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Thread: Thinking about a newer plane for teaching Float-Plane Flying

  1. #1
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Thinking about a newer plane for teaching Float-Plane Flying

    I have loved my little PA-11 90 horse for the last 9 years or so.... She is the perfect float-Plane trainer.
    But after years in a semi-salty lake and an Airport only yards from the ocean, she is starting to show the need for some heavy duty loving in a nice hangar. The problem is that here in Homer finding longer term affordable hangar space is impossible.

    So I am faced with a heart wrenching decision, either:

    A. Sell the Dragon-Lady and buy another affordable Cub ( maybe with a starter and lights) for seaplane instruction,,,,,,,

    B. Find an out of town hangar and A&P for a long term rebuild which would put me out of business for a year.

    C. Close up shop and find a new hobby job.


    Selling the Dragon-Lady would be like shooting Old Yeller...

    Thoughts ???

  2. #2
    Anne's Avatar
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    Definitely "A." Name her Dragon Lady Too.

    Anne.
    Baloney is still baloney, no matter how thin you slice it.

  3. #3
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    If I stop flying seaplanes...? Unthinkable at the moment. To much fun.

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  5. #5
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    I sent him an E-Mule. Although, I just get by with doing legal check-rides because I do not have an electrical system and I have the lighter weight C-90-8 engine.
    So I am betting his 0-200 engine with a starter might make things a bit heavy.

  6. #6

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    I hope you don't do anything too soon; I'm planning on visiting you in the Spring. Craig

  7. #7
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Definitely "A." Name her Dragon Lady Too.

    Anne.
    Divorce is expensive, but a new love is worth it!
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  8. #8
    aktango58's Avatar
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    know why divorce is expensive?

    cause they are worth it!

    Get your ducks in a row, maybe a new fuse in the shop.

    tear it down come freeze up and work hard all winter, fly in spring...

    winter two do wings.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  9. #9
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    tear it down come freeze up and work hard all winter, fly in spring...winter two do wings.
    That's exactly how I did mine. (Wings were a plan change when I ran out'a winter.)
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  10. #10
    Bonanza32GF's Avatar
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    Alex,

    I have many fond memories of the time spent with you in the "Dragon Lady". While I cannot help with your decision, I believe that an O-200 powered J-3 would be a disappointment after the "Dragon Lady."

  11. #11
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Around here a space in an overcrowded, unheated hangar with a leaky roof is $300 a month.
    When I rented a nice heated hangar it was around $1,600 a month.
    Seven months of that will reduce any money I could throw at the Cub by at least $11,000

  12. #12
    docstory's Avatar
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    It sounds like you need to build a shop.
    With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
    "To be born free is an accident. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility."
    --- Brig. Gen. Robby Risner

  13. #13
    docstory's Avatar
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    Why out of town hangar and A&P? Are their none you trust in Homer?
    With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
    "To be born free is an accident. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility."
    --- Brig. Gen. Robby Risner

  14. #14
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Can't get a good hangar for the time required

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    Rebuild the same way Johnny Cash built his car...."one piece at a time". It'll barely cost you a dime

  16. #16
    docstory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gervae View Post
    Rebuild the same way Johnny Cash built his car...."one piece at a time". It'll barely cost you a dime
    I don't know...He did end up with only one tail fin.
    With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
    "To be born free is an accident. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility."
    --- Brig. Gen. Robby Risner

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    Of course here we can rebuild stuff outside in the winter, so that's what I will do. I have enough spare pieces so that down time would be one or two weeks.

    But Alex is right - the costs of rebuild far exceed the costs of just buying a good one. And having a starter motor on a seaplane sounds like a pretty good idea.

    The caveat on this one - which, by the way, I forwarded to a handful of potential Cub buyers, is the paperwork. I have seen airplanes modified like this one with an IA signature on a stack of 337s without approved data, and no FAA stamp in block 3. I am not sure what happens when an accident occurs and the paperwork is examined.

    If the paperwork is legit and the thing is anywhere near 800# empty, then this looks like a good deal.

  18. #18
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    Alex,
    What is your priority?,...keeping and flying that particular Cub, or float instruction?

    You can refurbish a Cub in a garage, or large living room . However, I suspect at some point you would talk yourself into a starter and other fun stuff. Although I hate the thought of someone drawing down of Old Yeller, maybe a different plane would really work better for your purposes.

    Option C sounds unreasonable. Just think of how much trouble you'd likely get into with all that extra money you wouldn't be spending on an airplane.

    Jim W

  19. #19
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    I was lucky with the Dragon Lady because I managed to get the FAA records ( a computer CD) that showed the conversion was legit.
    And it followed all of Atlee's STC's . I have flown in more than a few other converted J3s which were a hybrid of various other styles and shoe-box paperwork.

