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Thread: Zenair floats for experimental supercub

  1. #1

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    Zenair floats for experimental supercub

    Has anyone out there had any experinence with using Zenair floats on a exp supercub?

  2. #2
    Grant's Avatar
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    Buggs66 is building a set.

    supercubproject.com

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    I'd take a look at the Montana floats. They perform really well, and are available in kit form.

    MTV

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    I will but they probably cost a lot more than the Zenairs

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I agree with MTV. I have a friend who built a set of Montana amphibs that we put on a Super Cub. The performance was exceptional. Both on/off the water and in flight. I have flown the Montanas, the Wip 2100s and the EDO 339-JHS amphibs on PA-18s and the Montana amphibs were the best of the three with the EDOs second.

    I have another friend with a set of Montanas on his Glastar. They work very well in his application.
    N1PA

  6. #6

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    Sorry for the extreame delay, don!t use this thing often. Ouestion would you build a set again? Also I am 74 don!t know if I have enough time left?

  7. #7
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    My friend was your age or older when he built his Montana's. They are also available already built.

    Take a look here: http://www.montanafloat.com/
    N1PA

  8. #8
    Lowrider
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    Sky,

    I have an email in to Keith at Montana Floats but they do not offer anything lighter than 2200lbs at least on their web site which is a lot bigger than I need for my LSA. At this point, one of the things I am seeking is just a generic idea on where and what to weld up for float fittings. I tried to get info from Zenith but they want me to buy their rigging package at $1900 to get the directions for float fittings. Do you know of any source for this info?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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  9. #9
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    This is a sample of a weld on fitting from A/C Spruce. Looking at the bottom. The three holes at the pointed tabs are for rossette welds. The other hole is for the cross wire attachment.
    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...ldon_float.php

    This: http://www.fadodge.com/index.php?opt...lage&Itemid=53 is another example from Atlee Dodge.

    Both of these fittings are for the rear struts and are mounted at a tubing cluster so that the loads can be distributed throughout the fuselage. The front and diagonal struts attach to the main landing gear fitting. These are for steel tube fuselages, such as yours with a tail wheel. Tricycle gear would be different.

    As you can see, they are simple to make. Basically you could copy your main gear fitting, placing it at the nearest cluster to the back of your door. The rear float strut will be vertical or nearly so. The diagonal and front struts will form a triangle meeting at the main gear fitting with the base of the triangle being the top of the float and originating at the front and rear spreader bar locations.

    You can likely build the fittings from scrap flat steel. The block which attaches the strut to the fitting is just a chunk of aluminum. This is just a simplified explanation. You will need to be sure that all the parts fit together easily without twisting struts and hammering in bolts.

    Remember that most all of the loads on the rear fitting are in compression. The primary purpose of the fuselage fitting is to keep the top end of the rear strut in place, aligned with the tubing cluster. The fuselage tubing takes the landing loads. The rear fitting on a Citabria is only a block of aluminum which is held to the longeron with two stainless steel straps and two 1/4" bolts.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 08-31-2013 at 06:02 AM.
    N1PA

  10. #10
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    Wayne O'Shea should chime in here. I believe Montana's are essentially Murphy floats, upgraded with beefier landing gear and lengthened, with Murphy supplying the components. Having built a set of Murphy 1800 amphibs, I can tell you, it's a big damn job, but not so bad that I wouldn't do it again. I think around 13,000 rivets. Murphy used to have 1500 amphibs, but not sure if they are still available. Saw some Baumann 1500 amphibs at Oshkosh, and they looked nice. Wayne O'Shea has built or flown almost every flavour of float, so hopefully he'll speak on this.

  11. #11
    Lowrider
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    Thanks again Sky!! Now I understand the theory and where for the rear fitting. I can make a set out of 0.100" CM and attach as you described. I need to look at some float equipped SC and see how they run the rudder cables and get that included also.

    Glidestone,

    Murphy still lists their 1500 amphibs and I'll watch for Mr. O'Shea's response. Plan is to build them after I get the plane in the air for a bit...maybe next Winter.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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  12. #12
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Come on now Brent... don't be swellin my head ! Yes Montana's first float was a modified Murphy 1800 built deeper and with better gear systems. A bit more beef as well. Keith Kinden has moved on a long way since those first few years with his latest offerings.

    Another option Lowrider... CLAMAR is now making an LSA amphib float rated at 1400 lbs.

