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Thread: Tell Me About Belly Pods

  1. #1

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    Tell Me About Belly Pods

    Home-built PA-12/18 with flaps, -18 gear and tail, O-320 160 hp, extended wings, Catto prop, 3-inch extended gear.

    In the summer months, with those big compartments in my 2200 Clamar floats we can carry all we need.

    In the winter, with more survival gear to haul, it's a struggle to fit everything in, especially if we want to take the dog along.

    So I'm considering a cargo pod (no - I won't put the dog in there!).

    Questions:

    1) How do they attach to the airplane? Do the attachment points require welding?

    2) Most of our lakes here would not have more than a foot of soft snow over a harder base in late winter/early spring. Will the belly pod drag in the snow?

    3) How much time/trouble is it to seasonally remove and re-install?

    I'm thinking I would typically carry the lighter units of camping gear, rifles, and perhaps 50 or 60 pounds of frozen food in the pod.

    Any recommendations as to make and model of pod would be appreciated.

    Larry
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 08-28-2020 at 09:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Tell Me About Belly Pods

    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Home-built PA-12/18 with flaps, -18 gear and tail, O-320 160 hp, extended wings, Catto prop, 3-inch extended gear.

    In the summer months, with those big compartments in my 2200 Clamar floats we can carry all we need.

    In the winter, with more survival gear to haul, it's a struggle to fit everything in, especially if we want to take the dog along.

    So I'm considering a cargo pod (no - I won't put the dog in there!).

    Questions:

    1) How do they attach to the airplane? Do the attachment points require welding?

    2) Most of our lakes here would not have more than a foot of soft snow over a harder base in late winter/early spring. Will the belly pod drag in the snow?

    3) How much time/trouble is it to seasonally remove and re-install?

    I'm thinking I would typically carry the lighter units of camping gear, rifles, and perhaps 50 or 60 pounds of frozen food in the pod.

    Any recommendations as to make and model of pod would be appreciated.

    Larry
    1. No. Front strap goes to rear gear bolt. Aft strap is a simple slit in fabric and a stainless strap goes around longeron.

    2. No. Iíve been in deep deep powder, pod Will slide through snow fine but itís going to have to be really deep before thatís even an issue.

    3. Maybe 15 minutes to remove or install.

    Bill Firmin, RIP, was a good friend of mine and a -12 driver. His first mold for pods were for -12. I had s/n 005. Bobby Piatt has his business now, only -12 pod out there. Mine is field approved on certified -12.




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  3. #3
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Home-built PA-12/18 with flaps, -18 gear and tail, O-320 160 hp, extended wings, Catto prop, 3-inch extended gear.

    In the summer months, with those big compartments in my 2200 Clamar floats we can carry all we need.

    In the winter, with more survival gear to haul, it's a struggle to fit everything in, especially if we want to take the dog along.

    So I'm considering a cargo pod (no - I won't put the dog in there!).

    Questions:

    1) How do they attach to the airplane? Do the attachment points require welding?

    2) Most of our lakes here would not have more than a foot of soft snow over a harder base in late winter/early spring. Will the belly pod drag in the snow?

    3) How much time/trouble is it to seasonally remove and re-install?

    I'm thinking I would typically carry the lighter units of camping gear, rifles, and perhaps 50 or 60 pounds of frozen food in the pod.

    Any recommendations as to make and model of pod would be appreciated.

    Larry
    Firminís pod was tested with like 600lbs of well drilling pipe.

    Attached with simple clamps around longerons at rear. Gear bolt at at front. Stainless steel straps.


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    Apparently, Airglas makes a pod that, they say, will fit a -12 fuselage. Comments?
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  5. #5
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Apparently, Airglas makes a pod that, they say, will fit a -12 fuselage. Comments?
    Not really. Itís an -18 pod with a adapter funky thing on it...