    While a starter is not really a big deal for a personal use aircraft. it becomes a little more desirable when you are spending 6-8 hours a day instructing and you have to unbuckle, crawl out and hand start the plane 5-12 times a day while trying not to whack another expensive plane our get your wings caught in the shore-line trees. According to my logs my little plane has made 3,500+ landings on floats alone.
    Sooner or later the hand propping will get me...


    An older Ag model 18 or even a 125 or 135 Super Cub on EDO's would work just fine for what I do...
    I have been shopping around and everyone thinks their Super Cub is worth more than a C-185.

    And yes I have even eyed a couple lower end C-180s. While I could cut the hours of flight time because of the extra speed between points, the 300% increase in fuel consumption and higher maintenance bills would make it not very attractive for lessons. Yes I could do a little more multi person flight seeing, but that was only major business concern 5 years ago. Tourism is way down in our area.
    Last edited by Alex Clark; 07-07-2013 at 02:42 PM.

  20. #20
    aktango58's Avatar
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    for a shop, look for a garage. One wings are off, the rest is pretty small.

    Maybe a 90 hp cub?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  21. #21
    docstory's Avatar
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    +1 0n the 90hp cub. Many cubs get rebuilt in garages. Hang the wings on the walls. You can even hang them on the outside if you take precautions.
    With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
    "To be born free is an accident. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility."
    --- Brig. Gen. Robby Risner

  22. #22

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    Buy an 85 or 90 hp TCraft....they are cheap and you could rebuild Dragon Lady and still have a flying plane while you rebuild. Then sell it. A TCraft makes a great little float plane. My C90 powerered TCraft cruises at over 95 on floats and gets off great even loaded.

  23. #23
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Alex ,
    To make money with a small seaplane, why is a PA18/95 not the answer? Same operating
    Expenses as the 11, starter &lights. Great for the student great for your bottom line
    They sell all the time for 40k instead of 80plus. More comfortable than the 11, probably use your
    Same floats? Great little airplanes?

  24. #24
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboBeaver View Post
    Alex ,
    To make money with a small seaplane, why is a PA18/95 not the answer? Same operating
    Expenses as the 11, starter &lights. Great for the student great for your bottom line
    They sell all the time for 40k instead of 80plus. More comfortable than the 11, probably use your
    Same floats? Great little airplanes?
    Simple answer: Useful load vs weight of applicans/instructor. And remember that an examiner is going to have to fly (legally) in the plane with an applicant. And, you don't often get to choose examiners.

    in case you haven't noticed, the average weight of pilots these days seems to run around 200 +.

    I sold old my Super Cub and bought a Cessna 170 for this very reason, though this was before Wipline got their 2000 GW mod approved.

    Alex has done pretty much the same.

    MTV

  25. #25
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Lol, well so are you implying Americans are getting bigger as a species ? Wonder if Kentucky Fried, McDonalds,
    Or Pizza Hut are somehow mixed up in this? And the old Bud Helmricks special a "C170", what a great old ship.
    I think Jay Hammond had a soft spot for them as well, Mike you are getting mighty close to 8k on the posts........

  26. #26
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Well this is an old thread.
    The Dragon lady was sold off in late 2013 and I bought a C-172N with floats. It is OK as a float trainer, much more comfy to sit inside-of all day and goes cross country a good bit faster ( 90 knots) than the 65 mph PA-11.

    It also allows me to do two person flight seeing trips around the bay. Which was a big complaint before. Although a couple people called up and said they would NOT get their float rating with me because they thought a Cessna would be boring. BUT, then again, these same people have been talking and ONLY talking about coming here for 12 years and they still have not done it....

    Here she is
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECMBh-XvxZ4

  27. #27
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Nice looking Skyhawk Alex, which floats have you got under it? Have a couple friends that have them with 180hp anf they both are
    On Pk 2300s, nice working airplanes! Hope it works good for ya. Video looks great this morning ,while
    I am watching you fly around in summer weather, spray flying.............
    Its 10 below and blowing its guts out here!

  28. #28
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    They are not that bad, I've got a ton of time in 180hp Skyhawks on wheels, and this summer got some more time in a later 160 model on floats. Think it had an 80" prop, that made a huge difference over the smaller prop, which is what I had time in before.

  29. #29
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Mine is a 160 horse with a Power Flow Exhaust and Horton Wings.
    The floats are PK-2300s. The older model with the microscopic sweet spot. Which is a good ting for teaching floats.

    She does OK.

    Here is a rough draft of a video that we have not yet finished.
    Chris the camera guy and myself were doing some demo landings and take-offs one frosty fall morning. Eventually we are going to add some under the screen words to explain what i am doing wrong and why one take-off is longer than the other. Still all in all she does OK considering a bunch of folks said that a C-172 would not work on floats. This will only be here for awhile....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB2l...ature=youtu.be

  30. #30
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    By the way, for pure float flying fun,,,, into small lakes and ponds, with lots of twisting and turning through the trees, NOTHING beats a 180 horse PA-18 or a Husky. The PA-11-95 was very close because of the light weight.. at half the fuel burn.

