02/22/2003. Remarks by Jack Garey: "N2200K and the other Luscombes at Dobbs Ferry Seaplane Base had no electrical systems.... no cockpit or external lights, no starter and no radio... because a generator would have required larger floats and less performance.
In January 1955, at age 16, I had accumulated about 18 hours and needed to go on my required 3-cornered solo cross country which I set out to complete one very cold afternoon right after school was out. I plotted-out the flight with the FBO, Claude Dilworth who was a little put-off by my "know it all" attitude. The course was Dobbs Ferry-Port Jervis-Matamoras-Newburgh-Dobbs Ferry.
Neither of us gave a thought to the fact that the sun would go down while I was over the Kitatinny Mountains between Port Jervis and Matamoras. After it began to get dark it became freezing cold and I encountered a lot of turbulence. I toyed with the idea of making a beeline back to Dobbs Ferry in what little light might remain, but I decided that since I was paying for this misery I might as well try to make all my checkpoints. So, on I went.
At Newburgh I made my turn to follow the Hudson back to Dobbs Ferry and got ready for a night landing on the Hudson with no landing lights. The downwind leg was at 750 ft (230 m) right along the edge of the 800 ft (244 m) Palisades cliffs on the west shore. I turned base leg opposite the lights of downtown Hastings and could pretty well see where the shore was.
When I figured I was at about 100 ft (30 m) and over water, I put in some power and pulled the nose up as if I were making what they call a 'glassy water landing'. It is slow flight until the splash, with no attempt to judge altitude. The textbook landing was made about 200 yd (180 m) short of the dock. I taxied in and Claude was a very happy FBO to see his plane return safely and had an improved attitude about my capabilities as a pilot. I was just glad to have made my big cross country under such difficult conditions.
N2200K was the hybrid aircraft I flew when I was 16 to earn my ticket. The aircraft crashed into the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River, New York, in January of 1957 killing the instructor and student. You might get some observations that this can`t be an 8A because of the metal wings and single strut. The FBO had a regular Luscombe junkyard on the hangar roof so there was a lot of mixing and matching. That`s why I call it a hybrid."