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Thread: Firmin Cargo Pod (Alaska Bushpod) has arrived!

  1. #1

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    Firmin Cargo Pod (Alaska Bushpod) has arrived!

    It took almost a month to get my beautiful Bushpod. FedEx shipped it all over hell's half-acre (Alaska to Washington state, then Oregon, then Montana, then Alberta and finally to Yellowknife). I air freighted it the final 400 miles.

    The shipping charges, brokerage fees and taxes added about $1,375 (US) to the bill. Ouch!

    But it's here now and it's a work of art. I'm getting it installed but the temperature in my unheated, door-less hangar is about -5F so progress is slow.

    I have the rear straps installed and the corresponding metal belly panel notched out for the strap. Today I have to put that panel back in place.

    One problem is that my PA-12 has belly fuel drains, and these will end up being hidden by the pod. I always sump the tanks and the (Steve's) gascolator (in that order) before the day's flight. I have never found any water when draining the belly lines. So I may just leave the drains hidden and sump them before putting the pod on and after taking it off when doing the change-over from skis to floats.

    I could cut a hole in the top of the pod to access the drains but would prefer to avoid that.

    What say the experts?
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  2. #2

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    Don't know what to say about your drain situation. Have been enjoying your journey of getting the accessory. Looking forward to a photo or two when it all comes together. Good luck.

  3. #3
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    The top of the pod is not needed/was not included in the original pods. The FAA made firmin add it to get them field approved originally

    You could move the drains to bottom of pod. Pain, but doable


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  4. #4

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    Used to fly a 185 with fuel drains accessed inside the belly pod, I'd say give yourself access to the drains.
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  5. #5
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Cub with belly drains? That is a new one on me!!

    That one time you do find water in those drains, it may save your life.

    Can you reroute the drains out the side? If not, put flush drains on and drill the holes... that would be my plan. I don't like the flush drains as much because I need a pin to use, but they will cause less disruption trying to pull your wing covers and such out of the pod.

    I am not an A/P, so take my ideas with boulders of salt.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  6. #6
    stewartb's Avatar
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    My drains are smack in the middle of the belly. If I add a pod I'll cut the lid for access. No question.
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  7. #7

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    I would cut the hole. The pod won't care. If you get some water in there to freeze the engine will get like a pissed off wife and not make any noise at all!! I think the original pod was made without a top but changed to a top to get STC approval (that could be a lie but it is a story I have been told).
    DENNY
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  8. #8
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Yeah, cut the hole and sump inside the pod. The lid is only there because the FAA was concerned about things in the pod damaging fabric.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Yeah, cut the hole and sump inside the pod. The lid is only there because the FAA was concerned about things in the pod damaging fabric.
    Many thanks to you, Gabe, for helping to arrange the shipping on my pod, something that might have been difficult for me here in the boonies.

    Bob Piatt makes a great product. I'm looking forward to being able to stuff the wing and engine covers in there, along with most of the lighter camping gear, snowshoes, rifles, etc.

    Photos to follow.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Yeah, cut the hole and sump inside the pod. The lid is only there because the FAA was concerned about things in the pod damaging fabric.

    I have pod serial # 1 made by Bill Firmin. It came without a top and has worked fine. Don't worry about a small access hole in the top. it was his first PA 12 pod.
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  11. #11
    AkPA/18's Avatar
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    Hey Nuni,
    Just wanted to let you know I always enjoy your pictures from the boonies!
    http://thrustline.com/

    Takeoffs are optional--Landings are mandatory
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  12. #12

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    Congrats. I love mine and I think it's worth the high cost.

    One morning during a C185 preflight I opened the cargo pod door and was shocked to find the pod full of avgas. The overhead fuel drain had been leaking overnight. Obviously, your cargo is at risk of fuel contamination with this config. I think I'd eliminate or relocate it. Also, verify that the strap hardware isn't chafing the side of the pod. Have fun out there!
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  13. #13
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Just put one on my J3. Bob makes a really nice carbon experimental pod that's only 15lbs. Denny helped put it on and was amazed at how much lighter it is than the normal one.

    BTW I can help folks source those pods so for those looking just send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.
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  14. #14

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    The tangs that connect the rear float cross braces to the airframe were, of course, slightly in the way of the edge of the pod. I leave them on year round to help speed the process of installing the floats. A little work with the nibbler and grinder and now they kinda "fold up" into the belly. Less drag - I should go about 0.0001 mph faster!

