Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2017
The Seaplane Pilots Association Field Director for Indiana is Randy Strebig, who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He now lives on Lake James between Ft. Wayne and Angola, Indiana, and owns and operates Strebig Construction, Inc., a commercial and industrial design build construction firm in Ft. Wayne that he started as a remodeling business as a teenager in high school. The business, which now involves commercial real estate sales and development, is celebrating its 37th anniversary with $16 million in project volume in 2016.
All his life Strebig has been a lake and water enthusiast. He received his Private Pilot Certificate in 1995 and immediately proceeded to get his Instrument Rating in his 1981 Piper Saratoga, which he flew for 22 years until transitioning to a Piper Mirage earlier in 2017.
Strebig got his seaplane rating and bought a new Maule M-7 235 on Baumann straight floats in 1997. Of his 3800 total hours, 1450 are on floats.
Strebig has flown his Maule to the east coast, west coast, and as far north as Alaska, and south of the border. One of his favorite trips is to the annual floatplane pilgrimage to the International Seaplane Splash-In in Greenville, Maine.
In 2006, Strebig established a private airstrip, where he keeps his beautifully restored 1940 J-3 Cub and a 1953 Cessna 180. He and a friend fly the taildraggers on skis in the winter and wheels in the summer.
In the fall of 1998, at the close of Strebig’s first season on floats, the State of Indiana requested that seaplane pilots stop flying on Indiana lakes until they conformed with an administrative code requiring landing areas to be established. That’s when Strebig became a field director with the Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA) and he hasn’t stopped working on seaplane advocacy and regulation since.
Strebig has now established 17 private-use seaplane bases, and formed the Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association (ISPA) to better serve seaplane interests in Indiana. Through assistance and education, ISPA is designed to work with the Federal Aviation Administration, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Indiana Department of Transportation to preserve and protect water-flying interests, and to promote goodwill in general aviation as a whole. Since then, the State of Indiana has disbanded private-use landing lakes, and is gradually converting them to public use. The Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association is currently working on an inventory in excess of 30 public-use landing lakes in the state.
Strebig is currently President of the Board of Aviation Commissioners at Tri-State Airport (KANQ) in Steuben County, and has organized a seaplane fly-in at Pokagon State Park in 2003.
Strebig loves designing, building and creating solutions that meet the interesting needs of straight float aircraft, including lifts, fueling systems, and transport carts. He has shared his designs with others to solve the challenges that straight floats create.
Strebig had no idea back in 1995 when he got his Private Pilot Certificate that aviation would be so defining to his life. In fact, he never even thought he wanted to own an airplane back then because it really seemed like an overwhelming responsibility. Today, Strebig could never imagine his life without aviation, floatplanes, taildraggers, and most of all, the sharing of flying with others.