About Us

Brown’s Seaplane Base was started in 1963 by Jack Brown. His fondness for seaplanes began at an early age, flying an Aeronca C-3 Floatplane on the Kanawha River in West Virginia. This continued during WWII when he flew the Grumman “Flying Boats” and PBYs. Following the war Jack was a civilian instructor and test pilot for the U.S. Air Force stationed in central Florida. He put down roots here and became the fixed base operator at the Winter Haven airport, now Gilbert Field.

Jack’s affection for seaplanes gave him a grand vision for an overgrown area of Lake Jessie, located just southwest of the Winter Haven airport.

In 1975, Jack Brown passed away. His oldest son, Jon, became the FBO Director and the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the single engine sea course.  In December of 2018, Jon’s son-in-law who is a pilot, Ben Shipps, became an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.  In January of 2019, Jon sold the business to Ben.  Along with Jon and Ben, you will find family working in the office, with old friends and past students always dropping in to say “Hello!”.

As much as this is a business, it is also a place where you will come as a stranger, leave as a friend, and know you are always welcome to return.