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  6. #6
    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Tell Me About Belly Pods

    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Apparently, Airglas makes a pod that, they say, will fit a -12 fuselage. Comments?
    Get a Firmin pod. Bigger, depth and width, fits better.


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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter7779h View Post
    Get a Firmin pod. Bigger, depth and width, fits better.
    Source?

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    12 pod options that I am aware of are Airglass, Carbon Concepts, and Alaska Bush Pod. I have installed an Alaska bush pod on a 12 and an 18. One instal was with slits and one with welded tabs, both were easy. I did spend a bit of time fitting and trimming to get it just right. I imagine that is required with any brand. Bob Piatt makes the Alaska Bush Pod also known as Firmin Pod. I know he will build them in black or white and maybe some other colors. He usually has several in the shop ready to ship. He may have some advice for installing on floats.
    Last edited by jrb; 08-28-2020 at 11:05 PM.
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  9. #9
    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Iíve seen them both. Like MCS Mike said, Airglass one is an 18 pod with a funky lip to widen it, so substantially narrower. Airglass pods all not as deep as Firmin ones.


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  10. #10

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    Many thanks for the info, fellas. Now I just have to figure out the finances. All said and done I'm probably looking at 5 or 6k Canadian!

  11. #11
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Source?
    PM me. I have contact info for Bob Piatt that makes them.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    PM me. I have contact info for Bob Piatt that makes them.
    Thanks! Will do that first thing in the morning.

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    Is the Firman (Alaska Bushpod) Certified on floats? Does it fit with the float rigging? I have heard that the Airglas is certified on floats and does not interfere with the float rigging. I read somewhere that mods needed to be done to the Firmin pod to fit it with float rigging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter7779h View Post
    Iíve seen them both. Like MCS Mike said, Airglass one is an 18 pod with a funky lip to widen it, so substantially narrower. Airglass pods all not as deep as Firmin ones.


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    And the location of the hinge wonít allow the door to open all the way. And there is no back door like on a firman


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  15. #15
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    Tell Me About Belly Pods

    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    And the location of the hinge won’t allow the door to open all the way. And there is no back door like on a firman


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    My door opens all the way on 3” extended gear on 8:00 x6 when on wheel skis, and it has a rear door.




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    Last edited by Scooter7779h; 08-30-2020 at 03:45 PM.
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    Nunavut, PA-12s aren’t all the same profile on the belly but all have more “vee” than typical Supercubs. I recall the primary difference between a -12 and -18 pod being how much space was above the lid of the pod. The -12 flange is taller to allow some fitting to the center stringer. Maybe that’s different on newer pods. If you happen upon a -18 pod, be aware.
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    Old firmin pods did not have the rear door. The new ones do have the rear door. Main side door on pod opens all the way no problem. Jumbo pod on standard length gear and 35ís almost touches ground. About a quarter inch to spare. On skis it will open all the way but just barely touches snow. With extended gear and jumbo pod you wonít have these problems. But in actual use it is a non issue for me on standard gear. The standard pod will open all the way and not touch the ground. The jumbo pod is roughly 2 inches deeper. They are both an excellent choice.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Nunavut, PA-12s aren’t all the same profile on the belly but all have more “vee” than typical Supercubs. I recall the primary difference between a -12 and -18 pod being how much space was above the lid of the pod. The -12 flange is taller to allow some fitting to the center stringer. Maybe that’s different on newer pods. If you happen upon a -18 pod, be aware.
    My PA-12 fuselage has metal belly panels with very little "vee". Almost flat in fact. Do you think this will be a problem?

  19. #19
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    It’ll probably make it easier. Talk to Bob @ Bushpod or Randy @ Carbon Concepts. They’ll be the best resources I know of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowjunk View Post
    Is the Firman (Alaska Bushpod) Certified on floats? Does it fit with the float rigging? I have heard that the Airglas is certified on floats and does not interfere with the float rigging. I read somewhere that mods needed to be done to the Firmin pod to fit it with float rigging.
    You can use the Firman pod with floats. Some trimming needed. The big pod rocks!!
    DENNY

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter7779h View Post
    My door opens all the way on 3Ē extended gear on 8:00 x6 when on wheel skis, and it has a rear door.




