Amphibian types and recommendations

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Cam Bender, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    This thread is primarily intended for those who are seaplane pilots and who have flown a variety of seaplanes but other rookie seaplane pilots feel welcome to share your thoughts.

    I want to buy an amphibious seaplane but I’m just not certain what type. I have only flown floats so far, no hulls. I also have only flown a couple different floatplanes. So I have three questions. These are all geared towards single engine planes, recip engine powered.

    1. For those of you that have flown both floats and boats, which do you prefer and why? Not looking for specific models here, just which is best, floats or boats and why.

    2. For all float pilots, which float plane model has been your favorite and why?

    3. For all flying boat pilots, which model was your favorite and why?

    I am not going to get into my personal budgetary or mission concerns but for the sake of narrowing the field, let’s leave Beavers and Otters and the like out of the discussion as much as possible. Yeah, we all know the Beaver is the best.
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Define the majority of your mission a bit closer...2 people or more, short trips or long ones....The problem is you've left the field so wide open, it's hard to point in any one direction. With the little you have given, anything between a Cub on floats, all the way up to an Aztek on floats would meet the requirement. Or you could go even a little bigger and go with a DC-3 on amphibs.....:cool:
     
  3. SoonerAviator

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    Never flown one, but I always liked the Lake Amphibian/Renegade models. I only have time in a 172 on straight floats, and it was more of a sight-seeing flight than actual lesson. I'd have to imagine the boat-type makes landings/sight picture a bit easier than floats, but docking would be more difficult with the low-wing/sponsons due to the obvious issues getting close to a dock/pier.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  4. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Yeah, I’m pretty certain that neither an Aztec nor a DC-3 are single engine. Beyond that I purposely left it wide open to an extent. That’s why I specifically stated that I was not going into my personal mission or budget.
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    'cept you didn't specify it had to be a single.....:p
     
  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don’t have much experience with flying boats, they are a little better at ruff water and some of the newer designs (sea wind) are pretty aerodynamically slick, but for float planes, I did look into it before got mine and I really do like the skywagon on amphibs.

    Cruise 120kts with very good range

    Factory seaplane

    Good IFR platform

    Great 2 seater with tons of space in the back for stuff, dogs, hunting, etc

    Can take the amphibs off and put normal wheels on and get 150kts
    Or take a speed hit and have skis or tundra tires

    Kinda has “legend status” like a supercub so resale is pretty good if I ever wanted to upgrade (though a upgrade from a skywagon would probably be a beaver or something)

    Manual flaps and dropping ailerons make for a good STOL plane, especially with some flap tricks.

    Not much of a maintenance hog, it’s actually a pretty simple plane.
     
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  7. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Second paragraph, last sentence.
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Old habits of technical writing are hard to break... Towards would indicate a preference for something, but does not rule out all other possibilities... Is all good.
     
  9. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Cessna 180........................by FAR, the most popular.
     
  10. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I do like the 180 & 185 series Cessnas. How long have you had yours and how many hours flying it? Any surprises good or bad from what you expected it to be before you bought it? What floats do you have?
     
  11. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    There does seem to be quite a few out there on floats. Would you say that the 180 is the minimum of the single engine Cessnas that would make a good float plane? I have seen some 172s on floats advertised though they seem to be a small number. How about the 172XP with it’s bigger engine?
     
  12. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Got it. Possible bad wording on my part. I’d agree wholeheartedly with you if I had said that I was leaning towards SE but saying that the questions were geared towards SE is different in my opinion. No biggie. I’d still appreciate any input on seaplane models that you have flown.
     
  13. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The Lakes are one of the types that I wouldn’t mind getting some time in. I have seen some that appear reasonably priced especially compared to the LSA types with lower capabilities.
     
  14. Bell206

    Bell206 Cleared for Takeoff

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    While not one of your questions, from a maintenance standpoint the 180/185 models rank at the top due to parts, support, and experience availability. Plus you can covert to straight wheels relatively easy. Hull type tend to have a lesser experience availability and require a little more upkeep/oversight. I've been through few amphib projects and felt the 185 offered the best all-around package on the wrench side provided you stay away from those with an extensive saltwater history
     
  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’ve had the 185 for just shy of 4 years or so, about 250hrs ish on it, I have 2790s as well as the normal wheels that just hang out on my utility room at the house, the 2790s are on the small side on the water but are pretty quick in the air, for my mission I like em.


    Issues, not really, did a few upgrades like BAS belts and LEDs, I had a very small hole in the exhaust that could have been fixed I used that as an excuse to toss a acorn exhaust system on, also had a slick mag that acted up and gave me the excuse to change the whole ignition over to bendix.

    Mostly its just oil, maybe brake pads, grease and filters.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  16. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm ignorant when it comes to float planes, but wouldn't putting a 182 on floats be a little better than a 180 or 185 just to have the extra cabin width?
     
  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They never made a factory seaplane 182, so you won’t have the same factory ground up designed anti corrosion proofing and structural reinforcements etc.
     
  18. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    No.
     
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  19. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks
     
  20. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That is definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks!
     
