We get asked that question quite a bit by the folks that come flying with us when we’re doing our pre-flight paperwork.
Generally, our passengers are not disappointed when they find out that Romeo and Juliet are not two anguished lovers. In fact, they’re about to take off in one of them: Romeo and Juliet are the nicknames we have for our two Maule aircraft. Our Maule M5-235C – registered VH-Yankee Lima JULIET – is the red and cream one, and our Maule M7-235C – registered VH-Delta ROMEO India – is the blue and white one.
A lot of people have never heard of Maules, but the company has a great and interesting history. It was started by the pioneering Belford. D. Maule (or “BD”) after WWII based on prototypes he’d built as early as 1930. The aircraft that are still rolling off the production line in Moultrie, Georgia, USA today is not that much different from the first M4’s that were built in the 1950s. You’ll find a whole lot more interesting reading about the Maule story here.
They both have very great histories, but as usual, the lady gets the most attention for her exciting travels. Juliet was built in 1976, and she spent the next three decades in Alaska. Like many aircraft up there Juliet would spend her springs and summers on floats buzzing between the countless wilderness lakes in that part of the world. In autumn she would fly into Lake Hood in Anchorage, be lifted up and have the floats replaced by wheel/skis, ready for flying off snow and ice. Her last owner in the US, Charlie Akers, founded Alaska Mountain Air and would use Juliet to fly hunters, fishermen, hikers, and sightseers into some amazing places (sadly, Charlie passed away in July 2015……….he was an amazing guy…. check out his story!.)
South Coast Seaplanes’ Chief Pilot Tim Gilbo bought Juliet in 2006. She began what would end up a very long trek south. Tim flew her across Alaska and through the Yukon to California, landing on snow runways all the way, and from there she was shipped to South Africa. Shortly afterward Tim flew her up through Mozambique to Malawi, which would be home for the next three years. In 2009 she moved to Botswana, flying across Mozambique and Zimbabwe to get there, and spent the next couple of years flying to exciting places all across southern Africa.
In 2010 she made the trip back to Johannesburg before getting on another boat to her new home in Australia. The floats went back on in Moruya, and she’s been showing people the wonders of the Batemans Marine Park with South Coast Seaplanes ever since. Quite a well-traveled lady.
Romeo, on the other hand, is more of an Australian bloke. He was built in 1996, and shortly afterward was shipped to Australia and went straight on to the floats. Romeo spent many years operating out of Hobart with Tasmanian Seaplanes: back in those days, he used to sport a pretty garish orange and yellow paint scheme over the white (the aircraft equivalent of a mullet?). Romeo was bought by a private owner around 2005 and fully restored, getting the new blue on white livery. He spent another few years on adventure trips around the Tasmanian wilderness. Afterwards, he was bought in 2016 by South Coast Seaplanes and came back across Bass Strait to Moruya.
Now Romeo gets to spend lots of time with Juliet, flying around the beautiful waterways of the NSW South Coast. A much happier ending than was the case in the play, we think.
Come and meet them both yourself and experience one of our incredible Seaplane flights – Book your Today!