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    The airglas pod door doesnít open all the way. It hits the hinge. The firman swings all the way down and a little further. And the firman has a back door. Airglas does not.


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  22. #22
    stewartb's Avatar
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    They added back doors some time ago. http://www.airglas.com/FixedWing/Pro...8/Default.aspx

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    Back door is great if you need to haul long lumber, prop, struts, ect in case your buddy stubs his toe somewhere.
    DENNY
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  24. #24
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    When my Firman went on the 18 it stayed on. I love it. A few Bushwheels "liquid containment" bags in there is nice if you ever need to haul some extra juice.

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    Can anyone provide contact info for the current maker of the firmin pods? Does he have a website?

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    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womblesd View Post
    Can anyone provide contact info for the current maker of the firmin pods? Does he have a website?
    Posted in post 19 above


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    Quote Originally Posted by womblesd View Post
    Can anyone provide contact info for the current maker of the firmin pods? Does he have a website?
    Firman/Alaska Bush Pods does not have a website that I'm aware of. Airglas and Carbon Concepts both have websites that you can find through Google.

    If you need contact info for Alaska Bush Pods contact Stoddards or Reeve Airmotive in Alaska. Not sure about other dealers for them as the Bush Pods are very word of mouth products.

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    Update: I left a message for Bob about a week ago and he returned my call right away. Very nice guy. He is building me a PA-12 belly pod in black (my 'plane is yellow and black) and says it will be ready to ship around September 15. Great!

    Now, I don't think Bob takes Visa (or any other credit card - though he hasn't yet confirmed that). Visa would be so easy but I may have to come up with an alternate way to get his money to him. I can write him a cheque drawn on my Canadian bank account and specify "payable in US funds" but I'm not sure that will work when Bob tries to deposit it to his Anchorage bank account.

    Still trying to figure this one out. Maybe someone here has a suggestion. We have no bank or Western Union, etc. here in this two-bit town. I bank on-line or by mail.
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  29. #29

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    belly pod

    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Update: I left a message for Bob about a week ago and he returned my call right away. Very nice guy. He is building me a PA-12 belly pod in black (my 'plane is yellow and black) and says it will be ready to ship around September 15. Great!

    Now, I don't think Bob takes Visa (or any other credit card - though he hasn't yet confirmed that). Visa would be so easy but I may have to come up with an alternate way to get his money to him. I can write him a cheque drawn on my Canadian bank account and specify "payable in US funds" but I'm not sure that will work when Bob tries to deposit it to his Anchorage bank account.

    Still trying to figure this one out. Maybe someone here has a suggestion. We have no bank or Western Union, etc. here in this two-bit town. I bank on-line or by mail.
    wire transfer, done all the time, specify US Funds
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  30. #30
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    Not on the belly, but a CF wing pod on my S-7S, a little thinking outside the box. It holds an amazing amount of soft gear: clothing, tent, sleeping bag etc. I just need to try and pack the most needed stuff towards the front, as the removable nose cone is the only access, though we did talk about another door I am keeping it simple as possible for now. Two pip pins and it drops off in a second or two. Performance seems to INCREASE with them on, go figure.
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  31. #31

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    I’ve tried contacting Bob with no luck. Can you share his contact info?

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    Quote Originally Posted by womblesd View Post
    I’ve tried contacting Bob with no luck. Can you share his contact info?
    Try 907-376-7256.

  33. #33

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    Up-date: There were some delays (not anyone's fault) but my new Alaska Bush Pod is on the way to Yellowknife via FedEx. From there I'm hoping my friends at Buffalo Airways will get it on the next DC-3 or C-46 to Kugluktuk.