  31. #31
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20150218_080817.jpg 
Views:	39 
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ID:	19036Looks like it does a darn good job! I sure as heck prefer those floats to 2000s when the wind comes up! (Hate a 4 place airplane on 2000's, compleate mystery why Edo never
    certified the Sedan on 2425 Stinson floats ?) Look a his right float, No wind and no passengers .Yours is a nice looking outfit
    Thanks for sharing!
    E
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 02-18-2015 at 08:19 AM.

  32. #32
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    The PK-2300s are made of thicker metal, so they might be better for beaching with students. They are also wider than the EDO-2000s so they step turn much better. And they give you 2300 pounds as a gross weight with the 160 horse engine. They are a wee bite long so you pretty much have to use the one-float lift and then accelerate in ground effect.
    I like how you can walk to the back of them and they do not sink.

    The Power flow Exhaust required that I also go to a low restriction air filter system. It gave me about 130 more RPM in level flight at max throttle. We even had to rebuild the carb to keep up with it. On wheels she climbs out at around 1100 fpm with two guys inside and fuel.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	19031   Click image for larger version. 

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  33. #33
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff Alex, I have had the opportunity to fly C185s alot over the years and in Alaska the Edo 3430s were commonly
    Used , but back here the PK 3000 was a favorite. I prefer it to any other float. Comes up on the step like a 2960, but shorter so
    Doesnt have the dragin the heels problem. The 3000s have ALOT more aft bouyouncy, so I found them to work great as you got loaded
    Aft. Flew a 185 with RSTOL for a lodge one summer , and they also had a 180hp Charlie Center PA12 for going into frog ponds to drop off fisherman, hunters etc.
    After I got used to that 185 ,never bothered with 12 hardly, it would fly really sloooow and you could operate it out of places I would have never
    Attempted with a non RSTOL one on 3430s.............steered better in rivers, fast in the air, step turned great, really my favorite floats on a 185.
    The old PK 3500 has such a bad rep, the minute I would say anything good about the 3000s all the Edo guys would roll their eyes, lol
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 02-17-2015 at 10:26 PM.

  34. #34
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Actually, there were two different flavor of the PK 3500 floats: the As and Bs (straight and amphib) and the CS and Ds.

    I flew 185s on amphibious versions of both and the strait float version of the later ones. I flew a 185 with PK 3500 C straight floats for ten seasons. Later, I flew a 185 on EDO 3430s from the same base, and once I figured out the best technique, both planes (both RSTOL equipped) got off in almost exactly the same water run.

    But, oh, my......the 3500 As and Bs were DOGS!

    Your assessment if the 3000 PKs is right on, though....a great float. Alton took me for my first flight in one and I was duly impressed. I also really liked their hydraulic pack in the amphib version.

    PK really shot themselves in the foot with that first series of 3500 float. Got a bad rep (deservedly so) and unfortunately, that reputation is hard to shake.

    Is PK still building floats, since Alton's passing? He was gone way too young.

    MTV

  35. #35
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Keith Strange one of the most knowledgeable float guys in the country is still
    Out there trying to button the place up, there was a rumor that Husky might be
    Interested but not sure what happened with that. There is dozens of 3/4 finished
    Floats piled up all over the place, and I guess the FAA wont let anyone finnish
    Them now that Altons gone.............if that all wasnt enough, Altons best friend
    And I am guessing major finance pardner, was flying home last summer , scud
    Running up on North side of St Lawrence, and got down into the trees and caught
    A spruce tree at cruise airspeed ,and you know rest of the story. Its almost like
    The place is jinxed?
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 02-18-2015 at 07:44 PM.

  36. #36
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear it. A good product, nice people, and a good company, in a part of the country that can use some good clean manufacturing jobs. I'd sure like to see someone make a go of the company. Alton and Keith made a lot of improvements to the floats and developed entirely new floats (the Husky 2250 float being one) after they bought the company from DeVore. Who ever thought building floats in New Mexico was a good idea.....

    Anyway, thanks for the info.

    MTV

  37. #37
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Keith Strange really helped me out A LOT when trying to get these floats set up.

  38. #38
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboBeaver View Post
    ...........if that all wasnt enough, Altons best friend
    And I am guessing major finance pardner, was flying home last summer , scud
    Running up on North side of St Lawrence, and got down into the trees and caught
    A spruce tree at cruise airspeed ,and you know rest of the story. Its almost like
    The place is jinxed?
    The fellow who owned PK before Devore bought it was killed in an autogyro accident before he ever started up production. I forget his name. This was near New Bedford Mass.
    N1PA

  39. #39
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Those guys were about the most forwarded thinking fellas in the industry. Moving the main
    Wheels out of the most buoyant compartment and putting it back into the front of the tail
    Section of the floats was probably the biggest improvement ever done to a set of amphibs
    Ever in history of float production, had it not been for bad timing of crash of 2008, they woud have
    Most certainly been a major player nowadays! Funny how things work out.......

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