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Thread: Montana floats

  1. #1

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    Montana floats

    Does anybody know the status of the Montana Float company?

    I plan to put my experimental PA18 on amphibious floats in a year or two. There are some positive comments about them on this site but nothing current. The website is still up and running but the home page appears not to have been updated since 2015. No prices are listed.

    The site shows 2200’s and 2400’s as suitable for PA18 clones but no weights are given for either. My GW will be 2300. A set of 2400 amphibs popped up for sale, new, never installed, PA18 rigging, $42K. Didn’t say what year they were manufactured.

    if anybody cares to opine on Montana floats in general, suitability of their 2400 amphibs on a 180 HP cub, parts availability/company support and price of $42K relative to what they would cost new (?) I would appreciate the input.

    Mr. Ed

  2. #2
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    ED

    I have flown the Montana 2200 on a PA-12 and they seem to be a good float. I like the 2400's over the 2200's for the much better lockers and the flat tops. The 2400's weigh in at about 450 pounds (Vs say a Wip 2100 set at about 420) I do not know the 2200 weight but I believe it is less than 400.
    I like the extra floatation especially if you will be on big water, but you will loose a little useful load and perhaps have a little extra drag.

    My uninformed opinion

    Hope it helps

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  3. #3
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I helped a friend install a set of 2200s he built from a kit on a PA-18. They are an excellent float and in my opinion with better handling and performance characteristics than the certified Wipline 2100s. They can be compared to an EDO 2000 in characteristics. They appear to be a direct copy of the shape and dimension of the EDO 2000 except for the extra width which gives them a flat deck to walk on. I have a set in my hangar which were factory built in 2000 having come off a Glastar. They are destined to be installed on a Bearhawk Patrol. More on that later.

    I have no experience with the 2400, though since you are going for the 2300 lbs gross weight they would be a good choice.

    I can't help you with current pricing. 20 years ago they were half of the price you quoted.
    N1PA

  4. #4
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    I was up and borrowed their press brake a while back. Keith is still over in Philippines (I think that where it was), but the guy running the Libby airport was still manning the shop and the phone at that time. Give him a call, 406-293-9026 and he should be able to fill you in on what the status is. They're good floats!
    John

  5. #5
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Pete

    The Montana 2200's that I saw and flew did not have flat tops. The were shaped like EDO 2000's. I don't personally consider that a flat top. Perhaps we have different definitions. The 2400's have a flat top similar to the Wip 2100's.

    Perhaps they changed the design after the set you have. Or maybe there is a difference between the kit built set and the factory built set.

    Just throwing that out there

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  6. #6
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Pete

    The Montana 2200's that I saw and flew did not have flat tops. The were shaped like EDO 2000's. I don't personally consider that a flat top. Perhaps we have different definitions. The 2400's have a flat top similar to the Wip 2100's.

    Perhaps they changed the design after the set you have. Or maybe there is a difference between the kit built set and the factory built set.

    Just throwing that out there

    Bill

    Bill,
    The Montana floats have a sort of "flattish" top, due as Pete noted, to them being slightly wider than EDO 2000s. The top edges are still rounded, not sharp angled like the Wip floats.

    MTV
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  7. #7
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Pete

    The Montana 2200's that I saw and flew did not have flat tops. The were shaped like EDO 2000's. I don't personally consider that a flat top. Perhaps we have different definitions. The 2400's have a flat top similar to the Wip 2100's.

    Perhaps they changed the design after the set you have. Or maybe there is a difference between the kit built set and the factory built set.

    Just throwing that out there

    Bill
    Bill,
    The two sets with which I've been involved are the same. One was a kit, the other factory built in the year 2000. At a glance they are so similar to the EDO 2000s they may appear to be rounded tops. Actually between the longitudinal angle stiffeners on the deck, they are flat.
    N1PA
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  8. #8
    jimboflying's Avatar
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    Montana Float Co. is still viable and selling parts. I was told that the originalClick image for larger version. 

