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By Roger Chartier

 

Norman Gingras - Seaplane Pilot

Island Air - New Bedford Harbor - Cuttyhunk - Acushnet River

M.L. Baron reminisces:
"Stormin' Norman's seaplane c1973. Pilot Norman Gingrass (late) flew the air "taxi-cab", landing and taking off daily from The Acushnet River to Cuttyhunk and the islands for many years.

In this picture postcard, the plane is docked at the Cuttyhunk Harbor Marina, home base for Island Air Service, Inc. of Rochester, MA.

The once familiar noise of the single engine seaplane screvving up and taking off from the Acushnet River is but a fond memory.

I flew a few times to Cuttyhunk and knew Norman.

He was one of the best pilots in the area, but was known to take chances in bad weather.  The plane was also based at the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Docks on Middle St and had an identical float along side to tie up.

I saw and recall one dramatic moment and near multi-fatal disaster in 1984 when State Rep Goyette's fueling cabin cruiser bilges exploded in a huge fire ball tossing all souls over-board.

The seaplane was just minutes away from docking at the same location to pick up 5- Five gallon containers full of gasoline waiting along side right where the cruiser exploded! The containers never ignited. Most of the victims were treated and released, but Goyette was hospitalized for a length of time. His nickname ironically was "Sparky". - Photo and above notes from the MLBaron Historic Collection

Notes from Roger Chartier:

The Coast Guard Auxiliary 605 that Norman Gingras belonged to credited him with his assistance in search and rescue and weather reporting during his years of service.

His airplane was a Coast Guard Auxiliary Operational Facility. At one point, he operated from an unpermitted float on the north side of the dock at the public pier.

The neighbors were up in arms about his use of airspace. His customers parking their vehicles was taking up too much space.

It all got resolved, and he eventually bought the Gubelini property and had his own base. This was located on the south side of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Clubhouse. Besides his mostly regular flights to Cuttyhunk, he also flew to other locations. (Click the picture for a larger image)

1973 Photo Norman Gingras - FLoat Plane Pilot - New Bedford - Cuttyhunk Island - www.WhalingCity.net

 
 
 
 

 


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