We have some very cool reading for these hot nights and days
Pat Bradford cooling it on the Northeast Cape Fear River. The fishing rig is a Penn Senator reel on a
Daiwa 1500 6-foot cork-handle rod.
ICOULDN’T be more pleased
with Allison Potter’s photog-raphy
of the Battleship North
Carolina. On our cover and
inside, see more and learn about her
new digs in a photo essay starting on
You’ll notice the freshly painted
battleship has a restored Kingfisher
seaplane on her deck. The WWII-era
aircraft was used for observation
and rescue but was also involved
in anti-submarine patrols, helping
battleships hit their targets, and
doing mail runs.
The USS North Carolina
carried three Vought Aeronautics
Kingfisher seaplanes into the war
theater. Two were lost on the same day in 1944 while protecting aircraft carriers and doing rescues. A third, OS2U-3, was recovered
from its 1942 crash site near uninhabited Calvert Island, Canada. After a year of restoration in Dallas by retired Vought workers called
the Quarter Century Club, the amphibious plane was dedicated and placed back aboard the battleship on June 25, 1971.
I am sure you’ll agree that this fascinating bit of history of our beloved battleship and Allison’s photos, coupled with Robert Rehder’s
poignant remembrance (or tall tales) of fishing trips to remote Hutaff Island’s north end for red drum, set up the perfect segue into my
cool aerial tour of Wilmington’s downtown waterfront with former airline pilot, certificated flight instructor, and FAA Designated
Pilot Examiner David Lackey in his classic Maule M-7-260 amphibious aircraft.
To the delight of tourists lining the historic riverfront and opposite shore by the battleship, Lacky, with me aboard, made numerous
landings and takeoffs on the Cape Fear River. In our In View section, you’ll see a fabulous shot of the Riverfront Park concert venue,
which we flew over in the float plane.
My day in the air and on the water with “Aqua Man” was an exciting adventure. The downtown riverfront is so beautiful from the air
and from the river itself. One of the day’s surprises was the vast tracts of undeveloped forested land between Wilmington and Rocky
Point, where we landed on the river.
This high adventure ended with a dream fishing photo on the Northeast Cape Fear River, the boundary between New Hanover and
Pender counties. Exploring this part of the river has been on my bucket list for years. The contrast between the city waterfront and the
total serenity of the tributary couldn’t have been more dramatic.
In addition to Wilmington’s Modern Aviation at ILM, Lackey’s home base is waterfront on the Northeast Cape Fear, where his
orange and white floatplane is tied out front to the dock.
From there he trains and certifies seaplane pilots under the moniker Aqua Aero, begun in 2020.
Also in this issue, canine lovers will find recipes for man’s best friend from the Paws Place cookbook. Our music-themed Home of
Distinction at Anchors Bend is the work of contractor Annah Norris and architect designer Channing Glover.
I have no idea how we will top this; we’ll all just have to wait and see. In the meantime, life on this earth is precious. I encourage you
to embrace it with family and friends this month.
Pat’s hair by Frank Potter, styled by Rob Asp, makeup styled by Anastasia Lonesky, all with Wilmington’s Bangz Hair Salon.