    This was an expensive purchase (around 5K Canadian by the time all the shipping charges are factored in) but I'm sure it will add equal value to the 'plane, both for me and for the next owner.

    If I could live long enough to see the day it will need a re-cover, I'd certainly install either the extended lower baggage (I already have the upper) or a second baggage compartment aft of the stock compartment, accessible from the outside. That, along with the Bush Pod would really make my bird into a useful cargo hauler. But the Bush Pod alone will pretty much double the volume of "stuff" I can carry. The dog will now more-or-less have the baggage compartment all to himself.

    I plan to use the pod only during the winter when on skis. I'll be stuffing the wing covers, engine cover, extension cord, 1,000 watt Yamaha generator (if it fits) in there, along with all the lighter camping gear, bunny boots, snow shovel, snowshoes, come-along, down parka, etc., etc. We have to carry so much camping/survival gear in the winter! I'm really looking forward to getting the pod installed.

    Photos to follow.
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  34. #34
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    Looking forward to this, as I have a friend that's looking at belly pods for a PA12 in the near future!
    John

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    If I'm reading the responses above correctly, there's a standard and jumbo sized Alaska Bush Pod available. Does anyone know how these sizes compare to the Airglass LC18XL Carbon Cargo Pod or the Airglas LC18 (fiberglass) ones? Cost for the Bush Pod?

    Nunavut, does your Yamaha 1000 generator fit in your pod?

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tgskillskill View Post
    Nunavut, does your Yamaha 1000 generator fit in your pod?
    Very good question and thanks for the reminder. It's been so damn cold here for the past two months I've not had a chance to try the generator for fit. I'll have an answer for you tomorrow.
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  37. #37
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    Bush pod clocks in at $2850 plus shipping/crating. They come in black and white, fiberglass and carbon, and standard and XL varieties. The STC'd ones are the standard size fiberglass and come in either black or white at that price. The other versions are available but I'm not sure what they're going for, I'll have to get ahold of the guy that builds them and ask.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tgskillskill View Post
    Nunavut, does your Yamaha 1000 generator fit in your pod?
    Yes, it will fit on its side through the forward part of the side door. Has to remain on its side. Be sure to close the vent on the tank. Might be wise to keep it mostly full of fuel - not sure how pressure changes would affect the empty tank with the vent closed - probably not a consideration at the altitudes we tend to fly at. Edit: or maybe empty with the vent open?
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 02-05-2021 at 02:58 PM.

  39. #39

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    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 02-05-2021 at 05:30 PM.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Up-date: There were some delays (not anyone's fault) but my new Alaska Bush Pod is on the way to Yellowknife via FedEx. From there I'm hoping my friends at Buffalo Airways will get it on the next DC-3 or C-46 to Kugluktuk.

    This was an expensive purchase (around 5K Canadian by the time all the shipping charges are factored in) but I'm sure it will add equal value to the 'plane, both for me and for the next owner.

    If I could live long enough to see the day it will need a re-cover, I'd certainly install either the extended lower baggage (I already have the upper) or a second baggage compartment aft of the stock compartment, accessible from the outside. That, along with the Bush Pod would really make my bird into a useful cargo hauler. But the Bush Pod alone will pretty much double the volume of "stuff" I can carry. The dog will now more-or-less have the baggage compartment all to himself.

    I plan to use the pod only during the winter when on skis. I'll be stuffing the wing covers, engine cover, extension cord, 1,000 watt Yamaha generator (if it fits) in there, along with all the lighter camping gear, bunny boots, snow shovel, snowshoes, come-along, down parka, etc., etc. We have to carry so much camping/survival gear in the winter! I'm really looking forward to getting the pod installed.

    Photos to follow.
    Reading the above shipping routes and carriers make me want to give my UPS guy a big hug, ( a fist bump I meant) even 5 miles out of Inkom I get stuff from about anywhere in single digits time frames, no radial engined vintage aircraft involved.
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