After the closing of Antilles Air Boats it certainly left a void in downtown to downtown air transportation between the islands.  The expertise in flying and maintaining seaplanes was certainly available as was the Grumman Mallard. Virgin Island Seaplane Shuttle came at the right time for the many Virgin Islanders both as passengers and employees. 

The PT-6 Turbine conversion made the Grumman Mallard a much better aircraft for commercial service with the increase in available weight as well as its reliability.  It all came at a price.

It was unfortunate timing that a number of aircraft were out of service and could not fly out to avoid Hurricane Hugo.

 

The last of the hull seaplanes in service between the islands.  Enter Seaborne. 

J-4
J-9
J-10
J-11
J-25
J-28
J-32
J-38
J-53
J-55
photo credit Michael Prophet
photo credit Michael Prophet

Frakes Mallard Turbine Conversion

St. John, U.S.V.I.

Video shows the destruction on St. Croix. 45 minutes in shows VISS and the catastrophic results of Hugo at the STX seaplane ramp.

mallard cover.jpg

Chapter 9 - The Caribbean Shuttle

The above excerpts posted with approval of Matt Rodina Jr,
Rodina-Matthew-3.jpg

N611SS

Charlie Freehling and Matt Rodina on the G-73 Mallard. VISS Mallards operated with either the PT-6 turbine or PW  R1340's.

Former VISS pilot Kathleen Bangs sent photos of a rare collectible.
photo credit Matt Rodina
photo credit Charlie Freehling
photo credit Charlie Freehling
photo credit Charlie Freehling
photo credit Charlie Freehling
photo credit Charlie Freehling

N611SS was spared by Hurricane Hugo in St. Croix in 1989 only to be destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in Miami in 2005

N2948 - Texaco  

J-11 

Mfg. 12/31/46 NC2948

June 1947  Air Commuting Inc. - NY, NY

June 1948  Texas Co. Inc - NY, NY

          Reregistered  N1628  (6/63)

          Ferried to Houma, Louisiana 

Sept 1983  Dean Franklin - Miami, FL

           Reregistered N76DF

1984  Virgin Island Seaplane Shuttle

           Reregistered N611SS (3/21/85)

May 1990  Caribbean Airline Services. Inc. - P.R.

Dec 1991  Sea Air Shuttle, Inc. - P.R.

May 2000  U.S. Distributors, Inc. - Miami, FL

Severely Damaged by Hurricane Wilma 2005  

on Watson Island, 

April 2006  Lake Air, Inc. - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Registration expired in 2011 / Current status unknown.

N611SS Watson Island, Miami, FL 
photo credit Matt Rodina
_On the Step with thatmallardguy on Appl
photo credit Matt Rodina

Jeff Johnson

shared some of his VISS photos on Facebook G-73 page and I thought I would include them here. Great photos!

more photos by Michael Prophet

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