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Thread: Cessna 185 Pod options

  1. #1

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    Cessna 185 Pod options

    I am looking for a used Aerocet Belly pod(if anyone has one let me know). In my hunt I started to see other versions of pods that might work(Aeropod, Bob Piatt's pod etc). Aerocet seems like it is the most established with a STC. Does anyone have thoughts on the pros and cons of each of these pods options for a 185?

    Thanks

    Mark

  2. #2

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    Is the Aerocet pod still the same as what they bought from AK Skycraft? I never liked that pod. The Aeropod is big and STC'd for the 185. I prefer the AK Bush Pod and got a field approval for my 180J but never bought the pod. Maybe someday.

  3. #3

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    The Aerocet pod sucks, it’s small and all of your gear slides to the middle. Google Aeropod there’s a guy in the Denver area that has a nice STCd version of the big Cessna pod. There’s also the firm in pod but will require a field approval it’s also similar to the Cessna pod just not as deep.

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  5. #5

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    Stewart, any chance of getting a copy of your field approval for the Firmin pod on the 180J? Thanks, Joel.

  6. #6

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    John Proctor got an STC, I think.

  7. #7
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    There's one here on a C-180 with the front fuel tank option. Pre-Aerocet and their webpage mentions it's not yet available.

    Gary
    Thanks Bender thanked for this post

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the insight so far guys. My brother has the Aerocet pod. He got it when it was Alaska Skycraft. He really likes it. I have not heard about the cargo shifting inside? The doors are small for sure but the nice thing is that is sealed on the top so your exhaust smell doesn't get inside the pod as much. My understanding is that the original Cessna pods let all the fumes inside. Not sure if the Aeropod has a sealed top or not but I will ping them to ask.

    I don't love the look of the original Cessna pod. It's bit big and chunky looking. I think the Aeropod guy copied the Cessna pod shape.

    I have never seen a Firmin. Does anyone have a picture of that on a Skywagon?

    Thanks

    Mark

  9. #9
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    There's one here on a C-180 with the front fuel tank option. Pre-Aerocet and their webpage mentions it's not yet available.

    Gary
    Absolute thumbs up for the Sky-pod. Especially if you can find one with the fuel option. I found them easy to install and aerodynamically speaking, they are nearly undetectable. The top of the pod is sealed, which keeps out fuel/oil/weather. And still rated to three hundred pounds if I remember right. But I am not impartial due to the designer.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  10. #10

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    Sorry I've been NORDO on the net for about 10 days due to a project on my own bird.

    I am AEROPOD, and our pod is a copy of a Cessna pod with a few improvements. Our doors are the same size as Cessna's but the side door is removable and the aft door only has a hinge at the aft edge (opens inward) rather than 2 hinges like the Cessna pod. We gelcoat the inside as well to keep fiberglass from rubbing off and getting in your gear. We also include 2 cargo barriers for those days when you aren't running around full so you can keep the load where you want it.

    It doesn't have a top like Aerocet's , but in my experience on my plane and my dad's flying full of camping gear all over I've never noticed exhaust smell, oil, or gas in my gear. I think that if you take the time to fit it well on the initial installation, you won't have these problems.

    You're right, it is "big and chunky", but I load it up with a bunch of stuff and don't think about it. Then again, I like the look.

    The Firmin pod is similar in footprint, but about 2/3 as deep if I remember right from the last time I saw one. I also think it lacked the internal ribs like my pod and the Cessna pod. Last I heard it wasn't currently being produced but that info is probably worth what you paid for it. Search on BCP and I remember a 180 driver in the northeast had one installed and a few pics of it.

    I won't tell you that my pod is the best and Aerocet's isn't. They are very well suited to very different missions. If you want to carry as much stuff as possible, then yes, I believe my pod is best. If you want as much flexibility with CG as possible, I believe my pod is best. If you want as little speed loss as possible, you probably want Aerocet's. If you want a pod on floats, my gut feeling is you want Aerocet's, but there is an argument both ways on that one (my pod isn't approved on floats for an "F" model). Point is, honestly evaluate what you want from a pod.

    Give me a call and I'm happy to chat about it. If I missed any questions let me know and I'll try to fill in the blanks.

    You can find pics of my stuff on facebook or instagram, just look for AEROPOD INC.

    We are about to start another pod in the mold next week, so hopefully I'll have some pics of that to share.

    Tony Lopez
    720-220-8969

  11. #11
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    The Cessna pod is about 17" deep and Piatts/Firmans Alaska Bush Pod for the 180/185 is about 14" deep.

    I have been flying a 185 with the Cessna pod. I think the book says it costs 4 knots. On this aircraft the pod is approved on floats.


    One report says the Firman/Piatt pod doesnt affect cruise speed or climb at all.

    I have wanted a 14" deep pod for years, but am not convinced the loss of volume versus the Cessna pod is worth that little bit of speed. The climb performance is a question I ask. Also, engine cooling in a hot climate with the deeper pod.

    My own 185 will probably sport a Cessna pod. I have a mold and repairable pods are an option.