    As for getting some Murphy 1500's.. and really Lowrider should have started a new thread as this is about Zenairs on a full scale experimental SCub at 2000lb or more... are you looking for amphibs or straight floats? There are a few sets of 1500 straights floating around (no pun intended) that the guys are generally looking to trade up to some 1800 straights or amphibs as they have found their Rebel weighs a little more than they thought! Murphy 1500 amphibs are probably as rare as hens teeth and I don't see you getting a set from the factory in any reasonable time period... but you can always ask them. This is what I did to the last set of 1500 amphibs I found..... made them into 1800's!
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    Last edited by irishfield; 08-31-2013 at 01:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Lowrider
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    Thanks Irish!! I had forgotten about Clamar. Looks like you did a fine stretch job too.

    I'm interested in amphibs because I really don't have good place to go from wheels to straight floats even thought I will probably switch back to wheels in the Fall when the water starts to get hard.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  14. #14
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    For those of you on a short budget, if you can locate a set of EDO 1650s you can change them into 2000s or even 2130s using this same method.
    N1PA

  15. #15
    WWhunter's Avatar
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    No personal experience with the Clamar but I did look them over good at Oshkosh. They look very nicely built and do appear to be stout with nice retract gear. Price was a shocker but then any amphib is going to set you back around $30K or more even for these LSA birds. As with a recent conversation I had with a guy that works on these things...."why sell these little floats for a small profit margin when we can build a bigger float (for Caravan's etc.) that give us a huge profit margin. Those are the guys with money and there is not a lot more work involved making the larger float vs. the small one's. Its all about the profit margin" end quote.
    I have noticed the market for a small amphib float has increased considerably since many older pilots are going the LSA route and a lot of these guys have MONEY and lots of it!
    The one's I am aware of are the soon to be released Wip's, Clamar, and Meade. Not sure if Tuff Float will be making an amphib but wouldn't hurt to ask.

  16. #16
    Lowrider
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    WOW!! So much for Clamar...no wonder they don't have a price on their web site. Budget may push me back to Zenith.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  17. #17
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Well if Clamar's are out of your budget range... you won't be hiring me to build you a set either! I put about 480 billable hours into every set of Murphy 1800's that I build and about 80 more hours for the initial strut fabrication, float install (including pump/reservoir/selector and lines) and gear cycling. If someone can build them any faster than that (and keep them straight and leak free) then give me their name and I'll start reselling their work instead of busting my body up drilling and riveting over 13,000 holes.

  18. #18

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    I think tuff will do it for you. i have a set they are well built and TUFF! but a little heavier then you will get with the clamar's. I think you would be the first to get a set of tuff amphibs so it might be a slower process while things get figured out while Clamar has lot's of experience with amphibians and has been improving his system over the years. i don't think you will be disappointed with either product.

  19. #19
    Lowrider
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    Irish,

    I'm just a poor old retired soul having to sell body parts to build an airplane...well...not quite but I am on budget which is why I wanted to build Zenith's myself.

    Your work looks very nice and that quality of work should be appropriately priced...what's a kidney worth anyway?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  20. #20
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Mine.. probably nothing after all the ico-cyanite fumes and acetone absorption that this body has taken!

  21. #21

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    irish, wouldn't that make lowrider's kidney fairly valuable to you !

  22. #22
    Lowrider
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    Mine have had more than a few bad things run thru it so it's probably only worth a spreader bar or some rudder cables.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  23. #23
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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  24. #24
    Lowrider
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    Thanks Glenn! Those fittings are very nice looking and much more precise than I can make by hand.

    I've commissioned #2 son to make Atlee like fittings based upon the ones Bugs66 used for the rear cluster and thanks to a very generous fellow in Dillingham I have drawing coming for cable fittings as well. I may be in pretty good shape now for generic float fittings for the time being....thanks guys!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  25. #25

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    This response is really late but here goes.
    I have built a set of Zenith 2200 amphibs for my airplane. It is a cross between an 18 and a 12. 180HP Supercub wings and empennage, Alaska mods, etc. I have two seasons on the floats now and I'm not at all happy with the performance. I anyone would like me to expound on that, please respond to this thread, else I will figure the subject is on no interest to anyone.