    Here's a poor, out-of-focus photo. Offending fuel drains in the back ground. I'll be cutting a hole to access those:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    The top of my pod has a lip which I had to contour to fit the belly - the top panel is below the lip. You could plumb in some elbows and move the drains out to the side of the pod. That would keep it out of the cargo area. I'd be kind of nervous about having a possible leak above the pod.
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  16. #16

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    Installed!


    I had to trim the lip a little to fit the lateral contour of the belly. That was to be expected. What I didn't expect was that the longitudinal contour of pod would not match the belly. If you look closely at the photo you can see that there is about a one-inch gap between the forward section of the pod and aircraft belly. I don't think this will be a major problem, and when it comes off in June I will glue some baffle material to the lip and cut it to match the contour of the belly.


    The straps were very tight. In fact I had to fabricate a short "link" to lengthen the rear strap about an inch.


    None of the above is any fault of the pod, but it does emphasize that all home-built airplanes have differences that might make their compatibility less-than-perfect for after-market accessories.


    I have three-inch extended gear and the 'plane is on 6:00 x 6 tires. The ground clearance is adequate and should increase by an inch or two when the tires are on top of the skis.


    The side door won't open fully but certainly opens far enough to give un-restricted access to the interior of the pod.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Bend up something like this to extend that from and side lips?


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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    BTW I can help folks source those pods so for those looking just send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.
    I would be interested in contact info for purchasing a pod for a pa-18

    thanks

  19. #19
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Just put one on my J3. Bob makes a really nice carbon experimental pod that's only 15lbs. Denny helped put it on and was amazed at how much lighter it is than the normal one.

    BTW I can help folks source those pods so for those looking just send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.
    Pictures?

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  20. #20
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womblesd View Post
    I would be interested in contact info for purchasing a pod for a pa-18

    thanks
    Sent you a PM

    I'll resize and upload a few pics later

  21. #21
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Plenty of ground clearance on 26's. With just one short test flight it seems like the plane may have even picked up 2-3mph. Perhaps it straightens out the turbulated air behind the cabane?

    Oh and thanks again to Denny for spending half the day laying under this thing helping me get it fitted up just perfect
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  22. #22
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Gosh Crash,
    That looks great under your Cub! What a great mod for the J3, it will amaze ya how much you can haul in that , compared to to trying haul the same weight, down an extended baggage . CG wise the pod is King!
    Big score having Denny as your compadres! Nice work.
    E

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  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    With just one short test flight it seems like the plane may have even picked up 2-3mph. Perhaps it straightens out the turbulated air behind the cabane?
    Yup!
    N1PA
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  24. #24
    supercrow's Avatar
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    My pod also gives me 2-3MPH. Love that free speed!
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  25. #25
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboBeaver View Post
    Gosh Crash,
    That looks great under your Cub! What a great mod for the J3, it will amaze ya how much you can haul in that , compared to to trying haul the same weight, down an extended baggage . CG wise the pod is King!
    Big score having Denny as your compadres! Nice work.
    E
    Thanks! I'm not planning to push my luck with loading it full of stuff, mainly just put it on as a place to store covers as I don't think they'll fit in the little sack behind the back seat. Can't put too much in the little bird or she won't get off the ground!

  26. #26

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    The Legend MOAC has a belly drain. I'll be cutting the lid for draining from inside the pod.

    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Cub with belly drains? That is a new one on me!!

    That one time you do find water in those drains, it may save your life.

    Can you reroute the drains out the side? If not, put flush drains on and drill the holes... that would be my plan. I don't like the flush drains as much because I need a pin to use, but they will cause less disruption trying to pull your wing covers and such out of the pod.

    I am not an A/P, so take my ideas with boulders of salt.

  27. #27

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    Our Aerocet pod (fiberglass) on the Skywagon had a similar gap at the front and we slowly pulled it into shape by strapping it up and increasing tension over a period of days. The material gradually conformed without having to do anything else. Has stayed stable for four years now.

    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Installed!


    I had to trim the lip a little to fit the lateral contour of the belly. That was to be expected. What I didn't expect was that the longitudinal contour of pod would not match the belly. If you look closely at the photo you can see that there is about a one-inch gap between the forward section of the pod and aircraft belly. I don't think this will be a major problem, and when it comes off in June I will glue some baffle material to the lip and cut it to match the contour of the belly.