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ID:	54771 owner, Keith, has passed away a while ago. The same phone number works. I built a set of 2200s and have been using them for a number of years on my modified PA12. The floatation seems fine. Two people can easily fish off one side without sinking it. The top is flat enough to walk on.
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  9. #9

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    Received this today from Montana Float Co.:
    We have only put our 2400's on a Smith Cub and a Northstar Cub which may be too much for a PA-18.
    Our 2200's built are $43,300. The kit is $27,800.
    The 2200's weigh 395 pounds ready to mount. The 2400's weigh 460 pounds ready to mount.
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  10. #10
    jimboflying's Avatar
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    That build cost works out to be about 76 cents per rivet.
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  11. #11
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimboflying View Post
    That build cost works out to be about 76 cents per rivet.
    Can you pay a few rivets at a time?
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  12. #12
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    A while back I sold an unfinished kit that were originally purchased for a NorthStar. If my memory is right I let them go for around 10 grand. The widow of my friend that owned them was happy to get that as she was having to replace her heating system
    In the house at the time..

    Brian


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    txpacer's Avatar
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    Speaking of experimental float kits, does anyone have any recent experience with Murphy, Zenair, or others that would work on a Super Cub type plane?
    Last edited by txpacer; 03-17-2021 at 10:32 AM.

  14. #14
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    A NH EAA chapter did a zoom presentation with Zenair recently, to which I had hoped to learn some data. He spoke about building them but offered no operational characteristics nor responded to my questions asking him how they performed compared to any other brand.
    While I had hoped to gain some good insight to the floats I came away feeling like the guy was simply a mfg, and had no idea how they performed.
    Might be great floats but you’d have to find an actual owner I guess.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  15. #15
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Any make or type of floats may be great or not. If their installation on whatever airplane is not correct or optimized, a winner could be a loser. A set of floats on one airplane could be excellent performers, yet if that same set of floats is installed on a different type of airplane it may not even get off the water. Some floats perform very well in smooth water and poorly in rough water while some other floats may perform well in rough water and poorly in smooth water. There are so many little things which make a difference, it is difficult to say this float or that float is good or bad.

    A particular float may perform well as a straight float on a particular airplane but when the float is converted to amphibious it becomes worthless or vice versa.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 03-18-2021 at 07:19 AM.
    N1PA
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  16. #16
    WWhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    Speaking of experimental float kits, does anyone have any recent experience with Murphy, Zenair, or others that would work on a Super Cub type plane?
    I've got Murphy floats but have not flown them. Hopefully Wayne (Irishfield) will respond since he has been flying the Murphy 1800 amphibs for many years.
    Don't take life too seriously ... no one gets out alive!
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  17. #17
    txpacer's Avatar
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    We just picked up a homebuilt Super Cub with float fittings and a listed gross weight of 1990 lb. At that weight, it would be just a bit underfloated with the Murphy 1800 amphibs. Since it would just be a toy, I could limit the gross to something less with no trouble.

    The lighter weight of the Murphys is certainly appealing.

  18. #18
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    tx,
    What is the empty weight of your Cub? Add to that 224 lbs (https://www.murphyair.com/floats.html). What is the difference between that number and 1750 lbs? That is your available useful load. The suggested maximum gross weight (per the FAA) for those floats is 1944 lbs. However experience has shown it is wise to use excess floatation rather than just the FAA minimums. The minimums work in calm conditions. BUT when the wind picks up and the waves rise with the airplane loaded to the max----- well let's just say that many under floated airplanes have been known to capsize in conditions where a float which has just a little more buoyancy will ride the waves safely.

    Due to the weight of amphibs on an airplane with not a great deal of useful load in the first place, the usual results is a tendency to overload the plane. On land it usually is not a big deal----- on water you had better know what you are doing.

    I suggest you look for a larger set of floats than the Murphy 1800s.
    N1PA

  19. #19
    txpacer's Avatar
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    1115 empty. Two people and half gas would take it to 1750 or so. I'm leaning toward bigger floats because of comments from you, MTV and others on earlier threads, but I'm curious on how the Murphys perform. Too bad I can't go straight floats. EDO 2000s would be great.

