Livin’ Large Airing

The plane–boat also was featured on the newly syndicated Livin’ Large TV series hosted by Carmen Electra and Kadeem Hardison. The episode aired the weekend of March 1–2, 2003.

Travel Channel Airing

The Travel Channel featured the plane–boat on World's Best: Top Ten Outrageous Homes on April 3 at 8 p.m. EST. It checked in at No. 4. A film crew taped the Cosmic Muffin for the show at Ft. Lauderdale’s Riverwalk on November 20.

The show was to be re-aired on May 19 at 11 p.m. and May 25 at 7 p.m.

Photo by Albert W. Starkweather 

Travel Channel crew taping the Cosmic Muffin.

Weird Homes to Air Plane–Boat in Canada

The Cosmic Muffin also will be featured on Life Network’s Weird Homes. Air dates in Canada are April 12, 2003 at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. PST and April 13 at 4 p.m. PST. Air dates for U.S. affiliates were not announced.


Univision Network Airings

The Cosmic Muffin was aired on the Univision TV Network show Control on May 31. Another Univision crew taped the plane–boat in action for Ver para Creer, which aired June 24.

Photos by Albert W. Starkweather 

Univision crew aboard the Cosmic Muffin.

Boeing Logo Added

A replica of the original Boeing Stratoliner logo and CAA (now the FAA) registration number was added to the Cosmic Muffin in June, along with the Web site address.

Photos by Albert W. Starkweather 

In Print

The plane–boat was featured in two magazine articles — Bound for buoyancy, published on June 12 in Fort Lauderdale’s Eastsider magazine, and the July–August Airliners magazine No. 82. Author/photographer for the latter — Airliner Homes: Living the Dream — is Bob Shane, a good friend of Dave Drimmer and official Cosmic Muffin photographer.

Crash Test Dummy?

The plane–boat was a participant as a visual aid in the 2003 Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport crash test drill on Aug. 26 off Dania Beach. The Cosmic Muffin “crashed”into the water at 10 a.m. as Global Air Flight 503 to simulate a Boeing 767–400 with 290 passengers on board that takes off from the airport. The plane–boat was being used only as a prop and was anchored in place to provide the look of a downed aircraft in the water.

Approximately 30–40 “victims” were rescued from the water by sea craft and helicopters, to be treated at a triage and sent to hospitals, if needed. This exercise was large in scope and rarely done away from the airport. It involved many local agencies including the Airport Authority, Marine Patrol, EMS, police departments, Port Everglades Authority, Emergency Management, Red Cross and support agencies.

Federal participants included the U.S. Coast Guard, FAA, NTSB, FBI, and EPA. This was a media event to show how these entities respond and coordinate their personnel and equipment to save lives. It was video recorded and will be used as a national training aid for other airports around the country.


National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

First Powered Flight

With Orville Wright at the controls and Wilbur Wright mid-stride, right, the 1903 Wright Flyer makes its first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903.

Cosmic Celebration of the Wrights

The Cosmic Muffin will host an open house on Wednesday, December 17, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Las Olas Riverfront in honor of the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright brothers. The event is free and open to the public, and is the only Wright anniversary event planned in Fort Lauderdale so far.

Featured will be exhibits from the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) newest facility — the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center — near Washington Dulles International Airport. Cosmic Muffin owner David Drimmer will be a special guest of Boeing for the December 11 event.

More Details >

Welcome aboard ... Cosmic Muffin,
the outboard-powered airplane

By Ken Kaye
Staff Writer

December 16 2003

Sun-Sentinel / Michael Laughlin

Dave Drimmer is the owner of a Boeing 307 that has been converted into a boat called the Cosmic Muffin.

It’s not often you get to board a classic airliner, let alone one that has been converted into a boat.
As part of Centennial of Flight festivities honoring the Wright brothers, the public is invited to a free tour of the Cosmic Muffin from 5 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday while it’s docked near the Las Olas Riverfront gazebo in Fort Lauderdale.

At one time, this was a vintage Boeing 307 Stratoliner and billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes’ private plane, powered by four 900-horsepower radial piston engines. Now it’s a floating fuselage, driven by two 50-horsepower outboard marine engines.

“This is just going to be a casual recognition and celebration of 100 years of flight,” said Dave Drimmer, the plane-boat’s owner, noting that Dec. 17 is the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.

The Cosmic Muffin, named by Margaritaville crooner Jimmy Buffett, has been a familiar sight around Fort Lauderdale since the early 1980s, when Drimmer bought it. At various times it has been moored off Bayview Drive and on the Middle River near East Sunrise Boulevard. Now it resides in the Las Olas Isles area.

During its days as an airplane, it was one of only 10 Stratoliners built. Boeing had to limit production of commercial airliners at the onset of World War II because of the need for military aircraft.

The Boeing 307 Stratoliner was the first four-engine transport to be pressurized. With 36 seats, it was wider and more comfortable than a 21-seat DC-3, said Eugene Banning, of Boca Raton, a former Pan Am pilot and an aviation historian.

Banning flew a Stratoliner that is going on a display at the new Smithsonian air museum near Washington, DC.

“I only flew it once,” he said. “As I remember, it was pretty heavy on the controls. But it flew very easily and nicely.”

While overseeing Trans World Airlines, Hughes pulled a 21-ton Stratoliner out of service for his own use, dubbing it The Flying Penthouse. It had a bar, bedroom and shower-equipped bathroom. After flying it about 500 hours, he sold it to a Texas millionaire.

In 1969, while the plane was abandoned at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, aviation enthusiast Kenneth London gave it new life as a boat, cutting off the wings and tail and fitting a hull around the fuselage.

Today, the 56-foot craft, once capable of cruising at 220 mph, putters along at a top speed of 15 mph. Through Drimmer’s company, Plane Boats Inc., it is available for dockside charters at $100 per hour.

And it is driven with the plane’s original controls, although Drimmer admits he is not a pilot.
“Do I fly? Sure, every time I buy a ticket and get on a plane,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m an aviation enthusiast like millions of others.”

Ken Kaye can be reached at kkaye@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7911.

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