    The straps were very tight. In fact I had to fabricate a short "link" to lengthen the rear strap about an inch.


    None of the above is any fault of the pod, but it does emphasize that all home-built airplanes have differences that might make their compatibility less-than-perfect for after-market accessories.


    I have three-inch extended gear and the 'plane is on 6:00 x 6 tires. The ground clearance is adequate and should increase by an inch or two when the tires are on top of the skis.


    The side door won't open fully but certainly opens far enough to give un-restricted access to the interior of the pod.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyR View Post
    The Legend MOAC has a belly drain. I'll be cutting the lid for draining from inside the pod.
    During the build could they just move the drain off to the side so in case of a leak it does not fill the pod? I think they are are 4 inch wider than a cub so you should have lots of room on the side unless you get a wide belly pod (don't know if they even make them)
    DENNY

  29. #29
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Just route the fuel lines so the low point is aft of the rear of the belly pod.
    N1PA
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  30. #30

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    Their cubs are purportedly 3" wider. Yes - I plan to ask
    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    During the build could they just move the drain off to the side so in case of a leak it does not fill the pod? I think they are are 4 inch wider than a cub so you should have lots of room on the side unless you get a wide belly pod (don't know if they even make them)
    DENNY

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by moneyburner View Post
    The top of my pod has a lip which I had to contour to fit the belly - the top panel is below the lip. You could plumb in some elbows and move the drains out to the side of the pod. That would keep it out of the cargo area. I'd be kind of nervous about having a possible leak above the pod.
    That's a good idea. I have a metal belly* so access is easy. I could move them straight back, beyond the end of the pod. That would maintain a downward slope to the lines and the distance needed would only be about 16-inches.

    * Actually the airplane has a metal belly. Mine is not that firm any more!
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 01-15-2022 at 06:24 PM.

  32. #32
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyR View Post
    Their cubs are purportedly 3" wider. Yes - I plan to ask
    Who’s building the experimental Cub? It doesn’t sound like you’ll have much say in it.

  33. #33

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    Factory assist, so @ the Legend facility in TX. I'll be there for weeks at a time at various stages in the project. Build most likely begins in June.
    We're still in planning, but I don't anticipate problems with modifying as needed. Darin seems easy to work with.

    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Who’s building the experimental Cub? It doesn’t sound like you’ll have much say in it.
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  34. #34
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    June will be fun.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  35. #35

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    Ref the time of year, or beginning the build?
    Darin was apologetic about starting in the heat of summer, but it is what it is. After years working in 120F+ sandy places, I at first figured - "No problem!" Then I got to thinking about the fact that I'm now adjusted to coastal AK temps.

    Perhaps I'll put on some music while I'm working...




    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    June will be fun.

  36. #36
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Don’t worry, its a dry heat. East Texas is dry for sure. Ha ha.
    I was ready to leave this April.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  37. #37
    stewartb's Avatar
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    How long is the build assist process expected to take? How “custom” can you make the build? I’m a little familiar with Carbon Cub options but have no idea what Legend offers.

  38. #38

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    They provide 28 days of labor; we'll do the rest. Should be done in Dec or Jan.
    Much more "customizable" than CC. Darin seems willing to incorporate most of what I can come up with, barring changing the dimensions of wings and frame.
    You can see some of the off the shelf options here, but he seems willing/able to do most of what I'm asking. Will update as things progress.

    MOAC | Legend Aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    How long is the build assist process expected to take? How “custom” can you make the build? I’m a little familiar with Carbon Cub options but have no idea what Legend offers.
    Last edited by JohnnyR; 01-16-2022 at 12:26 PM.
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  39. #39

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    Makes sense.Use the lower drains as is the lowest point of the fuel system.Our 185 belly pod has a top skin and we made holes thru this to use the fuel drains.Do not seem to get water inside the pod from outside,but we also drilled a few holes through the floor as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyR View Post
    The Legend MOAC has a belly drain. I'll be cutting the lid for draining from inside the pod.

  40. #40

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    Can you post the CG chart or numbers for the pod? I'm interested in calculating various loads at front and back "thirds." Maybe I'm overthinking it, but the pod on the Skywagon is pretty long and loading front or back does make a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Just put one on my J3. Bob makes a really nice carbon experimental pod that's only 15lbs. Denny helped put it on and was amazed at how much lighter it is than the normal one.

    BTW I can help folks source those pods so for those looking just send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.

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