  20. #20
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I have never flown nor seen the Murphys. So I'm just speculating based upon this picture.



    Notice not much distance between the keel and the top near the bows. This indicates a very small amount of floatation forward. The weight of the nose gears pulls the CG forward so combined with the weight of the engine, those bows could tend to bury their noses.

    Notice the difference with these Montana 2200s.
    N1PA

  21. #21
    irishfield's Avatar
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    That picture gives an illusion, there is no difference in hull shape between Murphy's and Montana's.. especially considering Keiths first offering was just a deepened Murphy 1800 with the rear spreader bar moved forward to where it should have been originally placed.

    Many times this summer the Wife and I were at 2000 lbs.. and I shouldn't say or better...

    The Murphy's are a good 100 lbs lighter than most offerings. Less weight = more payload or less work for the wings to carry them.
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  22. #22
    sniffler's Avatar
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    I have 2400 straight Montana's on my Sportsman

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    did a search and found Keith's obit GodSpeed Keith

    Keith, Montana floats —— Keith Kinden, 72. March 27, 2020 8:52 AM
    Keith Kinden, 72, passed away on Dec. 31, 2019, in Clark Pampanga, Philippines.
    Keith was born in Williston, N.D., to Arthur Kinden and Francis Stoveland on August 8, 1947. He grew up in Watford City, N.D., where he attended primary school and was even taught by his mother alongside his classmates for a few years. Keith joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 18 and began working in the woods in northwest Montana following an honorable discharge in 1968.
    In the following years, he acquired his pilot’s license and several certificates from the Federal Aviation Administration, which enabled him to maintain and build aircraft, fly as a charter and contract pilot, and train students to become pilots themselves. Keith’s career in general aviation included time managing wildlife, fighting forest fires, making movies, investigating crashes, building flying machines and countless other endeavors.
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  23. #23
    txpacer's Avatar
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    I put in a request with Montana to be put in line for a 2200 amphib kit. Just waiting for confirmation from Rob. Earlier, he said it would be late summer.
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  24. #24
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    My 2200 kit went together fine. They had very good instructions. You need lots and lots of Clecos of both sizes. When you have enough get some more. A pneumatic Cleco tool is very nice. A pneumatic rivet squeeze is almost a must. Used ones come up sometimes. A pneumatic sealant applicator is also helpful but not required. Take your time and they will turn out nice. If you are itching to get started you might get the instruction book before the kit arrives so that you can review it, build your construction table, round up your tools and supplies and then be able to get started. It took me about 15 months. Have fun!
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  25. #25
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Pete spells it out- lots of variables.

    Couple of examples- early 182 conversion with 2870's or 2960's, (can not recall which), would not take off empty. Terrible off the water. The owner was taking it back to Kenmore to see about adjusting the N struts, and in a scheduling conference his loading was questioned- results were the owner started carrying 40-50 pounds in the back of the baggage and the plane then flew great.

    A Luscome on little floats was a water loving pig. It was a big challenge to see who could get it out of the Juneau Float pond. Eventually an owner removed the rear part of the N-strut 3/4", after that everyone could get out of the pond.

    If I were putting my own floats together, I would be very frugal with sealant, less is better. Later on when it is time to paint or repair you will understand!

    On the whole, unless you are always empty and light on fuel, bigger floats are generally better- even the Beaver on 6000s will come out of the water heavy, just sucky to fly.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  26. #26
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimboflying View Post
    My 2200 kit went together fine. They had very good instructions. You need lots and lots of Clecos of both sizes. When you have enough get some more. A pneumatic Cleco tool is very nice. A pneumatic rivet squeeze is almost a must. Used ones come up sometimes. A pneumatic sealant applicator is also helpful but not required. Take your time and they will turn out nice. If you are itching to get started you might get the instruction book before the kit arrives so that you can review it, build your construction table, round up your tools and supplies and then be able to get started. It took me about 15 months. Have fun!
    I have an alligator type pneumatic squeezer and sealant gun along with coffee cans of clecoes. I can hear Chris now when anyone brings up PRC in the future after the floats are done.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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