  21. blueskyMD

    blueskyMD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I do have a sea plane ratings ( only 6 hours during training , never used it again ) and Little While ago I pondered idea of getting into amphibious/floats to try something new. I looked into Lake LA 4 and other models but I was told that they are neither good land planes nor good sea planes. Of course its a compromise and may be that designers did best they could to make it work but I lost attraction after a while. Float planes will be good idea if I live in warm climate with access to water year around otherwise storing them during the winter time is a headache.
     
  22. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hence the amphibs, or with a 180/5, PA18, etc you can go to penetration skis in the winter.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    Todays marine atomsphere favors the float plane, simply because of their ability to put a wing over a dock.

    The hull type are low in the water and have floats on the wing, to get close to a dock you must nose up, that requires a lot of free dock space.
    By far the best float plane is the turbine Beaver or the Quest air venture Kodiak.
     
  24. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Are those what you fly? Cool if they are but they are beyond the limits I set for suggestions.
     
  25. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Most of my amphib time is in flying boats (Seawind/LA4-200) but I do have some time in a "Super Sealane" and a PA-12 on straight floats. I'd argue you have the potential of getting more utility out of a floatplane (C180 or bigger) but you can have a lot more fun in a flying boat, the Lake specifically. Below 40 knots on the step you can really almost toss it about like a jetski. Does rough water pretty well. It's a really fun sensation to be skimming off the water with the water being at butt-height versus sitting 10 feet off the water in a floatplane.

    Amphibs as a rule are generally slow, an exception being the Seawind. (And I can talk Seawind all day, PM me if you want the scoop on it). If you're looking a little more toward speed and some sense of efficieny look towards the LA-270T and consider going up high and breathing some oxygen to get some pretty respectable true airspeeds.

    That said, if I had $50-75k burning a hole in my pocket I'd go out and buy a nice Buccaneer tomorrow. If I had more, I'd buy a Renegade. I'd encourage you to go out of your way to fly a Buc, they're wonderful airplanes.
     
  26. jkgoblue

    jkgoblue Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Love the Seawind but for some reason, seems to have a bad rap.
     
  27. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    No the last time I did any water work was in one of these
     

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  28. brien23

    brien23 Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you have a place on a lake river or some other water spot that you are going to use great, float or boat will work. If you are just going to buy one to splash around in and go home to a paved airport don't do it, you will get tired. Another problem in the North west is milfoil, splash around lake to lake is going to get all seaplanes banned from any lake around here. It' is a real problem and some pilots don't seem to take it serious, boats are checked at launch sites for the weed all it takes is one seaplane with the weed stuck in the rudders to introduce it to a new lake.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  29. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I haven't flown a boat, but if I were to buy, I would lean that way simply because they would tend to be faster. However, a Skywagon on floats would be a helluva lot of fun too, and could be put on wheels/skis other times of year.

    I would love to have a Seawind.

     
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  30. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not sure about that, being near water sure, but having a amphib that lives in a hangar most of the time is best for many reasons.
     
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  31. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Will a 180/185 sitting up on floats fit in a normal T-hangar or is it too tall?
     
  32. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    At least one fits in the "normal" hangars at ONZ. But I have seen other "normal" hangars where they would not - e.g. not tall enough for the rotating beacon on a Navion with the nose strut compressed (wasn't me).
     
  33. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They will fit, however sometimes the cables on the door have to be adjusted so the bifold goes ALL THE WAY up.
     
  34. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Some great info and thanks for the link. Never heard them called Super Sealanes before.

    I definitely want to fly a Buccaneer or other Lake model before making a final decision.
     
  35. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I think most seaplanes jump from one lake or river to another. Just staying at one would be like never leaving your home airport. Where’s the fun in that? Also I bet most amphibs are based at hard surface airports and not on the water. Probably why the owners went with an amphib over straight floats.
     
  36. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just got to be responsible and careful about not spreading invasive species if you’re hopping from lake to lake.

     
  37. SoonerAviator

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    Yeah, the big thing in some lakes around here is the Zebra mussels. I haven't seen any myself, but there are signs (especially on the Arkansas navigation channel) warning boaters about draining the bilge and waiting a few days before entering a different body of water.
     
  38. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    The Lake is NOT a fast airplane. A 180 or 185 will outrun it. And Lake (Revo) has been for sale for a long time and parts are scarce, some simply not available, and have to be made. Besides that, it is hard to work on. Awkward is the word.

    I like the idea of the flying boat, and wanted to build one at one time. They have their limitations, like any airplane. Compromises in anything you can buy or build.

    Just watch for anything that has been in the salt. It can do more damage than you might believe.
     
  39. flyingcheesehead

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    I never said it was, or that it was a hard-and-fast rule. ;)

    No kidding. Staying on the same lake? Might as well buy a boat.
     
  40. SoonerAviator

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    Well, if you have a lake home and want to make it there faster, the seaplane may be a great way to get door-to-door quickly. If I had unlimited monies, it'd certainly be a consideration to have a nice seaplane to pull right up to my dock on the lake. As a primary aircraft? Not so much, unless you make frequent trips to a specific location on/near the water.