    I "cleaned house" and took two SkyCrafter's/(Aerocet style) to the waste transfer station. One was wrecked, the other was an empty shell. I didnt want them since they are not long enuff and without a rear door, how would I load skis and other longe stuff? I cringed a little as they hit the floor and the loader scraped them into the pile

  12. #12
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Cessna pod is on the far airplane

    Yes Martha, it is foggy
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  13. #13
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I ran a stock Cessna pod on a 1985 185 for a few winters. Never had any sense of exhaust gas in the pod.....I suspect that's a fitting thing. Get it fitted right the first time and you shouldn't have any problem with that or oil, etc.

    I can't recall specific numbers, but that pod didn't cost more than a few knots airspeed. A very few.

    The only down side I found with it, in interior Alaska, was that at times in very deep snow, the pod pushed snow on takeoff, which could extend takeoff run. Good site prep in those kinds of conditions was necessary, and not very often.

    But, it was sure nice to put those wing covers, snowshoes, engine cover, sleeping bags, etc, etc. down there and get them out of the cabin. Those airplanes get pretty tight in cabin space in winter.

    MTV
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post
    Cessna pod is on the far airplane

    Yes Martha, it is foggy
    And the near airplane is a Firman pod.
    Thanks Dave Calkins thanked for this post

  15. #15

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    Here is the official speed adjustment table figures from our POH supplement.

    75% power - 6 KTS
    65% power - 7 KTS
    55% power - 8 KTS
    45% power - 8 KTS

    Climb is decreased by 40 ft/min.

    Anecdotally, I can say that I run around all the time within 2-3 KTAS of book cruise charts with the pod on so I'm not convinced that it is as bad as the supplement says. That is running 65-75% power.

    I can also tell you that when I'm heavy, running anything less than 65% doesn't work too well. The airplane mushes along at a high AOA indicating 90 KTS or so and just doesn't want to get on the step. Bear in mind that this is typically at 10-12K MSL, in the summer going across the rockies. I just plan on running it harder and it goes pretty good. If I go east from Denver and stay 7500 or less I don't generally have those issues. I've heard of guys having similar issues on floats and the Wing-X helping a lot with it. I have one customer with a Wing-X that has expressed interest in a pod so maybe I can report how that configuration is operates someday.

  16. #16
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post
    Also, engine cooling in a hot climate with the deeper pod.
    Dave, There are supposed to be extensions on the cowl flaps when the pod is installed which open the flaps further. There may also be added height on the sides of the cowl flaps.
    N1PA

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Dave, There are supposed to be extensions on the cowl flaps when the pod is installed which open the flaps further. There may also be added height on the sides of the cowl flaps.
    Yep, our kit comes with baffle extensions for the sides of the cowl flaps as well as a link to extend the cable. The closed position with the extensions installed is approximately the open position without them. When they are open with the extensions installed, the cowl flap is OPEN around 6" at the trailing edge.
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  18. #18
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Parked next to me is a very experienced C-185 135 operator. Says the Cessna pod is his profit maker on any gear. Knowing him and $ I believe he's right.

    Gary

  19. #19
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    yep. cowl flap extensions, etc. .....just like for a float kit.

    yep SB. the blue 180 has a 14" deep Firman/Piatt pod

    The 185 I am flying for work has wingX with the Cessna pod. I am not sure, but it may be faster than my 185 without wingX or pod.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Parked next to me is a very experienced C-185 135 operator. Says the Cessna pod is his profit maker on any gear. Knowing him and $ I believe he's right.

    Gary
    I believe it. I have a customer in New Zealand who sold his 206 after he installed our pod.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post

    The 185 I am flying for work has wingX with the Cessna pod. I am not sure, but it may be faster than my 185 without wingX or pod.
    Quoted just because I like the sound of this...

    To be honest, I believe the pod slows you down much less than big tires.

    I have a customer with Wing-X, 8.50s, and baby bush TW, my plane is faster with the pod on 8.00s and 10" TW.

  22. #22

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    I wouldn’t agree that the Aerocet pod “sucks.” It’s not as large as the Cessna or Firman pods, and has smaller hatches (which are only on the sides), so not as useful for hauling customers’ gear. For personal use, it’s often very good, is weathertight, only costs 2-3kts in airspeed and does little to nothing to climb rate or engine cooling efficiency.
    We love ours and use it all the time. It stays on year round.

  23. #23

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    I have a Piatt pod, and like it very much. The airplane is a privately operated 180(as is my friend’s white and red airplane, same pod). I could see the value of the deeper Aeropod for commercial ops, particularly with a 185.

    For local flying it contains engine cover, snowshoes, shovel, etc.
    For ski trips all of the above; plus skis, poles, snowboards, wing covers, extension cord, cabin heater, a couple of bags...

    Very useful. The door seems correctly sized. I’ve never needed the rear door, even when loading skis.

    It would be hard to say that it slows the airplane down. A couple of mph at most, especially hard to notice on skis.
    It does affect cooling, the cowl flaps are often open, even in winter.



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  24. #24

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    Also, the pod is fitted very closely to the belly; with a rubber seal and 35+ machine screws. There is no exhaust, oil,or moisture getting into the pod. Everything stays clean and dry.

  25. #25

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    Whichever pod chosen, they certainly add utility. Our 180 hauls a week of gear and 3 pax + dog without much compromise
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