  26. #26

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    I have o experience with the 2200's but have flown their smaller floats, other then they were put together with pop rivets the performance wasn't bad at all, assuming the 2200's are similar design only larger it could be rigging issues. What did you set your AOI at?floats relative to the wing. I would shoot for 4-4.5 degrees. If T/O performance isn't the issue con you elaborate on what your not happy with.
    Thanks Beaverpilot thanked for this post

  27. #27
    Lowrider
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    I currently have my LSA build on hold while I build a house but am still interested in the Zenair floats and would like to hear more details on your experiences with them please.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  28. #28

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    The pop rivets didn't bother me, actually I used solid rivets, where I could, a lot more than the plans called for. I have experimented with several AOI, anywhere from 3 to 6 degrees. I have it pretty good now at 4.8. My biggest complaint is the nose gear and the design around the retract mechanism, as well as the shimmy. I mostly have the shimmy better, but still not eliminated. We have an exceptionally nice grass strip at Felts Field, so I opt for that when I can. I found that the pressed in bronze bearings crashed in the middle of the aluminum block used to hold the forks. That caused a .015 crown that held up the bearing surface. I turned it down on the lathe and it made it better.

    Two major issues with the nose gear.

    1: There is no way to seal the opening where the hydraulic lines go to the actuator cylinder, so if you do any displacement taxiing, water is forced up and into the compartments on either side of the nose gear well.

    2: There is no down lock on the nose gear. The only thing that holds it in the down position is the hydraulic pressure in the cylinder. Since the cylinder is fully extended and virtually parallel to the gear leg, the geometry is so poor that the gear comes out of the full down position when you push the airplane backwards. Once you do that the wheels caster around and produce so much camber that they will no longer caster. Then you are screwed. If you have lots of big friends they can sit on the back of the floats and raise nose so the gear can go back into the full down position. What I have to do is use cargo straps between the nose gear and the step to hold the gear in the full down position. I don't know why they changed the design between the 1800's and the 2200's but they should have left it the way it was. The Zenith guys have been unresponsive to these issues.

    I can post pictures if anyone is interested. I sent some to Zenith, but as I said, unresponsive.

    If I had it to do over, I would not build these floats.
    Thanks Lowrider, cub12 thanked for this post
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  29. #29
    Lowrider
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    I'm disappointed in the lack of response from Zenith. Seems both of these issues should have be re-engineered to resolve the problems you've had.

    Thanks so much for the reply and I may need to reconsider my interest in the Zenith floats. Stay safe at Felts and stay warm...Spring is coming!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  30. #30

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    What are you running for pressure in your front wheels? When we had the aerocets installed on our c180 the shop was adamant that we run really high pressures to avoid a shimmy, i run 60 psi in my tail wheel for the same reason but we run 80psi in the front wheels on the amphibs. Sorry to hear about the rest, i would have thought a company like zenair would have done better and surly been quick wanting to rectify any inadequacies.
    It might be worth giving Montana floats a call to see if you could adapt there front gear system.

  31. #31

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    Just another thought. I am not familiar at all with how the zenair system works, but will leaving the master on to provide power to the hydraulic pump so it can keep the pressure up hold them in the full down position while you are pushing the plane back? Assuming their are position and pressure sensors.

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by cub12 View Post
    Just another thought. I am not familiar at all with how the zenair system works, but will leaving the master on to provide power to the hydraulic pump so it can keep the pressure up hold them in the full down position while you are pushing the plane back? Assuming their are position and pressure sensors.
    The problem is the geometry on the gear legs. The pump has a set pressure. When it reaches that setting it goes into bypass. Meaning the motor runs but it won't go higher than the maximum pressure setting. I actually talked to Parker, the manufacturer of the pump. They shut me down almost immediately. It seems that they are worried about liability because the pumps are used on airplanes, something they didn't design it for. They refused to sell parts or give me any information. They seemed to be miffed that Zenith was selling the pumps for this purpose.

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by cub12 View Post
    What are you running for pressure in your front wheels? When we had the aerocets installed on our c180 the shop was adamant that we run really high pressures to avoid a shimmy, i run 60 psi in my tail wheel for the same reason but we run 80psi in the front wheels on the amphibs. Sorry to hear about the rest, i would have thought a company like zenair would have done better and surly been quick wanting to rectify any inadequacies.
    It might be worth giving Montana floats a call to see if you could adapt there front gear system.
    I have thought about adapting their system or even the Wipaire design. The problem is that it would take ripping the whole front section off the floats. Not an easy thing to do as the top skin is one 12 foot long piece. The keel is also a single piece, all the way back to the step.

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