during the tour.

This page was created using Microsoft Front Page. Some features, i.e. titles, are not compatible with some web browsers. Firefox is one example of lack of compatibility.

Unofficial Web Page

Page History:

Original Page: 02/21/98

Improvement: 10/31/03 11/13/03
10/17/04 05/25/05


[Logo thurston]

[Teal taking off]

[Logo Teal]


Manufactured in Sanford, Maine, USA.
Designed by Mr. Dave Thurston of Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA.

An airplane of distinction.

[Teal on flyby 1] [Teal on flyby 2]

The Teal was designed as a manufactured or kit plane. It was built both ways. The kit built Teals that I have seen were not pretty, but were obviously kept and used in the great outdoors. They have many little modifications such as additional splash rails to keep water off the wind screen during water operations. The factory built aircraft are a high quality all medal product. They are strong and able to survive a harsh operating environment. Crashing through even small ripples at 65 to 70 Knots is a tremendous strain on the airframe. Nearly 40 Teals were factory built.

A Teal is perfect for two people to go fly fishing in the great wilderness of northern Maine. The load carrying ability is not great, but is enough to allow for two passengers, tent, blowup boat and grub for several days. Of course, you are suppose to catch fish for food, but just in case that does not happen there is room for food on board. These aircraft have given their owners many happy days of fishing where few can go. The cabin is large enough for four people, but with the propeller arc where it is it is not legal or smart to carry any one in the back area of the cabin.

[Teal taking off] [Teal and John Thurston]

A sea plane can open many horizons for a pilot. Walking distance of an airport or car rental is not a limiting factor if you can land on any pond. In a state like Maine where a lot of people live near the water (lake, pond or ocean) a seaplane can make visiting friends across large areas easy to do. One note: Operating off saltwater with a medal airframe is not a good idea. This will considerably shorten the life of the airplane.

This is the man who is a deity to water pilots. Other aircraft designers invoke his name when they seek attention. He is the person who made the SA-16/UF-1, the Teal and the Laker series of aircraft what they are. His history goes farther back, but I can not recall it accurately enough to recount it. I believe it involves the Goose and others. He is Mr. Dave Thurston.

[Teal taking off] [Teal drifting passed]

The Teal is a heavy feeling airplane. I describe the feel as being similar to a light twin that is controlled with a joystick. Landing on the water is not a difficult task with this airplane, but landing on land can be exciting. It has a high thrust-line, narrow wheel base, tail wheel control, and heavy weight distributed well above the Center Line and outboard on the wings. This adds up to stay awake when landing on land. The engine controls are overhead center of the cockpit.

The Teal is not a perfect looking airplane. It has a bit of "purpose built" look to it. When the airplane was designed it was a very innovative concept. The landing gear is raised and lowered with a large lever mounted in the center aft cockpit area. The water rudder is also raised and lowered with a smaller lever near the landing gear lever. The water rudder must be up when taking-off or landing. It makes a loud bang if a water landing is attempted with the device in the down position. I know about the loud bang.

Photographs shown above were taken by Mr. G. Cheney, Newton Junction, New Hampshire, USA.
I believe Mr. Cheney is one of the best water pilots in the world today.
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Web Page Created By Frank C. Odell
Merritt Island, Florida, USA